Archive for February, 2009

To view the fields and take the air

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The sun has been shining brightly, prompting me to gather up the quadruped community and go on a spring bulbs tour of inspection. We still have great drifts and carpets of snowdrops, which go on for a long time, since some of them are in deep shade. The unearthly purity of their whiteness tells […]

Grand Day Out

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The Met Office cautiously opined that yesterday the weather would be quite nice, so we decided that, after a great deal of being cooped up, we would have an excursion. The sun was shining as we tootled off in the general direction of Deeside: the Professor had spent a pleasant few hours last summer in […]

Then it all went away

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

It thawed. Two words covering quite a lot of ground. There was quite an exciting bit where melt-water kept adding itself unto the lake, beneath an armour-plating of ice, causing a build-up of compressed water which left the outlet pipe spurting like a pressure hose. The Northern Professor was driving into the highlands today to […]

Moominland Midwinter

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

We have now been snowed in for a whole week, and the garden looks amazingly like Tove Jansson’s drawings for Moominland Midwinter. We have accordingly entered upon a Ten Point Moominification Plan.
1. Hibernate
2. Acquire a Porcelain Stove
3. Eat more pancakes (with raspberry jam)
4. Have August parties that go on after moonrise
5. Drink raspberry juice
6. Hang […]


Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I have complained periodically about my not terribly good freezer. It has some species of design flaw which causes the door to bounce slightly open again after you shut it, which, if you put a fraction too much effort into pushing it closed, is very easy to do. This then causes it to start defrosting. […]

Ancestral Wisdoms

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

It continues to be ferociously cold. Miss Kit has more or less stopped complaining about the snow, having apparently come to the conclusion that that’s the way things are and there’s no point in shouting about it. But it is cold enough for the snow to be, or seem, dry rather than wet, which means […]

Winter Wonderland

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

There have been upsides to being snowed in for days. There have also been downsides, not least, that I have been in a state of seething irritation over exam scripts. I loathe the exams season. I hate grading, and I detest the paperwork which goes with it, while words will not express my feelings about […]


Friday, February 6th, 2009

Disorientation, rage, despair, exhaustion, frustration … not to put too fine a point on it, since we were snowed in again today, I have been tidying my study. A perfectly hideous process. The writing of each novel has inevitably involved buying a new and different set of books. Thus when I started trying to get […]

The Latest Intelligence out of Cambridge

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Our Correspondent writes:
There is a violent 600-person snowball fight going on on Parker’s Piece beneath my window: Lord of The Flies meets Fargo.


Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

We are coming to think that we have unwelcome visitors not in the front attic, but in the back attic. Something galloped the length of the ceiling overhead as I went up to have my bath. If it is a jackdaw then they are getting in and out freely — avian metabolic rates suggest that […]

Gestures of Optimism

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We entertained the proprietors of the Castle of Giant Despair the other night. It is one of the most beautiful houses in Scotland, but its most impassioned advocate would not claim that it is cheery, and I began to feel that it and the long winter were provoking a somewhat paranoid habit of mind. Not […]