Punch Bowl Farm, under Dion's influence, had been extensively modernised, and although his sister Lindsey mourned for the old ways, when milking had been done by hand and in some of the fields the bracken had been six feet high, there was no doubt that it was now more efficient.
It was summer and Roger and Rissa had come from Romney Marsh and were staying at the farm - the chief reasons for their visit being Lindsey and Dion. Never had anybody known it to be so hot, and each day seemed hotter than the day before. But the cows dropped their calves just the same, and Mr Landis's bees droned in the heather. Roger and Lindsey, and Dion and Rissa, rode in the fields and worked on the farm despite the intense heat.
And then, suddenly, almost without warning, it happened. It had happened before, of course, but then there had been no wind: a fire started in the Devil's Punch Bowl. Everybody went out to beat, but fanned by the wind the flames went leaping through the scorched undergrowth, and all too soon it was clear that the expensively modernised farm itself was threated. Were all Dion's dreams to be reduced to a pile of charred timber?