The young Moroccan glazier from Pascal’s workshop took us by surprise this morning, he knocked on the barn doors at 730, we were sitting on the sofas with the cats, he looked equally surprised to see us living in the barn. They delivered a lorry load of conservatory bits; the pile grows, on the terrace there is now a huge pile of cardboard boxes which must contain the joints. I was hoping they would stay here and start assembling it, but they just unloaded the boxes and disappeared. I went into town with a van load of accumulated rubbish to the recycling bins, then did some shopping, our local garden centre had some poinsettias, so I stocked up with a few for the barn. Once home I embarked on making mince pies. I volunteered a few weeks ago to make 100 for a charity Christmas function at the garden centre as I have developed a method of doing large numbers at high speed. I left a kilo of flour and half a kilo of butter churning slowly in the Kenwood chef bowl for a few minutes, added a bit of water, and hey ho a huge lump of ready to roll pastry. Philip laughed at my method in a superior way, he does everything by hand, but it tastes exactly the same. In fact the ensuing mince pies were not perfect. Asda make mincemeat which liquefies and expands, and seeps out under the lids, and that was after wetting the pastry edges and sticking them down firmly. So they don’t look very pretty, I’ll have to cover them with sieved icing sugar. Still 25 more to do, I might try another brand of mincemeat for those. Philip sat on the terrace making a Christmas wreath. We have holly leaves in the garden but no berries, so he’s used some from the pyracanthus, doubt if they will last long but it looks very pretty at the moment hanging next to the front door.