I finally finished the initial work to close up the workshop but not before someone took advantage of our invitation to leap the half-open barn closure and take my bikes and power tools. At first, I was devastated about losing bikes that were hand-built, far-travelled and lovingly maintained; then I found them, still in their boxes, abandoned in the reeds. The thieves took my new Pugsley fat-tyred bike which was unlocked and ready to go plus power routers, sanders, nail gun, drills etc. In the wash-up, not too bad because all the tools can be replaced easily (at some expense, though) as can the bicycle, to which I was not yet attached. The funny side is that all the tools are engraved with my Australian licence number and have Australian plugs on them: very recognisable and not easy to fence. In addition to inviting the theft, I had also delayed the doors’ completion by taking a few days in London unsuccessfully trying to help Neil while his wife was overseas at a family crisis. Humph. I was looking forward to having un-borrowable tools because I had decided to leave the plugs on.

Monica’s grumbling about, behind me, because there’s no chocolate in the house! She’s been wrestling with the farm’s potential for grants; it’s very complicated so brain-food would help.

The swallows have already decided to live in the closable area of the Shippen, so I have to be careful not to lock them in. Not too many crapping on the machines, though they each produce a lot of poo.

While Neil and the kids were out at work and school, I mooched about North London looking for a decent Mediterranean food warehouse. There must be one but none of the Internet’s recommendations were worth the effort. I did enjoy a morning at the Borough Market on Thursday: scallops and raclette for second and third breakfasts; Parmesan, balsamic and jamon to fetch home from their producers; and a nice ham hock for a soup for dinner that evening. I’ll go there again because it’s a simple train journey between White Hart Lane and Liverpool Street stations.

We have a daily sweepstake on how many sheep and lambs will be in our front garden when we wake up. At first, we worried that they’d do some damage but Karin assured us that all the plants were selected for their toughness. Also, the servicing of the lawn mower got pushed back by the need for those doors so the help in trimming the grass has been welcome. They’ll be moved back up to the fells, soon, so I’d best get the machine working.

We’ve been invited, even though new here, to take part in strategic planning for Todmorden’s Incredible Edible future. We’ll be walking the streets in groups, pontificating, with subsequent workshopping.

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