No television, no sound except the rattle of the computer keys and the ticking of the clock. The garden is watering itself from time to time (ie it is drizzling outside).
We've come back from visiting my Godmother; she is getting stir crazy. They let her have a zimmer frame for a toilet trip and she was off like a ferret down a rabbit hole, the nurse having to move smartly to keep up. 'Oh my, we aren't used to them going that fast,' cried the nurse as she set off in pursuit. She still tires quickly; it's going to be a while yet before she gets her discharge papers and goes home.
Anyway, here are some random thoughts
Inside this unlikely-looking package are four Jacob's crackers, four squares of cheddar, a dollop of Branston pickle and a small plastic spreader. When you have spent a day in and out of a hospital visiting an elderly relative, have had too many lukewarm mediocre coffees and are facing a 90 minute drive home, one of these packets shared between us is a surprisingly excellent thing.
As are these Itsu chocolate rice cakes, shared between us as we drive home, or these mini pretzels
In future we are going to keep small containers of pretzels and similar delicacies in the car. Not the cheese thingies though. I don't think they have that kind of shelf life, and spreading Branston pickle onto crackers and handing them to the driver is probably A Bad Idea.
We have found a Waitrose halfway along one of the routes home, relatively easy to get to with a reasonable car park (especially with the Panda which turns on a sixpence and slips into awkward spaces with ease). As well as selling food, it has Important facilities like loos, and a cafe which sells macaroni cheese with cauliflower and bacon - the ultimate comfort food.
Food and evening meals have been a bit of an issue recently. We are getting more canny, buying things that can go into the freezer if we don't eat them in time, and can also be cooked from frozen.
We've been keeping a record of the differences in the cost of running the Alfas and the Panda. The savings we have made are on track for the Panda to have paid for itself by the end of June.
The accounting is a little tricksy to substantiate; one of the reasons we will reach break even so soon (we had figured on it being October) is because of the savings we make in the difference in cost each time we fill the car with petrol. Because the number of long distance trips we have been doing, we are obviously filling the tank more often, and therefore saving money more frequently... I did wonder if we should buy another Panda in order to make even more savings, but I am assured that that's not quite how it works.