You know when you get some unexpected money and then something comes along, like a car service or a broken boiler, and takes your excess spondoolies away almost to the penny? This has just happened the other way round.

Last week we got a letter from the social services telling us we’re entitled to €280 euros to send The Daughter back to school (which means we can pay the mortgage and phone bill).

Today I opened a letter from our solicitor with a belated rebate cheque that will not only pay the outstanding (and very impressive) water bills, put petrol in the car and juice on the breakfast table, but could even pay for the upcoming Controle Technique (MOT equivalent).

Minor miracles, but we take them where we find them.

(Just came back from the social services in Bergerac, where the woman who’s given us months of grief has been replaced by a young, good-looking, very helpful temp; I had a feeling things were going to go well when I found a free parking space outside the office. On the way home all the traffic lights were green – if I didn’t know better, I’d go out and buy a lottery ticket.)