I love Bristol, so does Monica. We lived there for eight years and, when we sold our Bristol house to free up cash for Australia, we squeezed out a deposit on a flat in Clifton. Now and again, we get to stay there between tenants and always feel like there’s an energy-flow in that city that we’re missing. If and when the farm gets too much for us, we’ll be moving in ourselves.

Just back from our adventure. Cousin Debbie first, then a night in the campervan outside a favourite pub on top of the moors,  then down again to see Lizzy. She and Lee are fine and enjoying their new house; the boys were great fun. Not much news though, apart from the move to Spennymoor. Oh yes, next year Lizzy will get some training for a new role at work and probably a bit of a promotion. Lee is an ardent Manchester United fan and Monica has access to her sister’s season tickets so they were friends from the off.

Making stuff is wonderful. Isn’t it amazing that the vast majority are happy to buy, rather than doing their own design and getting their hands all gluey. In our barn loft, we each have a rough, twelve-foot bench for crafty projects. Monica’s currently has bits and pieces for her brother’s house. Mine has old tools waiting to be renovated and some leather-work projects that need attention.

Have you heard of Sugru? It’ great for modding and making. It sticks and stays stuck and lasts forever; and it has a nice warm, firm feel when set. I’m thinking of getting Rowan a big pack so that she can mould better handles to her own needs.

Wood is my material of choice and I’m looking forward to making a complete house of it: from great big beams of green oak to textured panels of twigs and bark. Any old rubbish is my second favourite and I hardly ever buy new materials. Perhaps when the blacksmiths forge is up and running, I’ll get a happier relationship with metals; for now, I keep the nasty, dirty stuff in a separate shop.

As the barn design forms in my mind, I’m understanding that we have some great spaces and places for art. A mobile hanging from the barn roof; a high wall for the rag tapestry I always wanted to make; a massive stone fireplace to decorate. We’ll really need a few artist and makers to visit! Oh, and there’s the whole front field to fill with sculpture while Monica’s not looking.

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