Jonathan : Yes I know it’s Spring. No I don’t mean Aga Off Day. It went off on Wednesday last week – after nearly three glorious days of sunshine and warmth (well, warm in the sunshine). The solar water heating worked flat out, and the water got so hot that in the late afternoon the system spent 20mins or so cooling it down again, for safety’s sake! It was so warm in the kitchen that we broke into a sweat just standing still. So the Aga was turned off, and in the morning the kitchen felt it had lost its soul! The Aga is so much a feature of our home, it puts so much warmth into our lives, that it’s like a member of the family. But turning it off for the summer is an essential economy. Now, the rituals associated with an Aga are not limited to On days in Autumn and Off days in Spring – or at least not limited to just one of each. And nor are the participants in these rituals limited to the Aga on the one side and Denise and I on the other. No, for that would be to forget the master (or is it mistress) of ceremonies – the Weather. And the weather does indeed understand full well the part it has to play in Spring: once we have switched off the Aga and hardened our souls a little, the Weather must suddenly and unaccountably switch back to the chill and damp of late Winter. Oh and doesn’t Weather play the part well! For the past five days Uist – and indeed all the Hebrides – has been at the periphery of a very large and static area of high pressure, the dynamics of which result in a blanket of high altitude cloud, sufficiently thick to dramatically reduce the light of day, but too thin to trap in any warmth. The result is a dreary grey cold existence : compared to which the most violent storm would be something to look forward to! But back to the rituals of the Aga: Denise switched it back on this morning, and by this evening we’ll be leaning against it as we chat, and the tea towels will be warm and dry on the rail and the washing aired nicely and ready to put away in drawers. At least for another week or two.