Archive for April, 2003

Going Sane

Monday, April 14th, 2003

I’m told I was shouting in my sleep this morning again: “Sex on wheels” and then “I hate myself”. But spring is here, and Sean took a photograph to prove it.

This was meant to be a trouty water, but despite a huge hatch of small, speckle-wing sedges, there was only one trout rising, in a position where it was simply impossible to reach him in the savage wind. The picture does not show that what I’m landing is in fact the biggest chub I’ve ever caught, somewhere between 3.5 and 4 pounds.

Still, I saw a family of deer, a blue jay, a New Forest pony suckling, and a buzzard wheeling so low I could count the individual pinions extended at its wingtips. Sean found a jack pike so lethargic he could poke it with his rod; and saw another seizing a small fish from the surface with such a splash I thought a duck had landed. I think I know what I’ll be doing on Thursday afternoon.

I sent the picture off to the Oxford Union who wanted a publicity picture for a debate I’m doing there on May 8th. Something tells me they’ll use another one instead.

Calloo! Callay!

Saturday, April 12th, 2003

O frabjuous day! Felix has got onto his course in stage management at RADA. Only three people are admitted every year. My son the brain surgeon!

moral philosophy in practice

Friday, April 11th, 2003

I’m reading the memoirs of Mary Warnock, whom I hope to profile. She’s the nearest thing to an acknowledged moral arbiter this country has: an Oxford philosopher who has been a member of every important committee for years and years. She wasn’s and wouldn’t claim to be in the first rank of Oxford philosophy; but when you wanted something done in the world, with due attention paid to the philosophical plumbing, Mary Warnock was the woman to do it, most notably in her report on embryo research and IVF. So it’s a bit of a shock to find this story in her memoirs:

The Littles’ children were much the same ages as our eldest two, and we often entrusted our pair to their nanny, while we went and played golf. (This, in retrospect, seems rash: the nanny had had a pre-frontal lobotomy, a fashionable cure for depression in those days, but known to dominish the patients’ moral sense)

hobbits in mumin valley

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

I don’t think that Tolkein was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, but Tove Jansson just might have been; it turns out that she did the illustrations for an early Swedish translation of the Hobbit. I had a quick poke around the Swedish equivalent of Abebooks, but couldn’t find it there. It’s astonishing that no one has republished it, though.

To a dinner party, then

Sunday, April 6th, 2003

With Charles Nevin, Liv O’Hanlon, and Richard Dowden, and Penny Mansfield, old Indie friends and their spouses: in fact Richard and Penny more or less have to stay married, since she runs One to One, which used to be known as the Marriage Research Centre: it’s a think-tank set up by the Catholic psychologist Jack Dominian. Liv, frustrated in her efforts to adopt a child when she married Charles, founded a charity to make adoption easier. She’s reasonable on both sides of the family, you see: Irish and Norwegian. Dowden is one of the best journalists I have ever shared a paper with. He had two perfect anecdotes.

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an anecdote

Saturday, April 5th, 2003

Not going to post much this weekend: there’s a lot of work on, and we have to go into London tonight for a meal with old friends. But I just found the story of a technological disaster in Rupert’s column which is, I think, entirely new, horrifying, and very funny. Did you realise, that modern mobile phones enable you to be overheard, by your husband, when discussing his sexual performance with a friend?

I keep meaning to reply to Rupert about money and advances, too.

Thank God

Thursday, April 3rd, 2003

you can buy this T-shirt in XXL. I think that might cover the target market. (found through TNH )

redneck patriotism

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003

Well, at least they beat him up for his opinions, not his name. You have to register to read the original story, so I put the guts of it in the “more” section.

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Suppose nigel molesworth

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003

were sent to Hogwarts — the parody I’ve linked to is wonderfully funny, and too long to quote. So you’ll just have to click on it.

You want technology?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

I have more bandwidth than I ever knew.