One of the Northern Professor’s oldest friends (from the age of 3 months, now, that is an old friend …) has, like ourselves, pitched up in the North-East. He has married a sensible & charming Dutchwoman, and they have just had a second baby — we are going to go and see them in a couple of days, but before doing so, we have paid a visit to one of our odder local phenomena, a Dutch cheesewife plying her trade in the Howe of Buchan. It is the most refreshingly transparent outfit you ever saw. There is a little shop, and once inside, through the plate glass window on your right you see row upon row of round, tidy cheeses. Through the plate glass window on your left, is a stainless steel vat, presses, and other arcana of the cheesemaker’s art. Through the plate glass window at the back, you see 200 tidy Texel/Frisian sheep, meditatively scoffing barley and lolling about; the doors are open, but they don’t want to go out in this weather and who can blame them? So we have bought Dutch cheese, and various Dutch bits and bobs and we propose to surprise the heck out of Mariella by telling her they were locally acquired. Oh, and she makes very good cheese, by the way. Support your local artisans.