Tom is delighted with his modern country house, Two Coots, which has everything a home in the depths of Hampshire should: an Aga, exposed beams, a log fire and, of course, a double garage with a brand-new quad bike. When his patient wife, Davina, points out that they built the six-bedroom, Victorian-style manor so they could relax, de-stress and enjoy the tranquillity, Tom agrees, and immediately hops on his shiny new toy. What better bucolic experience than seeing the countryside from the exhilarating seat of a 500cc Sphinx quad bike, he asks.
Tom then zooms off, narrowly missing the gardener. Noisily heading for the hills, he gives the Sphinx full throttle, to the great consternation of sheep, cows and farmers. Avoiding waving ramblers and horse-riders takes all his concentration. Still, he manages to wave back, and sails blissfully on, more and more convinced the neighbourhood is fantastic-particularly given how friendly everyone is. Then, suddenly, the quad bike stutters, putters and, living up to its name, becomes implacably still.
Tom has to trudge the 10 long, cold miles home, and he’s baffled as to why no passing farmer offers him a lift. His misery only dissipates when he finally claps eyes on his welcoming home once again. Later, to his wife’s raised eyebrows, Tom announces that what he enjoys best about the countryside is the peace and quiet, especially from his comfortable armchair in front of their roaring log fire.