There are animals and there are pets. I am not a pet person. I recently did a boat test with some delightful folks who keep their boat on the South Coast and who live in Surrey and who kindly put me up in their home so that we could catch the tide next morning.

Their three pooches were allowed to lick crotches under the dinner table in the hope of a crumb, lick clean our dinner plates while the port was poured, and roll over on their backs during the proffering of cigars while their muddy stomachs were tickled by mine hostess’ perfectly manicured red talons.

I was able to hold a rictus smile for all of these post prandial adventures even remaining positive after discovering my bed smelled of at least one or possibly all three of the mutts which seemed to rule their lives.

Next morning, however, I was forced to be a little more subjective over animal-loving as the small but unmissable blood stain on the bed-sheet was not down to some weeping melanoma on my own ageing carcass, but from a flea I found hopping, crushed between thumb and forefinger.

I was therefore delighted to witness this good use of an obsolete cleat for canine control at a marina in Essex.