There was a loud crash in the kitchen. When Mark and I descended upon the scene from different parts of the house, a very sorry looking George sat on the window-sill and looked down at the poor smashed remains of Spikey, the cactus.

Spikey has been with us since we moved into this house, and seeing him in that sorry state was sad. Of course, we repotted him, and I hope he’ll be fine, but a bit of him broke off. I hope that the break will heal, and won’t lead to trouble.

But it struck me that many animal owners like us have very few potted plants in the house. Instinctively we’ve known that bringing in a plant would bring it under the scrutiny of our dogs and cat. So, we haven’t bothered even if I’ve sometimes thought we should get some greenery in here. I could do without having to clean up green leaves from all over the house. Watson would surely try to chew them.

Spikey is special, and he has his spikes which the dogs have felt the sting of before, so they’ve ignored him. I guess poor Spikey never considered the wiles of the domestic cat. The repotting was done in a pot which was lighter than his earlier terracotta one. We’re going to have to go and buy a new, heavier pot that the cat can’t budge. Spikey is not small by any measure anymore. He’s nearly a foot and a half tall. But with the bit broken off, he’s been embarrassingly reduced in stature.