Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (17) Copper Beech Farm (Part 01)
Copper Beech Farm is in the Dulcets, the Dulcets consisting of a collection of villages and hamlets such as Dulcet Meadow, Dulcet St Mary, Dulcet Green and Dulcet-on-Brooke to name but a few, and it had been pretty much vacant for several months when 28 year old Anthony Holmes, a tall slight figure with sandy hair and hazel eyes, arrived as the reluctant incumbent.
He was not a farmer and never would be, he was a computer geek and a fairly successful one.
The farm had belonged to his estranged father who never got over the fact that his son had no desire to follow in his Dad’s footsteps.
He tried to explain that his talents lay in a different direction but his father couldn’t see his fascination with computers and thought that he would be wasting his life on his hobby.
Bitter words were exchanged between them the last time that had seen each other when both gave their points of view with great vehemence.
He had inherited the farm against his father’s wishes because in the five years since their last meeting he had neglected to disinherit his son from his will.
It had taken some months for Anthony to make up his mind about what to do with his inheritance.
He was living in London and going through a messy divorce when he received the news of his father’s death.
When he returned to the Dulcets for the funeral he found that the farm had fallen into decline in his absence and a woman named Charlotte Clode was the only remaining employee.
As he wanted to take some time to weigh up his options so he instructed his solicitor to rent out the majority of the surrounding land to neighbouring farms, which would give him a small income which would at least cover any running costs for the farm.
He kept Charlotte on to look after the farm house to care for the horses, which were his father’s passion, and the love of horses was the one thing Anthony had in common with his dad.
When his divorce was finalized he made up his mind to live and work at the farm just as soon as he had settled his affairs in London
It was early May when he drove into the cobbled yard of Copper Beech Farm, it wasn’t a big yard as farm yards go but it was a very neat and tidy one.
Which was in stark contrast to how it had looked when he was there the last time after the funeral.
All the clutter that had littered the yard was gone, the mud that caked the cobbles had been washed away and the flaked and peeling paintwork had been completely replaced with gleaming white gloss, guttering had been repaired or replaced and it was as if he was on a different farm.
The reason for this transformation was the tall skinny waif like creature climbing down a ladder to greet him.
Charlotte Clode was just 22, with short straw coloured hair, in a kind of pixie cut, although it was a look achieved more by accident than design and she was wearing a baggy tee shirt and overalls, she looked like a proper tomboy.
“Hello Mr Holmes” she said
“Hi Charlotte I see you’ve been busy” he remarked “it’s quite a transformation”
“It just needed a little TLC” she explained
“Well you’ve certainly given it plenty of that” he said looking around
“It should make it easier for you to sell” Charlotte said
“What makes you think I’m going to sell the farm?” he asked
“Because your Dad always said you had no interest in the farm”
“No, I had no interest in being a farmer there’s a difference” Anthony said and went inside the house.