They seem pleased to see me. Two rabbits, two cages. I don’t know their names, so I call the big one Chas and the little one Dave.

The food is stored in a biscuit tin under Dave’s cage. I have also brought some lettuce, which I understand from children’s literature is what rabbits like to eat.

It’s also iceberg lettuce, which I want to get rid of. Note to guests chez Billericay – if you come to stay, bringing an old iceberg lettuce ‘because otherwise we would have thrown it away’ is unnecessary. Even I wouldn’t stoop to that.

Iceberg is the Steve Wright of the lettuce world.

The rabbits are heartbreakingly flopsy and beautiful. Dave is black and white, small and perky, his/her ears alert and pointy, scurrying around the cage in little bursts. Dave is overjoyed by my iceberg lettuce offering and munches away happily, ignoring the coloured cardboard that seems to pass for professional rabbit food these days.

Chas is large and lugubrious. He/she doesn’t seem to move much, but occasionally makes a lazy lollop to another corner of the cage. Chas has clearly been there, done that, and feels no need to put on an entertaining rabbit show for visiting humans. For some reason he/she reminds me of a rabbit Stephen Fry, perhaps slightly hungover after an evening at the Groucho.

Chas isn’t interested in the iceberg lettuce. I have fallen for him/her so may bring some romaine tomorrow.

After about ten minutes (far longer than needed, but it’s nice to get out of the house) I realise I have been talking to the rabbits. “Here you go, some lettuce, nice lettuce, yesss, you like that don’t you?” (etc).

I’m a bit shocked by this. But it fits in with my increasingly nagging, getting-to-me feeling that keeping rabbits in cages is not something I like. I actually find it quite upsetting, which surprises me.

There. I’ve blown my rugged, hard-man image.

I wave goodbye to my new rabbit friends and return to check on the Cheerful Builder.