We need to repaint the exterior woodwork, and we thought that perhaps we wouldn’t do the carriage green and off-white again, but would find a nice blue-grey. We found a nice blue-grey, but though it does well with the windows, it really didn’t work for all the trellises and that — there’s so much, acres of the stuff, that in a light colour it would just jump out at you. For one reason or another we settled on Hague Blue. Actually, when we did the first paint run some 11 years ago, I bought front door paint in Middelburg, where I was researching something, and bought Amsterdam/Leiden green (Dutch front door paint is a sort of glaze, a splendid effect if you build up the layers). But I was seriously tempted by Hague Blue. Unfortunately the colour offered by an English supplier as Hague blue isn’t quite the colour I remember. It is, unfortunately, the colour of my school uniform. A good colour, I am the first to admit, but carries hideous overtones. Motto, ’serve and obey’. School hatband, ‘hague blue’ and red, worn on a boater in the summer, and a velour pudding in the winter, school song ‘Mater nostra quae securas servas aede filias cuius stabilis virtute vivimus communitas’ and so on and on and on, turquoise blouse, navy knickers for gym. Oh, God. By the way, this was an archaic form of education called a ‘direct grant’ school, a sort of forerunner of today’s academies, not a public school, but when I was a tiny wee it was still set solidly in the Edwardian era in a variety of key respects. I may learn to love this colour, or perhaps it will turn my brain and I will end up painting a thin red stripe round the panelling of the front door, and singing stuff about Service and Obedience in Latin.