Archive for December, 2005

Divas and their Worshippers

Friday, December 30th, 2005

A perfectly extraordinary book has entered our lives; a biography (of sorts) of Ida Rubinstein. She was an interesting & not unimportant dame, as well as a silly bitch of the first water, but what we are offered here is pure Diva-Worship; a testimony to the twin facts that both divadom and worship require a […]


Thursday, December 29th, 2005

The snow is falling; the sky is striped white, pink and blue like a baby’s blanket; on the wind comes the high, indignant neighing of a cross horse. The horse is called Sam, we believe. Someone has put it in our field, and it is resenting its change of scene, or perhaps, the change in […]

Silly Bitch Magazine Christmas Annual

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

Of course there was a Silly Bitch Magazine Christmas annual; what do you expect? The Labrador contented itself with a line under the masthead saying ‘Compliments of the Season To All Our Readers’, and a competition of fiendish difficulty: ‘In what week of the year may our readers retrieve teal but not widgeon?’ ‘Was Supreme […]

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

And many thanks to various readers of this blog for beautiful & useful gifts. In particular, the Northern Professor is ecstatic to have a ‘make your own snowglobe’ kit. This may not happen for some time, but when it does, it will be … special. I have, among other things, the Roxburgh Ballads, which at […]


Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Here’s a lovely thing, done by the clever people with whom the Northern Professor works. And if you click on the numbers, you’ll see some of the beautiful objects with which he is fortunate enough to work.
Nightfall on Christmas Eve (not that it’s been exactly light all day) and Dr Biswell (who has been praised […]

HA-le-lujah, Ha–le lujah, etc.

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Keith the plumber has been by & has soldered the solenoid or whatever the hell it was. Simple pleasures: being warm. Not that we have anything against weird & complex pleasures but without the simple ones safely in place (such as digestion, functional bowels, warmth) they can be quite hard to achieve.
Talking of simple pleasures […]


Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Mr Tonka Toy has been back earthmoving again. We now have a bigger and better pipe for the lake, in case of any further outbreaks of subarctic monsoon, and some land drains under what is supposed to be a lakeside path but which is very soggy indeed in spots. Dr Biswell has returned; to our […]

The Frozen North

Monday, December 19th, 2005

The dear little boiler was coughing last night like something out of the last act of La Bohème. Then it died. Now, of course it is our tiny hands which are frozen, not to mention our tiny feet & other parts. Pathetic telephonic representations were made to Keith the Plumber; who alas was presumably […]

A Phalenopsis Too Far

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

I remain devoted to the principle that you can grow anything in Aberdeenshire, including Mexican blue fan palms, cycads, bananas, etc., and this summer, I created a sort of orchid wall, by adding orchids to a trellis covered in passionflowers and jasmine; and very fine it has looked for about five months. But one hideously […]


Friday, December 16th, 2005

It was the last day of term today. I had three consecutive first-year classes at 2,3, and 4. Most of them weren’t there, of course. But some of those who did turn up were a little sad; earlier in the day, some had found that there had been a scheduled lecture at which […]

Have gluegun, will travel

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

I spent yesterday in Warwick, examining a PhD. Home in time for a lateish dinner, where I found the Real World Consultant, who had had business in Dundee. The Man from Maryport is also staying, so we had a jolly sort of evening, bed around midnight. All, in our various ways, pretty tired - over […]

Accidents will happen

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

–to kittens, that is. This is the season of dozy bees, slowed down by cold and senescence, crawling about and feebly buzzing. Just asking, you might reasonably say, to be poked at with an inquisitive paw. When little Miss Kit presented herself in mid-morning with her right paw distinctly swollen, the explanation seemed obvious. It […]

The year’s best press photo?

Monday, December 5th, 2005

A polyglot, but Anglophone, friend from the Luxembourg parliament, doubtless a Yurrpean member of the Axis of Evil, has sent me this photo which I suspect is doing the rounds among English-speakers … when the Rogue Semiotician has a moment I hope he will put it online. — He has, or rather, he […]

Problem Solving

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

It is pouring with rain (again) in darkest Aberdeenshire. ‘Darkest’ being the mot juste; it is one of those days when God seems to have switched the sky off. Having watched the downpour for some time, I eventually decided that there was no hope for it, I would have to take the dogs out. Thus […]


Friday, December 2nd, 2005

One of my various professional tasks in this bit of the year is to teach basic Latin to graduate students who have, or anticipate, some need of it. This week, we have hit one of the most conceptually difficult parts of the whole exercise, the subjunctive. I use subjunctives, so does the Northern Professor; we […]


Friday, December 2nd, 2005

THE MOST WONDERFUL PACKAGE turned up the other day. It was a large box, with a variety of stickers on the top: Royal Mail gubbins aside, there was (is) a ‘Security Seal: If Broken Verify Contents‘, a ‘from’ address, ‘ A.P. Glover, Agent for Brightahomes, 7 Hillside Road, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich‘, a […]