Lest we should suffer from the regrettable absence of the labradors, in the deep north under the benign despotism of Dr Biswell, Ben the trailhound has selflessly offered himself as a surrogate. He is an exceedingly handsome dog with strong and marked views on a number of topics, not least of them, the spot on the sofa nearest the window, where he is currently snoozing. We are having a rather quiet day, partly because it has poured with rain, and also because yesterday ended with a party; since four of the guests were members of a folk band and the hostess a musician, not unnaturally, the evening ended in song; a bodhran and a penny whistle appeared as if by magic, and our hostess got out her fiddle. An extensive and various musical repertory was plundered, and an exciting time was had by all. I did find it quite strange to find that at one point, we were all singing about the Barnyards of Delgaty, which is where the Professor and I actually live. Anyway, it was fun, but left us disinclined for much excitement today.