Today, I was up at the crack of dawn, literally, to get across town to catch a train to Winchester, where I'd been invited to a Bloggy Meet up by the lovely Penny at The Hen House. First it was a bus to Bank, then the 'Drain' or tube from Bank to Waterloo, followed by a train to Winchester. The first part of the journey was the worst. Just getting across London at rush hour is tricky and something I haven't had to negotiate for a good 15 years, believe it or not, since I was a student. I forgot how busy it is at this time of the day with everyone rushing to get to work.
Anyway, I managed to paint my nails and read a few pages of a new book on the train and then met up with Penny and her daughter and another blogger Alix and we all headed into town. It was lovely to meet her in person, although I was pretty nervous as I'd never arranged to meet up with another blogger before. It might not have shown Penny, but I was. I tend to talk a lot when I'm nervous so I apologise if I was a bit too chatty. We all went for a coffee and a chat before heading to the Christmas Market at the Cathedral for a look around. We had a lovely leisurely stroll around the town and it's shops too, I even managed to pick up the odd Christmas present, followed by a lovely lunch at the pub. I had to head back quite early (3 pm) to get back to London before the rush hour began again but I had a super day out and everyone made me feel really at ease which was greatly appreciated. Thank you Penny, Alix and Jess for the good company. With all the chatting I completely forgot to take any photos of course, but I think Penny might be posting one at some point.
When I got in, I immediately felt the benefit of our latest installation. A coal burning stove. Here it is fully fitted. It had been installed in my absence and it was nice to come home to it all up and running, complete with required carbon monoxide monitor. It's not a new stove as it was given to us by OH's father on our last visit to Yorkshire after they replaced theirs for a larger one, but it works perfectly and is a good size for our second reception room.
We're hoping it might even save us some money on fuel, as currently our open fireplace is far less efficient with much more heat being lost up the chimney. As you can see we do need to do a bit of repainting around the stove, but hopefully this will get done before Christmas. Already the puppy/dog has become well acquainted with it and has claimed the warmest place in the house. She's no fool.
The rest of this evening has been spent catching up with work, housework, putting out the rubbish and recycling for collection tomorrow, catching up with the day's news and gearing up for Little Bird's School Christmas Fair tomorrow.