was rather high on stress and somewhat low on culture. The stress arose from a little spate of domestic/technological crises (yes, they do seem to come in threes), and the mundane but wearying frustrations of earning a wage. Still, I did manage an early-ish morning swim at the lido on Thursday, twenty lengths, beneath a gloomy sky; one of only a dozen swimmers – bliss! The water was pleasantly cool. The cold only set in once I’d got out, so I was glad I’d packed my vintage (must be by now, how long have I had it?) Junior Gaultier zip up jacket for the ride home. I could class this, I suppose, as physical culture. As to more cerebral culture, I’ve started reading Herta Müller’s The Land of Green Plums. It’s taken me a little while to get into it, but it does have quite a hypnotic pull. I’ll reflect on this book more once I’ve finished it. The other main cultural enrichment this week has come from listening to some of the Proms concerts live on Radio 3. On Thursday, the late night Prom featured Mozart’s Serenade in B flat major – the ‘Gran Partita’ – beautiful and transcendent. And I used to have such a prejudice against Mozart. On which, more at a later date; as well as a paean to applause – it’s addictive!