From the WG Quentin asked me to a noon meeting at Penderel’s Oak. In my sure-footed boots I trekked the snow from Holborn station, the blizzard melting on my lips and giving me a drink. Q, with his brother,Leon and Uzumi, Leon’s wife, was at my back at the door in. Time is too short to cover the five hours we and his friends spent together. I held forth whenever there was a hiatus, abhorring a vacuum. The main point of interest was where Q had had his first Twickenham book launch, whether in Langton’s as I thought or on the main thoroughfare. John Ricketts thought the latter. Uzumi was delighted to agree and determined to be agreed with. Her husband was the first domino to fall. Quentin followed, Mayling, Patrice – I held out as befits a man with a mind of his own, if of Uranian obstinacy. The matter was not conclusively settled by my diary entry for that date in 2004 and has yet to be by acceptable evidence. Social agreeability is not enough.
No sooner home than I was off to supper at Greg’s and Piero’s. Greg had tried to manipulate me into buying him a present which I’d foiled by offering him the catalogue and pointing out how easy it was to order from it online. What to do? What I did was buy what Greg wanted for his partner who I’d never given a present to. He was overjoyed. “It was Greg’s idea,” I added. Greg was not pleased. And his present was shite. Not literally. The highlight of the supper arose from my blind date, Peter, who’s twenty-eight, unemployed, doesn’t drink, won’t eat greens and is sick half the time after what are called circuit …something at rowing practice. Greg likes to force his will on people and did so with Peter, giving him another sliver of cheese when Peter had refused it. Peter politely left the second sliver on his plate. I pointed out if Greg forced me on Peter I’d be left on his plate like the cheese. That was the highlight but between me and Peter was a lowlight. His legs built up to it. One touched mine and immediately recoiled. I didn’t know what to make of it and had only time to completely ignore what, if surreptitious, was at once recalled and with it the surreptitiousness. My hypothesis is he didn’t realise what he was doing till he did it and since doing it impugned his heterosexuality he took it back. He had no trouble being attractive, inviting touch, but being attracted was a knee too far. Greg asked himself to me on Xmas and Boxing days. I ruled out Xmas. Guests unprofitably slow cooking down in the kitchen while talking unentertainingly amongst themselves in another room. He could come Boxing day when I can join in.
Finally I went two days later to Kate’s where we split the two bottles I took with me, one of champagne, over Spanish omelette and Wiltshire ham and a right good comfortable natter with her and her partner, John.