Stealthily I let myself in to Short Tony’s house.

As they are on holiday, it is my job to feed the rabbits, pick up the post, check for intruders etc. I have my own key and the run of the house!!! But I am trustworthy and do not abuse this privilege.

The kitchen has flooded!!!

It is a flood not just of biblical proportions, but of biblical proportions if you are thinking of a really big bible, say one in hardback with illustrations of the miracles, exoduses etc and perhaps large print for the bad eyesight people. I splotch across the tiles, very concerned.

Water is dripping through a light fitting in the ceiling.

This seems bad. I am not a qualified electrician, but I know that putting water with electricity makes it explode. I wonder what to do.

By rights, I should switch the electricity off. However this is not as simple as it sounds. For a start I would have to empty the freezer. Short Tony is going on a goose shoot next month, and my plan was to buy lots of cheap fish fingers in order to fill up his freezer so that when he got home with his haul, he would have nowhere to put it. He would then be forced to offer me a goose or, better still, geese. This would impress my mum and dad no end, whopping out a goose (or geese) for Christmas dinner.

Considering this, I decide that he will be unlikely to offer me a goose/geese if I allow this to override my electrical caution and his house subsequently burns down. At a later date I will have to think up some way of dropping hints that it would be good to have one if he has a spare.

I reach a compromise and switch the light off. For safety reasons I then tape a bit of paper across the switch and write ‘DO NOT TURN ON’ in large letters, adding as an afterthought ‘By Order, New Orleans Police Department’. I then pull out my cell phone to call Short Tony.

Trying very hard to draw a balance between factual reportage and not being too alarming, I detail the situation. What I actually hear my mouth saying, however, is something like: “Your house is flooded and it’s all really shit!!!” Short Tony, however, is relatively unperturbed.

“Don’t worry. We’re actually on our way home now. We’ll be there very shortly.”

This is unexpected. It is a good job that I have not dressed in Mrs Short Tony’s clothes. I splotch upstairs to find the cause of the cataclysm. It is a small leaky tap, which I de-leak.

It feels good, being able to be a good neighbour. I do some token mopping up. The rabbit food is unaffected; I take supper to its recipients.