We Meet the Minister, Have Conversation, and almost Levitate in Marylebone

Sunday 3rd September 2017

Valèry and Conrad gave a summer luncheon on a Saturday. In the carriage I could have died, but somehow revived and was poised. This often happens. When feeling at one’s worst pre, the event itself passes well. It must be that one can sink no lower. When buoyant before, one’s in for a crash. Lord Arrowby said we had almost married. Well, I never. He was a vision of the Sea Seas in prints. The young man who tries to house the needy, is a Labour supporter and has many followers on Twitter cared for me. I actually had conversation. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. I long for union and compromise, mainly so that I can carry on as a Poor Little Rich Gay without feeling so awful about those less fort.. But also so that business and wealth creation can thrive which must be a good thing. Not too many taxes, please. I wasn’t mown down in fury. The youthful Labour supporter couldn’t have been more solicitous. I think he’s seen the tragic side which you do see when you try to help the desperate. I went back in a railway carriage with Reggie who’s recently completed a ceramic. There’s tremendous excitement throughout the world. I don’t think he had any gossip.

Then Miss Mina staged an event in the Marylebone Parish Church. Sebastian Archer was present with Robert Nevil. La Vie en Rose was sung as well as poetry given in Bengali and Indian chanting, Israeli singing and all the world suspended in a kind of trance and just allowed to be without any fussing. Levitation was a possibility possibly; you could have lifted off if properly cleansed of preoccupations and simply subsumed. Miss Mina had some shapes in different colours that constantly pulsed and translated themselves into other shapes on a screen before the altar. It was quite an event, full of absence. Her next project is plane trees. Afterwards we pounded to the fish restaurant in Marylebone High Street, passing The Orrery for which the poor Multis once had a craze. Possibly we’ve sunk down a little to a chain fish restaurant. The Multis would certainly see it like that. But as a restaurant for older people dining after Indian singing in Marylebone Parish Church (the Vicar made a caring speech) it was enough.

After that it was the Mall Galleries for an opening. The Minister was present, as well as the Head of Phoenix Park, Dublin, which once was a Royal Park. The exhib was memorabilia, photographs, paintings etc to do with Hyde Park and Phoenix Park as a matching former Royal Park. Royston made a brilliant speech. He said the Minister had been born in a garden centre. There was tremendous hilarity because it was actually a proper nursery. Lloyd was on holiday, Royston said, so they had to put up with him, the only non-holidaying Royal Parks Trustee left. I was at sea to begin with at the function, knowing nobody, and Royston taken up with all the greatnesses from Dublin and so on, not to mention the Minister. But after the speech, I got in with the Minister’s minder, who was fashionably dressed for a civil servant. He comes from New Zealand and minds the Minister, quite young. The Minister was about 12 years old himself and had opposed Gay Marriage. No idea what he was the Minister of… Arts and Culture, perhaps.  But you could speak to him and I did. The nursery he was born in was at Corsham Court. I said, ‘We’ve always had family at Bath, until now.’ At least as a Tory, he might have understood. ‘The Minister will be dining,’ everybody was saying. There was much scurrying about and a sense of cars coming to the door, although none did. I thought the Minister had absconded. Maybe the minder had forgotten to mention that he was dining. But in fact he did dine, so Royston told me later, and it was riveting. Because the Minister had been bidden to dine with Mrs May herself who is a very retiring woman not given to dining.

Finally Royston and I went to Hyde Hall  for the Plant Fair. Hyde Hall is the RHS garden in Essex. It was a mass event. We had to park 1000 metres from the entrance at least. Everybody there was a uniform type. Honey-blonde hair not as nature intended, retired, white, middle class, monied but Sky TV, not BBC2, Leavers, I should think, embattled against new ideas or ideas of any kind most likely. Never seen anything like it. Such a uniformity of attendees. Royston was the only black person of course. We caused a sensation in the flower arranging tent by barging the queue – or some snappy lady said we’d barged the queue. We managed to give the impression that a queue was something we’ve never heard of, coming from London. There was incredible hiss and hatred. Then Royston told a nurseryman his phlox were all the same. But that went better because the nurseryman was quite up to it, especially with a black person and didn’t have that wretched craven, sour suspicion of everything that plagues some quarters of our society, I’m afraid.

We lunched in a gale and the server admired my jackette, part of the Scottish trousseau bought for the 1st Scottish visit last year, from Zara. Then we went round the garden, trying work out what was wrong with it. Somehow no soul, bitty and restless. It isn’t just the dismal nothing house that must be ‘Hyde Hall’. Also too much. Great borders have been established recently on the outskirts of the garden. This is wrong. You don’t want to give away your secrets straight away. The viewer is exhausted before they’ve even begun. But these institutions like the RHS are always having to dream up something new. The best bit was the New Zealand garden. It really had a distinct character whereas the rest of it was perfectly nice but one part not different enough from another.

Best in Show: Hyde Hall Plant Fayre Flower Arranging Competish: Not Our World

Best in Show: Hyde Hall Plant Fayre Flower Arranging Competish: Not Our World


Posted Sunday, September 3, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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