On February 26th I had lunch again with Cecil Wolff at a pub near Holborn. Alan joined us.
Talking with Cecil was like going on a journey into the past. He savours language, and reminisces about Leonard and Virginia constantly. He has large green eyes, covered up by huge glasses ( like battlements on the side of his hawk-like profile) . His expression is part-owl, part predator. Most of the time he discussed how he is contesting his uncle Leonard’s will; and that there were immense legal complications involved in it. His conversation ranged from his opinion of the ‘Omega’ art workshops, to his interest in graphology.
We drank large glasses of red wine. I had a turkey salad, emblazoned with black olives and red cabbage , while Alan and Cecil both had portions of lasagne. Interestingy, pub food’ in the 1970s was surprisingly imaginative and good in these bleak years of culinary dreariness.
I continued my research job, throughout March and April, which meant spending more interesting hours at the BM.
Meanwhile,back at Danbury Street, our evenings were spent chatting and drinking with an array of journos/hacks / actors and TV people: Mike Beckham, Tim Thomas ( an actor),Judy Daish and so on. However, on April 20th, Snoo, Ann and I decided to leave Danbury Street, as our six month lease had ended. I had enjoyed our time there. Snoo and Ann were moving to Clapham Common; and, as usual, I had nowhere to! However, we partied a lot in those last few days – Vic Sage came to visit; Jonathan and I went to see a play at the Unity Theatre: ‘They Gave me a Present of Mornington Crescent’; and I also spent a weekend with John and Jill House ( John had been a tutor of mine at UEA), was a Monet specialist.
John and I were the same age; and he was always a kind and supportive mentor to me. He was to die, tragically young, at the age of sixty-six in 2012. He was the kindest of men – funny, vivacious, encouraging and full of ‘joie de vivre’. He cared for his students and shared his enthusiasm with us all, even unrolling a precious piece of canvas painted by Monet. Jill, his wife, was a sweetheart, quieter than John, and a generous hostess. At their pleasant house, I heard Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ for the first time.