Jonathan: Mrs Jackson – the First Lady of the Big Garden’s gaggle of geese – is sitting! She’s sitting on four eggs in a nest she’s made in the corner amongst the turf-and-stone remains of an old house or byre. It’s a nest of dry grass and fluffy down from her own breast and under-wing. Mr Jackson – the only remaining goose from our first hatching back in 2008 and so now 8 years old, stands proudly guard on the turf parapet. In the mornings I bring her tidbits – so that she doesn’t need to leave her nest to find food, or give up due to hunger. Mrs Jackson’s two brothers are frustrated for lack of partners – currently it’s a gaggle of just four. This morning I approached the nest with the usual caution, taking my time so as not to spook the Jacksons – they will attack if they feel threatened, and put down some food by the nest for them to share. Then I turned to the two boys, who were mooching about nearby: but one wouldn’t come for the food, standing with his head down and looking really sorry for himself. I got down on my knees to get a glimpse of his identifying leg rings – and was astonished to realize that it was Mr Jackson. So, who was sharing breakfast with Mrs Jackson? Turning back to the nest, it dawned on me that one of the batchelor boys had usurped Mr Jackson, and was so emboldened by his success that his previous wariness of me was gone entirely, replaced with the swagger of one suddenly risen to status and power. But the usurper’s boldness had over-reached his experience: in a flash I’d got him pinned down by the neck, and as I swept him up into my arms to take away, Mr Jackson was already back in his place, wings outstretched and head held high, hooting his triumph! Alas it’s not enough to simply put the usurper back in his place – there’ll be nothing but strife, when what is required is for the two batchelor boys to work with Mr Jackson to protect the goslings, when they’re hatched – as they did last year. Solution: the usurper is now in the freezer, and his fine down and feather added to the store we use for making pillows and cushions.