Archive for April, 2006

Grim realities

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

The Man from Maryport, who has been engaged in all manner of unobtrusive domestic virtue, has been feeding the Rough Cats; he shared with me the other night his concern that one of the Colmans had a bald patch. I was in my turn, distinctly worried. Mange is a horrible disease; mites breeding under the […]

Deadlock Broken

Friday, April 28th, 2006

We have been worrying ourselves into fits about next week, when we are waltzing off to Norway on business of one sort or another — What about the animals? Various friends who have stepped in in the past are for various reasons professionally committed. We have been astounded to discover that there is a […]

Time warps

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Further evidence of softening of the brain … the Man from Maryport picked me up from the plane and on the way home we stopped at an excellent local farm shop for some supplies. I found myself pausing over some award-winning black pudding from Orkney. ‘Ed likes black pudding’, I thought. As if he were […]

‘You know my methods, Watson…’

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

You doubtless all remember the way Holmes would cast an eye over some total stranger and say: ah, obviously a captain in the Merchant Navy recently returned from Valparaiso, and, I note, a Freemason. And you, Madam, are a typewriter. Etcetera. I suddenly noticed that I have quite an extensive callus at the base […]


Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

There are signs of spring at last. My ghostly white Florentine iris and my black rose have come out in the greenhouse (roses in the garden have not yet so much as come into leaf). The box-mission alluded to yesterday was a great success. Having spent half an hour or so drawing fleur-de-lys of varying […]


Friday, April 21st, 2006

Our Barcelona Correspondent responded magnificently to the Professor’s wails for a taste of the South with some deeply baroque biscuits & Spanish chocolate. All are quite horrid but in EXACTLY THE RIGHT WAY; the Professor, having devoured half a packet of extremely strange large rectangular biscuits which look like crispbread but aren’t, roared off […]


Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Relations between Mrs Grey Cat and Miss Kit are if anything, getting worse as Miss Kit approaches adulthood. The kitten is now deeply non confrontational — successfully intimidated, even — but Mrs Grey actively persecutes her — she will lie in wait and mug the kitten as she approaches the house, for instance, so at […]

Can this be real?

Monday, April 17th, 2006

I am very deep into trying to finish the book about salsa-dancing Jesuits and angels with shooters in ten days flat. It struck me as potentially a simplification to buy a copy of the Odes of “the Saramantian Horace” Matthias Casimir Sarbievius (he was a Jesuit, naturally, and thought by many to be the best […]

More gratuitous weirdness

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Due to winter going on for ever and ever and ever, little has been said for some time about the pursuit of Extreme Gardening (except that an orchid came out, having been successfully nursed through the winter, which I am inordinately proud of). Other long-term projects are still with us — a banana […]

Traditional Culture

Friday, April 14th, 2006

I have had a mild disagreement with the outdoor staff. It is Good Friday, and as I thought everybody knew, you have to plant your potatoes today if they are going to grow at all. Accordingly, I suggested that everybody assembled on the gardening side of things might like to put in the Duke of […]

Being serious for once

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

We had an email this afternoon from a very dear & valued person somewhat younger than ourselves to the effect, roughly, that the apparent state of remission she has been in is illusory, secondary cancers have appeared and it’s just as well she’s always rather disliked autumn really & well dearies, isn’t it a […]

Good Works

Monday, April 10th, 2006

The Professor took our Gamekeeper off to meet a restoring builder over at Castle Eden — we hoped this might be something of a match made in heaven, because we cannot spend the next six months thinking of lovely things for the Apparitional One to do. To our great relief, the RB in question leaped […]


Sunday, April 9th, 2006

This afternoon, I spoke to a nice old coot of 82 who used to drink with Ed in the Mandrake Club in Soho after the war and in the decades that followed. The first time I have spoken to someone who actually knew him. This chap is a music journalist, a contact of the […]

Tent-Pegging: A Mystery Solved

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

A sporting correspondent called Fred has come through with a perfectly splendid explanation about elephants’ toenails. Not exactly the kind of information you need, but nice all the same. If you were among those who puzzled over tent-pegging, go to the ’search’ box at the top right hand corner of the screen and type in […]


Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

I was bringing the dogs back from a walk, when they suddenly accellerated and galloped down the side of the lake. Moments later, they were audible in the middle distance barking like idiots. I followed at a more circumspect pace, and there, on Twisby Island, was a very small tree, with swaying in its […]


Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

I was about to take the labradors for a walk when penetrating screeches from the far side of the parterre seemed to suggest that the kitten was in the vicinity. But where? The screams gave a distressing impression of coming from above . . . and thus it was. Twenty feet up a spruce, Miss […]


Saturday, April 1st, 2006

The uninteresting little car, stigmatised by the black labrador community as a mean economy and a demonstration of some people’s fathomless selfishnessturns out to have a redeeming feature in that the seven characters of its registration contain the letters SJ and FX, immediately communicating (to me at least) Society of Jesus and S. Francis Xavier. […]