Image by Uberto via FlickrThe master of this house has always kept a close eye on climatic conditions....with hosepipe bans in force for the last five years - here -, it becomes a habit.
But it is not only local weather conditions which are taken into account.
One whiff of frost in Brazil and the cupboards are full of coffee....another whiff of frost in Italy and and olive oil is transferred from supermarket shelves to our own at a speed faster than that of light.
I forget what climatic disaster produced the sacks of split peas, beans of all varieties, lentils and chick peas which gave the cellar the air of a war time pill box, sandbagged against assault, but it certainly taught me how to reconstitute five year old chick peas, which is no mean skill and still useful when rashly buying them from Super U.
Currently, the seventy per cent rise in the price of wheat on the global market has led to a decision to stockpile flour and pasta, and, with the benefit of vague memories of taking economics at 'A' Level more years ago than may be decently contemplated, the alternatives to wheat-based products - beer, couscous, polenta, oats both pinhead and porage and any other cereal which comes within reach. I suspect even quinoa will be snatched up...just in case.
I am lobbying for whisky and pearl barley.
The Brazil sugar crop having succumbed to frost as well, I suppose the house will also be full of sugar sacks, so we risk being denounced to the gendarmerie by the crone on the Super U checkout for adulterating wine...a practice strictly reserved for professionals.
It isn't only climatic conditions which bring about the urge to hoard.
In the past, this house has stocked up on enough loo rolls to build a full sized replica of the Tower of London...unwary visitors looking in cupboards for extra towels would come under attack from super packs of twelve descending upon them and would start to have doubts about the water...
It has also stocked up on cheap cotton clothing imported from China on word that the French were tightening up imports to favour their own domestic suppliers, whose factories are in low paid North Africa....just in time, too! The price of tee shirts has rocketed in recent years.
There is just one problem with all this....the house is on the market.
No, two problems.
The obvious one....if, in the unlikely event that anyone with the folding stuff takes a fancy to it, we sell the house....how do we transport the equivalent of the contents of a large branch of Waitrose?
The less obvious one....nowhere in all the T.V. programmes and magazine articles about making your house attractive to potential buyers have I come across advice on how to present a large branch of Waitrose as a family home.