Saturday 7th. December, 2013 -- Make and Mend 

An awful photo (I must learn to use flash and to aim properly) of Digger (almost), Tom, Bill, Mum, Olive and Morag

I am going to start presenting some pictures of the different parts of Mount Pleasant. The farmhouse kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of the complex. When we came to meet with the previous owners we met them in the kitchen around the kitchen table -- and they left the table and its chairs when they moved on. There are two ways into the farmhouse. Both require you to go through the kitchen before accessing the lounge or the upstairs area of the house. It is cosy, welcoming and friendly -- and all of us meet to share our meals here. Breakfast around 9 a.m. and dinner, normally served sometime between 6.30 and 7.30 p.m. This room embodies all that we sought to achieve in our experiment in communal living and it is a very happy one.

Rose and walked Mix. It is really cold this morning. Tom arrived during breakfast: our task today is to try to put right some of the damage done by the storm a couple of days ago. First we enjoyed our breakfast and then we said good-bye to Bill and Morag; it has been wonderful having them both with us and we all hope that it will not be too long before they return.

Tom started work by fixing a baton onto the exterior wooden gate. That should hold it in place no matter the weather. Next we re-erected the fence between the Granary and the Hen House gardens. The wind had not just blown down the fence but had uprooted the posts which were embedded in concrete! We got it all re-assembled and then we screwed it back together before adding a whole battery of reinforcing posts to ensure that it won’t get blown down again. It would be good to think that this was overkill but, given the way the weather has been changing throughout the country as a whole, perhaps it is just common sense.

There was still more to do but before we could do it we went up to Pearsons to buy more fence posts and some extremely strong masonry rawlplugs. Having loaded everything into his trailer and dropped me off at the farmhouse, Tom went off for lunch and I helped Rachel who was unearthing and then unpacking and then displaying her Christmas decorations.

Soon Tom was back and we re-fixed the little gate to the farmhouse wall and then provided reinforcing for the main Granary fence. It was still standing but it had taken an awful battering.

After coffee, shortbread and lots of chat, Tom set off for home. I came up to the study having first prepared my own lunch (reheating a cheese and bean pie made for me by Olive). I am having terrible trouble with my email. I can’t even access it at present because I am getting sent so many spam messages – sixteen thousand today (that’s the figure: 16,000) and because my other (new) email address is linked to my existing address, I can’t use it either. I have contacted Andy asking him to break that link but for the present I am not able to be contacted by email. I am actually not sure that this is a problem now that I have retired. The Royal Mail works, and my telephone when I am in, and nothing is dreadfully urgent now anyway – important, yes, but that’s not the same as being urgent.

Got my study tidied and wondered why I was so very warm: I still have two large sweaters on! Read the cricket reports. We are not doing well in Australia and it all seems down to a superb session of fast bowling by Mitchell Johnson. Well, that happens. I remember (at second hand) how in the years just after the second world war, Frank Tyson did something similar to the Australians in Australia. He took seven for twenty-seven, I think it was from memory, and really shook the Australian team up. Now, it seems, the boot is on the other foot. However, Ian Bell, whom I had tipped at breakfast yesterday to make a hundred, ended up unbeaten on seventy-two.

Dined all together in the farmhouse and afterwards Rachel and I retired to the Granary where we watched an episode of New Tricks which we had missed, followed it with a short one-hour Taggart, quite reminiscent of old times. Walked the dogs and came to bed. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am looking forward to the Advent journey continuing. We are also planning to visit a Christmas Fayre at Paxton House and going in to Duns for the turning on of the Christmas lights – maybe I’ll get a chance to read my book as well!


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