In the course of a mere 36 hours we have become so smart we hardly know ourselves. The Refugee Gardener hasn’t been very well for a while, and the weather has alternated sun and showers, perfect growing weather, duly taken advantage of by ground elder, rosebay, goose-grass and other undesirables, while the lawn has got shaggier and shaggier. Our sudden loveliness is the result of an intervention from Miss T’s mum and dad, who turned up looking purposeful, said ‘that garden’s got on top of you’, and sorted it out. The Refugee Gardener mowed, I weeded and planted, Miss T’s dad strimmed, and the Professor and Miss T’s mum sorted out the parterre. Today a friend of theirs was introduced into the equation. He is a forester and ghillie to trade, a huge man with a bald head who looks, at first blink, like the sort of person who’d be cast as Chief Torturer in an old-fashioned B movie, but is in fact rather sweet and quiet. In the course of today, he found and replaced the coping stones all along the garden wall, and started getting the wood organised, including the willows on the other side of the burn which were split by the snow. Our wall is now not merely limewashed, but topped off — the copings are only concrete but weathered and mossy so they look perfectly fine. All grass is cut. Weeds temporarily fought to a standstill. Terrace cleared of moss and dandelions. Edges trimmed. The acres of general wilderness have been strimmed, and the Tibetan poppies are starting to come out. We are suddenly so elegant we look like something out of a magazine.