The snow’s back. It is currently hailing. The old dog insisted on going out; she seemed to feel that, having had her bowl of chicken and rice, ham, and a bit of extra from my dinner, that it wasn’t quite enough. She is looking for cat food. I’m fairly certain she won’t find any, because Tony the Gardener was here today, and tidied up the shed, including the remains of lovingly proffered nourishment for poor Fillan. The Colmans’ food is in the woodshed, which Tony has shut so I can’t open it - I poked the bowl under the door, but if I can’t open it I doubt if old Fossil can. I bunked today’s lecture — that’s two days I’ve been at home due to weather this term, for the first time in my career. I’m reckoning on going in tomorrow, which seems a bit more possible. The handyman Sandy came by and has re-tarpaulined the extension roof, which is not now leaking, and he has also tarpaulined the oil-tank. Another visitor of today was an Oil Tank Man, who is clearly another member of the Aberdeenshire League of the Sensible. He very much inspires confidence, and he says that with tarpaulin now on the tank, we aren’t going to need to do something about it in the next 48 hours or whatever. Which is just as well, since his professional investigations have revealed that the current tank is supported on, really, not very much at all, and moreover, is not possessed of an independent valve to shut off oil-flow if something goes wrong with it. Yet another tale of Old Farmers. He says he’s seen worse, but we will need to build concrete supports for the replacement, so we should wait for a gap in the weather. Today featured a cast of thousands, by the standards of what has become a very quiet life. Honey the Hamster-Loving Hippie was here as well as Tony, and Sarah dropped by. The Carpet Man came — this cheery chappie is a regular. Miss Best Friend has ceased to be able to digest cat food, much though she likes it. Various recent episodes of ankling into the shed and stealing Fillan’s top-ups have re-emerged onto the hall carpet somewhat later in the day, and unfortunately, due to whatever they put in cat food, tend to be dark brown. I have to say that Mr Carpet hasn’t managed a complete rehabilitation of the carpet in question, but it’s certainly miles better. We also got a Van Lady bearing a lovely box from the Wine Society courtesy of the Man from Maryport and his missus, which was very warmly appreciated. By the way, the usual Christmas book was successfully completed before the drama n’helicopters bit, and will be going out to all of you asap — but getting stuff to the post will be something of a logistical challenge for me, so if it turns up in the New Year, it’s not to be helped.