I have been unable to use my On Line Banking reader with my debit card for a while without getting an ERROR message. Not understanding whether the problem lay with the card or with the reader we visited the NatWest bank in Lymington to find out.

It is the reader that is at fault. Apparently the battery has run down. Because it is a sealed unit I cannot replace it, and must order a new device on line. Oh frabjous joy. Why, I wonder, did no-one tell me this would eventually happen? How was I to know the thing was battery operated, anyway? Why doesn’t it recharge itself? Is it not smart enough? I’m certainly not.

After learning this, grateful that our car is repaired, Jackie and I took refuge in a Tesco shopping trip.

The reader battery may have been drained, but we haven’t been able to drain the washing machine without flooding the path around the back of the house because the soakaway cannot take the extra load resulting from our increased occupancy.

Greg of Mouland Drainage came this afternoon to create a more effective channel.

This is the original pipe, leading to the soakaway somewhere in the garden.

Having cut a dead straight channel through the concrete floor, Greg laid a new, level, pipe to the kitchen drainage catcher;

mixed cement; and concreted over the new pipe, leaving all a great deal neater than he had found it.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s colourful savoury rice topped with omelette; hot and spicy and salt and pepper prawn preparations; and spring rolls, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône.