Mist the sheepdog bounded across to join the welcome party and then as word got out that we were back those sleepy cats stretched and yawned before clambering from the tractor cab to find their way into the farmhouse kitchen for a saucer of milk and a bowl of food.
I struggled with the luggage from car to house, aware of an ever constant panting companion at my heel, a companion of the four legged variety, as Mist did the outside leg of the marathon and Ruby waited at the bottom of the stairs to take on the inside leg of the relay race. Charlie hen did her best to participate, and if the door was left open for a minute she could be found clucking around the farmhouse giving out those orders. It wasn't long before 'Meh Meh' the pet lamb had left the wooden home son has erected for her in a nearby field and joined in the welcome party, as we found ourselves constantly tripping over one animal or another.
The children of course abandoned the race fairly early on, in fact some did not compete at all, as televisions and computers were switched on and connections were resumed with cyberspace once more.
I have yet to decide which is more exhausting, or indeed more fun, leaving the farm for a few days, or arriving back home again. We were very fortunate as the happy chappy and the forester took charge of all of the animals in our absence, or vice versa, I haven't quite worked out which yet, and the holiday people duly arrived and got settled into their holidays in our absence.
The trip had been a difficult one, saying our goodbyes to a very dear and special friend, a friend who has on so many happy occasions smiled as she too was enveloped in love as the whole clan gathered to welcome her on her arrival at the farm.
Until next time......