It's dinner time. I'm sitting opposite my son when he says, sotto voce, “Look!”, and points over my shoulder. I turn slowly and see a narrow reptilian head waving out from the guttering. By the time I grab my camera it has disappeared.

However, ten minutes later I glance out the window and see a black shape with gold markings lying along the top of the deck lattice. I'm in the middle of a precious phone call to a friend, but suddenly my attention is divided. I watch as the diamond python weaves its sinuous length between the squares. The questing head stretches towards the bottle brush, changes its mind, glides across a pair of discarded undies, and begins the descent to the back yard, briefly along the balustrade, and then down behind the railings.

As a chaotic week draws to a close I feel blessed, and add such visitations to the long list of things I'll be deprived of in Warsaw, now only four weeks away.