Well, there’s a funny thing. For the first time in at least five, maybe six years, I made it to a meeting of blogging types organised by Gordon and featuring an impressive collection of bloggers, some known from years past, some from their writing and some new to me. It was, undoubtedly, excellent. Links to at least some of the attendees as soon as I’m not blogging from my mobile.

UPDATE: I knew that, if I waited long enough, someone else would do the hard work and link to all the attendees.

Emily Grace

Huge congratulations to Sarah and Paul who became parents to Emily Grace yesterday. Mum and baby are reportedly doing well, and I’m sure that Dad is still trying to get his head around the concept – even though you have nine months to get ready, nothing really prepares you.

Catch up

I’ve really been neglecting you readers lately, haven’t I? Umm, well, sorry. But hey, I’ve been somewhat busy lately:

  • Last weekend: up to Stafford with Tom to spend the weekend with Jo and Bob. Excellent time had by all.
  • Last weekend and this week: much concern about SiL, who has been really quite unwell. But she seems to be making a steady recovery, which is good.
  • Tuesday: an all-day meeting with my New Zealand sub-agent, who is in the country at the moment.
  • Wednesday: a day out with H to the Chelsea Flower Show. We dressed in our finest summer clothes and were subjected to repeated heavy showers, with the result that we looked like a pair of muddy drowned rats. But it was worth it. Not sure that it is worth paying £35 a head to get in, though, particularly when you have to sit on the floor to eat your sandwiches and drink your tea because the catering facilities are so inadequate. They were absolutely awful when I last went ten years ago and have only improved marginally.
  • Thursday: catching up in the office.
  • Friday: to Chichester for a haircut and to distribute publicity materials for my event coming up at West Dean at the end of June.
  • Saturday: Charlie and the Peet came for lunch – a thoroughly relaxing and wine-filled event.
  • yesterday: up early to go to Heathrow to meet some American colleagues of their plane, collect plants, deliver them to a nursery near my parents and then join my parents for Sunday lunch and some plant talk.
  • today: dozy sleeping and much talk of "we really should go for a walk" and "the lawn needs mowing" or "I really must start on the front garden", but it’s chucking down with rain (between burst of intense hot sunshine) – that’s my excuse, anyway.

There are many, many things that I really should find time to write about, but I’m not sure when that will happen. If you’re very lucky, I’ll provide you with some photos, as a picture is worth a thousand words (or several thousand, if your usualy verbage is as poor as that which generally graces these pages).

I forgot to say…

…that we had a splendid lunch in Chichester on Saturday in the marvellous company of Lord Percy and Lady Bren with the added bonus of sightings of Hamish and Ruth. Consumption of the world’s largest home-made burgers (with chilli – mmmm) meant no tea for me. Hurrah! I also bumped into Anne, Nick and their gorgeous little daughter.


Avast ye! Tis ye Official Talk Like A Pirate Day, so be sure to answer ye telephone with a loud "Yarr!", ye scurvy scalliwags!
Meanwhile, congratulations to our friends David and Andi who are now proud parents to Kate, born last Monday. Ah-arr!

Just as well…

…that this happened today and not yesterday, otherwise the Olympics would probably not be coming to London.

EDIT: when I wrote that, the reports were of a power surge that had left a few people slightly injured. Now a full picture is emerging that is much more disturbing. My cousin and several friends work in the area targeted by the bombers. I’m really quite worried and the reports of eyewitnesses give little encouragement.
FURTHER EDIT: all safe and well.
ADDITIONAL EDIT: the media keep talking about the low levels of fatality. But I can’t help thinking that that is optimistic. Surely the triage operation at the scene will have left the dead laying where they were whilst the efforts were focused on the injured. It’s hard to imagine what the bombers hoped to achieve by this.
LATER: My fears have been realised with reports giving the number of dead as between 33 and 41. I suspect that figure may rise. As for the reaction, I think that Ken Livingstone got it right by saying that this was an indiscriminate attack on all Londoners. George Galloway got it wrong – many people might agree with his opinion, but to voice it today is distasteful and shows a lack of compassion for the bereaved and injured.
LINK: With so many bloggers in the world now, there is often one of our number present at a major news event. Justin survived and recorded his experience.

Music and birthday

Forgot to mention on Thursday that it was Lord Percy’s birthday. The poor chap was 21 again.

In other news: Soul Deep has to be the best series that has been on TV in years – absolutely fantastic and compulsory viewing. The track listing on the CD compilation that goes with the series looks a little lacklustre, so I’m hoping that the Beeb will release the whole thing on DVD.

Sir John Mills, RIP

Sir John Mills died yesterday at the age of 97. I always think of him saying something like "you simply have to, old bean, you simply have to!" or some other such earnestness whilst sitting in the tail gunner’s seat of a World War 2 bomber. His characters always seemed to be earnest. Perhaps that was my own misconception.
I remember one evening, many years ago, going into the Bell pub in Chichester. The Bell is directly opposite the Festival Theatre. As we walked in, my friend Louise was in a bit of rush, not really looking where she was going, and careered straight into John Mills as he was coming out. Neither party was injured.

Just like old times

Beer with Lord Percy, Lady Bren, Aris, Julie, Paul F and Mrs Graybo. Shame they didn’t bother to use dust sheets when they painted W2.
Chichester looks much like it was when I left – the new owner of my old flat hasn’t done anything to the exterior (like changing the windows) and doesn’t seem to have changed the curtains either. It was good to go back, though if time and finances permitted, it wouldn’t be quite so infrequent.


We held our housewarming on Saturday. There were lots of people and even more alcohol, as well as some cracking home-made pizzas that H and I made between us. People brought flowers, gifts, food and drink and (I think) everyone had a good time. Heads were slightly delicate yesterday morning, but thanks to help from Charlie in particular, the mess wasn’t bad at all and normal service has been resumed.