Val Doesn’t Know Me

Sunday 14th August 2022

Val says he can’t recognise me, Adrian Edge, when I appear on TV as I do quite often. Not for nothing do I work for Dainty Lady TV, requiring many arduous hours of in-depth pieces to camera, and even more gruelling hours of laborious investigation beforehand. But Val says he always fails to know me at first sighting. Only after a while does it dawn: ‘That’s my loved one.’ Val says you can have a Loved Ones size KFC bucket and he’s thinking of ordering one this Xmas as part of his Yuletide journey but must get through his Sunburn’n’Calomine Lotion journey first.

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Val Trapped

Sunday 7th August 2022

Val’s zapper went on the blink. His telly was stuck on ITV2. Luckily by the time I arrived at Moscova, a nice neighbour had re-programmed the machine. But for days Val was trapped, as in Waiting for Godot. ‘I turned the sound down in the hope of making it more interesting,’ he said. But in vain. ‘ Z list American actors are still Z list American actors.  “Acting” seems to involve looking like you’ve got serious indigestion and we can all do that.’

He is worried by Liz Truss’s hair. It’s very small but not as bad as Margaret Beckett.  ‘You know the ineluctable theory of power and women’s hair.’ Nobody seems to like Liz Truss. The Gay Mother said, ‘Have you seen this Liz Truss? Wretched little girl. Miserable little thing.’ But I never have seen her, or only in pictures, never moving or speaking. What is to be done? Maybe at the last minute they’ll announce that it’s all been a bad dream and it’s not Liz Truss but Lynne, the other Truss (how many can there be?). Nobody could object to her… surely. And it’s so nearly the same name, would anybody notice?

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Tuesday 2nd August 2022

I’m only just beginning to recover. Last Tuesday bed linen was presented to the ironing board. Every single piece – often near the completion of ironing – found to be in error. Mysterious black marks, quite faint. Back to the laundry room for the Vanish bar, back to the board, apparently corrected. But then more faint black marks… like a curse, forever appearing. Not to mention much larger patches like scorch marks. For years, my maid has been complaining about the drying racks from Lakeland. Heritage style, wooden. Have to match the home. But accused of staining the bed linen because of the raw wood. I did not sustain her judgement. The racks went on. There was a good run of several years with no seepage.

But now the loathsome orange stains could have no other sources. The racks are leeching of a sudden.

In the middle of all this, the letter from the Gas Board arrived.

The black marks though… the whole morning back and forth, getting nowhere. Only through length of life knowing that somehow, one day, this would be over. Then, fallen to the floor in agony, my eye was caught by the ironing board’s edge. In a way it was a vision. A black dust mark all along the edge of the ironing board cover which must have been the source of all the trouble.

So relief – and hope. New drying racks but must be heritage wooden. Ordered from Dunelm. £119.67. New ironing board cover.

Slowly, slowly working towards pure linen. Very like Job, tormented by the Lord.

What about the price of Gas though? The Gas company announced a 2000% increase, from 2p per kilowat hour to 20p. Hours on the phone to ‘brokers’. Finally settled on Opus to supply delicious gas at 14p per kilowat hour. So costs of gas and leccie will rise to £4000 per annum from the present £1500.

Or rather the heating won’t be on next winter. I’ll have to get the coal fires going again. And adopt good furs, as the Queen solved the problem of the 3-day week and power cuts in the 1970s – with a mink coat.

Mercifully with the death of Aunt Verline, I’ll be able to fetch a bit more out of the fund to cover the increase – t0 some extent.

Aunt Verline will not require to be heated this coming winter.

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Where Else?

Monday 25th July 2022

…than the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace to be quietly bickering with Royston King and Genevieve Suzy. ‘Can’t we just linger here a moment?‘ Royston protested. But Genevieve was rearing for afternoon tea on the terrace. In a superb fitted afternoon dress by Roland Mouret, with bag and difficult ice-blue satin shoes, she was not to be argued with.

Buckingham Palace is such a cozy house and at the Press Preview for the Summer Opening one has it to oneself.

We were back, for the Press Preview of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, a fixture in my calendar if not in anybody else’s.

The scale is tiny – you can see straight through from the back to the front. Access to one room is through another as in a humble cott. Thus the intimate feel, although the rooms themselves tower with gilt and glass and pillars. I think, if Airbnb-ing at Buckingham Palace, as one well might be, one would have the Green Drawing Room for the mornings. Lunch in the State Dining Room, of course, followed by coffee in the Blue Drawing Room, then the Garden, the Music Room for tea, saving the White Drawing Room for a TV supper. The Throne Room for games, such as sitting on the thrones, and the Picture Gallery for exercise on wet days. That would only leave the Ballroom and Ball Supper Room as possibilities. I suppose one could give a ball, but it would be expensive.

I adore Buckingham Palace. The suite of rooms on the Garden Front are amongst the finest known, truly important interiors by Nash in their own right but also, gloriously, living State Rooms as no other. It’s a devastatingly grand architectural scheme of cornices and pediments and pilasters but the colours are simply afternoon tea. Such delight. Each room has been lightly rolled in Royal history, moving forward from Regency origins. In the White Drawing Room is an Edwardian powdering, while the hand of Queen Mary is seen in the Blue Drawing Room with the blue velour flock on the walls, now faded like ink. The State Dining Room is where Prince Albert exerted some pressure.

We went into the Ball Supper Room for the exhibition which changes each year. In the gloom, blazing in a glass case – I couldn’t believe it – the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland. To gaze actually upon it, this crucial tiara. She wore it for banknotes and coins. Early in the reign, it was the tiara, at the core of her majesty. You can see right inside it, its secret structure and the piece of elastic across the back to hold it in place.

Other incredible jewels in the Ball Supper Room – the Vladimir Tiara with the emerald drops, the Cambridge Emeralds, the State Diadem and the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, among others. You must go. Genevieve said she doesn’t think as much of emeralds as she does of sapphires. The Cambridge emeralds are smooth and you can see confusion inside them as with a boiled sweet. They don’t have the allure and mystery of diamonds.

I hear that Rishi Sunak has been criticised for wearing a suit costing £3500. But Grannie’s Chips (i.e. Cullinan III and IV) are worth £50 million.

The White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace - So Cosy

The White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace – So Cosy

....then the Green Drawing Room for the Mornings

….then the Green Drawing Room for the Mornings

The Green Drawing Room - a Quiet Corner

The Green Drawing Room – a Quiet Corner

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland.... Within

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland…. Within

The Vladimir - also with Elastic

The Vladimir – also with Elastic

The State Diadem

The State Diadem

The Platinum Jubilee Celebration Victoria Sponge, as Offered at Buckingham Palace

The Platinum Jubilee Celebration Victoria Sponge, as Offered at Buckingham Palace



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Not Giving In

Tuesday 19th July 2022

The Metrological Office may have decided to colour the entire map of the country in catastrophic red but for those of us concerned with laundry this is Heaven. Everything dry within seconds of emergence from the machine, including dainty tea napkins offered at my formal seated teas, for sure

Not so good for ironing.

Years ago, in the 90s, during the high phase of the Poor Little Rich Gays having villa holidays, we took Northern Cyprus. It was a brain-wave of Anthony Mottram’s. We had the best villa in Northern Cyprus which normally is seen as a non-country where package holidays cost £44.68. But the maid never turned up and it was covered in dust from the building site all around where they were building more villas for the British market at £40,000 with pool and air con (except the elec supply had been left out of the plans rather). It was 40 degrees day and night but I vac-ed that drawing room, I can tell you. In the afternoons, at the height of the temperature, we went on improving expeditions to abandoned Greek churches and so on. Winding down on foot around interminable hair-pin bends with the abandoned Greek church in view, Robert Nevil, near liquefaction, said, ‘We must be mad.’ The next day he was confined to bed.

The other thing to do in Northern Cyprus was try and get a glimpse of where that Polly Peck man was hiding in plain view.

Today at lunch I determined on panzanella. I was one of the few running errands this morning but forgot basil. So out I surged to the local mini-mart at 1.30 to get it. No panzanella without basil. Unthinkable. But no basil in the mini-mart. In fact shelves stripped bare by vultures throughout the shop. Pecked clean. So nothing for it but to venture further to a new organic middle-class shop that’s opened. It was deeply worth it for who should in the queue behind me but Dominic Cummings, the worst man in the world. He was buying what I believe are called ‘beers’. You say to your ‘mates’, ‘Come over and we’ll have a few “beers”.’ I suppose there’s not much point in assassinating him now. In truth I was gripped by fear. All I could manage was what I hope was a dirty look. To think that that man destroyed our country for good.

That missing white sock though – it had become lodged inside a duvet cover during the cycle. No wonder I couldn’t find it.

But now that which was lost is found.


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Looking Forward

Monday 18th July 2022

Anthony Mottram of Prague was over the other day. He had symptoms but wasn’t getting a line for that thing. Anyway he was too weak to receive Robert Nevil, myself and the Maharajah on the Wednesday but by the Friday was well enough to dine for a birthday (not mine or his). I went over in the boiling heat and felt near death. We discussed our Elderly and how they pass a point of no return in their decline. Anthony Mottram declared as a matter of policy, ‘I think I might start to fail in a few years.’ He made it sound like an interesting new adventure.

Her Late Majesty the Queen Mother, in her 90s, used to come down in the lift at Clarence House to give a luncheon. Attendants wondered if she were even alive. But the moment her guests loomed, she revived and her failure was reversed.

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Two Seated Teas and a Luncheon

Sunday 17th July 2022

I’ve been with the Gay Mother. It seems that a wrenched back in a matter of life or death at her age. Her strength has declined. She claims a loss of appetite but refers frequently to Things to do with Beetroot. There’s an urge to continue sowing lettuce. The blackcurrants are in and the Gay Mother did Delia’s blackcurrant shortbread which is always sandy even if you get the recipe wrong. Also two jars of blackcurrant puree as usual. Five lunched on Thursday. I did a cold collation. The men came in shorts. Men’s legs are a challenge at a luncheon. On Tuesday we went over to the mansion where Aunt Lavinia was staying one night with Cousin Barley. Her taxi in London had refused her dog so she had to take the Underground to the station. Fortunately another grandchild was on hand to help her. But really what a way to treat a person of 90. She only just got the train to the mansion.

In London I’ve given two seated teas. Tea constantly has to be renewed in the pot. But is this catering challenge more severe than Glyndebourniana? Last Saturday I did salmon trout. £68 for an entire bird but it did go in twice at the Gay Mother’s as well. The guests at my second seated tea yesterday had been at Glyndebourniana on Friday and described an incredible adventure with topside of beef. Their hosts were Gays and had done everything. They have a special trolley for the baskets and the chairs and table go on it as well. But topside of beef. Surely hard and not costly enough? But no. Superb apparently, very thinly sliced.

If this is a cost-cutting corner to be cut and got away with, we need to know about it.

I spent £16.42 on Season One of The Gilded Age (it’s the American Downton Abbé by that man – Julian Fellowes, whom the Queen told Harry Rollo has written an opera, but where is it?). The Gay Mother didn’t like it. The only alternative was ‘Ghislaine Maxwell: the Making of a Monster’ but she thought she’d already seen that possibly.

La Boheme at Glyndebourniana was absolutely thrilling. Honestly one was in floods. Funny, because the last time I saw it it left me cold. Its glory is that passion ebbs and flows just as in real life. There’s a strong undercurrent of hard-headed unromanticism which you might not notice ordinarily. Puccini’s mu is so sophisticated not a lot of gush as we were brought up to believe.

Earlier at Glyndebourniana I took The Wreckers with Aunt Lavinia. We thought well of it. Admirable failure to condemn wrecking as a pursuit … I’m sure I’ve said all this already. The Gay Mother was telling Aunt Lavinia that she’d heard that Ethel was a terrific dog-lover – like Aunt Lav, of course.

Now this heat. Well, it is quite hot and might be hotter. But why do the authorities need to crank up a crisis at every turn? Answer obvs – so they can alarm the population and get control over us. In this case, it’s: fearsome danger of death so wear a hat, apply suncream and drink water. Then you won’t die. How many experts did it take to dream up that essential ‘advice’.

I’m glad I haven’t got too much longer to go. Better, now, to be at the back end of one’s life than the front. It’s the young I feel sorry for with nothing to look forward to but more and more of this rubbish with accompanying virtue-signalling from a compliant population.

Royston’s sister in the late eighties was in hospital when last heard of where she also managed to contract that thing. The Gay Mother a bit criked and poor Laura Malcolm’s father completely took. Was alive in the morning but didn’t live to take luncheon, which would unfortunately have been spoon-fed and very minimal so he was spared that at least.

My Chances of Survival in the 'Heat Wave' Increased

My Chances of Survival in the ‘Heat Wave’ Increased

But Could be Slipping: No Strength to Re-Style the Oven Glove

But Could be Slipping: No Strength to Re-Style the Oven Glove

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There has Been Concern…

Wednesday 6th July 2022

There has been concern that I, Adrian Edge, might say the wrong thing re: the Garden Museum Literary Festival at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. How could I? I never thought I’d attend a State Dinner in the State Dining Room and Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth. I never thought I’d see the 12th Duke of Devonshire arrive, self-driven, in an official Chatsworth buggy, the same as used for conveying the less abled tourists there, or queuing for an ice-cream at an ice-cream caravette outside his own home. I never thought I’d even see a Duke, let alone speak to one.

I never spoke to Debo, as Royston reminded me in our Airbnb in Bakewell. But Debo and Chatsworth have been at the core of my life, although, as a house, it is not entirely me. What Debo gave was that the home could be one’s entire life, the mending of carpets, the re-weaving of fabrics and braids, the hunting in attics for William Kent pieces saved from Devonshire House in London. Royston wouldn’t have Debo mentioned though. I wasn’t allowed to mention Debo. He said she was past. At her grave, also Andrew Devonshire’s, which he did not prevent visiting despite no speaking of Debo, Royston received a call from the highest corridors of power (Lord Flingin’ Sauce) to say that the Handel Concert in Hyde Park had been cancelled. The Handel Concert was cancelled owing to those who normally promote pop concerts not understanding that if you put tickets on sale for a classical concert only ten days in advance you won’t get many takers.

Can I say? – The Garden Museum Literary Festival at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire was COMPLETELY FANTASTIC. It was a summer camp for the greatest in the land. How we bonded! The glory and utter greatness. The agony of parting. Crocus’s Head had to buy us two bottles of champagne to soothe the pain.

Chatsworth garden and park must be the most spectacular surviving such place in the world. As far as the eye can see, which is miles, a created landscape evolving over 350 years, so vast, with ‘features’ beyond belief, yet enclosed by a wood to one side, giving a feeling of mystery as to what, if anything, might be beyond. Yet, oddly, Chatsworth is the opposite of the usual country house arrangement, it is so public, so on display. It’s on a bus route. You could pop in to Sheffield from just outside the front door.

The same with the house. The state rooms have been open to the public for centuries. So what one craves are the private apartments. Debo allowed a few photos to appear. Selected guests at the Literary Festival were accommodated on the private side. You could tell them by the red badge hung round their necks saying ‘House Guest’, causing Royston to comment that it is very hard to separate a person from any lanyard they might be given, even Alan Titchmarsh or Crocus’s Head. But none of them, when grilled, had any idea that they ought to be remembering everything to tell me. You couldn’t even work out where the private apartments are. Stoker, as we were to call him ( in his speech of welcome he said, ‘I’m Stoker Devonshire’) parked his buggy by an unremarkable entrance on the east side. As far as I can tell none of the first floor is open to the public, not much of the ground floor and only about half of the second floor.

What is going on?

My only glimpse was of The Baths, shown by Lord Burlington who had a key. These are at the far end, beyond the shop in the Orangery. Now empty of water, this creepy indoor pool was heaped up with rubbish. Who knew that even at Chatsworth there is a room where people just open the door and fling in whatever they can’t bear to think about. When Royston told Stoker about the Baths viewing the next day, he said, ‘Oh is he going to do something with them?’ Lord B takes over next year. Abdication now a feature of the aristocratic houses, but not of the Royal one, of course.

It’s an odd house to tour round on the public tour because you can never tell where you are.  The famous Painted Hall  – I suppose it’s a Hall but it’s not an Entrance Hall. It’s got stairs but there are so many other stairs, it’s confusing. How you would live in such a house?  You could get stranded in a remote drawing room and never be heard of again.

A feature of functions in these places is No lingering. The person I sat next to at the State Banquet in the Sculpture Gallery said she’d dined on the private side the night before. Stoker had said to her, ‘I’m leaving’ (when the courses had been served). She said, ‘Lovely. See you around.’ He said, ‘No, you don’t understand. That means you’re leaving too.’ All very charming, of course. It’s servants, you see, or staff as they are called nowadays. They can’t be keep waiting to get on with clearing up. Luncheon at Buckingham Palace in the days of King George and Queen Mary lasted for 20 minutes. In her book of etiquette Lady Troubridge suggests 45 minutes for a wedding reception.

The Literary Festival was first class. So many interesting talks. Royston compered Alan Titchmarsh whom he addressed as ‘Andrew’ at one point. But superb riffing… ‘I don’t think I can recover from this… you can call me Winston.’ Brilliant. We had a walk with Tom Stuart Smith through the five glades he’s planted at Chatsworth plus jigging up the Rockery (which is several acres with massive rocky pinnacles). Alan Titchmarsh and I had to keep at the front because we didn’t have microphones. ‘I’m not sucking up,’ I said. ‘I just want to be able to hear.’ Tom Stuart Smith even referred to me, Adrian Edge, at one point as to whether a certain campanula was Prichard’s Variety or not. It wasn’t. But he’d wanted it to be.

Stoker and Amanda Welcome Guest to the Literary Festival

Stoker and Amanda Welcome Guests to the Literary Festival

Stoker queuing for an Ice Cream along with the General

Stoker queuing for an Ice Cream along with the General

A Trio

A Trio

Stoker's Coronation Get-Up, when he was Nine

Stoker’s Coronation Get-Up, when he was Nine

Dinner Laid in the Sculpture Gallery

Dinner Laid in the Sculpture Gallery

The Emperor Fountain after Closing Time

The Emperor Fountain after Closing Time

So Grand but Natural

So Grand but Natural

Could be an Entire London Street and Several Public Buildings

Could be an Entire London Street and Several Public Buildings

The Cascade: Unchanged in 320 years. Now Needing Repair

The Cascade: Unchanged in 320 years. Now Needing Repair

Everything Created

Everything Created

Rockery by Paxton or Possibly his Wife

Rockery by Paxton or Possibly his Wife

The Oak Room at Chatsworth. The 6th Duke bought all this carving from Germany. Bit of a horror. I think Debo thought so too

The Oak Room at Chatsworth. The 6th Duke bought all this carving from Germany. Bit of a horror. I think Debo thought so too

The Library: My Favourite Room on the Public Route. But I fear I would Love the Private Rooms

The Library: My Favourite Room on the Public Route. But I fear I would Love the Private Rooms





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Waning Powers

Thursday 30th June 2022

Acres of engagements since the Spring include:

But waning powers to record.

Bodnant Gardens – glorious, although an acid garden and not my usual inclination. The mysterious power of Bodnant. Harold Nicholson and Vita visited and remarked on the money. Huge wealth to create a dell. But vision. They can’t have hoped to see it grown in their time, whose who planted it. Staggering quality. Every plant the best of its kind.

Powis Castle again on the way back from Bodnant. Royston wanted it recorded in the Clive of India Museum that he’d not been offended, speaking as one of Jamaican origin.

Caerhays Castle Garden, Cornwall – a ‘stamp collection’ as described to me last week by Stoker Devonshire’s head gardener at Chatsworth. Bitty and messy. Muddy paths. The biggest magnolias ever.

The Isabella Plantation – a visit with Royston King who pumped money into this Richmond Park glory. Azaleas on a massive scale. How did somebody explode outrageous puffs of powder paint in furious shades into the glades?

A Blue Plaque unveiled for Fanny Wilkinson at the top of Shaftesbury Avenue or rather not unveiled. Rachel da Thame in attendance. They put a hoarding right in front of the building the week before so ‘unveiling’ had to take place in the basement of Baptist Church opposite. Typical. Whole point was Fanny Wilkinson had been forgotten. So they go hoarding up her plaque. A landscape designer, responsible for 23 of London’s parks. Speeches, but Royston felt that more effort could have been made to find out about Fanny. She got a bit more forgotten at her own unveiling. A quite hot man said before proceedings – ‘I’m the Mayor of Camden’s driver.’ It seemed the Mayor of Camden couldn’t be brought into existence (i.e. extracted from limo) until driver gave the go-ahead. So much for socialism as practiced in Camden.

Operas have included Carmen at Holland Park, The Wreckers at Glyndebourniana (had to drive all over the country to get smoked chicken for the picnic since was moved to revive Jane Grigson’s avocado with strawberry vinaigrette from the 70s). Oh the massiveness of the Glyndebourniana challenge!  The linens. Days of laundry after…

My Fair Lady was also taken.

Numerous private dinners. Reggie Cresswell gave an entertainment. Incredibly intimate.

Garden opening on June 8th. V. poor attendance. Another this Sunday. Poached a bird for the Ristorante al Carmine Insalata di Pollo to have at the post-opening dinner – Robert Nevil, the Maharajah, Anthony Mottram and Her Royal of Prague, American Prague Royalty who handed back the Blanquette de Limoux saying it had sulphates

Had only just forged through a Corrie Chicken done for Holland Park Carmen the Saturday before, with a lot left over.

All the usual estate work and visiting the Gay Mother. She slammed her Church Times on top of the Radio Times. ‘That awful face. I can’t have it.’ It was Joe Wicks in glamour shot on the cover.

People ask what I’ve been doing.

I washed my Topman dress coat, even though it says ‘Dry Clean only’. Total triumph. I wore it last week at the Garden Museum Literary Festival at Chatsworth, with Reiss slightly baggy slacks (horror! baggy) and Dries huge clucks and no socks. Result too dressy, even for Chatsworth where no clothes were worn at all, even by Lady Riblat. I saw some ordinary members of the public who’d paid to visit sniggering.

Parsifal was on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall. Rufus Pitman created the engagement. HRH the Duke of Kent was once again present, as he had been at Peter Grimes in March, when Aunt Lavinia had somehow penetrated the Royal Box but actual Royalty was seated elsewhere. George Osborne was at the perf. He is my relation. Parsifal was glorious. Finn Magnus, the hot boy doc, was of the party. I didn’t have to pretend to have enjoyed it at all. Parsifal is completely mesmerising although nothing happens. I’ve seen it at least 15 times before but couldn’t remember how it ended. Not the point really. Just unbelievable tension and drama conjured in the mu. Wonderful. In a concert performance it glares how religious it is and the end of Act 1 is just the communion service as an opera. But it’s not really religious, it’s human. Toby Spence, whom we know, ventured as Parsifal himself. Not loud but such artistry in the phrasing. One of the secrets of Parsifal must be that the man parts such as Gurnemanz, Titurel and Amfortas on the whole the singers are able to sing, even though quite old. These massive great man voices last well. Unlike The Ring where nobody can sing Brunnhilde and Siegfried – or at least only once or twice a century at the most.

Did I mention that I was at Longborough for Siegfried? Lord Heseltine couldn’t find his car in the car park. Lady Anne was bellowing on sticks – ‘Where is it?’ This is the man whom brought down Margaret. Siegfried at Longborough fascinating. The craziness of attempting a Ring Cycle with no resources. Always worth seeing how they manage. Quite well. Some lovely tableaux. Staging highly agreeable and simple. Orch more than okay. Singing – Wotan (now the Wanderer) and Mime sounded as they always do. Mime not caricature, thank goodness. Woodbird great bellowing voice. Siegfried himself – odd. Australian singer. I don’t think it was German he was singing. Voice intermittent but I’ve heard worse in the great houses. None of that terrible straining-on-the-lavatory feel of the rock-bottom Siegfried one often sees. Brunnhilde was frightful.

I took the Tower of London press view for the new meadow. Boring. Only went to see what the Press Boy there would be wearing. Waxed jacket. Disappointing. His indoor outfits and accessorising are second to none.

The National Garden Scheme Garden Party for London owners was last week at Lambeth Palace. Garden there no better than last time. Frightful neglected corner said to be the Archbishop’s private garden. Gloomy 19th century palace (mostly). No sign of Arch peering out of the window. Random woman said slugs weren’t foxes top menu choice but they do eat them. I said, ‘Foxes go, “Oh no, not slugs for dinner again!” ‘ Royston said, ‘You’re quite funny sometimes.’ He was furious with me for saying Lambeth Palace was mostly 19th century. But it is. Looks like a dreary old girls’ school of no particular use to anybody.

Church is in fact at the core of our Nation. From the garden of Lambeth Palace you can see Big Ben and the towers of the Abbey, which Royston said are by Hawksmoor.

Afterwards he insisted on visiting some awful bit of park nearby. Sense of drug use and London going to the dogs.

Oh I forgot the Ramsgate Visit: Pugin House and Church/Monastery Complex, followed by tea with Hilly Bee, the famous Commie novelist. Novelist-like she asked me what I felt I’d missed out on in life. I didn’t dare say All I’ve ever wanted is to be Royal. Instead, I said, ‘I should have been Managing Director of Shell.’ But that was only because it was always remarked that that’s what the Duke of Edinburgh would have been if he hadn’t been Duke of Edinburgh.

On the other hand, if only I’d gone into business and made £150 million. Then one  would have been able to start to get on top of all the things that need doing in the home and begin to move towards getting frockage, decor, clothes, face and hair right at last.

Joshua Baring’s gone to Copenhagen for lunch, by the way.


Joe Wicks on Cover of Radio Times. Gay Mother Blanked Out with the Church Times: 'That Awful Face'

Joe Wicks on Cover of Radio Times. Gay Mother Blanked Out with the Church Times: ‘That Awful Face’


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So Soon Over

Sunday 19th June 2022

Only two weeks.. did the Jubilee even happen? Royalty are so soon over. I viewed the Pageant with Anthony Mottram. He’d loved the concert too and the Paddington Bear scenario but I’d been at Holland Park Opera for Carmen so missed it. The Pageant was a miracle of silliness and brilliant avoidance of any definite idea of what it means to be British. There was much worry in the highest circles that something would go wrong. So many people were parading, such crowds and a danger of crushing. But it was superbly managed as all British ceremonial and Royal occasions always are.

So when it was over, there was relief. Majesty managed one final, frail appearance on her balcony. Will she ever be seen again? I think so. She forges on. Some commentators predict her demise by October. This is the nature of commentary. One says such things. Royston was in a studio with someone taking that line and got cross. The person also declared she would die of a broken heart. Except because it was an obituary pre-package, she said, ‘She died of a broken heart.’

If said often enough with panache, these statements become hard to dislodge, although they remain untrue.

Royston says people like us must fight on to save the Monarchy. When we were watching the State Opening of Parliament by Prince Charles and Prince William, Royston suddenly said, ‘How wonderful to see a tall Royal person for a change.’ This was devastating, for she is tiny, of course. What could he have meant? What are Royalty? Mostly small and rarely tall? The main thing is they arrive and then depart.

Faith can suddenly collapse like a poor meringue mixture, dissolving into nothing.

But it is not nothing. Jubilee may have evaporated into thin air for us who lived through it but in History it will only grow and grow in magnitude the further into time it recedes, the crowds forever surging, the Royalties waving, the flags and parades, the singing of hymns, the hats, bags and gloves…







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