I was recently house and hound sitting for a couple of pals – they live in a wonderfully secluded country village. Well, I say village, there is no pub, church, shop . . . and just two roads, so small in fact that one of the roads literally is the name of the village. The properties in the village tend to be of the massive and expensive barn conversion style with a handful of smaller former farm cottages thrown in for continuity. Commercial markets and office operations were not on my expected sightings list. One place that caught my eye was a commercial office – tucked away in a little courtyard belonging to 3 such conversions. Here was a very busy little operation, a country land agent who dealt with all sorts of property issues for tenants and other commercial businesses in the neighbouring villages. They dealt with office furniture and had links to barn converting and thatching businesses – together with the farming and small holding businesses in the area, it was quite a hub of activity. Just the kind of thing to keep a village community alive and kicking!