My dear old pal Jeremiah is keeping me rushed off my feet with a hectic social schedule. So hectic in fact that I haven’t had time to go shopping, and since I have no clothes at all suitable for London in late May, I tend to turn up everywhere in the riding boots I just bought in Spain. That includes yesterday morning’s meeting with Lady Antonia Fraser, when I handed over the Maria Theresa Thaler
I had bought for her in the Djenne market. (see blogs March and April I believe for correspondence) The Grande Dame
received me in her Campden Hill Square House in which she has lived for fifty years. We had coffee and chatted amiably for about forty minutes perhaps. She gave me a copy, which she signed, of her latest book: ‘Must you go?’, about her life with Harold Pinter. She was kind and gracious and I liked her lot, but felt just a little in awe of her fame, beauty, and achievement, so I took my leave early, not wanting to overstay my welcome.
Then I spent the afternoon reading her book, and recognizing, perhaps, from afar, a kindred spirit. She too is a Romantic, and she too changed her life Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita….
Well, as I was saying, I am stomping about London in my riding boots due to lack of shopping time. But for Monday’s dinner at the Luxembourg Ambassador’s place, I realized that this simply wouldn’t do. So I breezed in to M&S with ten minutes to spare and bought a 4-tiered long black cotton skirt, which I thought might do if worn with high heeled black shoes, my embroidered antique afghan red waistcoat and amber necklace. Little did I know, coming from the Heart of Africa, that this outfit most certainly marked me out as a sort of Fashion Curiosity. So much so that one of my fellow guests, the siren-like Macedonian Ambassador, tottered over on her vertiginous patent leather shoes, just to hear what I might have to say for myself…She had draped her own admirable ambassadorial curves in tight fitting salmon satin with shoulder frills, which I now realize is de rigeur
this spring and which couldn’t be further removed from my own outfit…
Anyway, everyone was kind and forgiving. I became chummy with a Persian lady of a certain age in a mink stole, pearls and false eyelashes, who reminded me of my Princess Lulie. (see blog search above). We talked about Edith Piaf over dinner, and I tried out my thesis, with some success, that ‘Je ne regrette rien
’ is for monsters or fools….
And today I went to see Cathy Collins at the British Library. She is the coordinator of the Endangered Archives Program, and she told me, strictly entre nous
, that the panel was pleased with what we had achieved with the Djenne MSS Pilot Project, and that the panel was favourably disposed towards the Major Project for which I will apply in the beginning of November.
More about the Djenne MSS soon, because something interesting might be cooking with my old pal M.Vielle, the Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in Bamako. They might just give us a hand…