Posted by Tania Kindersley.
At her work, my co-writer sits next to a man whose writing I very much admire. He is interesting and thoughtful and can turn a lovely sentence. His knee does not jerk. I rather foolishly told her on the telephone today how much I liked his last column.
'My friend LOVED your last column,' she bawled, across the room.
'Stop,' I said, blushing. I started to laugh uncontrollably, like a girl. 'I did love it though,' I said.
'Love from SCOTLAND,' Sarah yelled.
Even though I have a reasonable understanding of modern technology, I am sometimes slightly amazed that what I say up here, as the crocuses grow and the oystercatchers sing, comes out in a newsroom six hundred miles south.
'I'm going now,' I said, firmly.
Two hours later, she calls back.
'I've sent that man whose writing you like to the blog,' she says.
'Oh no,' I say. 'But it's all about dogs and trees at the moment. I haven't done a serious political piece for days.'
'I did warn him about the dogs,' she says.
'Oh dear,' I say.
'Can't help it,' she says. 'I am feeling impish.'
'You most certainly are,' I say.
There is an oddity about the way this blog has developed. I don't really care about numbers, but I do occasionally look at them. It's the old competitive streak, which must always win at Scrabble. I am rather gratified to see how the graph goes up and up; I get now in a week what I once had in a month. But all the same, it is a very, very small thing.
I love that it is small. It makes me feel happy and safe. There is the kind coterie of regular readers, who make my soup and care about my dogs. Occasionally, I read about those professional bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of reader and make real money out of the thing and get profiles written about them in the New York Times, and feel a twisting stab of envy. Then I realise I would hate that kind of success. What I love about blogging is the intimacy. You can't be intimate with a hundred thousand people.
So the thought of a serious, national columnist reading this tiny enterprise is quite terrifying. This is, of course, entirely irrational. Some of you probably are serious national columnists. I write books which are reviewed in the newspapers. I am not shy about that. But this is different. It is where I can put whimsy, and snowdrops, and the beloved canines, and recipes for soup which I made up in my head. It is a tiny, personal, delicate thing. I have absolutely no idea how that happened. The unlikely thing is that I am rather glad it did. Like Bagehot, I am not going to shine too much daylight on it. I rather love the mystery.
And now, I am going to make some ratatouille. Whilst of course contemplating the geo-political ramifications of the Libyan rebels' retreat from Ras Lanouf.
Now for the pictures. It was another low, dirty day. 'Ah, but it is dreich,' said my favourite newsagent, with a disdainful sniff. Still, there were some lovely green things, all the same.
The first leaves are unfurling on the dog roses:
The philadelphus is verging on bushy:
I have no idea what this is; some kind of shrub on my walk. But rather fetching:
The old beech leaves are still hanging on:
And here is an arty close-up of the beech hedge:
The snowdrops have almost gone from my garden, but they are still blooming in the wild places:
There has not been a good tree trunk for a while, can't think why not:
The Sister's poodle is staying while her humans are away, so there is now a pack of three:
The Duchess, doing grand yet wistful:
The Pigeon doing her usual 'if I just stare at you long enough, perhaps you will turn into a giant biscuit' face:
No idea what the poodle is thinking about. The perils of inflation, perhaps:
Today's hill, labouring under the unrelenting dreich: