Our wicked friend the Papyrologist used to change the subject ruthlessly when he’d had enough of a topic by saying ‘Bored now. I spy with my little eye something beginning with — S’. Answer, Sky. Or if we were in a car, it might be, R, and Road. The rule was, the answer had to be brutally simple and obvious. I’m beginning to wish that I could do something similar with respect to matters domestic, because the story of the mid morning was I spied with my little eye something beginning with M, and the M in question belonged to a Malfunctioning Immersion Heater. I don’t know if these are a peculiarly British phenomenon, so just in case, it is a sort of giant kettle element which lives in the boiler to speed things up if you need a lot of hot water in a hurry. Because we are conserving heating oil we have been doing our hot water off the immersion, and the bloody thing, tried beyond its limits, has gone phut. Another thing I spied with my little eye a few days ago began with D or possibly S, which is to say, a Sodulating Self Defrosting Deepfreeze: I think there was a point where the wretched machine found it was colder outside than in and its heat pump went into reverse; we are therefore now gnawing away at its contents in order of magnitude. Fortunately I did not make a thrifty post christmas purchase of a turkey or anything of the sort, partly because nobody I know likes turkey, and also because I haven’t been shopping. On a more cheerful note, the merry roofers of Aberdeenshire are promising amendment of their ways. How nice.