Martin’s last task yesterday before he left for the weekend was to

most carefully post out the levels of the patio, ensuring that there was the requisite minimal slope for draining off any excess water. Now we await delivery of the stone.

My blogging friend, Ivor.Plumber/Poet has, for many years, been accumulating a ‘Derrick file’ of photographs which he occasionally uses to illustrate his posted poems. This Christmas he has produced

which arrived a couple of days ago. The artistic covers, by the poet’s American niece, thus linking three continents, are based on my photograph which provides a frontispiece.

Three of the photographs are by Jackie. This double spread gives a flavour of those and of Ivor’s poetry.

My author photograph, taken by Becky five years ago, appropriately also shows my wife.

This evening we dined on lemon chicken and Jackie’s egg savoury rice with which I finished the Gran Selone while the others abstained. My mother always made a few jam tarts with surplus pastry from her apple pies; Jackie has done the same with her pumpkin pies, of which she made another today. I chose the jam turnover and Ambrosia custard.