Country living makes you look forward to receiving mail (parcels, not bills, of course) with manic joy. And one of the ways of keeping said joy flowing is to spend quite a bit of time on the Net and zapping the credit card liberally while you're at it.
One should be on pretty friendly terms with one's postman in such a situation, but of course not only I've never met mine, I'm sure he or she only comes by once a week since if there's mail in the box they always seem to come all at the same time - once a week. In any case, here in Italy most parcels seem to be delivered separately from the letters and since I'm digressing I might as well mention that the parcel delivery guys all seem to chain-smoke in the van and like to drive into one of those big rocks in my courtyard while they are backing out.
The last objects of my joy included a 15ft trampoline, an Intex pool of similar dimensions, the complete works of Shakespeare and J. Austen, a Flower Drum Song DVD, another Wodehouse book and ta-da - Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia.
Only mistake I've made was having bought the English version of the gem. French cuisine, like Frenchmen, is still best savoured in French.