8 September 2013

Good morning to you all. Thankfully, we’re more or less over our jet lag and so back on to a somewhat regular routine. We’ve had a great week – the weather has been excellent most of the time – warm and sunny with clear skies until Friday when it was overcast with some drizzle while the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It was clear again on Saturday but still significantly cooler than it had been all week. Looks like this could be the end of the summer!

And what a summer it’s been, even if we missed much of it enjoying our own summer in upstate New York. Apparently, according to a piece on the BBC web site, this has been the ninth warmest summer since records began in 1910, the seventh sunniest summer since those records began in 1929 and July was the most sustained period of hot weather since July 2006.

If this is the end of the summer we’re hoping it will stay tolerably pleasant for the next couple of days at least. As I wrote last time, our boiler has died and the plumbers are coming to install the new one tomorrow morning – not a moment too soon! Ever since we got home and I switched the boiler on after its summer vacation only to hear the most horrific groans and grumbles emanating from its inarrds, we’ve been struggling to get by with short blasts of luke warm water in which to shower each morning and/or evening. When you switch the boiler on it fires up for about a minute before overheating and tripping off again. This gives you about thirty seconds of warm water in which to jump in the shower, splash yourself all over, soap yourself up and, if you’re lucky, there might be just enough warm water to rinse off again before the ice-water resumes normal service. If you are thinking of washing your hair, forget it! They promise us that we will have hot water by Monday evening so we’ve got our fingers crossed.

It’s now absolutely clear to me that our friends who looked after Molly in our absence were looking after the wrong dog. Both sets said that she was good as gold and never uttered a sound. Now that she is back home she has resumed barking whenever she wants to go out. That, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing but what’s happening is that Molly has resorted to excessively frequent barking in an attempt to organise our lives for her benefit. She’s no dummy, of course, and knows that when she gets let out in the morning she gets a modest helping of breakfast upon her return. Now, she has started barking at 6.45 in the morning in what seems to be an obvious attempt to get us up out of bed so that she can get have her breakfast. In the evening she gets a little snack as we retire – she’s now started reminding us of this fact beginning at about 8.30 each evening and continuing every five minutes or so until she finally gets let out and back in again. Sometimes she is very cheeky and will bark again about five minutes after she’s just had whatever it is she’s been asking for.

Bark'n for no Reason

Photos from the XCstravaganza celebration have slowly been arriving in the SkyDrive “cloud” we set up for the purpose. Those of you who were attendees will have had the instructions for uploading your least bad photos – if you’ve misplaced the e-mail and/or forgotten, drop me a note and I will happily send the destructions again. For those of you who were not attendees but who would like to see a few photos of the celebrations you can do so here. I’ve uploaded some more this week including some pictures of Steph and Hope’s new house. I must chastise some attendees, however, who have yet to upload any photos! There are a number of empty folders which need some content!

Family Foto

I am always delighted when I run across articles suggesting that red wine is good for you. We’ve had numerous articles in the past indicating that modest consumption of red wine is good for your heart in particular. I recently ran across an article in the Guardian which suggests that red wine is also good for one’s mental health.

A glass of wine a day may keep the blues at bay, according to a Spanish study of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

The research, part of the broader Predimed report on the Mediterranean diet, followed 5,500 light to moderate drinkers of both sexes over a period of seven years and found that those who drank two to seven glasses of wine a week were less prone to depression than non-drinkers.

One glass of red wine each dayThe problem, however, has always been judging how much wine is good for you and at what point excessive consumption might lead to issues. So, I was similarly delighted when our friend Erik Benson sent a link to a helpful photo along with a note indicating that doctors recommend drinking one glass of wine a day. It works for me!

Love to you all,