Yvonne put her head in the door this morning to tell me that there was a small earth tremor on Tuesday, and she knows this because her dog told her. She comes past every morning and always asks me about my baby grandson. She says: How’s that grandson of yours? I bet he’s thriving, the lamb!

If I am busy she looks through the window and mouths the enquiry through the glass. I give the thumbs up. Once I did not respond, and she opened the door to say: your grandson’s fractious isn’t he, the pet. Tell that mother of his that all babies become fractious, and then they grow out of it.

Yvonne is British and lives with her Chihuahua Foxy Terrier Cross. She beams benevolence as she strolls. She said she is always up for a good Clive Cussler.

Once she encountered a couple talking to me in the shop doorway. They were displaying for me a printed list of their Agatha Christie collection. They complimented her on Marco’s fine looks. She told them that he can predict earth tremors.

They leaned back, impressed. Their dog Pippa is also a Chihuahua, and the vet has just told them she is too fat.

Yvonne said: What a load of rubbish. She said that vets think they know everything about animals.

The husband raised himself upwards and forwards to agree on the arrogance of vets (in Geelong).

Yvonne reminded them that her dog Marco knows when there is going to be an earth tremor. The couple nodded agreeance. Of course they can, they know.

Then everyone parted, pleased with Chihuahuas, but not with vets.

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