On New Year’s Day I went out early to walk the dogs when a wolf surprised us. It managed to creep up on us because a) Bernie and Lucy are rather stupid b) wolves are very good at moving silently and c) I was focused on preventing my dogs from devouring a bag of chips that had been discarded the night before by a New Year reveller on the way home. Squashed chips are my spaniels’ favourite delicacy and when I saw how big and close the wolf was (eyes like plates, legs like the trunks of young trees) I was really worried that the walk would end with Lucy and Bernie losing a chip eating competition to a monstrous hound eight times their size. Lucy gave a bark to say Those-chips- are-mine! and I feared the worst, but fortunately the wolf was extremely friendly and good-natured (for a wolf) and I was able to get our little cocker spaniels back to the Six Foot without more ado. I knew we’d be all right if we could just get inside the circle of Alleycat’s protective magic and of course, as soon as I turned into Alleycat’s territory the wolf paused, hesitated, and ambled off in quite another direction. That was the end of the shortest walk that Lucy and Bernie have ever been on. The wolf wasn’t there this morning so I think he was just passing through, possibly on a secret mission for the Dimchurch Marauders. The dogs don’t seem to realize that they were within a hair’s breadth of disaster. Alleycat’s very relaxed about it all and he didn’t even get up from his couch when we told him (he’s on the right in the photo at the top). I think he knows more about it than we do if truth be told, but when she heard what had happened Pink had to run away and hide behind in the Christmas wrapping paper!