Wednesday, June 5th

The old kitchen has been ripped out, the new kitchen has been put in, the workmen (who were a cheerful bunch as a result of my pecuniary generosity) are gone, and Cook is ecstatic. I don’t think I have ever seen her as happy, although that’s not saying much: Cook’s grumpiness is legendary. I have to say I think the kitchen looks very good: visually in keeping with the centuries-long antiquity of the house but modern in design and appliances etc. Cook says that Nigella Lawson would be more than happy to create a crumble in it, although she did not use those words. Alliteration is not in her arsenal.

Ran into Dominic Bellweather today, and as usual he wanted to engage in literary tittle-tattle. I don’t understand: surely he’s known me long enough to know I don’t like literary small talk, and would rather chat about girls and football and other girls. I really have very little to say to literary men beyond, for example, muttering some acknowledgement of how good their latest book is, even when I haven’t read it and it’s almost certainly dreadful. In that respect I’m like Byron. Of course, I’m like Byron in other ways too, such as possessing a dose of genius and a sense of humour.

It’s probably of little or no consequence, but Cook says there have been six phone calls today from a female who declined to leave a message. Apparently I was nowhere to be found on each occasion. Of course I couldn’t be found! I see little point in being reclusive if I’m going to be easy to find.

Melissa telephoned to say it wasn’t her that telephoned earlier. So that makes two ladies telephoned me today. My popularity knows no bounds.

Friday, June 7th

I had to pop into town this morning to see Harris about some financial matters – always such a bore – and bumped into Octavia Burlington as I came out of the tobacconist’s where I had been stocking up on cheroots. We exchanged pleasantries, because I’m quite humane occasionally, and she hinted that a cocktail and perhaps a bite to eat sometime would be enjoyable. Well, why not? She’s recently divorced, and not unattractive. As long as she doesn’t try to tell me how to live my life. Quite a few ladies have tried that, and it has never ended well.

Cook has asked if she can invite her WI friends to see her new kitchen and have a little social gathering and admire the fresh-from-the-factory (or warehouse) Aga. I’ve said Yes, as long as she warns me when it is so I can be far away and out of reach. I’ve encountered those women before, and I’m not eager to repeat the experience.

I did a little vegetable gardening in the afternoon. I felt like flexing my muscles. Sometimes I think I don’t get enough exercise. Jethro always seems reluctant to let me near the vegetables, but I’m a dab hand with a hoe, and I think I know almost as much about vegetables as he does. I really only employ him because the horses need a caretaker, and there’s a lot of grass to keep mown in 4 acres. Also I’m congenitally lazy. It’s in my genes.

Melissa telephoned. I wasn’t at home. It’s of no consequence.

Saturday, June 8th

A nice sunny and warm day, most of which was spent reading out on the lawn (shaded by a parasol) an old biography of Percy Shelley. I may have dozed occasionally.

I had a letter from a fellow writer (I refuse to call him a poet, and even using the prefix  “fellow” causes me some misgivings) berating me for an article I published several months ago and which poured deserved scorn upon a heap of poets, of whom he was one. They are laughable, some of these people. Do they not realize that poetry is less than a tick’s nibble on an elephant’s rump, and bad poetry is not even that? Get over yourselves, for God’s sake. You should be grateful you were even noticed, for you are of no consequence.

Melissa telephoned to say she was having a salad for lunch.

No other news today. Lazy is the way forward.

Sunday, June 9th

I had a rather disconcerting dream where (I think) I was going through a series of tests to see if (I think) I could be a poet and (I think) I was wholly unprepared for them and also I couldn’t understand a word the examiner was saying to me, because they were talking with their mouth full of cake. On top of which, she (a Margaret Rutherford lookalike) seemed very upset with me and wanted to spank me – but not in a good way. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good job these dream things mean nothing.

It’s of little or no consequence, but I just read in my comic that “Madame de Stael said that one must choose in life between boredom and suffering.” As I said, it’s of little or no consequence, and it’s Sunday today, which perhaps explains why I had to shoo off a rambling family from the grounds. Sunday is often a stupid rambler day. Given that they had to pass several signs that say PRIVATE PROPERTY on them in big red letters, and also they had to clamber over several gates . . . well, their degree of miff was rather surprising, to say the least.

Melissa telephoned and reeled off a list of bargains she bought this morning at the car boot sale in the mistaken belief that I was interested.

A fine first Sunday dinner from the new kitchen. Cook has a way with venison, and she is still in a very good mood. I know it won’t last.




James Henderson (Gentleman)




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    1. Relaxing, thoughtful, humorous, educational, enjoyable. It’s great to read the gentlemanly, poetical James Henderson.
      Wecome back.

      Comment by Edward P Johnston on 16 June, 2024 at 5:08 pm

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