I sat up in the bath when Radio Three played a choral number about shepherds. It was, they announced, by Michael Praetorius. I was astonished to hear that this was the tune to a hymn we sang at my first school in the early 1960s.
I was crossing the road in St James’s Square when an approaching car slowed, and a man gestured from the open window. His respectable suit jacket was on a hanger inside. I knew exactly what was up. It was a con trick.
I’ll explain a bit later why I was thinking about the Friary in Francis Street, round the back of Westminster Cathedral, but I was pleased to be reminded this week that it had been built as an orphanage for guardsmen’s children. During the Crimean War, the Victorians got through guardsmen at quite a rate.
Spain is not, I think, poorer than 30 years ago, in the sense of so many people living in unheated, dark houses with no mod cons. But gaps are evident in the benefits some need to meet the demands of urbanised living.
THREE SMELLS remind me of Oliver Bernard: the strong tobacco he would tamp into his curved pipe; the aniseed of Ricard, his preferred drink; the woodsmoke from the fire at his one-room cottage in Norfolk.