There follows an explanation why an odd, yet strangely attractive (stick with ‘strange’ Lo,TG Ed), old man can be seen running around the Cliff Tops wielding a cudgel trying to bop herons on the head.

Young grey heron plucks goldfish from garden pond

Four goldfish are missing, presumed dead – the four largest goldfish who were in their prime, about to breed and enjoy the pleasures of child rearing. (??? Lo,TG Ed)

Having dismissed kidnappers [no ransom note], a miracle [surely no god would be that cruel], the loss of the ability to count up to six [Lo, she is a terrible Goddess was called in to verify the situation] and the possibility that they had tunnelled out to start a new life in warmer climes, I came to the inevitable conclusion that they’d been eaten by a heron.

I can see the scene.

A looming figure usually means good things. A figure loomed, and my little darlings swam to the surface with gaping mouths, thinking but one thought, ‘FOOD!’. The looming figure was thinking the same thing and also wondering why he hadn’t passed this way before.

I hope it was quick and that Mr. Heron got chronic indigestion, lost the ability to fly properly and crashed into the sea.

They will be replaced, although I expect the trip to the fish shop will be very draining. Goldfish cost 99p each – that’s £3.96 for four you know, and I’ll also have to buy some netting so this outrage can never happen again. The cost will be worth it for the pleasure of having some friends again who don’t answer back.

In the meantime I shall continue my efforts with my knobkerrie, as a service to the neighbours who also have fish ponds, and as a way to assuage my barely suppressed grief.