After six days without power the lights went on last night. Then off. Then on again, but waveringly. We now have selective light, in some rooms, with a tendency to flicker if anyone else on the row decides they too want illumination. As a result the candles are still much in evidence and Christmas knitting is off the agenda (I did try yesterday with a candelabra but in the end had to rip out as much as I knitted). The heating and the proper cooker are still out, but our trusty Aga and the log burner are standing strong and, joy of joys, we have a tank of hot water and the Wifi has reappeared. Hello world…

All in all I’m counting this as a win. We are off to the (newly reconnected) pub again tonight to celebrate.

Fortified by a long lie and hot shower, Lyra and I strode confidently out this morning to see what was afoot round and about. Yesterday’s flood on the road (into which I had foolishly ventured sans wellies) had largely drained and the remainder was frozen so we were able to get past the corner and up to Butterlaw. No power there yet, but the log burners were blazing and, as Tom has been stockpiling wood as long as we have known him, seemed likely to last the course. The Scottish Power helicopter was buzzing overhead looking for fallen poles and broken lines, so we gave it a cheery wave. (Mum has since advised that the troops are being mobilised so I look forward to a squaddie fixing my heating tomorrow.)

Lyra had her first off the lead hare chase of the season today, in the fields behind Butterlaw. Further training may be required as she was burned off after only a quarter of the field’s length. There then followed a meticulous inspection of the rabbit warren in the hedge in an “I didn’t really want to catch that hare and turned back to focus on this…” manner. We turned for home, Lyra selecting the route which involved maximum navigation of fallen trees. A shortcut through the corner of the little wood, to avoid the fallen power lines in the field, brought us to a patch of giant mushrooms and encounters first with a small deer and then a very fat rabbit. By this stage the lead was on so I veritably water-skied along the muddy ruts until Lyra ran out of puff (thankfully quickly, once her training regime kicks in things could get interesting).

We came back through the field to say hello to the coos, now enjoying the first bale of the season. Keith and Raymond were busy installing fairy lights on the fence. We may not currently have lights in the loo but the field is a strobing technicolour dream. The ladies seemed quite unperturbed when I wandered down to observe the scene in its full glory at at four. Perhaps, when we are not looking, they are engaged in passionate silent disco. I can see Wendy having an inner Olivia Newton John. Snouty though, a bit more Scissor Sisters…

Back home I invented what may be the crack cocaine of toasted snacks – mixed Heinz truffle mayonnaise and grated cheese baked in the oven onto a toasted roll. I am not going to lie, it was complete genius. I gift it to you my readers…enjoy. The remaining light was used to sort out the last of the flowers dried over the summer which I’ve been pottering with a scant hour at a time in the afternoons, before candle lighting time (or the “Dusk Protocols” as Keith portentously calls them) and then clear up the mess. I was quite pleased with the arrangements (though still need to find homes for them) and the leftovers are finding their way into pot pourri selections (of which there will be no shortage).

So all that remains is to huddle by the log burner with the pooch at my feet until pub o’ clock. It’s not a bad life..

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