On the second of February the Quorn Hunt met at the front of the hall, a venue they’ve used over many years, probably centuries. About twenty mounted riders and maybe thirty followers were treated to port and sausage rolls. One of the hounds managed to sneak inside and snaffle a few of the rolls. The sun shone, friends chatted, and after about half an hour the master said a few words and they all set off across our Bracken Bank. It was a happy occasion.

Fox hunting survives against the odds, and some hunts have already closed down. The ‘antis,’ are increasingly active, and the land available for hunting reduces each year. Whatever the moral issues, their disappearance will rob the British countryside of a colourful spectacle.

A week later I went with Caroline to watch granddaughter Phoebe take her first horse-riding lesson. She is a very determined nine-year-old. The manege was outdoors, her half hour coincided with a hail storm, but she was not deterred. I foresee a pony in a few years time, and plenty of fun, but by then fox hunting will probably have been consigned to history.