How Albert knew where our house is located, I shall never know.
Shirley had left for work at seven thirty. As usual I rolled over and promptly went back to sleep with John Humphrys and Mishal Hussein still rabbiting away on Radio 4's "Today" programme - courtesy of the radio alarm clock at our bedside.
Some time after eight, I was disturbed by a rhythmical brushing sound on our bedroom window. I thought it might be a pigeon and tried to ignore it. But that became impossible. Wearily, I donned my dressing gown and edged back the curtains.
And yes - you have already guessed it - staring right back at me was a big green giraffe's head. Albert had come to call. He was standing on our wooden decking below but with his long neck he was able to look in through our first floor window which I promptly unlatched.
"Good morning," said Albert. "I thought I would pay you a visit."
For some reason, I was panicking in case our neighbours spotted Albert. I ran downstairs to let him in, forgetting that at fourteen feet tall with long, gangly legs, just getting inside a suburban semi-detached house might prove very challenging.
I opened our French doors and Albert ducked as low as he could go but he still managed to smash the light fitting in our dining room as he skidded on the laminate flooring.
"I'm terribly sorry. It was an accident."
There was glass everywhere.
I ushered him into our hallway. Such a tight squeeze through the dining room doorway with me pushing from behind but finally Albert could stand up comfortably with his feet at the bottom of our stairs and his head up on the first floor landing.
I mounted the stairs to talk to him.
"This is the first time I have been in a human house," said Albert. "You have lots of things."
I asked him if he wanted a drink and something to eat.
"Yes please Neil but I only eat leaves and I only drink water."
I went back downstairs for a bucket of tap water and some branches from the bay tree that grows outside our back door. Albert was delighted.
"Mmm...delicious. Thank you."
He wanted to see photographs of my family, asking innumerable questions and he wanted to see my Times Atlas of the World - again asking so many questions that my brain was befuddled. Albert was especially interested in Africa, keen to know the names of all the countries which he repeated after me, all fifty four of them from Algeria to Zimbabwe.
"Oh-oh!" said Albert. "Can you get that bucket? I need to do a big doo-doo!"
I ran upstairs and got back just in time to catch an enormous steamy giraffe turd which emerged from Albert's anus like a young crocodile slipping from the banks of the Limpopo. The smell was quite noteworthy.
"So sorry," he said. "I normally just drop my doo-doo on the ground."
"No problem Albert," I grinned. "When you've got to go, you've got to go."
I was speaking from personal experience.