A SENSE of mourning pervades our house. Another week of fishing in Scotland lost.

At the start of the season an email from the letting agent indicated that access to the river and loch had changed for transport this year. Use of estate vehicles cancelled, as are use of boats for the loch. Fishing huts locked. No ghillies either.

Although John’s knee replacement last year has been successful, the need to walk several miles to get to the river or loch, with no shelter available if needed, means we have cancelled all the weeks booked for this year.

This has not stopped other visitors, however, our friends on the estate tell us. With foreign holidays still curtailed, there has been an explosion of camper vans, motorbikes, walkers and cyclists.

The narrow lanes around our village too heave with cyclists. Gangs of luminously-clothed aspirant Tour de Yorkshire contestants hog the entire road. Motorists and joggers beware. They don’t tangle with tractors, though, I note. Bigger is clearly better when it comes to commanding road space.

Meanwhile, at home our yard is clogged up too, by builders vans. We are having the farmhouse re-roofed and insulated. No wonder it has always been a cold house. Single brick walls and no insulation.

An extension we had built a few years ago, ostensibly for a dining room, which became then a playroom for grandchildren and now is a lockdown pad, was insulated to modern standards.

A team of four lads, plus their boss, are working on the roof. They hardly stop. Come early and clear up any mess they make during the work. Pleasant, polite and doing a good job. At first they didn’t stir from their vans when it was time for a refreshment break, but, as the weather has got warmer, they now sit outside our little guest cottage on chairs I have set out for them.

The dogs are thrilled. Five sets of sandwiches and biscuits to be scrounged, and even better, five stooges prepared to throw balls.

Fizz, the sheepdog, was wary at first, but tempted by half a bacon sandwich and then a biscuit, she was convinced of their usefulness as playmates. This is good additional exercise for the lads too, I note, as otherwise all five are constantly on their phones playing games rather than indulging in builder banter. Fizz, Moss and Millie have replaced Snoop Dog and the Duck Hunt Dog.