I am in England at the moment, spending a few days in the Strange Land of Suburbia. It is early on a quiet, sunny Sunday morning, and from my son’s kitchen window I can see a distant view of the hill near Kedleston Hall where we used to take a younger, fitter Max for long and happy walks. In these few moments before my son emerges from his bedroom to fill his little house with the usual air of complaint, or my daughter rings to warn me that she is on her way over with my not-very-well-and-very-cross-about-it grand daughter, I am revelling in an odd bout of Derby-related nostalgia.
I am also revelling in the hair-and-dust-free life of a no-animal house, and wondering how it is possible that there are NO cobwebs to grab stickily at my unsuspecting hands when I reach for things on shelves and in cupboards. It is certainly not because my son is a house-proud cleanaholic. Far from it! I must therefore deduce that there simply are no spiders in this house. There are no spiders, no flies, no beetles, no moths and no other unidentified-but-quite-interesting crawly things. And – Oh Deep Joy – there are NO INSECT BITES. This is a Strange and Easy Land indeed.