Thanks for your good wishes. I’ve been living at the farm for four weeks and life is sweet.

The previous owners have only moved a couple of miles away and Ralph, a retired engineer, returns every other day to explain some feature he created that I’d never discover on my own, such as the compressor to clear the springwater pipe or the light-pull hidden behind the four-poster bed.

I’ve just put my long-lost brother, Neil, onto a train back to London. We’ve only met a half-dozen times since we were re-introduced ten years ago. He’s the kind of brother I’d have chosen and we had a few gentle days of walking and eating; he returns home with a sack of pork pies from the local market.

Bandit, our 14-year-old dog, arrived last Friday and has settled right in. This isn’t a working farm though there are cattle straying into the fields but she’s not interested in chasing them. Next test is to take her over the moors.

Monica arrives on 1st of December and our furniture two weeks later. A family Christmas dinner for twenty will emerge from our Aga a couple of weeks after that. All the projects—barn conversion, tree planting etc—will have to wait until the pudding settles.

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