I’m very happy in my small valley world. The latest bonus I’ve received is to discover that Tod food market is on today, Friday, as well as Wednesdays and Saturdays. Kippers for lunch, then.

A couple of gypsies are hard at work erecting post-and-rail fencing for me, where the cows and horses are getting in. I actually asked the odd-job man, Jeff, and these are his team. Nice folk. I’m learning a bit about horses and carts from them. We could do with one of each to get the posts across and up the boggy fields. On Wednesday, Jeff and a carpenter mate are flooring out the Shippen, which will be a joy to behold. Then I have to stop until the house sale finalises and more funds arrive in mid-December.

Ralph took me to meet Barry, his retired, pattern-maker friend to see if he’s ready to part with his apprentice-made toolbox full of apprentice-made tools. A wonderful array of long chisels of every description, all boxwood-handled, and other bits and pieces in hand-made wooden boxes or original wrapping. He’s not ready to part with them yet but soon, I think. I promised to give him an honest price if he didn’t split the lot up. He had a factory producing casting moulds up to five yards across; all wiped out by CNC machines.

Bandit’s just had a check-up and annual booster inoculations. She’s wheezing a bit but the vet could find nothing wrong. Turns out we wasted our $$$ on a three-year heart-worm shot: there is no threat here. But there is, of course, a different disease for which she needs a series of shots to develop immunity. £££ this time. Hey ho.

T’Internet has arrived, though we only have thin tubes to the farm. Still, that slows down my purchases from the Aga store and Amazon. I have a small library of books arriving about forest gardening, coppicing, tree uses etc. Monica sez she wants to learn all those skills herself and be hands-on in the coppicing, which leaves me free to forge the froes.

Monica lands at Manchester, 8am on Thursday. Woohoo! Five sleeps; don’t know how many minutes, though.

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