Archive for February, 2004

Glasses gardens in the Depths of Winter

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

In Ben Jonson’s masque The Fortunate Isles and their Union the opening dialogue is between a poor Rosicrucian and an Airy Spirit, suggesting that the apprehension that illuminati could be more than a little silly is not one exlusive to our own (post Il Pendolo di Foucault) times. Among the tasks which the Airy Spirit […]

An Impulse Buy and the near-death Experience of a White Van

Sunday, February 22nd, 2004

The wind has swung most precipitately and painfully round into the north-west, with spiteful squalls of snow and hail. What the good poet and indifferent bishop Gavin Douglas called “ane blasterand bub oot frae the north braying”. If the leaning Scots Pines at the other end of the wood all make it through the night […]

Big Cats

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

There is a friend of the Geordie Ambassador’s who is an estate-man by profession (forestry and allied matters) who comes by from time to time to lend a much-needed hand with the neglected wood which forms part of our policies: the professional ruthlessness with which he cuts things down left us aghast at first but […]


Saturday, February 21st, 2004

I am writing this on a Compaq Armada E500, from which it will be transferred by floppy disk, itself a piece of obsolete technology. I say this by way of memorial for the little machine, because it will not, probably, be true for very much longer. My computer was struck by lightning in the course […]

What the Aga Sagas fail to tell you

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

While we admit to living in the country in a relatively big house, we have always prided ourselves that one of our first actions on taking sasine of the porcherialeft us by the pig farmers ces sales paysanswas to give away a large cream-coloured Aga. The house had three kitchens, two of them abandoned in […]


Friday, February 13th, 2004

Today’s mail included a number of surprises: the nicest was from the Real World Consultant, who has sent me an urban surrealism kit (viz: chili flavoured chocolate, an answering machine, a jar of rose harissa, a copy of Crap Towns, and a CD of Florence Foster Jenkins), and some unknown person has sent a card, […]

Invisible Ospreys

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

We bunked off this afternoon after what has been a fairly tedious month (hence neglecting the blog). This time last week there were blizzards, but yesterday and today there has been a wonderful midwinter spring, soft, mild, and sunny. We wandered up into the hills, which are sprinkled just at the moment with globular sheep: […]

The North Star

Monday, February 9th, 2004

I hesitate to recommend a film to such an instructed readership as this, but (after a good deal of politeness, a cultural attaché, and two unbelievably helpful and together individuals at the Norwegian Film Institute) Dr Biswell and I found ourselves last night watching a borrowed video of Knut Erik Jensen’s Stella Polaris, and we […]