The Lady Novelist has been in London for nearly a fortnight, hence the lapse in transmission. This was spent, by and large, in the British Library speed-reading ten books a day and staggering out of an evening with revolving eyeballs. Returning to the deep north yesterday evening, I found that the trellis fencing was turning to a beautiful pea-green-soup colour (we having decided that yes, the blue-grey was just a bit battleship). I had been a bit tremulous about how the beautiful pea green soup would look in quantity but the answer is, fantastic. The exterior paint was literally scoured off everything south facing in the course of the winter as if the wind had been armed with Brillo pads, and it is lifting to the spirits to see stuff looking respectable and cared for. Otherwise nothing seemed to have happened whatsoever, but it transpired that a plumber, an electrician, and the Dishwasher Whisperer had all wreaked their various mysteries, so we now have a boiler (cheers), and a functioning dishwasher (renewed cheers) though the day when we can put the glassware back in the dining room cupboard or get the washing machine out of the garden remains far to seek. Moreover, while I was skiving off in London, the Professor has achieved prodigies of organisation: you can now see the floor in the attic. Much of today was spent sorting out our books from Dr Biswell’s (the latter are finally going to Manchester on Monday): after fifteen-odd years of creative coexistence, things get strangely muddled. The ‘Small but Manly Sitting Room’ is going to become a Twentieth Century Room: we’re going to try and concentrate twentieth-century biographies, music, Burra, Auden, Buchan. the ballet, and the interwar arts generally into a sort of ghetto of their own, which with a bit of luck might allow space for everything else. It’s a happy prospect.