Wow what a strange summer we had this year – started off with late snow and frosts with coldest temperatures for years, then suddenly as if by magic a warm spring came, only to be washed and blown away befre a truly amazing summer. Heat and dryness that we’ve never experienced since our UK records began. Thoughts of quiet countryside holidays came to our familie’s collective minds this year – although summer holidays are meant to be on the beach – there was something ghastly about the prospect of sharing my square metre of sandy beach too closely with Joe Public. However the very prospect of a country living, even for a short holiday period is so divine. Gorgeous old buildings with character – not necessarily all beams and thatches, but thick walls, inglenooks; funny little staircases halfway up the wall and oddly unfitted kitchens. knowing families have lived together over the centuries is a lovely feeling.