As you might have noticed from the background image, we’ve recently moved home, to a beautiful house, close to the sea by East Cork.

I was raised in the countryside, but after 20 years living in towns and cities, I had completely forgotten what it was like to live in a rural environment. The silence: interrupted only by the cooing of woodpigeons and crows. The stars: the Milky Way glistening, in all its brilliance, from horizon to horizon. Most of all, the beautiful, ever-changing views: from sunrise to sunset, the changes of colour from dull viridian to brilliant emerald; rain showers signalling their arrival as they float like wayward ghosts over distant ridges.

I’m looking forward now to winter, when the seas boil over and mighty winds assault our house, torrents of rain dashing like arrows off the windows. Inside, a fire burning brightly, king of its tiny domain, keeping us all cozily warm.  And the clear nights, dominated by Sirius and Orion to the south – the brilliant, endless scattering of stars. Endless fascinations.

There’s a feeling of freedom here. We’re minutes away from beaches, cliffs and a quiet fishing harbour. We have a choice of walks we can take, along quiet winding boreens. Although the rapidly approaching autumn darkness will hamper our evening forays, it’s a treasure to be enjoyed at the weekends.

So, hopefully, many long and happy years ahead.