“We walk the puppy in the graveyard because it’s secure and we can let her off the lead,” my new client’s said, “she’s very good.” They smiled reassuringly at me. And she was for our first foray into the land of the dead. Unfortunately, the next time we entered the municipal graveyard with its aged headstones leaning at odd angles the puppy, a large, brown, furry creature, full of mischief, grabbed a plastic flower from an urn on a nearby grave and proceeded to charge gleefully about with it hanging from the side of her mouth, like Ermentrude the cow in The Magic Roundabout. I chased the wilful puppy over the grassy mounds, knowing that the occupants were long gone but apologizing to them anyway!

Running after the hairy hound proved futile so, in a bid to rescue the synthetic bloom from being mauled completely, I resorted to the element of surprise. I called the puppy then ducked down behind one of the more substantial tombstones waiting for her to come over, which she did on realizing that her game had been curtailed. My timing was perfect, leaping out I managed to grab the puppy’s collar and wrestle the dishevelled floral tribute from her slobbery chops! Safely back where it belonged the plastic tulip looked rather the worst for its experience so I hid it behind the other flowers and hoped that nobody would notice!