Ah, to have time to myself again, what luxury. Not only have the kids gone back to school BIG TIME, but even Mr R has found projects far and beyond which means I have not only time to myself but also the house to myself - 80% of the time - and to me this is having my cake and eating it too. The feeling will probably give way to "routine boredom" after week 3 but for now it'll do nicely. The stillness and the month of September. My friend is right, it's probably the best month - ideal temperatures, splendid colours and the smell of mushrooms, peaches, plums and particularly the vines that are ripening beautifully in the vineyards nearby. And then of course the novelty of having to wear real clothes again, gone's the summer uniform of shorts and flipflops. Now we can rummage through our wardrobes, edit out what really can't be worn again and add what's needed for the new season. I tend to need and like less and less things, the spectrum shrinks to just the one look or better, one style. Thank God! No more experimenting, thank you! I know my (3) colours and I know my shapes. I spent yesterday afternoon sifting through my bulging drawers and shelves and just dumping stuff that's been hanging around for the last 3 years without so much as a glance, let a alone an outing! One good (but also very, very bad) thing about living here, is that I'm just not tempted anymore. No more Topshop, no more Selfridges or countless shoe shops to lure me and trap me into spending ridiculous amounts of money. I couldn't spend it if I tried round here. You wouldn't either, unless you're an ageing German, monied tourist. There are countless benefits to living in this part of the world, and retail therapy ain't one of them. I pretend that "it matters not a jot" but I get so annoyed by the lack of vision of our local retailers and when I visit the Big City (ie. Zurich, London, Munich or Milan) I feel like I might burst as I am just not used to having that much choice anymore. It's sheer hell, you can imagine (please laugh now). But then I remember the good bits and how shopping is now very, very, very, very low down on my list of priorities and I ask myself: is that not how it should be? And I am happy with my answer.