What is it with people at the moment? Our neighbours aren’t speaking to us, or so it seems, because we have done something (about which I can not speak here) with the best intentions, and it seems that only the local outcast agrees with us. At this rate, we’ll be outcasts too. Meanwhile, one of my clients called me up this afternoon and we had an absolutely extraordinary half-hour telephone conversation in which we seemed to spend a lot of time going nowhere. He seems incapable of realising that I might be a little annoyed that he has not returned some paperwork for seven months in spite of several reminders and seems to try to put the blame on me. This in spite of the fact that the paperwork is sitting on his desk! And when I pointed out that I would be easily satisfied by means of him putting his signature to the papers and sending them back to me, he proceeded to throw all of his toys out of the pram and have a little tantrum. Most revealing was the point when I said that we appeared to be going around in circles with our conversation and he said "yes, but I am going around them the other way". I think that spoke volumes. But then he is Dutch, so I suppose we should forgive him something (not sure what, and no offence to any of our Dutch reader).


With the snow melting rapidly yesterday and more heavy snow forecast for this morning, I decided to wait until today to nip out and take pretty snow-in-Ruralville pictures. And what happens? Rain. Pah.

Ruralville in winter

Hels has to go on a course in London today, so I took her up to the railway station in Nearbyton to get the once-per-hour service to the Big City. As usual, we were a bit tardy in getting going this morning, so I decided not to drive the long way round on the gritted roads, but instead to take the direct route and pick my way along the back lanes of Ruralville. With some snow overnight and heavy snow falling, the steep hills were best described as "interesting", particularly when we got to the bottom of one hill and found a couple of sheep and a goat in the road. In spite of that, I was able to deliver Hels to the station with a few minutes to spare.
The kittens are fascinated by the snow, although Treacle prefers to look at it rather than go out in it. If they stand still long enough, I’ll try and get a picture. I may also take a picture or two of the local woods when I go out later.


We’re back after a day in Angers and two days in Honfleur, a change being as good as a rest.
When we got home in the small hours of the morning, I picked my way up the lanes of Ruralville with around two inches of snow on the ground, heavy snow falling, my wife asleep in the passenger seat and two kittens in the carrier in the back – a combination of things that tends to make you drive with care.
This morning, I had to travel up to Nearbyton in order to visit the local council. The snow was hanging on the trees and looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me and now a combination of warmer temperatures and strong wind has rather spoiled the effect – but it was good whilst it lasted.
Busy busy this week, so expect quiet.

What the fox hat?

Spotted in a field near home the other day:
answers on a postcard
It is shown on the OS map as a "beacon" but what sort of beacon exactly? Is it a landing marker for UFOs? Is it, in fact, a crashed UFO? Will my brain be fried if I walk near it again?
Answers to the usual address.

Two thousand and five

We prepared for the New Year by taking the waters at the pub next door last night, before retiring to our sofa with the kittens. Today, we walked off the excess with a long walk through the fields and woods around the next village, in the company of a whole bunch of the locals, plus H’s parents, sister and brother-in-law.
And we’re still eating chocolate.

Old news

I’m sure that this story was first reported about a week ago on local television. Either way, you have to admire the determination of someone to hide from the law inside a sofa. (Eastbourne Today posted the story on December 23rd – come on BBC, that’s rubbish!).

Lights out

Today, we had a power failure that lasted seven hours. Thankfully, the alarm didn’t go off and the food in the freezer seems to have stayed frozen. I guess that’s the price one pays for living in the middle of nowhere, with power supplied via overhead cables and one of those farm transformers on a pole.
It also means that having surge protection is pretty much essential. I suspect that if this becomes a regular problem, PFE may procure a small generator.

World’s smallest post office

Today I went to our local post office. I can’t say too much about it, as I’m still trying to live up to Hels’s ambition of keeping the location of the New House™ from being revealed on this site. But I can say that our local post office, a mere hundred yards from here, is open only two afternoons a week and has just one counter.
I asked what services were available here – "Well, anything that involves posting letters really." What about parcels? "Oh yeh, I do parcels. But not special delivery ones. Just ordinary parcels." Tax discs? Passport forms? "Nope. Just letters. You’ll need to drive to the next village for that. And you need to get your post here an hour and a half before I shut, else it won’t go until the next time I’m open."
I went on to say that I was concerned that such a local amenity might close from under-use, and that I’d try to use it for my business as much as I could. "Oh no, this won’t close. All the while I’m still alive and prepared to come here and do it, it’ll be here. That won’t be for a few years yet. What happens after that, well, that’s anyone’s guess."
I like this place.