Unfortunately, in the course of my Oxford sojourn, I also filled up — not with snow, in any direct sense, but with catarrh. It is all rather tiresome; the snow has gone, the crocuses are out in the garden, and I am sitting upstairs coughing rhythmically. On my return to the old homestead I dived into bed, pausing only to collect a Lemsip, and there I have more or less remained. The only outing I have had was to the Chinese doctor, who seemed disposed to take this moderately seriously, so I am being good, which is made easier by the fact that my laptop will pick up broadband from the bedroom. In the course of my visit to the doctor, apart from the usual needles, I received a very odd treatment, herbal patches (resembling small teabags) stuck over significant points on my back. What these have achieved in terms of general progress towards health, I know not, but they had one rather odd side-effect — Miss Kit, who had been my faithful companion, deserted me. Once in a while in the course of the 24 hours or so I wore the things, she would leap on the bed, stare at me in apparent bewilderment, and rush out to howl on the landing. I can only think that the teabags must have altered my smell in some deeply disturbing fashion — less than half an hour after they were peeled off, she eventuated once more, climbed into my lap and purred madly for an hour. Clearly, whether or not the teabags are effective on upper respiratory infections, they have a potential market among ailurophobes and those allergic to cats.