We have been having an interesting time. Last night I gave a paper and we saw various old friends, including one, a sculptor, who wants to use the Professor as the model for a statue of an early modern saint. This involved a great deal of photography at an early hour of the morning. We then had a feast of art, one way and another: this started with a breakfast at one of the great auction houses, which was so very smart and grand that everyone drank black coffee and nobody so much as touched the trays of tempting little pastries. It’s most uncool to be seen consuming anything calorific. I began to wonder if they were cunning plastic ones, like the model dinners outside Japanese restaurants: in the virtual certainty nobody would consume them you could just keep them economically in a cupboard and dust them off once in a while. Like an old lady I once knew who had a plate of petits fours — the same ones which had done her since 1946, ritually produced and refused at the end of every evening entertainment to show she had Standards. The party had the rather strenuous quality you get when 90% of the people there expect to be recognised, but since we don’t watch telly, we didn’t which saved a lot of trouble. Then we saw our friend the Duchess, looking fearsomely smart, and lots of paintings by Edward Burra. After that, we walked towards Green Park and dropped in at a dealer acquaintance to see some interesting early modern stuff, then went to Sloane Square to a vast antique fair where someone else we know had a stall, and after that to the Tate to look at the watercolours exhibition where there were yet more wonderful Burras. Thus we pursued a slalom course through expensive London, which was made rather more enjoyable by the fact that the minute the Duchess had kissed us goodbye I wired into the Ladies and changed the quite smart shoes which were killing me into deeply un-smart sandals in which I could face really quite a lot of pavement. It was a London at its best day. Hazy golden sun, warm without being too hot, architecture all looking quite at its most appealing, and of course, flowering trees everywhere. There were even tulips outside the Tate. After the deep north, it was all most enjoyable.