23 October 2010
Again, an okay night. I started off in Michael’s Â â€˜nestâ€™ but after a couple of hours sitting on the bones of my bottom this became extremely uncomfortable and I really had to move. The duvet was too heavy and trappedÂ my weak legs so it was no easy task. However, I managed to slip onto my right side which moved me down the bed in a fairly flat position. Surprisingly I found that I could still breathe. This was the position in which Michael found me in the morning and he declared that there was no further need for â€˜nestsâ€™ and that I should sleep â€˜normallyâ€™ from now on!
Apart from his many other â€˜ dutiesâ€™, Michael has taken over my shaving with a blade razor. He did not approve of my electric razor, which I must admit has not been doing its job very well. After all I’ve used it for about 10 years. This, in addition to feeding me as it is rather difficult to feed myself without my equipment. Fortunately Michael consumes food at twice my pace and so isÂ able to offer up a spoonful between every two or three mouthfuls of his own. It works well. He now threatens to get hold of some scissors and cut my hair, a task undertaken by Alice over the last couple of years. The world renowned Trumpers, in Curzon Street, refused to give me a free haircut after being a loyal customer for 50 Â years. I remember, once sitting there waiting for a haircut with Sir Alec Guinness. He was an old man then and I could not resist telling him the enormous amount of pleasure that I, and, no doubt millions of other people, had derived from his wonderful acting. Not only from those wonderful.Â Ealing Studiosâ€™ Â Â comedies, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets; The Ladykillers; The House Of Lords, etc. but Â many more, including more recently, Â Star Wars. Sir Alec was, what you might describe, a portly, well dressed and dignified old gentleman quietly waiting his turn for his regular meeting with, no doubt, some barber, even more ancient than himself, who worked in Â this renownedÂ establishment Â Â which claimed generations of Royal patronage. My own â€˜manâ€™ was over 80 and had goneÂ part-time, and indeed deigned only to cut the few remaining hairs of his longest and most faithful customers. He found standing all day too tiring. Sir Alec could have commanded the presence of his own â€˜manâ€™ for a domiciliary visit but then no doubt this would have been extortionate. Indeed, it seemed to me, that even going to such an establishment itself was somewhat excessive. He graciously smiled and with a slight nod of the head, acknowledged my compliment – nothing more.
Dropping famous names I cannot resist mentioning my brief friendship with James Mason.
Last evening Mick and I watched that classic film, The Desert Fox in which JMÂ magnificently portrayed Â Field Marshal Rommel. Our first meeting took place in a queue in San Francisco. We had been travelling either to or from London, to New York, when the flight we were on made an emergency landing and, as some sort of compensation, we were given drink vouchers and thus the queue. The tall dark haired, strikingly handsome, gentleman in front of me turned, and, profferingÂ his hand, said â€˜my nameâ€™sÂ Mason,Â Â James.â€™Â Following an enforced hour or two together, while the emergency was resolved, a Â Â friendship sprang up between us and when he came to London, he kindly invited me to have dinner with him at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, Â Mayfair.Â Over the next couple of years, or so, I received the odd postcard from him, from Switzerland, where he Â resided between Â films. Then the correspondence ceased. After all we had been â€˜only ships that passed in Â the nightâ€™!
Now, Iâ€™m away!
I remember, though it must have been some 18 years ago, being â€˜thrown outâ€™ of the dining room at the Garrick Club at 02.30 in the afternoon – which was their practice, in those days-and spending the afternoon in the common area under the stairs outside, drinking with Kingsley Amis (wasn’t he the chap who wrote all those James Bond books?) I was doing my MSc at King’s College, London, at the time and was rather late for my evening meeting with my tutor. I arrived, I suspect a little the worse for wear.
These three gentlemen are mentioned in what is undoubtedly the shortest chapter, in the Miscellaneous Section of my Autobiographical Notes — The Few Famous People I Have Known…. but I digress, back to Thailand.
Today was the hottest and finest day we have had so far. Mike and I spent an hour and a half or so on the sun bathing platform with the Barlows, until it became too hot. We returned to our room to read or whatever to while away the time until lunch and my call to home and â€˜my lovely. Then snooze, and some more of Sister (getting more interesting) until four o’clock, and time as ever, for the first G&T and whisky for Michael.