Monica collected a car on Monday so we’re mobile again. She really wanted to buy a 4WD, diesel Fiat Panda because it’s about the greenest thing that will climb our hill on a slippery day. We tried out the only one for sale in the country, in Chesterfield, travelling there in the truck. They don’t make them any more and they have an enthusiastic following, so the price was as much as a new one would have cost. We both liked it but, when we imagined travelling to Ireland or Europe with Monica’s parents, we realised there would be no room for luggage or the dog. As it happened, the dealer had just received one of the few Fiat Sedici diesels (another good 4WD model they stopped selling) that is almost as green (40–60mpg), if you drive carefully, and has lots more room and was cheaper, so she bought it. When I took the truck in for a check-up the next day, they discovered it had no fan! Sheared off somewhere; very lucky that the weather was cool driving up from Watford and across to Chesterfield. All better now.

Neil may have noticed that we didn’t come to London for Australia Day, 26th January. Tracking our container, we thought it might be here in the next couple of days, so we cancelled the trip. We still haven’t worked out what to do with the hound when we stay away, so that was another factor. We will talk, soon, to make space for the Scotland and Pyrenees trips.

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