Archive for December, 2009

Bowels Drama II

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

On the whole, Miss Kit has been good about the weather. Dogged, you might say, were she not a cat. However we have now passed the Christina Rossetti Line (’earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone’). Unfortunately, as constant readers are only too aware, there is a lot of Cat Politics about. […]

Food Drop

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

We did indeed get a lovely present of vegetables from the Laird of the Pink Castle, which is just as well. It was all a bit of a circus; his huge and powerful car had got about halfway down the track when various warning lights started going off in it, and he decided it […]

A Party’s Not a Party till Someone’s Been Sick

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

The honours, as usual, go to Miss Best Friend, who decorated the rug in an approved and traditional fashion this morning. The back story is that Dr Biswell and I shared a guineafowl for our Christmas dinner. This creature was marinaded for twenty-four hours in orange-juice, olive-oil, cumin and garlic, and then, as it grilled, […]

It’s Traditional

Friday, December 25th, 2009

There is a great deal of tradition associated with the 25 December among which people pick and mix, but one feature which is inflexibly observed in the vast majority of households is that someone gets you up before you would, of your own accord, have chosen to rise. This role normally falls to the children. […]


Friday, December 25th, 2009

We have decorated one of our fine bay-trees with glass icicles and the brilliantly coloured chenille silk birds which have been cherished from a good few Christmases past, and are themselves, mostly forty years old or more. We bought a very fine late-Baroque cut-out paper Christmas crib when we were in Innsbruck (and toted it, […]

Surviving the Festive Season

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Today was relatively warm; yesterday’s snow had gone soggy and friable. Miss Kit hated it, though she has come to terms with its existence. After some time spent with weather forecasts and so on, Dr Biswell and I ventured out onto the roads, found that they had been salted and gritted, and went to the […]

Dashing Through The Snow

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Dr Biswell’s many friends and admirers will doubtless be glad to know that he made it back here before a foot of snow fell on Aberdeen and environs. He got here at about ten last night, having prudently nipped over to the East coast asap, thus avoiding the various nasty things which had happened to […]

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

As of about an hour and a half ago, the Northern Professor and the Lady Novelist have been married for twenty years. Seems all right so far …

Here we go again

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Snow. The sky is white, white stuff is falling out of it, and quite a lot of white stuff has already fallen. Fortunately this state of affairs was anticipated by the Met Office, and so yesterday we posted the last presents and bought a considerable variety of food and drink. There was a […]

Things You Never Knew You Wanted

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Our good neighbours turned up today, bringing an unexpected present. If you spend any time around small boats, you become aware that they tend to sport salami-like dangling appendages round their midriffs which ensure that contact with portside is a gentle kiss rather than a crunch. I don’t know what they’re called. The neighbours turned […]


Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Back in the unregretted days of the nefarious Geordie who did various work for us (almost all of which has subsequently fallen to bits), there was a phrase with which we became all too familiar. ‘Haway, man’ (or, ‘pet’). ‘Job’s as good as done. I’ll be back after tea with me mastic gun.’ Leaving […]

Spontaneous Feeling

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The Professor has been involved with a sort of community art project. Some of it’s been fine, but some of it has been all too revealing of the fact that Conceptual Art is frequently the refuge of people without an idea in their little heads. He was responsible for producing a casuistic essay which detected […]

Cabinets of Curiosity

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

We had a very strange job on Friday: faking up a late-Renaissance-style cabinet. This was a wheeze dreamed up between the Professor and the Curator as a way of doing interesting and possibly educational things while the actual museum is closed and the new one not built yet. Thus a five-foot-high object was commissioned […]

Remembrance of Things Past

Monday, December 7th, 2009

One minor mystery of my life in the nineties was that after I had taken to publishing fiction, I received a letter from the senior English teacher at my old school. Where the mystery lay was that the luck of the draw had so wrought upon my school career that I was always taught by […]

I Will Survive

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I discovered one mildly interesting thing recently (it mildly interested me, anyway). In pre-modern Scandinavia, the spinning and weaving year began on 25 November, a date engraved upon my mind because it is St Catherine’s Day (patron saint of spinsters, and also the patron saint of my school): every 25 November, the words for ‘Let […]