We have been out to ‘Sunday Drinks’, in a delightful house which counts as neighbours though it’s a twenty minute drive. There were quite a lot of people there, and the governing determinant was quite patently that they were ‘the quality’. Not all rich, and certainly, not all clever, but there was an almost Jane Austen-like sense of a self defined country gentry; people who do not, except on definable forays to a metropolis, look outside Aberdeenshire. They resist innovation: I can’t remember who coined ’stones in the rain’ for people of this type but it may have been Nancy Mitford. Aberdeenshire conservatism continues unbudgeable. We got lost both going to, and returning from, this party. O, up country Aberdeenshire. Someone, sooner or later, will go sea fishing and pull out a coelacanth, at which point some local wiseacre in a jersey will helpfully offer the Doric name for the damn thing. I’ve spent the last two days looking at a poetry manuscript (highland Perthshire) and cultural conservatism is, to say the least, a feature. Most of what’s in it (written in the 1630s) is chart hits from the Elizabethan era, but there’s one item which actually looks fifteenth century.