I enjoy the I Once Met column in The Oldie. If you are a fan Richard Ingrams edited two anthologies. James Lees-Milne’s diary entry for Tuesday 14th September 1948 qualifies for, although I don’t think has appeared in, I Once Met. He was on holiday in Rome and was granted an audience with the Pope (Pius XII) at Castel Gondolfo. Continue reading I Once Met Pius XII
I rather enjoy writing letters but it often takes me a while to get round to the task. It seems that it runs in the family judging by this one written by my great-great-great grandfather. Continue reading Dear Father
Mary Kenny’s Crown and Shamrock colours in the history of the relationship between Britain and Ireland in the 19th and 20th centuries, often producing unexpected quirky details – always popular here. Continue reading Partitions, a new play by Tom Stoppard
I am reading Mary Kenny’s book, Crown and Shamrock , love and hate between Ireland and the British Monarchy. Continue reading Crown, Shamrock and Thistle?
I reckon I have written more than 250,000 words here, a bagatelle compared to Chips Channon whose fifty or so volumes of diaries run to more than three million words. Continue reading Chips
The sermon last Sunday at The Royal Hospital was about baptism. The Chaplain (I prefer padre) recounted that he had been to where John the Baptist baptised Christ in the Jordan. Continue reading Orlando
A childhood friend lived not far away just across the Boyne in Co Meath. His parents had generously and compassionately asked a cousin to come and live with them. She was Miss Chapman, a spinster whose half-brother is TE Lawrence. Continue reading Soldiers and Spooks
At the MP Evans AGM last week a Dutch friend reminded me of an anniversary. The Battle of the Medway took place 350 years ago this week. The Dutch navy broke through a protective barrier (the Gillingham Line, as impregnable as the Maginot Line) and attacked naval ships anchored off Chatham. Continue reading Battle of the Medway
When I arrived in Carmarthenshire on Sunday the house was called Llwyn Piod (that’s Welsh for Magpie Grove). Yesterday the council and Royal Mail gave their consent for it to be called Fox Hall so change your Address Book. Continue reading A Tale of Two Churches.
Yesterday we visited Pembroke Castle. The site of the castle was first occupied by cave dwellers in the Old Stone Age, some 12,000 years ago. In the late 11th century, Roger de Montgomery, a cousin of William the Conqueror, built a castle here. It was constructed of timber, not stone. Continue reading Pembroke Castle