JUST over a year ago a mysterious message appeared in my inbox seeking to renew a friendship with my husband John. Our email address had been passed on by a friend who farms now where John grew up. And with whom we had only just spent some time at the end of the shooting season.

‘Do you remember me?’ was the opening line. Well I for one didn’t have a clue, not knowing John in those far off days, or whether I would have even wanted to when I see pictures of the long-haired, scruffy fellow he was then. Invariably in overalls, manhandling a sheep, doing something very intimate to a cow, or with a shotgun in his hand. On which occasions he looked more like a bank robber than a farmer.

But when I passed on the name of my mystery new acquaintance, John did. They had been at school together when John was taking his GCEs, and although John had left after these exams, my new email acquaintance had stayed on into the sixth form and thence to university while John went to agricultural college and both of them lost touch as their paths in life diverged. His former school friend had stumbled upon the chance to be reacquainted when he happened to meet up with our farming friend in a pub and John’s name came up in conversation. Spooky.

Well at the time we could do nothing about meeting as we were off to New Zealand for two months. And then time went by until just over a month ago we heard again from his old school friend. And with no flights, holidays, urgent hospital appointments, or even shooting dates as the season had ended, to postpone the meet-up, a date was set.

And here the mystery thickened as to what John’s old friend had been getting up to in the intervening years. I’ve a hotel we could meet in in Leeds, he suggested to John, or one of the restaurants I own, and the wives could go shopping while we catch up. The boy obviously had done good.

Best come to the farm I suggested, knowing that our skill in finding our way round a big city road systems is very basic. Last time we went to Leeds to a meeting in a hotel I literally hijacked a hapless pedestrian who we asked our way with after circumnavigating the road system about three times. Luckily he wanted to go in our direction. Good job as he had little other choice in the matter.

So into our yard rolled John’s old acquaintance in a car that could have stood in for a funeral directors vehicle for ferrying mourners. It was enormous. But the meet up went well. They connected as though the years had just melted away.