A Close Run Thing

We’ve tipped up in St Vaast with a bag of fireworks for our builder.  Work to counteract dry rot problems on our house is long, long overdue and we have a ‘rendez-vous’ with him, in the frozen wastes of our barren salon-sejour, at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning.  ‘Rendez-vous’ is an altogether too agreeable word for a meeting which we will need to conduct with aplomb and a bit of cool, since in building matters the customer seldom has the upper hand.

Our builder has made it clear that, rather like many of his compatriots of the masculine gender, business of this kind is best left to the men to sort out.  At least I won’t be required to be the tea lady.  And the coffee I served last time, when 6 of them were seated around the table on September 1st to agree works and responsibilities, didn’t appear to cut the mustard either so I think I’ll don a pinafore and hug the stove instead.

We are lucky to be here, having made a run for it yesterday evening when a lull in snowfall allowed us to drive to Portsmouth for the overnight crossing.  Today the news from England is all about the weather.  It’s a fine line between a Winter Wonderland and gross inconvenience and discomfort.

So we left Winterborne K yesterday morning and arrived in Surrey without too much hassle.  We’ve had cold weather in Dorset, yes, but the day was bright, sunny.  Since my return from Cornwall we have caught up with the sailing Derricks who came for lunch, and the following day Celia and Rollo, friends my business course days, came for a kitchen lunch and a catch-up.  Celia has had a varied working life and currently resides in Tunisia.  But periodically she comes back to work in the UK and seeks out house-keeping jobs for a couple of years.  She likes this work and especially if she has a large establishment to rattle around.  She’d interviewed for a job in a neighbouring village but failed to secure it.  But she may yet end up in Dorset.  Already 3 of our group of 8 (7 of us are still linked up) now live in the county, although Rollo never moved away.

Last weekend our good friends the Hunters came to stay.  We ate in on Saturday evening then on Sunday morning we sallied forth taking in a Table Top Sale at a local Middle School, and a short stroll down to view Lulworth Cove.  There is a small shack near the shore where you can buy fresh fish.  And bliss, it is open Saturdays and Sunday all year round.  We couldn’t resist a minor spree so bought a nice cooked Brown Crab to share and 2 glistening plaice.  Dick and Eileen bought crab claws and 2 whole sole.  Thence to The European Inn at Piddletrenthide which styles itself as offering ‘a taste of country life near the sea.’  Which is perfectly right.  We had a great lunch.

I’ve come over to St V with a list of jobs.  Christmas provisioning for a start.  Cupboards and wardrobes in the front bedrooms need to be emptied.  I need to dig out all the Christmas decorations we have here, take them back to WK and rationalise my total assemblage.  I want to round up all my potted plants and decide what to leave here and what to take to Dorset.  A number of grasses, reeds, sedges and succulents are going to be better off, and sit more stylishly, on the shingle area of our evolving garden in the UK.

I’m rather excited about the new garden, although to some it might be not much more than a postage stamp.  But I’ve some ideas, and am trying very hard not to wish the months away so that I can get stuck in.

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