Sunday 1st February. Bletchingley, England.

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month! We had a couple of icy days here in southern England, but it's warmed up considerably yesterday and today. This morning was like a lovely spring day. It was comfortable enough walking around outside just in a tshirt *although after a few strange looks from passersby, I also donned a pair of trousers* The little heater in my loft has been working round the clock since Wednesday, so it's cozy in here this evening. I won't need my warm sleeping bag tonight, that's for sure.

The snow was a refreshing and beautiful distraction, but brought with it its own hazzards. There's the well known 'snowball up the nose' hazzard, as Mai the Indonesian housekeeper here can testify to. Mai had never seen snow before in her life, and was sooo excited at Wednesday night's heavy downfall. I thought I'd help her celebrate her first snowfall by hurling a snowball up her nose! Thursday night I spent two hours at an internet cafe in Croydon, updating the website and sorting through emails. By the time I got through everything, including another 300+ emails, I was frazzled. The Swan and Sugarloaf pub across the road seemed like a suitable place to recharge before heading back to the village. The wind outside was arctic, and although I vowed before coming to England, not to complain about the weather while I'm here, I think I would've had a few comments that night, had there been anyone to listen to them. After a couple of pints of hearty John Smiths Bitter, I thanked the landlord, buttoned up my overcoat and strode out into the cold nioght air. I was surprised to see a pair of boots not unlike my own, about six feet in the air directly in front of me. Then I heard a thud. My feet had shot straight out from under me the instant I set foot on the icy footpath, and in a split second I was flat on my back, in front of dozens of alarmed pedestrians. A young Asian guy stepped forward to offer assistance, but I was laughing so hard that I guess he assumed I was okay.

It was back to work Friday and yesterday working till 6:30 in the evening. Then last night, Phyllida's sister Eleanor picked me up for dinner at her place. Phyllida was there, and Eleanor's friend Cliff from around the corner, and also Jo, the lady I stayed with when I first came to Redhill. Jo was looking splendidly pregnant, with only three weeks to go until little baby Indigo comes out to meet the world. Eleanor's Lancashire hotpot was delicious, and the applecrap dessert was far tastier than it's unusual name would suggest. I believe we may have had some nice wine as well.

Eleanor. Phyllida.

The sign outside Eleanor's house.

I was a bit tired today. Must've been last night's hotpot. I only did four hours' work, then after a roast lunch, retreated to my loft and passed out on the sofa. I think maybe next weekend I'll break the routine a bit and take off for a daytrip somewhere. Brighton is only thirty miles away, perhaps I'll go and sit on the pebbles of famous Brighton Beach and throw rocks at the seagulls.

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