Archive for July, 2007


Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Today, there was a corner of a foreign wood which was for ever Spain. It is the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, and the Professor decreed a romeria. A shrine of St Ignatius was created at the far end of the wood — a santino of the saint in question, surrounded by elaborate […]

One hurdle down anyway

Monday, July 30th, 2007

This is the last day on which we will be woken by the tapping of the lesser-spotted, or as it sometimes seemed, seldom spotted Sandy: the bothy roof is now SLATED. Not that the story is over, exactly, we still need to get the stone ridge-covers and skew stones up there, but all the […]

Floor Level Politics

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

The Doubtful Guest is beginning to gain confidence. He surprised us considerably by pootling into the kitchen this morning, while we were having breakfast with another guest of a human persuasion, making straight for Miss Best Friend’s bowl (though she was in her cosy dog bed some four feet away) and crunching away at her […]


Thursday, July 26th, 2007

The proofs of Book of Ed entered the house today. It was quite annoying to find that, after both I and the copy-editor had been through the damn thing with a fine-toothed comb, somebody has made the decision to re-key it, introducing a whole new level of error. One blooper is worthy of posterity I […]

The Doubtful Guest

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

We have the Real World Consultant and the Nottingham Correspondent here. Nothing doubtful about that. But along with the N.C. comes her friend and companion of many years, who is elderly and irenic in temperament, but unfortunately, also fluffy, black and white, and given to going miaw. That is, from the viewpoint of Miss Kit, […]

Fiddlers on the Roofs

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

It has been a great day for roofs. Down at the bothy, the shy and retiring Sandy has been beavering away on the slates; the first sighting of this self-effacing migrant for some days. Meanwhile, up here at the Big House, the anything but shy and retiring Keith the Plumber and his erstwhile silent apprentice […]

Perfect taste and beautiful manners

Monday, July 16th, 2007

It strikes us of a sudden that it might amuse our readers to spend a few minutes in this deadly rainy summer looking over the Professor’s little exhibitionabout a small group of exiled Aberdeenshire Jacobites who were noted for their perfect taste and beautiful manners. It is only to be hoped that James Irvine’s other […]

A beautiful and faintly disturbing gift

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Dear readers, imagine our joy on finding, at the back door yesterday morning, a substantial yellow package with a Hamburg postmark. The German guests, with baroque generosity, intuiting that we had just stumbled to the final absolute end of term feeling slightly ragged, had chosen their moment to send a lovely surprise present.
The first investigation […]

Ho for Hoggwarts

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

As the hype rises ever higher about the forthcoming final volume of the Boy Wizard, I have been delighted to come across an inspirational parody; one Ms. Alice Dryden channelling the introduction of Nigel Molesworth, the Curse of St Custard’s, to Hogwarts. Anyone familiar with the Molesworth books will have wondered about Hogwarts, which […]

Quarts and Pint Pots

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

After the general horrors of last week, I was not wholly surprised to go down with a sore throat. Progress has accordingly been less than meteoric on both book and bothy fronts. The slater has proved to be something of a shy & elusive creature and has thus far, put us off four times. […]

Moments of Truth

Monday, July 9th, 2007

My saintly friend in Venice, despite the immense variety of conflicting demands upon her time, has gone to Alberto Varese, and sent me (on request) two notebooks, one large, one small. The essential kit for starting a new novel, which has indeed, been started. With so much going on in my life, I can only […]

Jiggety jig

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

I am home again, after a very strenuous couple of days: I went down to London town on the night train on Wednesday night, with a number of desiderata in mind beside the conference I was officially there for. Having been tipped off the train in Euston at 7.30, I went off to try […]

Game of Silly Buggers

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

– a great military phrase of WWII vintage, I believe. It came to mind the other day. There was a great outbreak of Thinking of Things For the Gamekeeper to Do On A Rainy Sunday When He Had Had Words With His Mum a few days ago, the upshot of which was that he drove […]

Surprising resurrections

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

The greenhouse got its great summer clear-out a while back, and a variety of pots containing earth and a shrivelled twig of something were removed and stuck round the back of the house where nobody would see them. If we were better at things they would have been emptied, sterilised, etc. But we aren’t. I […]