I have had a strange and strenuous day. As of nine-ish, when Honey the Hamster Loving Hippie arrives, I was fully expecting a gang of ouvriers to tip up tomorrow morning and start demolishing the extension which functions as utility room. At the top of today’s agenda, therefore, was emptying the utility room. We have been here more than ten years. It is quite a large utility room. Well. The deacon of the nearest Catholic church is not only a nice bloke, in possession of quite a big car, but presently engaged on some kind of further qualification relating to Celtic Christianity. He was suborned to come and take charity shop items in return for an advanced seminar on the theory and practice of pilgrimage in the early Irish church. Honey and I spent the morning moving vases, etc. down to the wine-cellar, which has some useful shelves. We discovered the hard way that the leaking roof caused vessels on the top shelf of the cupboard to fill with what, after several years of leakage, is a sort of primeval soup. We found things I’d forgotten I’d so much as ever seen before. Dr Biswell might care to note that the six martini glasses presented to him by Germaine Greer are intact, and in his room, as are the sherry glasses presented to him by his Mama when he went to University, I believe, on the sweetly naive theory that academic types drink sherry out of nice little cut-glass glasses (I fear that Prof. Greer, by contrast, is neither sweet, nor naive). They represent opposing views of Dr Biswell, but if he wants to donate either or both sets to Oxfam I think it should be his call. Anyway. There was an endless morning of leaping up and down stairs, which got a bit like Canadian Air Force exercises, except that (may I be forgiven) the Canadian Air Force doesn’t have to do it against an endless barrage of hamster-related chatter. The Professor, at intervals, removed actual rubbish to the dump, Charity shop offerings were sorted and bagged, foul objects were washed, and consigned to charity or the cellar, whatever, my art stuff rounded up … it went on and on. At quarter to one, I went off, washed my hands very thoroughly and started making lunch, which turned out to be amazingly difficult: once you’re involved with onions, rice, whatever, there’s a schedule. I’d sort of hoped that Honey, who looks forward to her lunch, would leave me alone to achieve it, but since she doesn’t cook, herself, she has no idea about what is involved and had no compunction about interrupting — she kept popping in with ‘Oooo, could you just tell me …?’. We got there in the end. Lunch was served at twenty to two. I refrained from braining anyone with the flat-iron which had mysteriously emerged from the depths of the cupboard. An awful lot of things were thrown away. The fish kettle is in the cellar, along with a regiment of vases of all kinds, a Spanish tile-picture of the Immaculate Conception, the tin picnic plates which look like expensive porcelain, and a Victorian mahogany curtain pole much too good to throw away, which entered our lives God alone knows when. The Deacon arrived, and I shut us firmly into the study and talked for an hour about Celtic Christianity. The Utility Room now contains only the boiler, fridge, and washing machine. Then at about four the surveyor rang up to say that the tradesmen who were tendering hadn’t got their tenders sorted out, so actually, it wasn’t going to be starting tomorrow, in fact, we might be looking at early June. Right. Fine. But it did need to be done.