The second in the Punchbowl farm series, this deals with the time the four children first move into Punchbowl farm, and Dion's first attempts at farming. In exploring their new home they discover a cellar that was underneath the part of the farm that had been burnt many years before. In this cellar a diary rests, and the four children, in particular Dion and his older sister Lindsey, are fascinated by the story of a long-ago boy. This boy who lived on the farm over 100 years previously, had wished to carry his father's black hunting whip in competition on his pony Blackmail, but was thwarted by his unkind uncle. Dion sets out to find this hunting whip to carry it to triumph in competition at a local show on their adored horse, Sula. However when at the show this whip is borrowed by another competitor who wins the cup, but then makes off with the whip, leaving another in its place. When he enquires of this other competitor's name, he is told that the horse was called Blackmail.... This is an excellent story, of a family settling down to their new life in the country, combining the main story with everyday happy life of Christmas, snow, and making new friends, and the start of Dion's farming career. However, life is not unrealistically joyful, and their are tragic moments, unhappy squabbles and disappointments, leading through to an entertaining story.