We four country bumpkins from Staunton would make very unhappy jailbirds;  after five hours in the National Exhibition Centre at Birmingham there was palpable relief as we emerged into the open air once more.

We went there last week to explore the ‘Grand Designs’ exhibition, looking for new ideas in the care and improvement of our buildings.    We had some success, but less than I’d hoped for;   most of the offerings were aimed at the luxury market.   And though the exhibitors were British, what they were selling was mainly sourced abroad.   The awnings we looked at were German, as were the kitchens, the timber structures were made from French oak, the wooden furniture came from the far east.    The outcome of the Brexit talks will have more implications than I’d realised.

There was a time when I used to look at our children’s purchases to see if they were British made , but that was many years ago.   The world has changed and though we may not be the world’s workshop any more nearly everybody has a job to go to, and I suppose that’s what matters.

Back at dear old Staunton we are in something of a time warp.   With our building and forestry teams, our own sawmill and the resources of the Ferrers Centre, we can tackle ‘in house’ most of the work which comes our way.   And, come to think of it, most of that work is outdoors, which would explain why the huge windowless halls of the NEC were not our cup of tea.