I’m staying at the flat in Manchester while the farmers take leave of their home of forty years. I return to Warland on Monday to collect the keys after they’ve finished their removals. The time I spent with them last week was remarkably valuable for making friends with them, for introductions to the neighbours and for learning how (well) the farm works. It was also quite emotional for me because I continue to discover many resonances that bode well for the way the farm will receive me. For example, the Pownalls are leaving a home-made fire-poker very similar to one Uncle Freddy made for Gran; plus a tiny brass three-wise-monkeys exactly like one Gran had. Also, they’re leaving a wall clock with a wonderful ‘tick’ like the one I enjoyed at Aunt Pauline’s Stank Farmhouse.

In fact, the Pownalls are very generously leaving most of their major possessions behind because Karin is determined that their new, smaller place will be furbished and furnished to her liking. She’s grasping the opportunity to please herself with new and more labour-saving stuff. That’s great for me because I like all the old things she wants to leave behind. I’m sure there will be some regrets about moving on their part—they have already expressed some to me—but any doubts I may have are quickly evaporating.

The flat is over a bar in central Manchester: sexy but noisy. I think I can improve it quite a bit in the imminent renovations but, for tonight, there’ll be little sleeping until 2am even with ear-plugs and eye-shades. Hence I had a snooze earlier (not good for the jet-lag) and will now eat before going out to watch a late movie. I think a bottle of malt may add to my comfort, too.

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