Saturday, 19 November 2011

Good news and bad news

Well, the good news is that I had an email from Michael, brother of Bob, a close friend who died of Aids in the early 198o's, to say his (Michael's) wife and daughter are coming to the UK next month. His brother, Bob, was a brilliant lawyer based in Los Angeles who loved London and strolling up the King's Road with my older daughter Abi, then in her early teens, bantering and catching men's eyes. Bob told me an adage way back then which has striking contemporary resonance: if you're going to borrow money, borrow so much that if you struggle to repay, the bank's in trouble not you. Yesterday, we also had a very happy planning meeting for our Sept 14-17 2012 Moffat Book Events conference to explore the causes (religious experience and the arts and sciences) espoused by, and generally celebrating the life of, the late great Alexander Men 1935-1990 We have a great team, Sarah Mathieson of Vantage based in Melrose as organiser, an unrivalled venue (St Andrew's church, Moffat), and an exciting programme; we have a fascinating variety of international speakers; we have a good idea of what to offer our parting guests on the Monday (Sept 17) by way of a pilgrimage. All will be revealed on St Andrew's Day, ie Nov 30. My internet connection was down when I got back from St Andrew's, but my son in law rang BT and they talked him through a re-set of the router, so that's also now OK. Our MBE project manager, Marilyn Elliott, MBE member Moira Cox and I met towards the end of the day to agree a final version of a marketing strategy for Moffat Book Events going forward, so that's another good job done. At our Men conference meeting we all agreed how good and funny 'Rev' is (the series about a London vicar written and played by Tom Hollander). The bad news is the death of a young contemporary, Andrew Wyld, reported in The Times today. His older half brother David dated my flatmate Alix Mitchell (murdered in France in the summer of 1965) when we were students. I met Andrew when he was a child; I gave him a 'gonk' - a little pocket money toy. He made a wonderful career in the art world. And an email from New Zealand alerts me to a sudden cancer scare for an old family friend - we lived in the same London square for 30 years. To end on a more upbeat note: we have a visit today in the forest from members of the memorably-named BASH - the Biggar Association of Smallholders to whom we will open the secrets (well, lift the lid a tiny bit and then slam it shut - these are commercially sensitive technologies) of distilling spruce essential oil and brewing spruce beer. Enough said. My lips are sealed. Oh, and I nearly forgot: a friend - another Liz - alerts me to the surprising circumstance, that a friend from student days who was an actor, the Rev Adrian Benjamin, is now a Prebendary of St Paul's. Yes, that St Paul's. The one with the dome on top.

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