2007 — 18 December: Tuesday's nieces!

Time is 02:12 and I'm drooping fast. But I must just say "Thanks, Heidi" for the stollen from your little memorial get-together on Christa's birthday. She always enjoyed that annual "gabfest". And it was nice of you to invite Gillian, too.

Well the new DVD recorder is behaving impeccably so far. As is the in-house sat nav charger. But not the HDMI switchbox, so I'm just off to change or return that (preceded by a lot of ice scraping, it seems, while dodging the green bin1 van despite not having bothered to put my green bin out today). More later...

Now or never

It's definitely later (time is 20:14) and I'm about to hop into a hot bath. After indeed scraping off copious quantities of ice from the car, the HDMI box and lead were returned without hassle — thank you, Lou in TASS (and for the interesting chat about this still-evolving technology, too). I need to "curb my enthusiasm" for leaping blindly into these things (I'm a poor pensioner, remember!)

Then over for a repeat attempt to visit my ex-Lab Director. He was in,2 and kindly fed me tea and sympathy for an hour or so (thanks, Geoff!). Then it was time to nip over to Southampton Parkway to rendezvous with my nieces — this would have worked better had they managed to catch the train they had told me they would be on. So, about two minutes after I got home (having also inspected the waiting area at Eastleigh station, of course) I got a plaintive call on the mobile (which I actually managed to answer despite Peter having locked3 the keypad for me): "Can you come and get us?" They claimed to have sent me a text message but it has yet to arrive as it goes via a service in NZ, it seems. Isn't technology wonderful?

Off I go again (can't do this using public transport, it occurs to me) to find them, convey them to the Bridge at Shawford, feed them (they treated me, actually), allow them to assess my emotional and psychological state for reporting back to NZ at some point, whizz them down to Mayflower Park for a quick sniff of "the sea" and back to the station in good time for their return to London and what sounds like a social whirlwind of parties. Still, they were both on fine form. Claire was kind enough to say that I drove as if I'd been driving for years! Michelle chattered amiably en route so was obviously feeling at ease.

Safely back home, and a bit of down time (not the crossword, yet — I've been saving that, though gawd knows when I'll get time). Next, a call to Mike to finalise details of our next walk (Winchester area, with a pub involved whose Badger Beer is currently superb, I'm assured). A call to dear Mama that gets neither of us anywhere much worth going. Catch up on emails. I tell you, I should go back to work for a rest.

Wait! Best for last. Brynja just phoned so we can sort out how to turn some of her wonderful portraits of Christa into cards that I can send out to people. This little twig of the Mounce family will be sending out "Christmas" cards somewhat late this year, but they will be well worth the wait (if I can trust Brynja's Pritt stick technology!)

Hot bath? Not quite!

I was, quite literally, about to step into the bath when the phone wrote to me — as it does, of course. "OK 2 drop by now?"... "From hedge end" My versatile brain did the math, and I put (as it were) the bath on hold, and put the kettle on first (well, second; I put my clothes back on first!) And while Cathy was sipping her peppermint tea Junior rang on the eve of his flight out to Thailand, so that was a nice end to the day on two counts. The bath? Nothing an injection of fresh hot water couldn't fix. One minute to midnight, and some lovely cool Jan Garbarek on Radio 3. Does it get any better than this?



1  'Twas ever thus. Whenever I was alone in the house (Christa and Peter gallivanting on ski slopes, typically) I seemed to "generate" far less material to throw out or recycle. The current pile of unread Guardians can wait another two weeks...
2  He'd been in yesterday, actually, when I first tried and had chased after me but somehow I seem to have failed to check my rear view mirrors quite as carefully as a driver should! Shame on me...
3  I had inadvertently sent a stream of random text messages to someone by exerting pressure on the phone while it was in my pocket at the weekend. Wonder what they made of this curious spam?