Archive for July, 2005

More marbling

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

We have had another go at marbling: this time we used carrageen moss, which smells like the shore at low tide, and is fairly icky, but works. To our utter mystification we found that gouache, which you’re supposed to use with carrageen size, simply dropped through it in little colour bombs. On the other […]

the partridge family

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Partridges are a local feature, neat little brown birds. The other day we were trying to get out in a bit of hurry, and scared a hen partridge with her brood, ten or so little fluffballs the size of thimbles. She was a vigilant mother; as the car crunched up the manky old drive she […]

the ancien régime

Monday, July 25th, 2005

In the last few weeks, Miss Dog’s Best Friend has gradually morphed into at least a semi permanent member of the household. Since she is a dog habituated to an outside run (i.e., she is not in the habit of asking to go out because it avails her nothing) she spends the night shut […]

Extreme gardening III

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

It has been a great week for extreme gardening. From various corners of the world of Ebay, the household has been augmented by a cycas revoluta (cycads are attractive and sturdy little objects which have looked exactly the way they do now for 200 million years, and how many of us can say that? They […]


Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

The Apparitional Gamekeeper turned up this morning, not too hung over all things considered. He cut the grass, while we did a certain amount of work, then we all went out to sort out the front of house – our summer bedding in front of the windows turned out a total disaster this year due […]

Maybe yes maybe no

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

One of the trying features of this summer has been the Cat Question. I need a cat in my life, and without the endlessly tactful presence of the late and much lamented Aphra, even Miss Dog and her Best Friend can pall a bit. I mean, some people restlessly march to and fro in […]

Specific Nostalgias

Friday, July 15th, 2005

From last week’s TLS, of all places, a compacted image of English nostalgia, a counterpart to Rogue Semiotics’ meditation upon S. Swithin’s Day. I appreciate it all the more for that I am not myself English. Ferdinand Mount is writing about the biography of the late Cardinal Hume:
“He was the witness, not only or not […]

Shurely shome mishtake?

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

Within a few days of each other, I have had two communications from remote colleagues: one telling me that she had been at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies where she had heard a paper on Astraea , called ‘Consuming History: The Contemporary Historical Novel, Romance and Historiography’. Then in another […]

Sheep again

Monday, July 11th, 2005

Today saw another outbreak of mad animal play: today it was the sheeps’ turn. An amiable farmer called Sandy had agreed to haul Spiro and Agnew off and shear them, a process which is long overdue. We have begun to worry whether in this fine weather they would actually keel over with heat exhaustion. But […]

Rustling Cattle

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

We have an urban guest; when I came down this morning, she greeted me with the words, ‘there was a cow looking into the garden. This does’t often happen in Islington’. Moreover, it shouldn’t happen here; we set enquiries on foot, and it turned out that there had been an overnight break-out from Barnyards’ field. […]

News from the Real World

Monday, July 4th, 2005

The Real World consultant has just perpetrated a blog of his own — a demonstration that his life is even weirder than ours — Cruel & unusual gardening, bizarre operas, delinquent peacocks and other wildlife … a parade of the quietly surreal. I’ve been in Oxford for the last three days, and […]

Sterling Stuff

Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

I, Peter, ego scriptor am feeling mildly silly. It is a question of hallmarks and related things, about which I tend, I’m afraid, to assume an attitude of “leave all this to me”. Many years ago, when the Lady Novelist (now nota bene a Professor in her own right) and I got married, some cousins […]