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This article is taken from PN Review 165, Volume 32 Number 1, September - October 2005.

Summer in the North Peter Davidson

At last the week comes when the buds break on the wild cherries and in the evenings (however bitter the air) there is still enough light to walk through the gardens and as far as the urn in the wood. As the days draw out - sudden prodigality of evening light - the walks after dinner grow longer. The trees on our lawns fill, showing a wash of white on stark branches, and all over northern Scotland, the buds break on the wild cherry-trees of the uplands. A vast gean-tree flowers overwhelmingly, filling the space between the Chapel and New King's College in Old Aberdeen, a marker in the progress of the city's year.The geans flower on the slopes of the Garioch, looking from the distance like wind-blown remnants of blizzard. Sparser along the field above our house they look like spindrift on the grass. Our hill-field too has its place in the year - we go up there only in summer to look down over the house and down the valley towards the white castle of the Hays of Delgaty shimmering white among the wild cherries.

Our house is the house of the villain in a John Buchan thriller, a house completely invisible amongst its trees and in its sheltered dip in the valley bottom, a house you'd need field-glasses and sharp eyes to find. Great Victorian trees thicken around it as May goes on, and the house sinks into the depths of their greenness. On ...

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