It's 2000 already? Where did the last millennium go...?

       Going to bed - sorry, I'll rephrase that: 'retiring for the night' - in the Safehouse on cold winter nights is an exercise in ingenuity. First you have to placate the guard cat on duty at the top of the stairs (we've found a snack normally does the trick, but the neighbourhood is running short of small dogs. I think we may have to move on to the Rottweiller up the road...) Then, after avoiding falling over the dog - or not, as the case may be - making your way past the large fat cat asleep in the middle of the bed, and the small vicious one asleep on the pillow, you have to attempt to drag a smidgeon of a portion of the duvet off the soundly-sleeping hunk of Viking known as 6-9 - the cats being a little too small to act as bedclothes, even if you don't mind a bumful of claws first thing in the morning. And of course, once you've actually accomplished all that, you remember you haven't set the alarms, so have to repeat the whole process in reverse. By which time it's 5.30 a.m. and hardly worthwhile going to bed. I swear Cowley set the whole thing up as a mini-Macklin assault course to save CI5 funds...
       Actually, all that isn't strictly correct. That's what I have to go through to get to bed. Most operatives will only have to brave the guard cat and the dog. And let's face it, if you can actually get through the Safehouse door without being licked to death by the dog, you stand a very good chance of a) having an excellent night's sleep, and b) actually making it out alive. Hmm. There are actually far too many 'actually's in that paragraph...
       Yuletide was a lot of fun, rampaging changelings notwithstanding - and all the presents went down exceptionally well. (I finally have a pair of fingerless black leather gloves, thanks to 'wingmates Wendy and Peter. 6-9's brother and Chrissie his wife gave me the most amazing imperial jade cicada. Yes, cicada. Seriously. It's almost two inches long and weighs a hair under 50 grammes. And it matches a favourite sweater. (So most people choose their jewellery to match their clothes - any rule say I can't choose clothes to match my jewellery?) The White Dragon sent me the most beautiful, copper-filigree fragranced gemadeon. And I now have an Asian cookbook. Be warned. Soon as I replace my wok (the last one melted. Not my fault. Honest...) Cambodian and Laotian regional recipes will be on the Safehouse menu...)
       On the subject of food, the meal was fine. And post-prandially we founded the Safehouse 13 Bat-Hanging Championships. (Not sure who won - the bats kept flying off...)

       Then it was Old Millennium Night.

       At first sight, you wouldn't think the Safehouse was in a tremendously picturesque location: in the bowl of a valley, high hill at the front, animal charity's hospital to the rear, admittedly quiet neighbours to each side... (Well, OK, Mos Eisley is just down the road, but they've never caused us any problems...) But you just try standing in the garden on a night with fireworks...
       Not a good place for anyone with a twitchy trigger finger. Just as well the armoury was locked.

      [6-9: - It was also just as well there weren't too many other people around. 4-2, in shirtsleeves, in the middle of the Safehouse garden, at 17 minutes into the year 2000, wet through with drizzle, glass empty, "ooooh"-ing and "aaaah"-ing at the pretty fizzbangs in the sky, is probably not a sight she'd want too many others to see....]

       Thanks pal. (Where are you sleeping tonight?) I blame the Barramundi, meself. Powerful stuff, that.
       And today (the 4th) one of our editors emailed to say a package with the drafts for the sections we wrote for The UneXplained will reach us on Thursday - and can they have them back, proof-read and corrected, by next Monday please? Kind of comforting in a way. Some things never change!

Catch y'all soon!

Millennial Salutations!

Gloves with fingers are a liability, given the length of my nails....( Back)

Goldwing, that is. (No, unfortunately I don't have one...)(Back)

My passion for jade is only equalled by my passion for 4-5 (the original 4-5, I mean.) Nephrite jade (matches my eyes. My nails too, come to that), jadeite (imperial jade)... Jade jewellery, jade objets d'art, jade chopsticks... Can one ever have enough jade? (Or 4-5, for that matter...)(Back)

Smoked salmon, prawns in 1000 Island Dressing, avocado vinaigrette, mixed green salad and garlic bread, for starters: venison in red wine, roast spuds, honey-glazed carrots and petit pois, Brussel's sprouts with chestnuts in lemon butter, roast parsnips, and mushrooms, for the main course: Tiramisu, and chocolate mousse, and Xmas pudding with clotted cream, and chocolate fudge brownie frozen yoghurt dessert, to finish. (We saved the cheeseboard for later - no-one had any room left...) Then Orange Chocolate Liqueur coffee and Belgian chocolates. Are you hungry yet?... (Back)

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