Why do we live in the Deep North? On one level, the answer is simple, a university has been persuaded to pay us for instructing the young. Sufficient. However, in the course of twelve years roosting at the back of the north wind, there is no denying that there have been ungrateful moments, bits of the year when we might wish the luck of the draw had taken us to more favouring climes. The winter is frequently awful. The logistical problems, at times, daunting. But on the other hand, we have started to get the year’s significant payback on the sufferings of the winter — long, light evenings. It has been a most beautiful day, sunny, warm, and as J. Austen says, bright without being oppressive, due to a slight but sufficient breeze. It is just coming up to eleven PM, and the twilight is only now fading into night. We didn’t eat till about quarter to nine, after which I watered the greenhouse, pottered about outside, and forgot to go up for my bath till nearly half past ten. Time just seems to stretch itself out, in these long, warm, still, blue hours. Both the animals, by the way, approve highly of the gravel which has replaced the rather nasty hexagonal paving stones outside my study. They say it’s just like going to the beach, arrange themselves sur le plage in the warm gravel, and bask. It’s all right for Miss Cat, a desert creature. Miss Dog absorbs heat through her dense black coat to the point where she is on the verge of spontaneous combustion, then rushes in frantically to flop in the coolest spot she can find. You’d think she would have the sense to go and sit up to her neck in the pond, but she doesn’t.