Elegant in pale gold chiffon, alongside her equally dapper husband, Katie drifted down the Oak Staircase into the Saloon, delighted to find Luis (Highclere’s Butler who is not as tall as Mr Carson) ready with a silver tray of drinks – cocktails or champagne. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in Downton Abbey! A gaggle of other similarly soigné guests were already there, their hostess running slightly late… but, shortly, I was also delighted to be sipping a champagne cocktail with my guests.

At that point Luis quietly approached with a problem. Matthew, one of his team, had just informed him that there were sheep on the main drive. I asked how many, thinking it would just be a few inquisitive lambs who had found a gap under a gate… “Hundreds”. Not so good….

Asking for help, I abandoned the Saloon with three of my beautifully dressed guests accompanying me, each carefully carrying their cocktail glasses. Climbing into our little golf buggy, we set off for the crossroads pursued a few minutes later by Luis and Matthew in a 4 x 4 car.

There were indeed hundreds of sheep. They were everywhere. Dropping off my Louboutin shod girlfriend on the tarmac at the crossroads with my other friend Mrs Smiles, Keven who had the more practical flat evening shoes to go with his immaculate evening attire, ventured across the grass to be in charge of gates whilst I went off to do my best sheep dog impression, beginning on the far side of the furthest sheep which took a little time to reach.

Turning the buggy around and hooting, driving carefully in long loops to encourage forward progress, I crowded hundreds of ewes and lambs towards my guests, all standing with arms outstretched, champagne glasses still in hand but with no opportunity for even the smallest sip. Meanwhile, Luis and Matthew parked across the road on the other side to block that exit route.

And what a success we were. Clearly, we were marvellous sheep wranglers and quite a lot of sheep successfully peeled off into the field and were shut in by Keven. It was undoubtedly the wrong field but that seemed the least of our problems.

A toast was in order but Luis then announced that a further group of sheep had headed down a narrow track towards the Temple of Diana. We now needed to go cross country around the shoulder of a hill to get the other side of them. Pausing quickly to sip our drinks in order to reduce spillage, we set off again, leaning into the hill to stay vertical before once more relying on Keven the opener of gates, to let us into a track further up. We had indeed got ahead of the sheep and could so turn back, hooting and weaving from side to side again. Luis and Matthew were on traffic direction in front of a gateway, Luis gesticulating as a traffic policeman, and calling out enthusiastically, although I am not convinced the sheep spoke Portuguese.

I was very happy to see Matt the Shepherd and Harriet plus Bonny and Clyde, their excellent collies, take over duties – Geordie had thankfully called them. I apologised for putting the sheep  in the wrong fields.

Katie was very concerned about bringing sheep poo into the castle on the heels of her lovely shoes, Mrs Smiles commented gently that she thought my driving was “interesting” and Keven thought it was such fun – if a slightly unconventional manner of enjoying cocktails.

We returned to the castle where the cocktails had all gone and Geordie wished to go straight into supper. I felt remarkably pleased that we had taken our glasses with us.