The Old School House, Maude's childhood home, seemed bathed in a sidereal light when she saw it through the open gateway and in the garden she spotted a younger version of May, with her perfect posture, weeding among the rose bushes, but at this time of year the plants were skeletal, the origami-like blooms still months away, and Maude's stomach lurched as though ghrelin peptides were telling her that she hadn't eaten for hours—years even, as if the six and a half since they had left Antarctica just an hour or so ago were real—and she walked between the stone gateposts and approached her cousin, who glanced up from under the brim of the hat she still wore, in the real world 70 years later; Maude tried to remember what May would have been doing in 1950 and realised that she would still be a schoolgirl, with eight months or thereabouts till she could begin her medical studies at Edinburgh University; May's face had a puzzled look, perhaps she saw in Maude an imperfect image of her young cousin, aged and frail: "Aunt Arabella," she said, with a smile brightening her face, "what brings you here, did you write? oh the post is terrible, isn't it? unless Cristo took your letter to her room, she does that, you know and usually forgets to tell me anything—Maude's gone back to Edinburgh, is she alright? there hasn't been an accident or anything, has there?" but Maude shook her head, quite speechless at being mistaken for her own mother, although, on reflection she realised that she probably looked as Arabella had, 70 years ago—after all, at that time she had thought that everyone of her parents' generation looked ancient and once over forty they all looked much the same to teenagers, whether they were parents or grandparents, so she decided to play along: "no, May, everyone is well, I just decided to come down on a whim," and motioning to Oyzell to join them, she said: "this is my dear friend, and cousin, Madame Oyzell Alexeievna Romanova, from California, she's one of the Haight-Ashbury Romanovs, you remember, the ones who got out of Russia just before the Revolution, I promised to bring her to Melrose and we had a free day so just decided on a whim to come down today," and she could feel Oyzell's eyes boring into her, but May smiled brightly at the darkly foreign looking woman: "hello, Madame, I'm sorry, I can't shake hands, I'm filthy," and getting up, to Maude, "come on through, Aunt Arabella, and you too, Madame Oyzell, we'll go round to the kitchen and I can get washed and give you a cup of tea, there's no-one else in, Pa's operating at Peel today and Ma's helping out at the Cottage Hospital in Newstead, Daphne's gone up to join Maude—they're planning a trip in the Spring to Egypt, a new Dig in the Valley of the Kings, has she told you about it? the Reichsmarschall's Office has approved the funding and the travel—and Cristo is up on the North Hill, she's managed to get hold of a metal detector, actually it's an army surplus bomb detector, and she's going over the old Hill Fort, where the Roman Signal Station was too, she's terribly keen!" but after hearing the word Reichsmarschall, the rest of May's words washed over Maude, who felt quite faint.