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We had a holiday last week. This is a tectonic shift in the otherwise peaceful rhythm of Swallowtail Hill, brought on largely by the threat of divorce. ‘If you don’t take me on  holiday soon I will divorce you’ is approximately what Sarah meant when she said ‘If you don’t take me on holiday now I will divorce you’. I took the hint and, much against our ethos, we flew (cheap) to Cyprus where we lay down for five days.

When we weren’t lying down, which wasn’t often, we ambled slowly up the track to the shop and back. I did more of this than Sarah because lying down for 24 hours a day is beyond my powers of concentration. On one of my treks I met Perry, who owned everything in sight. Car hire, restaurant, villa lets, cruise bookings, taxi company, laundry, and, as it turned out, a farm.  ‘You farmer too?’ he asked incredulously, and shook my hand as though I were a brother. ‘Only farmers know smell of earth.’ He’s right of course. I told him about our eco camping. He was astonished and pumped me for information. The idea that people might want to stay at a farm, and – most remarkable of all – let their children feed the animals, was a revelation akin to finding he was closely related to Aphrodite. We met a posh English gent coming up the track. ‘He High Court Judge’ Perry said to me. ‘Hey, Peter, I going to start new business. Animals on farm. Yes, very good, people come and pay money.’ The Judge was puzzled but polite.

Later I dragged Sarah up to meet Perry. He gave her his most eye-widening smile, and held her hand in both his, stroking it ALL OVER! Then he said, looking deep into her eyes, ‘This is best, you got farmer hands, is very good. You Taurus?’. She is. I hadn’t told him. I have never seen Sarah taken aback, especially in top rank flirting. She actually blushed. ‘Yes, I am, how did you know?’. ‘I know’ he smiled secretively. Still holding her hands.

Later Sarah said she never thought she’d be flattered about having careworn farmers hands.

Perry saw us out walking that evening, and swerved his car to a perilously dangerous halt across the road. ‘Hey darling’ he shouted to Sarah. ‘We have saying in Cyprus. It all start in the hands. If it good there, everything good’ and he drove off. We had been holding hands.

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