She was given a piece of new L0westoft P0rcelain, made here – http://www.lowestoftporcelain.co.uk/ -* and decorated by Helen, the blonde girl on the left. Sally is in the middle.
Pr1ncess Anne was very charming, chatting to Helen and Sally for several minutes when two would have sufficed for the strictest politeness.
Dilly had brought the children, though they stayed outside. Someone gave them flags. Squiffany was impressed. “Hello Pr1ncess!” she called, several times. The sun was shining on the children playing in the new fountain. You can see police vehicles in the background, but security was extremely low-key and there was a cheerily relaxed atmosphere.
Neptune looked on benignly. Or Poseidon, if you prefer.
As we walked back, I snapped the Sage’s former workplace, where he used to be a partner. It was an auction house for many years, but has for some time been a night club.
After that, we went to visit one of the people I like best in the world. I hardly know him in fact, he was briefly my Latin teacher, but that does not deter my affection at all. I took Latin at O Level (as we oldies call it) and whimsically decided, after two years in the 6th Form, to take a couple of extra A Levels; Latin and French. My school could not accommodate me, so I spent a year at the recently-comprehensived former Grammar School. A couple of years afterwards he left teaching to become an antiquarian book dealer. Now well into his 80s, he is still as lovely a man as he ever was. I asked if he still had the incunabula he showed me a few years. He had not, but he had a page of one, from 1480. These are the first printed books and magical to hold. In their way, almost more wonderful than hand-written books, for each individual letter was hand-set in the printing press – it must have been more work than writing. I will, one day, own one. If it uses all the money I have.
I remember things that Mr Lamb said, 35 years ago. Once, he said of the Roman writer Horace “I’ve always liked Horace. People say you have to be middle-aged to appreciate him, but then I think I was born middle-aged.” Now, imagine an 18-year-old who had always felt slightly out of kilter with her contemporaries, and then imagine her sudden realisation that she would, one day, grow into her true self and the sense of relieved ‘at-homeness’ that this gave her.
Once, there was nowhere for us to have a lesson. After trying a couple of classrooms and the library, he asked if anyone had a car. I had, so we piled into his and mine and drove off to his house. His sitting-room was gorgeous. Lined with bookshelves stuffed with leather-bound books, with a shabby old leather chesterfield. I adored it. Today, I reminisced about that day and he remembered it.
*Excuse me not making the link for you, but I don’t want them to see me. They did, regrettably, spell the Sage’s name wrong.