The text never arrived, though whether my systems administrator could have solved the problem remotely is a moot point. Probably I should buy my own dongle, then I'd know where it was and understand how it worked. The downside of delegating my technological needs to my technologically savvy partner is that my own tech skills remain resolutely under developed. But I tend to take the view that I'd learn if I had to. The SA's initial verdict on the modem after getting home was that it was broken, but after we'd resigned ourselves to spending seventy quid on a new one the SA discovered a tiny on-off button on the back, which had somehow got set to off in the fall, so we did not have to add a modem to the kittens' existing record of destruction, which stands so far at one footstool, a pair of my jeans and the SA's shoelaces.
From this you will gather that they are rumbustiously well. The big moment of excitement was the sudden appearance of a hornet from a vent in the back of the stove. It flew to the window, the kittens advanced on it, ignoring my shrieking, and were dabbing at it enthusiastically with their tiny feet when I reappeared with a glass and a piece of card to catch it. I was mightily relieved that none of them got stung. Hornet stings are quite bad enough in human beings, let alone something as small as a kitten.
The tiny hens are alive as well, and the old lady Maran seems to be allowing them out into the run. They were sunbathing yesterday in a tight little group, and have found their way to the water. This is day six, and as they have still not died of shock or thirst or been pecked to death by the old lady they are probably going to cope from here on in.
I have had one other animal encounter, at a local garden that was open in aid of the lifeboats. I didn't even know it existed, but saw the poster in the Clacton Garden Centre. In case the rhododendrons were not enough of an attraction by themselves (which in truth they wouldn't have been) the organisers had got some stalls and a Scottish pipe band, and one of the stands was occupied by a collection of owls, including a tiny asiatic Scops owl called Baggins. I declined the offer to hold Baggins, knowing from past experience that I'd have to put on a sweaty and much shared leather glove, but eagerly accepted the invitation to rub him behind the ears. He leant his head forwards, looking entirely soppy, and I wished once again that I could have a pet Scops owl like the young Gerald Durrell. But there were never any cats at the Durrell villas.