We woke up to our own little local version of Venice’s recurrent nuisance. All that snow, prompted by rising temperatures and quite a bit of rain, came off the hill in the course of about twelve hours. In past melts, we’ve had water lapping at the edge of the track: this time the track itself was under water. To add to the excitement, what was under the water was ice, impacted to the point where it can barely be persuaded to melt, and extremely slippery. Moreover, as with Venice, it is no longer possible to tell where the track leaves off and the plunge down into the 15-foot deep dell alongside it begins. The Real World Consultant and the Arts Correspondent were here for the night, for a somewhat belated exchange of Christmas presents, and we were not a little worried that they might be stuck here till the waters went down. Fortunately the RWC is a really good driver, and also fortunately, because the water is backed up against the side of the steading, it’s not to any significant extent in motion, so they got themselves away. Further news from the outside world suggests that we haven’t seen the worst of it. Barnyards turned up, having kindly agreed to take bags of haylage and other equine necessities up the hill in a tractor (the neighbours’ car is currently living down here, because the track up the hill looks like the Cresta Run, and the field is now too soft to take a vehicle). He was supposed to be meeting Miss T’s Dad who was out buying said haylage, shavings etc., but who seemed temporarily lost in Aberdeenshire, accepted a cup of coffee, and brought us up to speed: two of the buildings in the steading have caved in under the weight of snow, on top of a variety of valuable machinery; and the steading yard, which is where all that lovely water is going, looks like a river in spate. Then Miss T’s Dad turned up, explaining that the main road at Fyvie is under nearly three feet of water and the bottom end of Turriff is flooded, so he’d had to go round by complicated routes to get back to us. It all sounds a bit much, and it is just as well that tomorrow is Sunday. Miss T, by the way, had a date to go snowboarding in Aberdeen which she didn’t want to miss, and my ex-Gamekeeper is here for a few days, back from chatting up the penguins in the South Atlantic, so he simply carried her across the flood. Bless.