This morning began with with some spectacular Sherlock Holmes style fog.  Walking up the road at 6:30 this morning I was on the lookout for any rogue Andaman Islanders or cyclists sporting fake beards.  I've begun to grow accustomed to being saluted by uniformed car park attendants - who wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Mission Impossible or a central American coup d'etat - but I worry I'll not get the same treatment from the NCP.  I was out at the University giving a talk and doing some tutorials.  We were discussing notebooks (or preferred alternatives, thankfully the debate didn't get round to spiral binding, a diplomatic incident might have ensued) and my compulsive behaviour regarding them was a source of great amusement.  They were looking through one of mine but luckily didn't get as far as the 'Faecal Reward Challenge', that would have taken some explanation.

My talk, during which no-one fell asleep, I suppose Communists are used to lengthy orations, made use of two translators.  I recall that a similar set up was required by Colonel Gaddafi addressing the UN in 2009, sadly I don't have a brigade of female body guards, or an obsession with Condoleezza Rice.  The students were a very attentive audience, and were very taken by The History of the World in Eighty Seven Hats, and we had an extensive discussion about the order of directional lines in hatching.  I managed to avoid using the phrase "I don't think there's anything wrong with just being a potato waffle" which happened last time.  I was treated to a phenomenal lunch - beef with copious amounts of chili and ginger, belly pork with chestnuts, a spinach type vegetable, clear mushroom broth and a strange savoury set custard in a sticky sauce which I wasn't too keen on - though I'm still a little unsure of why the Dean of the Art School needed to take a scan of my passport, but it seemed all in order when he returned it so hopefully I'll avoid the rubber glove treatment when it comes to flying back.

In news of my continuing battle with the rodents, they appear to have grown in confidence.  Not content with eating the small flowers I'd been collecting and pressing prior to drawing, after staging an incursion into the DMZ that is the steps to the bed deck, they are no longer following the 'we held the day/they held the night' tactic in a tribute to the Vietnam war, but have begun day time raids.  Though wary of an escalation of the conflict, I fear my stern looks and tuts may have to be backed with something more robust...passive aggressive notes left on all surfaces.