In the raw weather I tidied the perennials overwintering in pots, sweeping away the accumulated dead leaves and stems and greb, until the broom poked an alien thing … which turned out to be a saggy but undead large overwintering toad. I tenderly re-buried him in a quilt of leaves and tucked the agapanthus round for shelter.  Hope he makes it.


I don’t often want to tear books in half.  I did consider it for this one.  It weighs in at 60 oz  – nearly 4 lb – or, for younger readers, 1723 g – and reading would have been less tiring if I had sliced it firmly down the spine and read it one moiety at a time. However, this is an unusual paperback in having been glued very thoroughly into its cover (kudos to OUP) and I don’t suppose I could have (quite) brought myself to do it anyway.


That weight includes a small forest of notes-to-self, so the authors were obviously doing something right.  The final chapter is entitled ‘The future of Christianity’ and ends on page 665; I couldn’t help wondering if there wasn’t a teeny weeny private joke going on.


There are some other teeny weeny things going on.  Spot the verbascum.

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