Fleas4U, the wandering neighbourhood cat, appears to have left the area: I think his foster parents have moved away. Tentatively, I filled the bird feeder, and the back yard is now a mass of chirruping tiny birds: sparrows, robins, blue tits and even ( I think) a wren. They get really cross with each other and squabble and argue and they are often so busy that they don't notice I'm there too, and rush off in a flap when they see me. There are so many of them I've had to get two huge sacks of seeds to cater for them.
I had been hoping to get a cat at some point, but at the moment these little creatures are really entertaining (and very noisy). I have let the plants overgrow for now. It's rather nice out there, for a little dull yard.