A while back, probably two and a half or three years ago, my mum started to talk about an animal that was lurking in the trees near Humphrey's field.
At first she thought it was a fox, but further sightings made her begin to think that it was a cat.
She started to put out food for it, which it began to eat on a regular basis.
Then he began to emerge from the undergrowth to eat in view.
Yes, it was indeed a large ginger cat.
As the friendship developed, the cat (now christened Aubrey - my mum likes to give animals odd names) became more friendly, and would sit on my mum's lap for a cuddle. They became good friends.
Then we all began to have the thought - did Aubrey have an owner out there who was wondering what had happened to their cat?
So Aubrey was caught and taken to the vet to be scanned for a microchip.
And he did have a chip!
And there was an anxious owner who was desperate for news.
Aubrey was returned to his owner, who lived a few miles from Humphrey's field.
Mum missed her little friend, but consoled herself with the thought that he was back in a house, with a loving owner and all that went with it.
A couple of weeks passed, but then, you guessed it, Aubrey returned to Humphrey's field. He clearly preferred the wild life to being in a house, taking up residence in Humphrey's hay stack. We did not try to return him to his owner again - the return trip would have taken Aubrey over some very nasty roads, and we all know that cats will live where they choose, now where they are put.
So Aubrey has lived in the hay stack and in the bushes around Humphrey's field ever since. I am always careful to stack the hay in a way that allows him to go right into the middle of the stack, making a nice toasty home in the winter. When the weather is really bad, we suspect that he visits some of the nearby houses - one day he turned up all bathed and brushed - but he always returns to see my mum for food and cuddles.
And I have started to make a little progress with him now, too. This morning he walked just a few feet from me while I was talking to mum. The lure of breakfast was clearly stronger than his instinct to avoid me....