Greetings from Chester, founded in AD 79, whither I’m come to accept a position as Visiting Research Fellow with the university’s archaeology department. Inclement weather delayed my flight, but the taxi driver who took me into town was a clement man and we had a nice chat. I have located my friend Howard Williams and my room on campus, and I expect to have a login for the ambient wifi there soon. Wifi is not a common offering in UK cafés though — took me a while to find one that had it among the quaint shops of central Chestah. Have started to make friends with the staff and faculty, and been reunited with a number of my co-diggers from four months ago at SÃ¤ttuna. Tonight I’m having dinner at the Williams mansion in rural Wales, a storied country that I’ve never visited before. My ideas about it are coloured by Lloyd Alexander, Howard Marks, the Mabinogion and the Super Furry Animals. I expect to meet Celtic heroes running dope, stealing cattle and playing the electric guitar.
My first wife had a cat named Cassandra, and she had a litter of three kittens. One was grey, black and white, and we called him Batman. Two were ginger, and I don’t remember what we called them, but the neighbour who took one of them in called him Sophus. He grew up to become a fine tomcat and a great hunter.
Sophus and his owner lived on the ground floor with a little garden on the edge of a park. So the cat would come home with prey and lay it at his owner’s feet. There were birds, including the fast ones, and small rodents. Sophus was good. But hunting wasn’t always good. After his second-worst day in that park, Sophus came home with an earthworm.
On his blackest day ever, Sophus the cat came home with a potato.