The ups and downs of today have left me reflecting on the up sides of living in the deep north. I’m mostly over the sore throad and all that, but I haven’t a lot of energy. Fortunately, the first week of term herebouts is a sort of Phony War, because first and second year seminar teaching doesn’t kick in till week 2, at which point my commitments more than double. Anyway, I shambled onto campus to be hailed by a passing colleague and given a beautiful — indeed, valuable — painting, which isn’t a bad start by any standards. The painting is by said colleague’s father, who is a very well regarded professional painter, mostly of Scottish landscapes, and was by way of being a very graceful thankyou to the N. Prof for writing a catalogue essay. It’s mostly a huge open sky with Torridon seen from a great distance, and it’s lovely. Then I went and gave a lecture, which uniquely in my experience was met with a round of applause — they were first years and this is their second day, so doubtless this enthusiasm will go the way of the gilt on the gingerbread by the end of the week. I bunked for home early, having had about as much day as I felt able to cope with, and discovered at the bus stop that I no longer had my wallet. O the joy. But I did have enough change to get myself a single back to the country. Meanwhile, I rang home and alerted the Prof, who rang my department to send a secretary up to see if I’d accidentally left it in my room, but by the time he came to meet me an hour later, not only had the secretaries drawn a blank, but the wallet itself had been handed into Turriff police station. Reconstructing, I must have lost it on the bus, where some honest soul spotted it, the driver recalled where I had got on (about 6 of the cards in it have a photograph), and sent it back to its town of origin with the next bus out. Hopefully, by next week I will be less dozy, but it’s an encouraging reminder that life here is in essentials on a very human scale.