Archive for March, 2006


Friday, March 31st, 2006

Mr Oscar Wilde once observed that each man kills the thing he loves. As is so often the case, one needs to challenge the use of non-inclusive language. Miss Best Friend has been the sole and exclusive possessor of the Stuffed Pheasant for something like thirty hours; and so deep did feeling surge in […]


Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Without any great stirring of the pulses, we have acquired a new(ish) car. Our attitude was on the passive side; we asked George at the garage to find us one, the theory being that if he sold us a dud then he would have to live with our reproachful faces for the forseeable future. […]


Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

The Gamekeeper took all four dogs out for a proper walk first thing this morning, and came back greatly amused; the springer puppy took off over Barnyard’s fields into the wide blue yonder, and after watching this for a while, he said to Miss Best Friend, ‘Meg, get ‘im’. Old faithful lumbered off, caught […]

Heart’s Desire

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Our friend the Professoressa is here for a few days; she has brought with her her two dogs, one a well-behaved old collie, the other a half-grown springer spaniel puppy who, true to his breed, has been ricocheting round the house like a squash ball with feet. This little animal has a variety of toys, […]


Sunday, March 26th, 2006

We had Barnyards and his wife to dinner last night. Mrs Barnyards, apart from the various duties of a farmer’s wife, has her own enterprise on the side, which is buying and selling antique jewellery. She was telling me about one of her clients, who had the misfortune to be burgled, and lost a lot […]

Oh, boy

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

The spiffing of the last communique was directed towards the somewhat alarming visitation of our chief supremo & President. We have been doing everything we could think of to make the homestead & its policies, elegant, sophisticated and what have you aimed at supreme elegance next Tuesday. Lo, not to say Whoop de Doo — […]


Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

We have our Gamekeeper back; he has been released from his college for the good and simple reason that he has mastered everything they require him to learn in half the available time. He has sat his final exams, and isn’t wanted as an apprentice till January. Meanwhile we have the awesome prospect of thinking […]


Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Miss Kit went to the vet yesterday to be spayed. This, I felt, was by no means before time. For a week or so she has been somewhat moody and withdrawn, and sleeping an awful lot; it seemed all too possible that puberty was hoving into view. It was not a jolly experience for […]

Altruism of a peculiar kind

Monday, March 20th, 2006

We actually went out to a concert this evening, constant readers may be amazed to hear. Haydn’s Creation, and very good too. But the irreverent thought which came into my head was, who on earth ever has a vocation to be a contra-bassoonist? There was one such listed on the programme (it wasn’t just […]


Saturday, March 18th, 2006

One thing I used to admire in Cambridge colleges in my young youth was huge pots of hyacinths on either side of archways and so forth, very grand they looked. In earlier gardening days I tried to duplicate the effect and it was horrid. They came up at different times, so I got masses of […]


Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

We had been home, literally, for two minutes this evening when the BBC World Service rang up to ask if they could interview me on the spot about my reactions to a modern Russian novel I had been rash enough to review some months ago. I flannelled, not wholly discreditably I think, for 40 minutes […]

From the Other Sayde

Monday, March 13th, 2006

I forgot to say; on Sunday night when I was in London, I dreamed I was at home sitting at my computer, phone to the right hand. Ring, ring. I picked it up, and Ed’s fruity, ironic Edwardian drawl came down the line. ‘Well, dearie. Having fun?’ he enquired. Then I woke up, and went […]

Travel and return

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Last Sunday, it took not one but two four-wheel drives to get me out of here. Car One was halfway down the track confronting a massive snowdrift; its owners, the proprietors of the horse Sam, turned up in their wellies to say so. The Hermit of the Steading then intervened and very kindly took […]

Robert Frost Reconsidered

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

I was taking the dogs for a twilight stroll through the wood in the policies, which was very deep in snow indeed and more snow falling. Not a trace of any colour in anything, just black and white. I was remembering the versicles and responses which Dr Biswell and I used to chant when the […]

And MORE snow

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

The parents of the Gamekeeper and Miss T mounted an expedition into town yesterday and very kindly took us with them — the first time I’ve been over the threshold for a week. Strange how quickly you get unusued to seeing people — the seething mass of humanity which is Turra Somerfields on a Saturday […]

We have been here before

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

The Northern Professor pointed out that our present situation, a disconcerting belt of cold weather after Ash Wednesday, has a classic literary precedent:
Ane doolie sessoun to ane cairful dyte
Suld correspond, and be equivalent.
Richt sa it wes when I began […]

Mid-Spring Winter

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

We have been snowed in for the last two days. As usual, the mutual co-operation of the country has come to our aid: I have neglected to blog that my favourite local garden centre upped sticks and moved into the derelict garden centre at the top of the track (basically because this occurred when I […]