With talk in the media about the global economy and the upcoming BRICS nations supporting each other (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) even to the extent of creating their own reserve fund, it would seem that the BRICS could be the potential new powerhouses of the world economy. Well, it seems that some other countries had been feeling left out. These decided to form a co-operative group themselves, and are Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. So the current buzz-word is MINT.

I wonder how long it will be before a new group is formed from yet more countries who were not invited to join the party? For example, Argentina, Reunion, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Back in the real world, modern-day communications are the order of the day. You see, I purchased a new mobile phone from the UK, as the battery on my 12-year old phone finally gave up the ghost. I opted for a Blackberry Curve, as the only thing I’ll really use the phone for is sending LSS the occasional text message. I can also use it as an MP3 player. However, we live in a real black spot as far as mobile reception is concerned. LSS’s Nokia can just about receive texts, but to retrieve phone messages or make calls, she needs to go outside and walk down the road – not much fun when it’s raining! The Blackberry gets no signal at all.

So I’ve been researching methods of improving the mobile reception here. I have started constructing a Yagi antenna, which will be mounted on the roof and connected to an omnidirectional colinear aerial sited upstairs. Both of these will be constructed from bits and pieces I have lying around. I’ll report back on the effectiveness (fingers crossed!)

The pond has finally defrosted; it had been frozen over since our return. We’ve now started using the final pallet-wood compost bin, as the third one is now solidly full. Next season we’ll be able to empty the first one and dig it into the garden.

This morning we saw five deer in the field behind the pond. The hunters hunted on the Sunday we left; and we’ve heard that they’re not happy. They have not seen a wild boar or deer for two months now. Of course the fact of the matter is that they turn up here once every six weeks; usually at around 10 a.m. – so we’re beginning to wonder how serious they are. If you’re after larger game you need to get up a bit earlier in the day!

Last night we tried a bottle from last years’ batch of parsnip wine. Once again we were impressed – it was very nice indeed, but not as sweet as the year before. We’ve also sampled the pumpkin ale. It needs a bit more time to mature but is very good. One doesn’t taste pumpkin; instead there is a hint of caramel, with a slight aroma of bananas. Just thought you’d like to know!

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