At least our winter flowering cherry was happy with another dreary, yet wet, day.

Last night Louisa asked me to send pictures of her lifelong friend Gemma, who will be 40 tomorrow. I sent her three,

of which this is one from my daughter’s birthday party of May 1993.

Three days ago ‘we began with a trip to the Lymington Post Office collection office to claim a parcel undelivered because of a shortage of £2 in postage. The good news was that there was no queue. The bad news was that the office was closed. I took an alternative option which was to stick the extra postage on the back of their card and post it back to them.’

This is what we received in the post this afternoon:

The first of these images is of the front of the card addressed to the office with my 3 first class stamps attached. At the current rate of postage that is £2.45. The With postage section on the reverse side addressed to us is the direction I followed. Grammar enthusiasts might like to note the superfluous apostrophe in our name. A postman told me that ‘Today’s date’ is the date the post office received the parcel, not the date on which the card was delivered. That was in fact several days later.

I tried very hard to resolve this on line where I couldn’t even access the revised opening times. Of all the options from which to choose to request help there wasn’t one which would cover having received the returned card, clearly addressed to the Delivery Office itself, with no indication of the parcel. And, as usual, there was no way I could find a telephone number.

We decided to go in person. The office was closed. And only open from 8 to 10 a.m. in the morning.

This called for a rainy forest trip.

The anonymous decorator of the Pilley Hill Post Collection Box seems to be celebrating 2022. Maybe it will improve.

Behind Jordan’s Lane alongside which lies Pilley Lake, I enjoyed a friendly conversation with two master thatchers. This cheered me up.

On the lane itself one donkey was guarding her foal while another couple were silently arguing about the bay tree they were pruning. The larger animal kept butting the smaller out of the way.

The Culinary Queen produced another delicious beef pie for tonight’s dinner – and for a couple more besides. Firm boiled potatoes, Brussels sprouts and carrots were the tasty vegetables; onion gravy completed the platefuls which were accompanied by Hoegaarden in Jackie’s case, and Castillo Catadau Gran Reserva 2014 – a delightfully smooth rounded Spanish Tempranillo given by Ian for Christmas, in mine.