Down in the woods, the rooks are flocking around penthouse nests high in the trees. The muddy ground is covered in sloppy bird droppings and the spaniel hares off after a pheasant in the undergrowth. Across the field, the sheep huddle in one spot with their lambs, the chiffchaff chiffchaffs merrily and there is a great pile of badger's poo next to a goalpost on the sports field.
The weather is spring-like today, which is a lucky omen for my friend, neighbour and wise counsel Mrs Bancroft. She arrives home today after a five-month trip taking in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and America. The front of her home is alive with tulips, narcissi and violas.
It could have been so much different. Mr Grigg was planning to put up a To Let sign outside the house while I constructed a requisition 'letter' from the Home Office to attach to Mrs Bancroft's front door. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it certainly is down this street. We simply ran out of time.
So the homecoming is not quite as planned. But she will find a vase of tulips indoors from Nobby Odd-Job and a balloon-modelled flower created by Number One Son and placed in a Starbucks mug on her kitchen table.
We thought about blowing up a long green balloon and sticking it in her letterbox with a note to say the Martians had landed. But she needs to be eased back into village life gently. At least for a bit.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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