Archive for April, 2004

Stella Polaris

Saturday, April 24th, 2004

On Sunday we are heading off for a week to the most northerly University in the world (Tromsų). For a household somewhat preoccupied with ideas of North, Vikings, and so forth, this can only be interesting. The Northern Professor was hoping to show Stella Polaris and talk about it, but the Norwegian Film Institute won’t […]


Friday, April 23rd, 2004

One of the oddest things to have entered the house recently, mutant daffodils notwithstanding, is a brochure which Dr Biswell acquired as he passed through Cumbria on the way from Manchester to here. It is called, ‘Roaming in Hadrian’s Wall Country’. With the emphasis on Rome. On the front of this is a comely young […]

The Good Earth

Sunday, April 18th, 2004

Up here on the 57th parallel, Nature is not without her surprises –– vide last blog, passim –– but she is, like certain other members of the household (well, all of us, really), inclined to be a slow starter. Unfortunately, when the Goddess of Spring is huddled beneath a duvet of snow it takes rather […]

A Host of Mutant Daffodils

Thursday, April 15th, 2004

No, really. The garden has sprung a surprise on us. The garden level is about seven feet above that of the track; it ends, therefore, in a revetted wall and bank, the latter alive with daffodils and crocus, round which the drive coils up towards the house. The wall is fringed with daffodils (the ordinary […]


Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

One of the annoying aspects of a houseful of books is that there are books which are somehow assumed to be there. I was looking for The Old Curiosity Shop, and despite some vague awareness that I have never, in fact, bought a copy of this work, I had basically assumed that copies of novels […]

The Edward Gorey Memorial Garden

Saturday, April 10th, 2004

This came about more by accident than design. There is a horrid little patch of dank ground between the greenhouse and a hedge which divides my flower garden off from general lawnery. It is permanently overshadowed, and for three years, we have been trying to think what to do with it. We tried vegetables (not […]

Basic Angelic Vocabulary

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004

Here is a strange thing: as regular readers will know, I am professionally interested in the secret, invented and arcane languages of the past. So far, careful collation of middle-Irish with baroque Bohemian and mediaeval German sources suggests that there must be several languages in use in heaven. A few minutes in the British Library […]

Domestic Archaeology and the Placement of Urns

Sunday, April 4th, 2004

The week before we went to London, we had a visit from Glenlockie, a man with the manners of the morning of the world, and thought by many to be the possessor of the best eye in Scotland. We took a little walk in the policies and discussed the vital matter of urn-placement (the weather […]

Chillies and Childhood

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

It was a dark and stormy night in rural Aberdeenshire, so we sloped off to the greenhouse to pot up the chillies while the wind howled round and the rain hammered on the roof. Six of them were home-grown, from a dear little Scotch-Bonnet type thingy the Real World Consultant bought in Brick Lane which […]