Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A last goodbye........

Since yesterday we've been away to attend PP's nephew's funeral.  His family live deep in the Cambridgeshire countryside, in the midst of flat, featureless fens.  It's an area of the country I've never visited before and I was astounded at how foreign it felt, in comparison to the gently rolling  green hills and woodlands of East Sussex.

I'm sure that on a warm, bright, summer's day, the fens feel very different, but in the bitterly cold and bleak, dying days of January, they presented a rather desolate vista.  With few trees and hedgerows, there is little to deflect the force of gales blowing in from the North Sea.  The occasional hardy trees which dot the landscape bear the brunt of the winds and seem to be vainly struggling to cling on to the rich, peaty soil, which is a startling, universal black.

This landscape seemed to reflect the universal sadness felt by everyone who attended the service yesterday.  By their very nature, funerals are always immensely sad occasions, but I have rarely experienced such an emotional and deeply moving ceremony, perfectly judged, simple and heartfelt.  

A fitting valediction for a kind and gentle man who was so obviously loved and held in high regard not only by his family, but by his friends, neighbours and work colleagues, so many of whom packed into the crematorium to celebrate a life well lived, and say a final goodbye........

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The clock is ticking......

Work continues on our preparations for the Thame Fair in just under three week's time.  Due to the sad events of the last two weeks, my schedule has, inevitably, gone slightly awry, but no matter.

There are far more important things in life than work.

I'm aiming to get back on track this week and I'm hopeful that I will have at least one new mini kit ready in time for the fair.

We're also working on the next Home Workshop Pack, details of which will be announced in February.

Lastly, time is running out on our January Sale which expires on Tuesday.  There are still a few bargains to be had.....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


I've been working on a new kit today, aimed at demystifying the process of wigging tiny microdolls.  As a result I am covered from head to toe in a fine layer of viscose. 

It's on my eyelashes, up my nose, in my mouth.....the fine filaments seems to get everywhere.

However I've managed to amass a tray full of a variety of different wigmaking sections, which will go into the kits, hopefully in time for Thame.

In other news, it's Burns Night tonight.  Sadly we won't be tucking into the traditional dinner of haggies, neeps and champit tatties, although I may well succumb to a wee dram of a very acceptable single malt before the night is out.

Meanwhile, Small Dog is doing a very good impression of a wee sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie, having been hunting up the garden, under the hedge and in the long grass, getting cold and wet in the process.  She is most upset that I won't allow her to use my lap as a heated towel.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

January sale......

My tidy up today has turned into a full-scale clearout, so I've listed some old stock or discontinued toy dolls, books and games on the website HERE at up to half price.

These sale items will be available until the end of January but it seems that the word has already got out and things are going quickly.

I also have some bigger items for sale which can't be posted, including a 1/12th scale conservatory, a doll's house basement kit, and an 8-roomed display mounted on a turntable. These are only available to pick up either from my home or alternatively can be collected at the Thame Fair next month. I'll sort out details and photographs for those tomorrow.

I've still not finished sorting out the workroom though, so more 'surplus to requirements' treasures may yet come to light.

Sisyphean task.......

As a child I lived in the world of fairy tales and myths.  I still have a book which belonged to my mother when she was a small child, Tales of the Arabian nights, and even just looking at the coloured plates can instantly transport me back to being curled up on the sofa in front of the coal fire, following the exploits of Sinbad or Aladdin.

Similarly I was fascinated by myths and legends, particularly the Greek myths, where a miserly king could turn his beloved daughter into gold, and gods and goddesses plagued the lives of mortals.

I must have had a maudlin mindset though, as the myths which particularly captured my imagination were ones where the hero was set an impossible task which they would invariably overcome, or even more to my liking were the ingenious punishments meted out in Hades, such as the one eventually endured by King Sisyphus, who spawned his own adjective.

He had a long-running feud with the gods which was bound to end in tears.  First he angered them by telling Asophus that Zeus (who admittedly did have a reputation for such things) had carried off his daughter, Aegina.   Not content with that, when Death came for him, Sisyphus chained him up, temporarily granting immortality to all of humanity.  When he was finally brought down to the underworld he instructed his wife to leave his body unburied which served as an excellent excuse to travel back up (primarily in order to punish his long-suffering wife) and live for a long time before dying again.  However, by that time, inevitably, he had built up a lot of bad blood in Hades, so when he finally arrived he was given a cruel and unusual sentence.

His punishment was to endlessly roll a massive stone up a hill.  As soon as it reached the top it would fall all the way back to the bottom and he would have to start again.

He must have been a bit of a tourist attraction in Hades, as Homer wrote:

And I saw Sisyphus at his endless task raising his prodigious stone with both his hands. With hands and feet he tried to roll it up to the top of the hill, but always, just before he could roll it over on to the other side, its weight would be too much for him, and the pitiless stone would come thundering down again on to the plain.

The Greek myths are littered with cracking stories like this, such as the daughters of Danaus whose task was drawing water in a sieve, or poor Tantalus  (who gave us the word 'tantalising') who had to stand in a pool, his chin level with the water, eternally thirsty, as if he bent his head to drink the water immediately drained away. As if that wasn't bad enough, he was also surrounded by fruit laden trees but if he tried to pick any, the winds whirled the branches high above his reach.

So, the moral of these tales is fairly obvious...... don't aggravate the gods.

But I digress.

This morning I am tackling a similar ordeal.


There is not a single square millimetre of useful space on any surface anywhere in the workroom.  Likewise the floor, which is piled with boxes, bits of display stand etc.  A bit of mess is to be expected in the run up to a fair but this is ridiculous.

So I intend spending the next few hours attempting to restore some semblance of order to the chaos.

My very own Sisyphean task.......


How small is too small.......?

Having moved down a scale, from 1/12th to 1/24th, I can appreciate the extra effort which goes into the smaller micro scales. 

I spent several hours yesterday working on the kit of a very elaborate 1/144th scale 'Tower House', for hopefully obvious reasons, so I can only imagine the trials and tribulations of this 'uber micro' artist.....

Absolutely amazing work and such a modest, self-effacing genius.....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Creative endeavours........

I just can't seem to get warm today.  My hands are absolutely freezing, which makes working on my 1/144th scale Tower House a bit tricky, so have abandoned that until the heating comes back on later and have been concentrating instead on some new Alice in Wonderland toys.

My carefully planned work schedule for Thame has gone right out the window so I've decided to work on things I actively enjoy doing, rather than those I feel I should be doing.

At least for this week.

I had also been intending sorting out our February home workshop pack project but in the current circumstances, and with the Thame Fair also in February, I may not have time.

No matter, I have plenty of ideas to be going on with........

Sunday, 22 January 2012


The past 5 days have been extremely difficult and highly emotional.  Although I'm not family, I've been with them every step of the way and it is impossible not to share the emotional impact.

As always, the family is pulling together, with everyone looking after one another and trying to come to terms with the overwhelming shock and grief, each in their own way.

Creativity has been beyond me this week, but I've been trying to keep busy, mostly doing mindless admin-related tasks...... anything which doesn't require a great deal of thought or imagination.  Over the next week though I need to try to get back in the saddle and get back on track with preparations for the Thame Fair in 4 weeks time.  It's good that I've got something to focus on otherwise I'd just be faffing around achieving nothing and feeling more and more ineffectual.

I'm going to have to radically prune my 'to do' lists though, which is probably no bad thing......

Friday, 20 January 2012

So sad........

It's been a very sad week....

PP's nephew passed away on Wednesday.  

Only two years younger than me, I knew him as a loving and devoted son, husband and father, totally committed to his family... a kind and gentle man.

In such a short time he had so much to deal with.....neurosurgery, chemotherapy, aggressive drug treatments, a gruelling course of radiotherapy......  all of which he bore with an indomitable spirit and as much humour and good grace as he could muster. 

Sadly, despite a herculean effort, the disease proved too cruel and relentless. 

Those left behind, his mum and dad, wife, son and daughter, his relatives, as well as his many friends, are now struggling to come to terms with his sudden loss.

So, very, very sad......

Monday, 16 January 2012

Delusions of grandeur......

With less than 5 weeks to go till the Thame Fair, I called an impromptu business breakfast meeting this morning, in order to rally the troops.

Small Dog is always a reluctant attendee at business meetings, especially if there are no tempting treats, but give her her due....... she was there, right on time, bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

After running through the To Do lists, and allocating the various tasks for this week, Small Dog asked for an item to be added to 'Any Other Business', which we allowed.

Taking centre stage (well, the middle of the rug) and commanding our full attention, she suggested that we initiate an 'Employee of the Month' award, and put herself forward for January.

After we'd finished laughing uproariously for a good ten minutes, during which Small Dog eyed us contemptuously, I pointed out that her track record as an employee was less than glittering, and enquired why she thought she merited the award. 

This was playing right into her paws.

Straight off she recounted her 'brilliant' marketing idea for 'Dog Eared Dolls', which admittedly we had scotched immediately.
Then she reeled off her current 'onerous' duties within the company..... Business Mascot, Sleeping Partner, Clapper Dog and Tea Dog.  There followed a spirited discourse over the latter, and the fact that she had never, ever made either of us a cup of tea, which, after an increasingly acrimonious altercation, she did finally accept.

Although she did point out that she was always there, or thereabouts, if there were ever tea (and possibly biscuits) so surely that counted for something.

It is gratifying to know that Small Dog is putting so much thought into ways to increase our business revenues, not to mention morale-boosting ideas, but I have to admit, I'm not too sure about this whole 'Employee of the Month' malarkey.

However, I'm sure I haven't heard the end of it..........

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Is it just me............

..... or is there something very, very wrong about this video?

So much for no displacement activity this weekend.  Reminds me of the cautionary tale of The Lion and Albert

I've never liked zoos..... or circuses *shudder*

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Working weekend..... again

Really crisp, hard frost this morning.  We need several really cold days like this to harden up our front lawn so that we can move the caravan off the drive and into its spot over by the fence.... the ground has been too soft and muddy and we don't want to risk it sinking up to its axles again!

Will be working today and tomorrow.  With the Thame Fair just 5 weeks away I need to buckle down and get on with my hopelessly optimistic 'To Do' list.

I don't really know why I call it that.  There are several more appropriate list titles.

Such as the..... 'If I Can Get Round To It' list
Or the...... 'Would Be Great If I Could Manage These' list
Or even the...... 'Not A Cat's Chance In Hell Of Achieving These' list

However, 5 weeks is a relatively long time so I'm cautiously confident that I'll be able to tick off at least 25% of the list contents.

More likely 20%

Almost definitely 15%


In other news, orders for the wee kiltie toy doll kits end tomorrow so if you've been trying to make your mind up which tartan to go for, or need any further information, just send me an email.  Purchasers of the kits will also have access to a video tutorial, plus interactive online session on 31 January. 

Right.... I'm off to huddle by the radiator in the workroom and get some work done. So no displacement activity for me today......


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Breaking news........

Small Dog takes a keen interest in stories about Yorkshire Terriers around the world.  So when this popped into her 'inbox' earlier this evening she especially asked me to share it with you.

While Small Dog is not unhappy for her namesake to wear the crown of World's Smallest Working Dog, she has expressed the opinion that surely the number of working hours should count towards the accolade and has decided to write to the Guinness Book of Records to see if there is an award for 'Small Dog who works the longest number of hours per week'.

According to her, she holds down two full time and one part time jobs, namely Business Mascot (full-time), Sleeping Partner (full-time) and Clapper Dog (part-time).  

She is now a dog with a mission...... and we know what she's like when she gets the bit between her teeth.

Small Dog Productions presents............

After a number of false starts this morning, including ditching the flexible tripod thingy which kept falling off my lap, PP and I managed to solve all of the many unforeseen problems which arose, and I finally managed to complete the filming for our video tutorial.

However, first I had to make something vital to help things along........

I had to do that because experience has taught me that every time I start to do something which requires complete silence I can absolutely guarantee that the phone or the doorbell will ring, or Small Dog will suddenly decide to practice her barking exercises? 

Granted, my video tutorials might be a bit rough round the edges, but extraneous noise on the soundtrack is a definite faux pas.

Speaking of Small Dog, she did enquire if there were any vacancies for Clapper Dog.  She was duly interviewed and performed so well that she was offered the job on the spot.  
We settled on a remuneration package of 1 treat biscuit per scene, with a half hour break for walk and wees, plus invitation to the wrap party.  She was a bit miffed that there wasn't a uniform but we compromised by putting on her scarf so that she could demonstrate she was part of the production team.

So, all in all, a good day's work.  Tomorrow we'll start on the editing and Small Dog can apply for the position of Tea Dog if she likes.......

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud.......

That rhythmic banging noise you can hear is the sound of my forehead repeatedly hitting my desk.

And the reason for this self-flagellation.....?

Well today I decided to take a run at the video tutorial for the little toy doll's doll in tartan, which has to be ready for the online session on 31 January.  So I tidied my desk, carefully positioned the lighting and started to set up the video camera.

I recently found a rather nifty flexible tripod which I thought would make it easier to film things in closeup,  with the camera, on my desk.....

It really is quite a well made piece of kit.  Each of the light coloured sections can move independently through 360 degrees in any direction and the rubbery feet means that it can 'grip' onto slippery surfaces.

So, I played around with it for a while, trying to find the perfect position where it the camera could capture exactly what I was doing with my hands.  I should mention that I already have a full height adjustable camera tripod, but it takes up a lot of space, which is severely restricted in the workroom.  If I do manage to prop it up behind me so that the camera films over my shoulder, invariably it gets knocked over, or because the viewing screen is behind me I don't get the work centred properly in the viewfinder. 

In theory, the small desktop tripod ticked all the boxes for solving my problems.

In theory........

In practice, things weren't quite so straightforward.  With the camera positioned to the side of my workmat, I had to work at a very uncomfortable angle which was impossible to sustain.
I then tried it at the back of the workmat but the viewing angle was completely wrong.

Putting it right in front of me on the desk, I had problems seeing over the top of the camera to what I was doing, although the angle was much better.

Finally, I tried wrapping two of the tripod legs round what I laughingly call my waist, with the third performing the function of steadying the camera against the edge of the desk.  This did work.  

Sort of.

I could see the screen, the distance and viewing angle were perfect.  The only problem was that my hands kept wandering out of shot if I looked at what I was doing rather than watching the viewfinder.

So far so good.  Nothing a little practice won't fix. With the first section completed, I then had to transfer it into the computer for editing.

This was when the fun really started.

My laptop doesn't have a firewire port, so I have to first transfer the AVI video onto the desktop computer, then put the video into a shared network folder which I can access from my laptop.
I've done it loads of times, but because I don't do it frequently or regularly, I can never remember exactly what to do each time. 

There followed a frustrating hour or so while PP and I tried various combinations of ways to capture the video.  My video camera is several years old and records onto mini DV tapes.  Modern cameras record directly onto digital media, SD cards and the like, which are simplicity itself to transfer from the camera into a computer. 

Eventually, by dint of switching off the computer and switching it back on again (go figure) we did manage to persuade the camera to communicate with the computer and eventually managed to transfer the video file into the editing software.

All of this took all afternoon, just for 4 minutes of video!

Hence the thud, thud, thud, thud, thud.........

However, I now know what NOT to do, so I'll have another go at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Because you're worth it.........

Forget detox, diets and dermabrasion.  

So long exercise, enemas and electrolysis.

Say goodbye to botox, body buffing and bogus beauty claims

If only we'd known it was this simple......

Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Lost in translation...........

Despite the fact I'm supposed to be completely focused on work at the moment, with no time at all for displacement activity, I did get sidetracked over the weekend by a rather marvellous blog.

Apart from the lovely toys I was particularly taken with a certain couple of small dogs, which you can see if you scroll down the page.

So I got in touch with Catherine to let her know how much I enjoyed her blog and website, especially the dogs, and mentioned Small Dog too.  In a few email exchanges, each of us trying our best to communicate in each other's language, me in my schoolgirl French and with the aid of an online translator for the words I couldn't remember, and she in much better English, I described Small Dog as 'délabré' intending to mean 'scuffy'.  

I had an email earlier this evening from an amused Catherine, saying that "In French it means that she is like an old house damaged by time, everything is broken and it is difficult to stand up"!

I have refrained from relaying this information to Small Dog.  She would be insulted enough by my description of her as scruffy, let alone a derelict old house

I think I'll steer clear of online translators from now on.....


Warm, fuzzy glow........

Having kept my head down, working, working working all day today I now have a warm,fuzzy glow of satisfaction.  Which is just as well as it's been really cold all day and our heating has only just come on.  I'm seriously considering a pair of fingerless mitts as there were points today when my hands were so cold I could hardly hold a sewing needle.

Nevertheless, progress on orders for our January Home Workshop Pack has been steady  and I'm hoping to be ready to make a start on the video tutorial tomorrow so I'm keeping my frostbitten fingers crossed that we will have a bright sunny day tomorrow to add to the natural light in the workroom.

Thus far, 75% of people who have ordered a kit have chosen Royal Stewart tartan, which I must admit is my favourite too.  When I was doing a bit of background research I discovered that it is the best known tartan of the royal House of Stewart, and is also the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II. As such it is appropriate for all her subjects  to wear the Royal Stewart tartan in the same way as clan members may wear the tartan of their clan chief.

To say nothing of its patronage by ageing rocker Rod Stewart. 

In other news, there are now less than 6 weeks until the Thame Fair so I must guard against any hints of complacency, to which I am chronically prone.  

38 days might sound like quite a long time, and indeed if you are counting down to a much-anticipated social event or holiday those days will just crawl by.  However if you're counting down to a work-related deadline they will zap past in a flash.  It seems like only yesterday I had a whole 70 days in which to completely redesign and prepare a stunning display while simultaneously creating lots of new miniature toys and dolls. 

Might have to start burning the midnight oil..... at least it might help warm me up.

New year, same old..........

Despite the fact I worked all over the weekend, today has a definite Monday - first day of the working week feeling.  It's cold and resolutely grey outside and I'm trying to get myself organised so that I can make a stab at achieving the frankly ridiculous amount of stuff on my 'to do this week' list.

Having worked through the weekend, I should be feeling positively virtuous, but in common with probably most of the population of the UK, I'm facing this first full working week of the New Year with a definite sense of 'meh', swiftly followed by a hearty helping of 'bleargh' and a side order of 'whatever'.

Perhaps I should take up a new hobby.......

SENSE OF FLYING from Goovinn on Vimeo.

Friday, 6 January 2012

January Home Workshop Pack available now......

I'm delighted to announce the release of our first home workshop pack of 2012.....

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Full details are on our website and we will be taking orders until Sunday 15 January on a first come first served basis.

I'm really quite excited about our new Home Workshop Packs.  We used to offer them several years ago, in conjunction with our one day workshops, but thanks to the march of technology we can now produce a video tutorial and embed it in our cosy virtual classroom, which also has live video and audio links.  This means that students can actually see how the various projects are made AND participate in an interactive online session without leaving the comfort of their home, wherever they are in the world!

Not only that, they can revisit the video tutorial whenever they like, and of course we offer full email support on a continuing basis until students have completed their project.

We have lots of exciting ideas for miniature projects in the coming year so keep a lookout for updates on this blog and our website.

In other news, the friendly countdown timer on my desktop informs me that I have just 40 prep days left before our first (and very possibly only) fair of 2012 at Thame in Oxfordshire on Saturday 18th February.  A quick glance at my 'to do' list of new toys and kits to have ready in time for Thame does nothing to reassure me.

I sense a full-on working weekend in prospect....

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

It begins............

It would appear that my premonition that 2012 is beginning badly is being borne out.

Our post was late today, arriving around lunchtime, and contained a letter from my bank informing me that they had identified some unusual activity on the business current account and that a member of the security and fraud team wished to speak to me URGENTLY.

Slightly worried, I called the designated number and had my worries confirmed when none of the security information I supplied on the automated transfer system was accepted.  Despite having done nothing wrong, by the time I worked my way through to speak to a member of the fraud team I was in full 'guilt mode' and convinced that the FBI, CIA, MI5 and Interpol would all be hacking into the call to witness my confession to major financial fraud.

Apparently my account had been 'compromised', despite nothing having been taken, and, so far as I could understand, no attempt having been made to use my debit card information.  However the fraud chap was adamant that their system had flagged up that the card was on the cusp of being used for nefarious purposes, and they wanted to check on three transactions in particular, made on 20 December.  

One was for an online payment to a supplier I've used for many years, another was for £1.97 to the Post Office I always use for sending out orders, and the third was for a cash withdrawal of a relatively small amount, just four days before Christmas.

Now, call me pedantic, but I'm fairly sure that fraudsters wouldn't make use of my card to buy a small packet of  craft PhotoFabric, then pop round to the Post Office in Battle Road to carry out a transaction for £1.97.   I'll grant that the cash withdrawal directly from the business account is relatively unusual, but surely not enough to warrant a fraud investigation given that it was taken out from the ATM inside my usual bank and well within the daily withdrawal limit.

Having solemnly sworn in triplicate that the three suspect transactions were completely authorised and above board, the fraud chap equally solemnly informed me that in any case they would be cancelling the suspect debit card and issuing me with another which would be with me in 5-7 working days.  Leaving me with the problem of how to make payment for some due bills for which I'm going to have to do an online transfer to another account then pay using a different card.

Part of me is pleased that my bank is working so hard to keep my account safe and secure, another part of me is annoyed that I'm being inconvenienced for no apparent reason.  And yet another more paranoid part of me is becoming convinced that 2012 has it in for me and there's still 361 days to go.......


As predicted, following my physical exertions yesterday, I can barely move today.  Absolutely everything hurts and I'm forced to move around like Mrs Overall playing a hunchback dwarf.

I may also have been a tad over optimistic about setting the workroom to rights..... it took me nearly 10 minutes just to drag the partly deflated guest airbed and all the bedding out of it and into the sitting room.

Thankfully, I don't have to tackle taking down the Christmas decorations today as I had it drummed into me as a child that it was incredibly bad luck to do so before Twelfth Night, which is tomorrow.

Twelfth Night is defined as "The evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking".
Oxford English Dictionary
So, 5th January is when all Christmas decorations should be removed so as not to bring bad luck upon the home. If they are not removed on Twelfth Night they should stay up all year.

So now you know. 
Actually, after the day we had yesterday it was comforting to snuggle up in the glow of all the festive lights festooning the sitting room.  It always seems a shame to take them down at the very moment, early in gloomy January, when they would provide most cheer.

I'm normally a 'glass half full' kind of girl, but even I don't have very high hopes for 2012.  Already this year my DAB radio and electric toothbrush have both given up the ghost and since these things generally happen in 3s I'm nervously awaiting the next electrical demise.

Also, 23 January marks the Chinese New Year which will be the Year of the Dragon..... universally acknowledged to be very 'challenging' for those born in the Year of the Dog, which includes both myself, my daughter and (most notably) Small Dog.

Not that I believe in any of that superstitious nonsense.........


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012....... meh

And so we have returned today from a Twixmas sojourn in our little caravan, along with camping friends to celebrate the New Year.  It was a most enjoyable short break until the early hours of this morning, when gale force winds assailed the campsite and at points during the night I genuinely feared for our lives as the van violently shook and shuddered and potentially deadly debris flew around the site.

The weather deteriorated even further this morning as the already gale force winds stepped up a notch and rain came down in horizontal sheets.  Motorhomes and campervans were able to leave, albeit gingerly, but all the caravanners had no option but to wait it out.  Even the most experienced caravan towers would think twice before hitching up and setting out in such high winds and having canvassed opinion from friends on what to do, the advice was firm and unequivocal...... 'stay put'.

Thankfully, after a bravura finale, during which I thought the storm was going to physically lift the caravan off our pitch and hurl us into the sea, the wind suddenly died down, and although it was still raining heavily we decided to make a run for it.  Packing the car and hitching up in the pouring rain isn't much fun at the best of times but we were so grateful that the gales had died down that we didn't grumble much.

The journey home was uneventful but several days of heavy rain have left our steeply sloping front garden sodden and waterlogged, so getting the caravan off the road and up onto its allotted space was an absolute nightmare.  The electric mover couldn't grip the caravan tyres and a combination of the gradient and the weight of the van resulted in the wheels sinking practically up to the axles in mud.  

After 90 minutes of struggling to try to push it bodily into place, our garden looked like the Somme and I was practically sobbing with pain and exhaustion.  Eventually we had to abandon trying to get it onto the garden and put it on the drive instead.  This means that we will have to attempt to put it where it should go later in the week, hopefully with the aid of a few fit and healthy young helpers who can help manhandle it into position.

So, not the most propitious of starts to the New Year.

I am avoiding making any resolutions this year, as they invariably fall by the wayside by the third week in January.  We still have food to eat from the Christmas glut but that's fine in the gloomy, cold, dark days of early January.  At least I shall be drought and famine resistant for the next few weeks.

It's back to work for me tomorrow, or it will be when I have packed up all the guest bed paraphernalia from the workroom, and relocated all the stuff temporarily stored in there for the duration of the festivities.  I'm actually quite looking forward to getting back to it and having some proper structure to my day.  A wealth of Christmas stationery has provided me with the wherewithal to record my creative thoughts and ideas and I've been using some of my festive holiday period to indulge in some forward planning so I will be calling a business breakfast meeting tomorrow morning to discuss work issues.  Small Dog has been informed that her attendance is compulsory and aside from giving me a long-suffering "do I have to?" and "will there be crispy bacon rolls?" look she has refrained from further comment.

It only remains for me to wish all my loyal blog readers a belated but sincere Happy New Year.  Let's hope it's a good one.......