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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This blog is an off-spring of

Recognising people, or father not recognising them, is as bad as not remembering their names, to both of which faults I’m prone. A woman exercising with a trainer on the Oval this morning greeted the dogs ecstatically (‘Oh, they remember me!’ – oh,  no they didn’t; they greet everyone that enthusiastically); and how was I, and so on. No idea who she was., but she obviously remembered me. Slightly more irritatingly so apparently did her trainer, an extremely beautiful young woman with a fine athletic body (more of which was, happily, exposed to the morning sun than was covered by clothing): ‘Great  to see you again . . .’ Maybe she was just being polite; can’t think I’d forgotten her. If I’d remembered her I’d probably have forgotten her name. I remember once when I was chairman of the Society of Authors and Prince Charles was coming to present an award, I thought, ‘Oh, God, I’m going to have to introduce the Executive Committee members to him . . .’ and goodness knows I didn’t remember who they were even at meetings, let alone on some mildly frightening formal occasion.
Told tickets for my talk on Byron have completely sold out. Michael says the caterers have asked whether  we’d prefer Cornish or Devonshire scones with the jam and cream and wine; not knowing the difference, I said that since Byron’s family had Cornish roots (‘Mad Jack’ Byron, his grandfather, lived at Caerhayes, near St Austell) I’ve suggested Cornish! I ran through the script and it comes out at about 50 minutes; always slower when really delivered, so I guess it’ll be about an hour, which will be fine. Must try to remember to be reasonably deliberate rather than scampering through as I so often do.
Julia’s been told that the Hong Kong Tatler is being redesigned and they no longer
need her horoscope column, which she has been doing for over twelve years. Not much of a financial loss – they were still paying the same fee they paid her when she started! – but a pity, all the same.      We're now thinfor an annual or maybe monthly smallish payment, just to see what happens. Free is fine, but free makes no profit!
Took the afternoon off and sat about re-reading Wodehouse’s Jill the Reckless – probably one of his weakest books, but fascinating because of its details about how a musical was put on the New York in the 1920s or ‘30s. Plum knew all about that, of course, being the finest librettist of his time (not excepting Cole Porter; he was before Larry Hart, of course).

Strange that Rolf Harris is being accused of ‘making an indecent drawing’ of a young girl. Can there be such a crime? A crime no doubt to inveigle a young girl to pose for an indecent drawing – but that’s not what the indictment says. Very odd. But we shall learn all in due course, no doubt. Walked the dogs out to Robinson’s Point – or at least the Cremorne ferry wharf – at 8.30 and the temperature already 23° or thereabouts. A certain amount of panting went on from all three of us. Met Derek’s wife, who says her son is getting married on Saturday to a Vietnamese girl (they seem very pleased about it, which  is good); her son-in-law, who is a priest, is marrying them here and there’s to be a Vietnamese service later. Odd, all this religious shenanigan that goes on– how can people think it has any meaning at all, when the gods are all put in a pot and stirred well?

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