Archive for April, 2003

Dreaming the Bones

Monday, April 28th, 2003

The foolish little labrador was found yesterday lying sphinxlike on the floor, industriously gnawing at a bone. There’s a sort of rodent quality in doggy perseverance with this apparently unrewarding pastime; the rrr-rrr-rrr of high-quality teeth slipping against hard old bone goes on for hours. Nobody had given Dido a bone within living memory, so […]

Rough Cats at a Glance

Saturday, April 26th, 2003

When we first arrived in Scotland, the Large House in the Big Woods was the headquarters of a failed Pig Empire; we parted it from the Pig Proprietors for a very reasonable sum on the grounds that, while superficially impressive, it was on the point of falling down. The proximity of a substantial number of […]

O Pioneers!

Thursday, April 24th, 2003

We have been experimenting with sourdough bread, which has made us feel more like the (Large) House in the Big Woods than usual. The concept is straightforward (or so we hoped having failed to find a recipe): flour and water mixed into a paste and the bowl stood outside on a nice warm day to […]

False Colours and an Ineradicable Inhibition

Monday, April 21st, 2003

It will hardly have escaped either reader of this journal, that we are at the moment doing an abnormal amount of gardening. Even in the comparatively mild and sunny weather of this last month, the wind in the north is still icy. Cutting to the chase, I came to the conclusion that the answer was […]

Dr Biswell goes to the Opera

Monday, April 21st, 2003

An excursion to Peterhead, a town famous for its petrolheads, extreme
skaterboys and fishermen, to see a touring production of Eugene Onegin, for which Janey’s brother Francis was doing the lighting. Peterhead is not quite the last place on earth, but it’s certainly two hours north of
When I spoke to Francis during the interval, he told […]

Adelaide’s Theatre of Cruelty

Saturday, April 19th, 2003

Today we brought the auricula theatre out from the shed where it has been gathering dust for three years. The little auriculasare blooming in their cold frame, so we need their theatre in which every auricula may be famous for fifteen minutes. The condition of the theatre was such that we had to assume that […]

London birdlife

Thursday, April 17th, 2003

Even in my remote north, I still (sometimes) receive letters. One such from Jane’s mother the other day, out of the stucco and flowering trees of West London. She was looking out at the same flowering trees and how pretty they look against cream-washed stucco when, not quite sure of whether she was seeing what […]

Hating the Enlightenment Properly

Monday, April 14th, 2003

Reflections while planting the rest of the vegetable garden yesterday (swiss chard, spinach, welsh onion, dill, french beans (purple), french beans (yellow), purple calabrese, chives and I have maddening lost packets of basil and Italian parsley) that the Enlightenment is at the root of the present ghastliness. FInally the Baroque world came to an accomodation […]

The Dendrophoric Dr Biswell

Saturday, April 12th, 2003

We returned this morning with expressions of unwonted smugness (perhaps when I am old I will cultivate just one or two of the Protestant virues to see what I’ve been missing) from Aberdeen, the shopping done and our guest delivered to the airport, at ten in the morning, to find a scene not wholly unlike […]

the foolish black dog and her affections

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

A full day with an old friend arriving to stay and many excursions (including one to the best antique shop in the northern kingdom whose whereabouts I am reluctant to disclose — they have a Dame aux Cammelias period wardrobe out of a house in Caithness all opulent mirrors and carved walnut, the juxtaposition sets […]

Angels with Shooters

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

I am pleased by the idea that Dr Biswell may have eaten 20 pine trees by way of salad, and indeed must admit myself to having eaten in the enoteca in Piazza Pasquino a most peculiar Roman pudding which was nine tenths panna cotta and one tenth pine resin. I would be unlikely to trip […]

improving lairdship

Wednesday, April 9th, 2003

Ah, nobody joined us in the invasion of Switzerland. I suppose that they (if you exist lettrice notturna) observed the date and drew conclusions. Quite accurate.
I turn to the other recource for rancid times: the cultivation of my garden. Or gardens, plural, to be accurate. One of the many advantages of living in so remote […]


Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

We don’t like them
Nobody at all nice likes them
Their neighbours can’t stand them
They are in fact the Axis of the Not at All Nice
Peter has a personal interest in the overthrow of the current règime and therefore we ought to do it
The Food and Drug Authority considers chocolate a dangerous substance which needs to be […]