Archive for March, 2011

And Scotland’s nice too

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

We came back home to discouraging weather, grey and cold. After a quick flash of London spring it looked even worse than usual. We’ve been somewhat down since we came back, but today, we had scheduled a day out with a friend, meeting at Charlestown on the Spey, then going up into the highlands to […]

Urban idyll continues

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

It was a most beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold, so we went off to Kew Gardens, where we saw more spring in one place than anyone could reasonably expect. There is a sort of blue lake of Glory of the Snow, shimmering like water, fresh green everywhere, and the magnolia collection was […]

Not at all like Scotland

Friday, March 25th, 2011

We have been having an interesting time. Last night I gave a paper and we saw various old friends, including one, a sculptor, who wants to use the Professor as the model for a statue of an early modern saint. This involved a great deal of photography at an early hour of the morning. We […]

North Yorkshire

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

We had a brief but lovely couple of days in the North of England which is so very unlike the North of Scotland. Our friend picked us up at Northallerton and took us home to a most beautiful house above Hawes, a solid, foursquare stone structure with the most wonderful view out over the grey-greens […]

New Arrivals

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

We had a day of the slaters, who reported, rather to our surprise, that the back roof was less of a mess than we thought. Whether they will say the same about the front roof remains to be seen, but so far not that many slates are missing or broken, which with the amount of […]


Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The elusive slater failed to reappear today. We did, however have the good Barry, which is just as well because there turned out to be a leak under one of the upstairs sinks, and he has worked out where it is coming from. A development better before, than after, the dining room ceiling is replastered, […]

Dreams and Phantasms

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

I had one of the oddest dreams I’ve ever had last night. The point where I remember it from is being in a very dusty oldfashioned shop with tall wooden cupboards and odd bits of machinery. I don’t remember the shopkeeper at all. Where this begins was with looking at an engraving of a pair […]

Tank Funne

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

One of the horrors of the last winter was that the weight of snow stoved in the top of the oil tank and water got in (see ‘the next thing’, Dec. 14). This was particularly awful because we were still pretty much cut off, and the Professor was ill and needed to be kept at […]


Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Big, thick, wet flakes of snow, like damp duckdown, are descending on the garden. The grass is white. I may not have an Inuit 400 word vocabulary for snow, but even I can tell it’s not ‘I really mean it’, snow: this sort of woolly, flaky stuff forms when the temperature is in the immediate […]

Rookery Nook

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I am sorry to say that we now have a rookery in the big beeches down by the track. There were a few nests last year, now there are lots. They are far more obviously dinosaurian than the finches and tits I feed: listening to their harsh conversation, it’s easy to think there might be […]

Hold Your Head Up

Friday, March 4th, 2011

‘Hold your head up (High)’ was the title of a great disco anthem of my long-ago youth, which, given the speed with which popular culture now recycles itself, has probably come back about 17 times, and may even now be in the charts. Be that as it may, whatever it might do for what Ed […]