For the last two weeks the house and the cottage have been full of people. Younger son's dog (possibly the best behaved and gentlest black lab in the world until you tell me different) has been lying on the rug by the fire. Elder daughter's baby has spent the fifth and sixth weeks of his life being passed around his various adoring aunts, uncles and grandparents. There has always been someone to walk around singing to him when he got cranky and to sit with him sleeping on their chest. He has been fascinated by the pattern of the beams on the ceilings in both the kitchen and the sitting room of the farmhouse, staring up wide eyed at the lines of the brown oak against the white paint.