Have you ever met someone who is innocently mischevious other than a child of course? Someone the embodiment of Puck from a Midsummer Night's Dream? Well I did just over eight years ago and since then he has gleefully overseen my countryside education. However, I fear that the temptation to get me to say things, which will make me seem foolish, is just too strong to resist. A bit like teaching a foreigner a few phrases to help them out. They think you are teaching them to say: “I would like two tickets please.” When in fact you teach them to say: “I would like you to call me Dilly and would you plant me in the ground.” Or something equally daft. Hilarious!!!!
As you might of guessed that at 65, Roger really hasn’t got enough to do. Not that A, his wife, isn’t trying to have some control over him but after 40 odd years – odd being the operative word – Roger has perfected the art of seemingly doing as he’s told but in reality pleasing himself. It’s only when A gets really cross, which I might say is a very rare occurrence, that Roger behaves for a few moments.
When Dear Charlie first met Roger to look over the house, Roger was at his most mischievous. I can hardly blame him.
The family farm was being sold following the death of Granny. It was she who had rented her farm to her son while keeping a firm hold over the family purse strings. Her death triggered the division of the spoils between Roger and his siblings. And as none of Roger’s children had been interested in taking on the farm he had decided to retire giving up his tenancy and at the same time as his home.
The farm, too small to be viable, was sold in lots land, farm buildings and house. And it was at this stage that we met him. On this particular day Roger must just have felt he’d test out the prospective buyers of his family home – not maliciously or anything maybe just sorting the wheat form the chaff.
He’d already dragged me through the undergrowth on my previous visit this time I was wised up and so was Dear Charles – I think Roger noticed and may have been a little disappointed but luck was to favour him again in the shape of McVitie, a Golden Guernsey Billy kid.
When Roger’s father had given up farming, he agreed to share the house with Roger and his family. In order that the two wives could continue to rule their own respective roosts the family home was physically divided into two. Now, some 30 years later, Roger was showing the two halves to potential future owners and on this glorious Saturday morning was where McVitie comes in – literally.
You guessed it, McVitie decided to follow us about the garden and as we seemed friendly and happy to pet him he followed us into Granny's part of the house. Roger must have been quite delighted and I remember he actively encouraged the kid to come upstairs as he gleefully watched the expressions of deep worry and consternation that sped across our faces!
It was about this time when you could see Roger was encouraging McVitie to caper along the upstairs corridor that a sharp sounding voice that brooked no nonsense echoed up the stairs.
The culprit raised his eyebrows and grinned as the goat was hastily shooed down the stairs and out into the garden. But any hint of contrition from Roger was never aired in our hearing despite being caught red-handed.
Over the years there is very little that surprises me about Roger – his reputation goes before him and he’s fully aware of it!Despite that it is a privilege to know him and his wonderful family and and I think we get on, actually we have to, as he converted one of the barns and lives next door!