The Tropical Godparents’ Visit wasn’t all cashmere, corduroy and intaglios. No. After a day of shopping, they rolled up their sleeves and set about the Sisyphean task of organising us. Those Constant Readers who are visitors will know the front spare room with the fourposter. It’s been styled, lah (as they say in Malaysia). The absolutely Napoleonic aspect of this was to swop the chest of drawers with the bookcase — suddenly there’s enough room between the end of the bed and the wall that the room no longer feels cramped. The walls are now a beautiful soft grey, and about a third of the pictures have been removed. The tartan has been swept away with a firm hand, and will be replaced by black and white toile de Jouy — I bought a bolt of this on Ebay a few years back for tuppence or so because it was a bargain, and it’s been sitting about awaiting its moment. There will be new curtains in the same toile de Jouy, lined, since there is a Polish tailor in Banff who is most economical. The bookcase and mirror have now been painted a sort of taupe. I can think of only one problem with this: it’s a very comfortable room, and normally, almost silent (though not at this precise minute, Barnyards, having waited as long as he dared, is taking advantage of the current good weather to get the barley in, and his monstrous motors will be at work all night). We are used to people emerging shamefacedly at eleven saying ‘I don’t usually oversleep …’ It is going to be so soothing and relaxing that we may find guests failing to emerge till Groundhog Day in the following year. While they were getting on with this, and through most of today, the Professor and I have repainted the guest bathroom, which sorely needed it — I think that in the scramble of getting-in eleven years ago that as a low priority room, it got a lick and a promise. Because it gets no natural light, we have painted it white throughout, and once the pictures are up it will look very decent.