The cold but radiantly sunny morning found me filled with a sense of purpose as I motored along peaceful winding lanes towards an isolated house in the countryside on a mission of mercy. Once inside that house, through some simple manipulations, I was to bring warmth and internet access to where there was currently neither, which the zeitgeist declares to be as far beyond the pale as one can be beyond whatever a pale may be, in order that a group of New Year revelers, who were simultaneously wending their way to that very house in which they were to celebrate the dawn of a brand new year. would enjoy these celebrations in the warmth and be able to share endless amusing pictures of their warm and inebriated selves with an assumedly expectant worldwide audience which popular dullness is now assumed to be enshrined within the Declaration of the Rights of Man. On arrival at the house, entry dictated the collection of a key which was held by an acquaintance of the owners, let us call her Marie, and it was my fleeting encounter with the said Marie and her menagerie that for a moment made me feel as if I had escaped the tensions of wretched 2016 and entered the delightful realm of a latter day Madame Doolittle, the complete antithesis to this nearly exhausted year. My approach to the land of Dolittle was greeted with a less than threatening alarum of geese and dogs led by a delightful, honey coloured retriever. However charming geese and country dogs may appear from the other side of a gate I thought it wise to wait for the mistress of these sentinels to appear before attempting to enter this land which was apparently ruled by the animals. Even on this cold sunny day the windows of the south facing side of the house were all thrown open allowing the building to inhale the fresh bright air and to surprisingly exhale, from a ground floor window, the top section of a round lady with a round, ruddy, smiling face on top of which was a pink knitted hat like a tea cosy. “Brioche” she cried, making me believe for a moment that she had mistaken me for a peripatetic baker only to be instantly disabused of my mistake by a qualified attempt at obedience by the dog whose name I now knew. On my first appraisal of the grounds and animal stock I had missed the prettiest brown and cream goat that was obediently standing next to the window through which half of Marie protruded. I say standing, but this goat was posing. It would be true to say that the prettiness of Marie is not outwardly evident but if jollity and kindness are elements of prettiness then she is a beauty. This is not a farm or a small holding; this is a home. A home where milk and cheese come from the goats, meat and eggs from the geese and chickens, the ground, although not perfectly ordered and trimmed, yields vegetables whilst the trees bear fruit. Not an Eden but a place that affords a kinder view of mankind than that which has festered in my mind this year. It may well be that this view of mine is that of an ageing man turning his back on a world that daily becomes more unreasonable and unreasoning ….and I’m happy with that.