Apologies to all old and valued clients for a short intermission due to technical problems. I’m delighted to be back, and we owe the Rogue Semiotician our grateful thanks. Quite a lot has happened since I was last broadcasting from the Deep North and I will now try and remember some of it. We have made my garden considerably more beautiful: it is now a spectacle of fearful symmetry with box on both sides. Honey the Hamster Loving Hippie has decided to spend more time with small rodents, and a Latvian lady called Olga has entered our life (fingers crossed on that one, she hurt her shoulder and I do hope she feels she can stay with us because she’s a sweetheart). We found out why Miss Kit had bald bits. She was pulling her fur out, it transpired, because she had a sore backside due to blocked anal glands. Hamish the Vet unblocked them, a process which required two professionals and me to keep her under control, but she plainly feels ever so much better and has almost entirely stopped ripping her fur out. The Colmans disappeared, and after a few day’s hiatus, the cat telegraph worked its wonders and we now have another all black feral cat, Colman III. Outwith the affairs of Burnside itself, there has been some socialising; most notably, we were invited to the Holyrood garden party, which was on Tuesday, where we had a more amusing time than I expected. I distrust all enterprises which require new clothes, but the Formerly Tropical Godparents sourced me a hat in an Edinburgh charity shop and I had other stuff which would do, while the Professor borrowed the Laird of the Pink Castle’s clawhammer jacket, striped trousers and topper. It was really rather pleasant, and even, in the older sense of the word, gay. It did NOT rain, we were with a congeries of musicians, so had people to talk to, and the tea as such was very good: I hadn’t thought of putting mint leaves in cucumber sandwiches but actually it was quite a good idea. We didn’t see Our Gracious Sovereign, being rather short (as of course is she), but due to the Company of Archers sporting vertical eagles’ feathers & forming a protective convoy you could always work out where she was. Anyway, the nice thing really is the extraordinary contrast between a manicured semi-formal pleasure ground, Holyrood house as the backdrop, and the looming mass of Salisbury Crags. It was all decorously jolly. The next day I went to London – where I am writing this after a couple of days in the BL – leaving the Prof to hold the fort. Did I say he has finished a book? Not the Twilight, the places & memories one.