Detail of my bedroom/studio in March 1978 when I shared a flat.

LIKE MOLE in The Wind in the Willlows, my year has started with a vigorous bout of spring-cleaning  and whitewashing or, to be more accurate, rollering the Dulux brilliant white matt on the walls of my studio. Half the floor space is taken up with row on row of books, which should be back on their shelves tomorrow if I get them up in their new positions but at least I now have a clean, airy and freshly whitewashed spot to work in with a view of the meadow and the woods beyond.

I’m sure that we haven’t seen the worst of the winter yet but like Kenneth Grahame’s Mole I can feel that it won’t be long before spring is ‘moving in the the air above and in the in the earth below’ and hopefully, like him, I’ll get the opportunity to set off on all sorts of adventures.

‘. . . he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said “Bother !” and “O blow !” and also “Hang spring-cleaning !”

“This is better than whitewashing!” he says to himself as he escapes into the sunlit meadow.