How nice to see you, A nas ta si a

The tortoises prepare themselves for hibernation, in the first instance by losing their appetites.  A hibernating animal must have an empty gut, as food ferments or rots over the weeks inside them.  With their slow metabolism, this takes quite some time in reptiles.  The babies fast for about a fortnight and Edweena for a month.  However, Natasha has just been dozing on and off since they stopped eating, though Anastasia burrowed down and slept.  The cold snap over the weekend, I hoped, would send Natasha to sleep properly – but in fact, Anastasia woke up instead.

I have given up.  I’ve set up a plastic crate of earth in the kitchen under a heat lamp, have given them a bath and food (not sure that they’ve eaten yet though) and they are busy basking and exploring.  I’ve left Edweena in the porch and i hope she will hibernate soon, it’s about time.

I had a lovely weekend in good company.  Ann and Mike came to lunch on Friday,  Charlotte came to stay on Saturday night and Tim popped up to continue his house hunting.  I even have started that myself – not that I’m sure when I’ll feel like putting this house on the market.  As you know, I was keen to do so as quickly as I could, but the last year has been much easier in practical terms than I expected and the urgency has left me.  All the same, having heard of a particular house that’s coming on the market sometime next year, I asked Weeza’s friend, who is a mutual contact, to give the owners my name and they invited me over.

It’s a very interesting situation – on a lovely stretch of the River Bure on the edge of a small town, it’s a fabulous location.  The owners haven’t long moved in, having had it built themselves, but now want to build another house to their exact, rather more modern, specifications, having been obliged to refine their plans by the Broads Authority and planners because of the house’s sensitive location.  I’m not at all sure that it would be big enough for me – though they’ve sensibly gone for a few big rooms rather than lots of small ones – but it has a lot to recommend it.  I must write an email to thank them, I’d like to keep the door open, as it were, but I doubt if I’ll actually want it in the long run and it’s on the edge of what I could afford anyway, it would be a stretch.  The running costs would be a fraction of here, though.  Whatever happens, it’s not a bad idea to start to get a feel for what’s out there.  I was quite straightforward with the owners, explained that I’m not ready to sell yet.

After that, the family lunch that I mentioned the other day went well and the children were a delight, as always.  They managed to be pretty patient as they waited for the food to arrive and I taught Zerlina how to fold napkins into a waterlily and a slipper.

I haven’t mentioned that I woke on Sunday morning to snow – in fact, it was snowing when I went to bed on Saturday night too.  There wasn’t enough for a snowman, but I had quite a lot to clear from the car before going out.  I have moved the coop with two-month-old chicks and their mother into the greenhouse, where they will be warmer.

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