Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snow, family history and a mystery..!

Friday 6 February 2015

Snow -2

The lightest, featheriest snow was breathlessly falling on the courtyard and buildings when we awoke and the dog was thrilled and went out and tossed it up into the air with his nose and bit chunks of it.  Lung contractingly cold.

Came back in and put on many layers.  I don't know how I ever survived where we lived in the UK, where it could easily snow a metre in a day, and fill up the narrow lanes around our house.  I went out and looked at the light frosting and thought, how hard can it be to get up the hill and into town.  Ignoring OH's mutterings that I would struggle, I headed out and pointed the car at the hill and applied the gas.

To go up an icy hill, you need momentum but our hill is bendy.  Fortunately no one was coming in the opposite direction, and apart from the car losing traction, twice, I shot out at the top of the hill with the car in the same shape as when it had left the house.  Told the car it was a very good car.  Drove carefully to friend's house where I showed her how to overcome her computer problems and enjoyed her central heating.

In the UK we lived at the top of a long hill which regularly received lots of rain and snow. The rain would freeze and turn to ice and then the snow would lie on top and compact. Driving the kids to school was a real test of nerve.  We slid forwards and backwards.  We slid sideways, with the kids shouting 'dont slide in the ditch, mummy!' in panicked tones. Sometimes it didn't snow first thing, and I would take the kids to school and then mid morning it would come down in metres and I would have to ring the snow plough to come out and grit.   On snowy mornings, after having defrosted the car door with boiling water and set the engine to turn over, we would edge onto the road and look down the hill.  Our neighbour, D, used to head out without worry but he was a maniac and had a very old car full of chickens or whippets, or both.  

I would pack the kids in the car with cushions and bags and slide down the exit from the courtyard onto the road.  Second gear.  Engine roaring like a tractor.  The Suzuki would slide even in 4 x 4 mode.  I would try and keep some of the grass which grew on the side of the road, under the wheels in case of a complete failure of traction.  The problem was that the grass was on the side of the ditch.  I think we all must have held our breath, which would be busy steaming up the windscreen, until we arrived at the bottom.  OH bought me a Landrover, eventually, which was wonderful in the snow but a complete pig to drive for the rest of the year.  It was always in the garage.  I don't know how people ever manage to get them to Africa.  I had trouble getting mine to Mablethorpe.

Back home to tackle ironing mountain.  Out later to see hotel restaurant in nearby town.  Not inspiring.  Home and watched recording of the Woman in Black with Kieran Hinds and Daniel Radcliffe.  Absolutely terrifying.

Started looking into family histories by registering on website which gives access to births, deaths and marriages register.  Found OH's family which obligingly had unusual names and had always been in the same town.  Mine were a nightmare.  Eventually found my grandmother and discovered that her maiden name was not what my mother had told me. Also had trouble finding any of my mothers family under her maiden name.  Only the eldest sister.   A mystery.  Lay awake in the dark, raking my memories to see what came up..  

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to end up in Casualty...

Thursday 5 February 2015

0 cold and cloudy
Snow still lingering

Inform OH that our neighbour has a new puppy dog.  He emerges from the duvet to ask if it is the same sort of bastard dog as before.  Well, yes it is but this time it is little and we have chance to make friends with it.  The old dog, which our dog is very happy to have outlived, only understood the local dialect and hated everyone.  He regularly bit the post van tyres with the result that the post box was some distance up and across the road from the actual house.  One Christmas Eve, I went to pay for my wood, and the dog shot out and bit me through my wax jacket and jeans, with the result that we spent Christmas Eve in the Accident and Emergency Unit of a nearby hospital.   It is not the best place for a night out. A nurse, whilst stitching up my leg, said that it never failed to amaze her, how many ways people find to injure themselves.  

Extract from

[–]mistawac 114 points  
So I worked at a movie theatre in high school. It was a pretty laid back place at the time due to this theatre being down the street from another doing better business. So I was 16 and working a Wednesday night with one other kid, we'll call him Felcher. We'd each been there around a year so he trusted us to watch the place when he had to take off for an emergency with his six month old. Bad idea.
This was around the time that Cheaper by the Dozen 2 came out and we had one of those seven foot tall promo displays for it. It was Steve Martin with the whole family surrounding him. We also had those little usher brooms you know, the brooms that would be perfect for a midget. We liked to toss those like javelin through the displays after we were done with them. We'd spent about 45 minutes with this and I was getting bored. So I started to actually work and did my rounds (checked bathrooms and theatres, cleaned up a bit, started powering down game machines). When I walked back into the lobby I saw Steve standing there, staring me down. So I sprinted towards him, leapt off of a nearby bench, and ninja kicked him RIGHT in the face. The cardboard was a bit more rigid than I thought. I went through, but that's it. My foot was stuck for a moment and I kind of dangled there for a millisecond until my foot came loose and I fell, elbow dropping the tile flooring we had. I stood up and shook myself off and realized that my elbow was instantly the size of a large grapefruit. It was also the worst bruise I'd seen in my life.
I couldn't move it. Not from pain because, surprisingly, it barely hurt, but from sheer inability - this sorta freaked me out. So I decided, "Fuck it, I got work to do." and went back to work. After about 10 minutes it started to hurt like hell. I forgot to mention, it was stuck in and L shape. So I go back to Fletcher and ask him to try to straighten it out. I grab a piece of Steve's face to bite down on when he pulls and he does it. It swings out then snaps right back into place. At this point I start freaking out. We only had a half hour left and we both had keys to the place so I asked him to close up while I head home and figure this out.
The drive home sucked ass. I drove manual at the time and this was my right arm, so no shifting was possible with that arm. I drove completely with my left hand, quick shifting and switching gears fast enough to leave my hand off the wheel as short as possible. I get home, fashion up some lie that I slipped in the parking lot and head to the hospital. Ended up tearing EVERY single ligament in my elbow. All of 'em. Hence the inability to move it. Got to wear a big ass, Terminator looking arm brace for 8 months and undergo physical therapy. It still hurts whenever it gets cold and I can't completely flatten that arm. Dumbest. Thing. Ever.
tl;dr - Dropped kicked Steve Martin. Tore every elbow ligament. Theatre paid for it because I "fell in the parking lot"

Went down to market.  Bone chillingly cold.  A notary rang and we discussed two cases, both of which are becoming problematic.  The lady I was waiting for arrived with the keys and paperwork and I had a quick look around the stalls.  Market only half the summer size. The river has dropped significantly and is full of thrashed up bits of tree and plant matter. Went to coffee shop and chatted to people and bought OH a croissant with almonds to cheer him up.  Received email cancelling 4.30 visit today which was some relief as it would have been an hour and a half drive and the people haven't even put their house on the market.  They do however, live somewhere where property sells very quickly.  I would dearly love to know where this place is.  I would go and be an estate agent there.  Immediately.

Back home and found OH out of bed and he had lit both fires so house was oozing delightful heat.  Did catch up of emails and clients and watched Bargain Hunt.  I do love Charles Hanson, but paying 130 pounds for one plate is the bonkers end of bonkers.  

Pool closed today so took dog for a walk up the hill.  The pale sun brought no warmth. Thought of the height of the summer when you have to hide in the house with the shutters closed.  Long for dry and temperate climate where you don't freeze or boil.  

Tackled ironing mountain and OH made supper and rang up people from eBay.  He had been promised a refund by a seller who firstly said she couldn't give a refund through PayPal and then, when I had told her how to do it, had then said she had spent all the money in her PayPal account and so would have to wait until she had made some more sales before she could refund us.  It is not a large amount but OH is big on principle.  He then attempted to send some cash to someone and the card reader refused to work.  He spent 20 minutes on the chat function and then rang up a very unhelpful woman who kept on telling him that the cards were interchangeable but you needed one for each account.  He decided to send a cheque.  This kept him amused for ever such a long time with the result that we only just had time to eat and wash up before it was time for the Great British Sewing Bee.

Alas, Cat Woman!

Wednesday 4 February 2015

0 degrees dry and clear
Feels very cold

OH ailing in bed so was obliged to take the dog for a walk first thing in the morning.  The lane was quiet apart from a vendor and her madly excitable dog.  She was peering at me from a distance (I had on many layers and a bonnet firmly pulled down on my brows) and it was only when we were extricating the dogs from one another that she realised who I was. She said that the market was 'mortel' and she really hoped that I would bring someone who wants to buy her house, and soon.  Me too.  Walk seemed longer on my own.  Kept looking at my phone to see if WF was calling, as promised, but he didn't.

Back home and OH managed some poached egg and toast.  He looked really rough and stayed in bed for most of the day.

Went downstairs and battled to light the fire.  Remembered that I had done some writing about my family history, so instead of ringing people up and ironing, spent an hour going through the files on the PC and finally found it.  Result!  You, happy or unhappy reader, can read bits which I will insert on days when not a lot is happening.  You may be wondering why you are not reading some today, as manifestly I am rambling on.  Well, it is gone 8 am and I have two days journal to write and a 9.30 appointment.  Currently in bed with a cup of tea and the radiator on.

Went swimming later on.  Despite the chilly day, not many people in the pool.  A couple of pregnant ladies and some young guys.  A very elegant lady came in, accompanied by a young blonde girl and a little, skipping, red-headed sprite that made my heart ping with remembered love.

The changing room has been updated and has hairdryers which have options other than off or on.  Was drying my hair when a girl came in for the gym class.  In her 20's with taut muscles, a text tattoo wrapping around her firm waist and a diamante in her belly button.  She smoothed back her hair into a neat pony tail and carefully adjusted what there was of her Lycra two piece and looked at herself from all angles in the tall mirror.  Content, she bounced off through the door.

I looked at myself in the long mirror.  Once again, I had forgotten to bring my hair brush and the effect overall was of the mad cat woman from the Simpsons.   Must do better...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There is something in the water....

Tuesday 3 February 2015

0 degrees

snowy winter wonderland!

Woke up and realised that there was a faint silver light slithering through the shutters. Opened the windows to discover a winter wonderland of sparkling white.  Not a breath of wind, not a tweet of bird song.  How little it takes to completely change ones outlook and see the wonder in the quotidian!

Drove carefully on the wet and slushy snow to meet a land surveyor.  I had not managed to notify the occupier who is rather difficult to contact as he spends his time either in the local bars or sleeping off the effects.  No one answered the door and the dog was going crazy so we decided he must be in a bar and got on with looking at the plots.  We had to teeter around the pigeon poo which was everywhere.  It was the land surveyors opinion that the part of the building which was being claimed by the neighbour, in fact rested upon the other lot.  Pigeons peered down at us.  The inside of the building was hollow and we stood in quite a lot of pigeon poo.  

A neighbour was leaning on her door post, watching us and smoking a small cigar. The land surveyor asked if she was the owner of her house and she said no, it was a Count and he lived near Barcelona.  She spoke very softly and her head jerked involuntarily to the left every now and then. The surveyor went to the town office to enquire about the identity of the neighbour and I went for a coffee and found the occupier of the house.

He was nursing a small glass of rosé and didn't look pleased to see me.  I sat apart and looked at the local traffic sliding on the slush and waited for the journal to become free to read.  The reader pulled down his cap and pretended not to notice at me beaming my 'finish reading' rays at his head.  The occupier shuffled over and told me that there were plans afoot to build a huge roundabout and to take part of the garden of the house to make a car park.  He stood back and smirked after imparting this information.  'Then again' he said, when I didn't react, 'I might have got it all wrong'.  He was shaking too and I wondered if there was something in the water in the village and regretted drinking the coffee.  I find it unlikely as the village is tiny. Perhaps they have spare cash and want to use it up?  It is sure and certain that they never think of putting the rates down, bastards.

Back home and find OH in kitchen, with muddy dog, taking off his boots. He says he has flu and goes to bed.  I enjoy blissful peace and quiet and make some phone calls.  Later on, go and collect some keys from a property where the owners have moved away.  It is very cold and dirty and the plaster has started to fall off the walls.  They tell me that this is because the house is not heated but I know full well that it is not true as the plaster is falling off my walls as well, and it is because of saltpetre.  

image_saltpetre.pngthanks Arcane Industries

Looking on Google, I discover that on the River Cottage forum, people are complaining that they cant get hold of it - I could supply them with it, no problem - and that it is also a component of gunpowder.

I also discovered the following on the Jamaica Cleaner ezine

Heather Little-White, PhD, Contributor
YOU MAY be old enough to remember your grandmother or mother using saltpetre (also known as sodium or potassium nitrite) to cure pork legs to make hams at home several weeks before Christmas. Today, saltpetre is used in the cure of several foods indigenous to our culture.
As a strong oxidising agent, saltpetre is used for:
fertilisers due to the nitrates to make soil more fertile;
steel tempering;
oxidisers in solid rocket propellants;
sensitive toothpaste;
food curing.

Saltpetre has taken a bad rap in what is termed the saltpetre principle. It is claimed that saltpetre is secreted in coffee, tea, wine, scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes. This untruth originated in male recruits undergoing basic training to reduce their erections which came easily before boot camp. Saltpetre does not suppress sexual urges and it is dangerous if consumed without control.
The truth is that there is no saltpetre in the chow of military men but the rumour started to make the men feel that their failure at erections was due to the chemical additive to food and not from the rigours and exhaustion of military training. This rumour also circulates outside the ranks of service when young men are housed in institutions like boys' schools, colleges and prisons. This was to make the young men not feel badly when they could not be sexually aroused (
Saltpetre has been used in the curing of meats for ages but care must be taken in its use and label containers properly.
Make fire and spend evening traipsing up and down the stairs with many drinks, medications and toast.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thank you Ms Noddi

Monday 2 February 2015

Crisp and frosty

Worked on computer for most of day.  At around 4 pm had cabin fever so went and rejoined the local leisure centre and dived into the warm waters with some fervour.  Hardly anyone in the pool.  Did 20 lengths and thought of Ms Noddi who taught me to swim many moons ago. One of the best things I have ever learned to do.  I am completely cross eyed without my lenses so it took me a while to realise that the new lifeguard was in fact a former colleague with whom I had had a virulent falling out several years ago.  When I went to collect my key, he did not seem to recognise me. I am 15 kilos lighter and have different colour hair.  Do I just look ancient?  True that I never ever wore a swimsuit to the office.  A lady swam up to me and obviously recognised me and started to chat.  The waters took away the heat of my embarassement because I had absolutely no idea who she was.  

Pulverised my various wobbly bits in the water jets and had a steam.  Bliss.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Nativity mayhem and heavy footed hounds

Sunday 1 February 2015

Grey and cold 8 degrees.  Hail later

Sunday is a good place to start the month.  Lazed around in bed, drinking tea.  The local supermarket was absolutely heaving.  It is the only store open on a Sunday in the vicinity and hurrah, they had rice milk in stock.

OH wanted to look at the local river so we drove down a track where the waters could be easily seen from the car but no, we had to go and look at them at closer hand.  The field was an absolute bog, over which the dog floated lightly and we both got covered in mud up to our eyeballs.  OH spotted some ducks and said we needed to creep up on them.  His creeping was thwarted by our heavy footed hound and my shrieking as my boot caught on a bramble and I went splat on my face.  

Back home and lit fires.  Winter is like ground hog day.

Misty wintry landscape and oak tree from Dreamstime

Hunt in old diaries for something amusing:

19 December 1995

RJ's last day at school, WF's nativity play at music group.  He was most splendidly kitted out in peacock blue and was a king.  A very silly king at that.  He kept on shuffling off sidewards behind the piano, pulled half of the cotton wool from his crown and decided to stamp on the tambourine.  He squirted the frankincense bottle out from under his arm, and hit the previously placid, smiling child playing Mary, square on the forehead. There was a motley lineup of very small children; some waved, some shuffled, some seemed set in stone.  They sang horribly but fortunately the parents sang even louder so you couldn't hear the discordant wailing of the chorus.  We then had coffee and mince pies and WF went off stage left to get changed, a large piece of cotton wool dangling pirate style over one eye and the rest in his mitt.

To pottery class in the afternoon.  Wind bitterly cold.  Made small terracotta plate.  Mavis has called it a day on her cat creation.  It now resembles your average size brindled terrier and has an expression that would curdle milk.  Her knees were buckling as she carried towards the kiln room and she was muttering through clenched teeth 'I'm making something sodding smaller next time'.  Watched Top of the Pops with the kids.  Cher was wearing a particularly gruesome black ruched affair.  'She looks like a poodle - a standard poodle' exclaimed RJ, with sudden insight.

January roundup

31 January 2015

At the end of the first month of the good ship, leaving normal, progress has been made.  At the start of this blog, I listed the things I will make happen this year.  Item 7 was that WF should get a job and this has happened and item 8 was that I should know I am on the right road.   The great thing about writing is that it stops time slipping away and then you wonder what on earth you have done.  Time is made up of so many small events and it is so important to do something each day which feeds you as an individual.

This has been shown jokingly in this example:

By A Professor • October 23, 2012  Sunny Skyz website thank you

This is a very important life lesson that a philosophy teacher taught his students.
The teacher cleared off his desk and placed on top of it a few items. One of the items was an empty mason jar. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agree that the jar is full. Every student agreed that the jar was indeed full.
The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled all of the openings in between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed.
Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason jar. The sand filled in all of the empty space left between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked the class again if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full.
Finally, the teacher pulled out a bottle of milk chocolate from under his desk and poured it into the jar filling the empty space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh wondering how far this was going.
The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life," he started. "The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car. The sand---that is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls.
The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important. Pay attention to the important things in your life.
Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed."
Before the students left, one shouted out. "You never mentioned what the chocolate milk represents!"
The professor smiled and said, "Well I'm glad you asked. There is always room in your life for chocolate!."

or before by Steven Covey when he talks about the four different sectors of activity in which we pass our days.  He categorises activities according to their importance and their urgency.  Almost all of us will do the urgent and important stuff first.  We will pass our spare time doing the not urgent and not important stuff - playing on Facebook or reading blogs for example.  However, the category of not urgent and important is one which we often neglect.  Activities which make us grow as people, involve work.  We put these activities on the bucket list.  We dream about them and they lurk in the back of our minds, waving their arms and tapping on our consciences.  They are the most important things of all.  For me, writing is the thing that is important but not urgent and so here we are, reading my thoughts and assessing where we are at the end of month one.

Back to Steven's own words, taken from his best selling book, the 7 habits of highly effective people;

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? That question may appear a little trite, but think about it for a moment. Are you--right now--who you want to be, what you dreamed you'd be, doing what you always wanted to do? Be honest. Sometimes people find themselves achieving victories that are empty--successes that have come at the expense of things that were far more valuable to them. If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster. 

Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It's about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen. 

One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life is to develop a Personal Mission Statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.

so, my Mission Statement.  This is really tough

To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to make a difference to people's lives."
I have always had trouble visualising exactly where I want to be and what I want to be but it came to me as I was walking at sunset the other evening.
1.  Sell my European properties
2.  Buy the house of my dreams, convert the barn into studios and run craft courses with the best and most inspirational teachers.  Become a well known marque and travel the world, speaking and meeting new and inspirational people.  Take in local youngsters on apprenticeships and nurture their talents.
3.  Set up a craft foundation and give work to people in economically depressed areas.  Make a difference to people's lives.
4.  Play with my grandchildren on the lawns and fish with them in the river.
5.  Have all of my family close by.
6.  See my dear friends regularly.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tapas, rain and Mummies

Saturday 31 January 2015

Stormy and lashing down with rain 11 degrees

The river had risen significantly and was just below the bridge.  It was carrying a mass of frothy spume and its slate grey waters were crushing themselves against the ancient stone parapets and bursting spray into the air.  

Quick breakfast and decided to head off into a very large town and enjoy some tapas.  The roads were almost deserted.   Everyone else had had the same idea and we finally managed to squeeze the car into a tiny space and dived into a nearby bar for coffee and loo break.  There was a forest of leaking brollies at the side of the door and the owner periodically took out the bucket in which they stood and threw the water out into the street (without looking if anyone was coming).  Coats steamed on the backs of chairs and the air was heavy with the aroma of coffee and dank wool.

After ten minutes, the rain eased and we took a turn around the shops.  The Spanish are rather bling in fashion terms.  The shoes on offer were either gay pride with diamante or toe crushing stilettos.  The coats which fitted me were labelled as XL, much to OH's amusement.  I am between a 12 and a 14...  I was quite taken with a pale coffee coloured parka which was heavily padded and had a fur collar and sparkly buttons.  OH took me by the elbow and guided me firmly out of the shop before the sales assistant could get me to the till.

People were battling to cross the street and we passed a number of carcasses of dead brollies.  Unhappy small apartment dogs were being hauled along the pavements, their locks plastered to their heads.  Newspaper pages were stuck to the side of buildings.

We headed down into the casco viejo (old town) and into a great tapas bar.  The walls are covered in azuelos (hand painted blue and white tiles) and above the bar are many air cured hams.  The tapas are spread over the ten metres of the bar.  There were pimientos like delicate leprechauns fingers dancing over tiny cubes of pepper and onion and bathed in pale green olive oil, fat crusty rolls with delicate slivers of rich cured ham edged with a deep yellow layer of fat, succulent tortillas of potato and onion, great wedges of tuna and mounds of patatas bravas coated with mayonnaise and garlic.  The perfumes and aromas were exquisite and we dived in and carried a selection to a nearby table and ate til we could eat no more.

The skies were closing in and the hail started beating a tarantella on the rooves so we headed back and lit the fire and I was overjoyed to find the Return of the Mummy.  The Mummy is strangely compelling...

thank you Film Web

What we do when the electricity is off!

Friday 29 January 2015

Rain followed by lots more rain
9 degrees

Woke at various times before it got light.  Electricity still off so went back to sleep until just after nine am.  OH leaped out of bed and announced we would go down town and work in the rental units.  Oh joy.   He found the primus stove and made surprisingly large flames leap out of it, and then had to take it outside and throw water on it.  Eventually we had some tea and set off on the twig strewn roads.  The river was in spate and frothed with spume and branches.

I went to the nearest bread shop.  The door was locked and there were lots of lovely looking croissants on the shelves.  I knocked and knocked and the woman eventually came to the door and said she didn't work on Fridays and no I couldn't have any croissants.  She has the worst bread in town but her croissants are really substantial.  Went elsewhere and was served by someone with a strange accent.  We had trouble understanding one another. 

Spent morning scrubbing and de-plastering floor in new rental unit.  The smell from the nearby restaurant was rich and our stomachs rumbled all morning.  

Back home for lunch and the electricity was still off so we had sandwiches and watched the fire.  We did have firelighters.  On a high shelf that a shortie like me couldn't see.  The rain lashed down and the cars look surprisingly clean.

Back down town and I couldn't get in touch with the person whose house I was meant to be seeing at 3 pm so I drove to village mid way between home and my 4.30 appointment and went in a bar where, surprisingly, they had both electricity and wifi.  Enjoyed a hot chocolate and caught up with emails.   Am having enquiries from people who want to know chapter and verse about properties without actually wanting to talk on the phone or tell me anything about their project.  I could spend my whole time sending information to people who don't have any intention of buying.  Communication is a two way thing.

My 4.30 appointment was with an absolutely adorable couple whose house I used to have on sale last year.  Their house is 18th century and has wonderful large pebble walls, a separate apartment, a swimming pool.  It is elegant and stylish.  It is also on the side of a very, very busy road.  Lorries rumble past constantly.  They say they really appreciated my efforts last year and would like to try again this one.  We have tea and the most lovely chocolate biscuits and have a long chat and catch up.  They say that the French aren't given to laughing spontaneously and smiling all the time.  I say it is a very British thing.  We kiss and I head off to the doctor's.

My GP is an absolute pearl.  He looks like a South American rebel with his long wildly curly hair tied back in a pony tail and his goatee beard.  He has grown gaunt over the years as his hours have increased and he has gone through various relationships and has developed a medical condition which must take its toll on him.  He works from 8 am to 9 pm and doesn't take a break.  He is warm and sympathetic and never looks at his watch.  You may have to wait some time in the waiting room but once you are in front of him, you can spend as long as you need.  Some people abuse this and the people in the waiting room start telling one another about their maladies and playing illness oneupmanship.  If you want to tell him that someone is driving you mad or that you are stressed to within an inch of your life, he is there for you.  And you can get to see him the same day as you ring up.  

Get back home eventually and manage to eat before the electricity goes off again.   I fiddle with a little radio, trying to get something interesting on shortwave and OH unearths an old radio from the cupboard, discovers the batteries have leaked, and decides to take it apart.  Radios have surprisingly complicated innards.  He puts it back together and it doesn't work.  He hits it a bit and then puts it by the fire to 'dry out'.  It still doesn't work.   I remember the pod casts on my phone and we listen to Americana, a wonderful series which has been axed.

At 9.30 the electricity comes back on and oh joy, we get to watch the rest of the Herzog film. Suffice to say, it ended VERY badly.  And there were a lot of monkeys.