So it’s about two and a half weeks since I returned from Thailand and over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to resume my prison visits. In each of those two weeks I’ve managed two days out and three prisons visited. I’m pacing myself. My medical condition and my age are good enough excuses for doing a bit less running around now. But I’m not stopping, just reorganising and being a bit sensible with my time and energy. At least that’s the idea.
One of the exciting things I look forward to when I get back every year from Thailand is the re-emergence of my two tortoises after their winter hibernation. I was reckoning on it being today or tomorrow but then suddenly, just a week after I’d returned I heard a noise that for a little while I couldn’t place. Then it hit me. It was the tortoises moving about in my loft where they’d been asleep. I got up there and sure enough they were both wide awake so the next day, down they came and into their heated home, where they’ve been pretty active.
Having not done very much to maintain our property for years, over the last few months we’ve been having some much needed repairs and refurbishment done, mostly to the roof, the conservatory and the bathroom. And there’s still more to be done. But last week the latest improvement was the replacement of our old, rather pathetic and expensive to run, oil fired AGA with a newer, second-hand electric model that heats up overnight on Economy 7. We’ve only been trying to do something about the old AGA for about the past ten or twelve years so it was quite a relief when it all suddenly fell into place: we found what we wanted, supplied by a chap we liked and someone came up with a hefty anonymous donation. Anumodana!
Of course nearly all our attempts to improve things cost money and so it was a bit of a blow this week when walking back from my night time stroll with my dogs I noticed the silhouette of one of our leylandii fir trees bordering the lane leaning at an awkward angle across the road. I could see this could cost us a bit! It turned out it had split but it’s fall had been arrested by other trees so it was being held just clear of the telephone cable that supplies us and all the other properties further down the lane with phone and broadband. Very fortunately the tree surgeon we know responded very quickly and the day after we phoned him he and his assistant were here to deal with it. It was six hours hard work in wet and not very nice weather. But they did well and I’m so glad they got it done because the day after there blew a gale and that tree would never have stayed where it was. So we were lucky, very lucky, but it’s still going to set the temple back about five hundred quid. Never mind, that’s life, no one was hurt and it could have been a lot worse.