Emma was taking delivery of her ‘new’ bedroom furniture with the aid of her dad and her mum’s car this morning, which left me with a good opportunity to start sorting stuff. And I had a reasonably productive morning at it. Gathering together old video tapes that have since been duplicated by dvds and an (admittedly) small collection of books I was able to make a first delivery to Oxfam in town, and said goodbye to my old bike (a 16th birthday present) to the tip. I was encouraged by the man there, who said that they had someone who came and collected them, fixed them up and then shipped them out to Africa. I like the idea of my trusty steed cycling for years around a desert somewhere…

When Emma did arrive, we headed straight off to get some sun (admittedly of the setting variety) at Stowe landscape gardens. I had hoped to revel in my enjoyment of snowdrops but were too late to get into the gardens, so we went for a very pleasant walk around the outer-estate instead amongst blue sky and golden light.

Originally uploaded by shepline on 17 Feb ’08, 7.37pm GMT PST.

Originally uploaded by shepline on 17 Feb ’08, 7.36pm GMT PST.

Originally uploaded by shepline on 17 Feb ’08, 7.33pm GMT PST.

…and then, to round off a nice afternoon we went out to dinner at Ros and Nick’s. Good food, in the form of a vegetable currey, and good company; I like these friends. By way of comparison to the houses we have seen so far, they gave us the guided tour, and told us about this curious hot air central heating system. Rather than radiators the houses were built with boilers in the centre of the house that warms the air and pushes it out into all the rooms of the house via grills in the walls. Curious…