We had a perfectly lovely time on the Professor’s birthday. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we went up to Speyside, had lunch at Archiestown, and took the wonderful road which plunges out the main, indeed, only, square of that hamlet, down a mountainside, over the Spey on a narrow white bridge, and joins the main(ish) road to Craigellachie. We stopped at the Spey and walked the old dog through groves of rustling birches, with wood-anemones and forget-me-not carpeting the ground beneath. Then we dropped in on the antiquarian of Dufftown, had a cup of tea and a chat about silver and sundry other matters, and went home, by winding country roads, admiring the new leaves of the trees, to eat asparagus. Couldn’t be better, really. He got all kinds of stuff from kind friends, all of which pleased him but I also received a present today, which, unlike the Professor’s birthday gifts, was not accounted for. It was a very exciting one — a mysteriously anonymous box of ferns, including the wonderful, oversized osmunda regalis, which will make glorious the banks of the lake and with any luck, grow about four feet tall. Whatever elf is responsible for this gift, thank you very much. Oh, and by the way, what are the other two ferns, which aren’t labelled?