When we were all in Cromarty, the Professor was hanging out with the Queen of Cracked China, while godpapa and I racketed round the countryside looking at unsuitable cottages (a different story), when a stranger came into the shop and proved, on inspection, to be no stranger at all, but a woman last seen twenty years ago. Peter and the lady’s mother were friends from years and years back, and when we were trying to sort out the house before last (the one which had been empty for 17 years and had no electricity, that is), she and her sister spent part of the summer with us — she had just come to to the end of her first year at Cambridge and was suffering from omniscience, as one does, and her little sister was gloomily awaiting her A level results, which were in fact, in the end, more than respectable if I remember rightly. But their mother was finding them, in combination, perfectly insupportable, so they were put on a train south and sent off to make themselves useful. Fast forward twenty years. The Professor is grey, I am stout, and the erstwhile Omniscient is a beautiful woman with a good haircut and, it turns out, an interesting husband. They came to lunch, and we enjoyed each other’s company. Nobody talked about the past at all, which is always a good sign.