The returns are done, we made our deadlines and apart from a few mop up tasks and a final report to be written, we can leave the data mines behind (for now) and resume what passes for normal service.
To mark returns completion, we paid a visit to Bursledon Brickworks and had a most enjoyable afternoon poking about amongst the old machinery, brick moulds, chimney pots and finials. The dragon is a particularly fine example.
There's also a great collection of chimney pots which was the Reverend Valentine Somebody's personal collection. Apologies to the late Rev and family - I can't remember his surname.
The highlight for me though, were these two old boilers (below). Weirdly, I'd been thinking a few days before about the old boiler in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. In particular, the scene where Doc calls on Susie at home in the boiler. She peers out through the fire door but can only see Doc from below the knees so has to crane her neck round to look up at him. She invites him in so he has to get down on his hands and knees to crawl through the door - and in so doing, catches his trouser leg on the corner of the door, pulling it shut on his leg. He's stuck and Susie tears his trousers in getting him free. So funny, so brilliantly written. And this is Susie's boiler. I can feel a print coming on...
Visit the brickworks if you're in the area - and read John Steinbeck if you're not.