By Veronica

Christmas shopping

We got to the market quite early, and it was already busy, with big queues for everything from jamón to carrots. In a moment of madness, we bought an entire hake. It was not cheap, but we got the fishmonger to slice it into steaks, so most of it is stashed in the freezer and we'll be having some a la plancha this evening.

We also went for a walk around the open air market. Somehow I can never avoid buying stuff I didn't know I wanted there. Apart from sensible purchases of honey, mangoes, and avocados, I bought a natty little red leather backpack to add to my collection of handbags (in my defence, I disposed of some in a wardrobe clearout recently).

Back home Marcos the wood merchant arrived. We were really glad he'd found a concealed car park nearby. Instead of carrying the wood up 61 steps, we got to carry it along a flattish fifty yards, then down 23 steps and into the garden. It only took us an hour and a half, and probably more than worked off the churros we indulged in on the way back from the market. Hopefully it will last us the season. It's been a lovely sunny day today, but cools rapidly after dark, so we need the fire.

Mystère had another more adventurous outing. He first found a way onto the roof and later, after we hadn't seen him for about 15 minutes, I spotted him entering the garden via an improvised barrier S had erected precisely to stop him leaving by that route. No-one can say he isn't resourceful. Later I intervened to prevent a confrontation with a visiting feral cat; I thought Mystère resented this, but actually I think he was secretly relieved, since once in the house and de-ruffled, he lay down on my lap and fell fast asleep for an hour.

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