We continue on the annual round of making things beautiful. I have painted the bridge to Twisby Island (long overdue), supervised from a cautious distance by Miss Cat, who wanted to know what I was doing, but, fortunately, distrusted the smell of paint. It’s not an unpleasant job, but complicated, since to do the middle you have to stand in the burn. We have also tried another solution to the beds in front of the house. I still think an idea of a year or two back was the best yet, in an ideal world — Bishop of Llandaff dahlias with Pink Perfection lilies — but there are two problems, first, that dahlias are expensive, second, that ideally they would be full grown and starting to flower now, in time for the visitor season, and for those who do not possess a heated greenhouse and someone to fuss over it, dahlias in June — at least here in the Deep North — are barely above ground. So we have bought 180 mixed nicotiana and 24 scarlet petunias, and the pink-to-purple nicotianas and the petunias have been bedded out to make their peace as best they may with the window boxes (dark leaved orange begonias and deep red trailing geranium). The white and green nicotiana will find a home in the parterre, which has a central bed suitable for filling. The Refugee Gardener is beginning to look a great deal better in himself, and is engaged upon cutting the parterre with immense skill and a variety of useful gadgetry, not only electric trimmers, but also a leaf blower, which enables him to bully the fallen beech and box into corners from which it can be picked up with ease. Since picking up is a good deal of the work, this is simplifying the job considerably, and he is making grand progress. We have also had our annual visit from the man who steam cleans the carpets, and the dog is still sulking about it. Humph. I go to a great deal of trouble to fill this house with a palimpsest of treasured memories, and what happens? Swept away in a day, without so much as a by your leave. I shall write to The Labrador. Etc.