That completed the circle of animal life. We then had a mare and foal, cows and calves, sheep and lambs, pigs and piglets, as well as hens and chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. New life was all around us, fertility was flourishing, and Padge and I enjoyed it all.

But although we were then married for two years there was no sign of fertility inside the house. It wasn’t for the want of trying. Padge loved children; I adored them too, and from the first night of our marriage we were trying for one, but nothing happened. Padge’s brother, Danny, had got married during the summer to Sinead O’Sullivan, a teacher from the school, and already after only six months, she was expecting her first baby.

Padge kept saying that it will happen, that I should have patience and not be too uptight about it. But I was then heading for mid thirty and was beginning to have my doubts. I was fit, healthy and strong, we had everything else in life, but it would crown it all if we could have a child or two to share it with us.