Here is #2 daughter (in an unrecognisable photograph) picking strawberries with roses and herbs looking on.

Here is an impressionistic toy camera shot of the roses. I like a garden to be all wild jungle or at least cottage-garden looking. It is supposed to look as though everything is growing there natural and wild, although obviously it isn’t. There is no place in which these particular plants would all grow together — and of course the trellis is a dead giveaway. 

Here is Nadia, a sweet cat whom the Princess gave to us last night. My husband spent the entire evening training the dogs to tolerate her. Fiona, the smart one, has learned the lesson completely, but poor Toby is still working on it. He is trying very hard. My husband put the cat in his lap and had Toby sit at his feet, and said calming things to them until Nadia would look Toby in the face and Toby would sit quietly. We all chorused “Good dog!” and praised him, and indeed, he looked as though he was calmly making friends with the cat.

In reality, however, he was a quivering mass of dog nerves, filled with a desire to play with the new toy — that is, Nadia. My husband also says that he is very jealous. We are hoping that he will be able to adjust and that everyone will be happy together.

The other new denizen of chez Fibermom is a pedal steel guitar. #1 son developed a sudden and inexplicable desire to play one. We’re hoping for good things there, too. He already plays guitar and bass, so in some ways it was a logical next step.

Ishmael, in the section I have just read, has argued that pre-agricultural societies were more affluent than we are, because they had a great deal of leisure and plenty of food. They did not, I think, have pedal steel guitars.