The Professor pointed out that we’ve been here for ten years to the day. It’s quite a thought. We haven’t entirely fought the house to a standstill, but mostly it’s sorted out, and thinking about the rural slum it was, I don’t think we’ve done too badly. The garden is foaming with roses and delphinium and alchemilla. Miss T’s Dad has just replaced the curtain poles in our bedroom which have driven me bonkers for ten years. They were Wee Stoned Mark’s idea; a wooden pole with rings, standing about four inches out from the wall; we came back one day and found he’d done them off his own bat. Unfortunately, with windows facing south and east, in the summer, you get blazing light through the unavoidable gap which exists at either end because the curtains aren’t flush with the wall, so in the summer I’m woken by the light on my face in the small hours. We have finally got around to dealing with it, with help from our friends. One story of the week rather sadder than ours relates to one of the neighbours — we first met in that summer ten years ago, when he was the local blacksmith, a chap of enormous energy and likeableness, who sorted our our grates and other metalwork. We were pleased by his success when about two or three years later, he moved out of town to become one of our immediate neighbours, and ended up with a sizeable set of premises which seemed to be continously active; it all got bigger and bigger, he was getting work from the oil companies, there was a suite of vehicles with vanity plates with his initials and so on, but then he split up with his wife, probably because he came home only to sleep. A second wife turned up the other year, a younger, high maintenance wife. He took to taking a lot of money out of the business which, I presume, went on Dubai, lifestyle, and shoes for the Second Missus. The bank called a halt, and on Friday, the engineering firm went into receivership and closed its doors for the last time. I think there are a lot of magazine-readers with a very poor grasp on the fact that just because millions pass through a man’s hands in the course of a year doesn’t mean that all that much can be diverted. It does seem a shame.