Saturday, April 17, 2021


I’ve been watching the royal funeral all afternoon (so have you, probably) and therefore haven’t got anything done. I thought the simplicity imposed by Covid was a tremendous plus, and was proud of the Royal Family for observing it so strictly.


On Inauguration Day, Biden told us to wear masks in public henceforth, and then, that evening, went to the Lincoln Memorial with his family, without one. The next day a reporter asked his spokesman, very politely, how this could be. She didn’t answer the question and in effect, I thought, laughed at him for supposing that the rules which bind the rest of us affect a President on his Inauguration Day. I put the question to my sister and she was on the side of the spokesman – I was being absurdly fussy. So I was especially glad, today, to see the royals observing the rules meticulously. The politeness of princes.


And also glad that the Queen can walk without a stick.


There’s always a surreptitious element of Gilbert and Sullivan, and indeed of Lewis Carroll, on such state occasions. I enjoyed that, too.


Prince Philip was fond of carriage-driving into extreme old age. His empty carriage was there, with the two black ponies who used to draw it. That was very touching.


C. came this morning, and we staggered around the garden. 2430 steps – more than I would expect. She says that our cruise sets sail six weeks from today. I must provide for the cats, order new shoes and a colourful touch or two from Toast. That shouldn’t be too difficult. But after a year of enclosure, the slightest venture into the outside world is enormously stressful – and this one isn’t slight. I must also make an appointment to have somebody do something about my hair.


Rachel rang up. She was very pleased by an acknowledgement of her daughter Hellie in a recent book, “Mirror Land” by Carole Johnstone. It’s “Gothic”, praised by Stephen King. I’ve bought it, feeling I deserved some relief from “I Vicere”, and enjoyed the acknowledgement of Hellie in my turn. I wish I could read it in one gulp and then go back to more serious stuff, but it’s a bit too long for that. Shandy, I have been much tempted by the new biography of Barbara Pym and am sorry to hear it’s not well written. They’re reading it on the radio in the night, but I’m not alert enough in the dark hours for critical judgment.


  1. Jean, I ventured out last weekend for the first time in more than a year, and found the very process of packing and of spending the night in a hotel to be astonishingly taxing. Things I once did automatically (packing eye drops for dry hotel air, for example) were forgotten. And arranging for the cat sitter — oh, my! I was shocked by how it all wore me out.

  2. Regarding masks and the inauguration. You will note that they weren't in crowds and the couples were definitely standing very far apart so I felt the question was just to stir things up. Ms Psaki probably could have been a bit more diplomatic in her response. I haven't been watching the funeral.

  3. Anonymous9:55 PM

    I think Razzmatazz was ahead of its time!
    I really like the idea of the sweater for the classics student.

    I am going to try to put in some links here, but they may need to be pasted into a browser - sorry not very technical!

    I recall one knitter, Lisa Anne Auerbach, who knits (political) stranded-colourwork texts into garments

    Also I have seen this sweater mentioned, with a Martin Luther King Jr quote
    (or non-ravelry link
    It's an MDK sweater pattern "Margaret" that one can apparently chain stitch text onto.

    I have not gone beyond adding the occasional initial ...

    Lisa RR

  4. One of my barn buddies shared a quote from Prince Phillip today “Anybody who is concerned about his dignity would be well advised to keep away from horses.” Truth. I’ll have to see the funeral coverage online later.

  5. I did watch the funeral. I thought the music was particularly well done and the timing of events so as to reach a level pausing place for the silence was meticulous. Were you familiar with the reading from Ecclesiasticus? We wondered what it would have sounded like in the Authorised version.
    I am enjoying the Barbara Pym biog, and learning a lot. There are so many passages from diaries and letters that the very short sentences of the writer hardly impinge.

  6. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Seeing the Queen, all by herself like that, was very touching. Chloe

  7. I agree with you about less pomp more circumstance gave the whole affair a dignified simplicity. My heart was in my mouth though as the pallbearers reached all those steps. One of the soldiers was sweating profusely by the time they entered the chapel. I would recommend seeking out a hairdresser's appointment asap.

  8. =Tamar5:35 PM

    With regard to packing: I used to travel frequently. In order not to forget small items (comb, toothpaste, alarm clock, tissues, etc), I bought two and kept my suitcase permanently packed with them. As things occurred to me (e.g. map of location, extra socks, notebook and pens, pocket calendar) I would add them. It made packing much pleasanter.