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Back in the land of blogs

After two weeks off, it's quite a relief to be back at my desk

Well, here I am back in the land of blogs after two weeks off, owing to having had consecutive sets of visitors. In all that time, I've barely switched the computer on except to check the weather forecast for our various outings.

I'm bushed. It's not that having people is an effort exactly - our friends D&S, for instance, are among the easiest of people, schlepping round half the day in their dressing gowns, grazing on toast and taking pictures - but what with too much talking, too much eating, lots of driving around and visiting places, we're feeling rather fagged. Unfortunately the DH and I also both came down with a virus after week one, and still haven't gotten over it. We weren't in very good shape for our second set of guests and even now, the DH is upstairs having a lie-down. 

I am sartorially richer for both visits, which is very kind of everyone. Guests number one insisted on buying me a fantastic gilet, padded, with a hood, which I wore for the first time today. I think it will prove one of the most useful things in my wardrobe, especially for our holidays in Brittany, when you need to cope with whatever the weather can throw at you. 

Guests number two came laden not only with English goodies, which we have done our best to plough through - Thornton's chocolates, fudge from the local market in Doncaster etc - but also clothes that I'd bought on Ebay and had delivered to my sister's house to save postage, and a couple of gift jackets. My sister thought they might do to get the wood in, but it would be rather a shame with at least one of them, as it's very high quality, if a tad too large for me. I think it will go over a big jumper. 

Big sis has a friend who is a shopaholic and this padded duvet jacket comes courtesy of her. Meanwhile, I now also have five 'new' pairs of Boden trousers to hem for winter (being something of a short-arse). I think this year I'll do everything to a 2-in heel and if I wear it with 3-in heels it'll just have to look a bit cropped. I'm fed up of having to change shoes every time I change my trousers. 

In the real world over the past two weeks, banks have been dropping like flies, the credit crunch continues to bite, my budget for food shopping has dropped to 63 euros a week owing to a shift in the exchange rate, and Paul Newman died, bless his wonderful cotton socks. His gorgeous face telling Redford: "What, are you crazy?  The fall'll probably kill you..." is one of the best moments in cinema and I am truly sorry he's gone - he was a good man who lived a full life.

On a more prosaic note, my new woodburner is up and running and is just fabulously efficient, which I'm glad about, as it's the most money I've ever spent apart from on a house or a car. Burning all day, it uses only as much wood as the old one did in a couple of hours of an evening, so I hope it will reduce our wood bill by between a half and two thirds this year (just as well, since we can't afford to buy any heating oil, LOL, so no central heating for us this winter). The densifed wood is working out nicely too - strange stuff, like giant rabbit pellets, and will fill your fingers with splinters if you're not careful, but it gives off a tremendous amount of heat that really gets the fire cranked up of a morning, and at the rate we're using it will last all winter rather than just three months.

Right, that's me back blogging, but since money is increasingly an issue in these worrying times, I'd better now go and earn some.


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