Dave and I had our Brexit-supporting former neighbors Chris and Linda over for lunch yesterday. It turned into an all-day affair, between cleaning the house beforehand and mopping up in the kitchen afterwards. They left around 4 p.m. and Dave and I were so exhausted we sat silently in the living room for the rest of the evening, barely talking even to each other.
Chris is a character. He's a former newspaperman, but he's oddly impervious to any new information that doesn't agree with what he previously understood (or assumed) to be true. For example, he came in yesterday insisting that a popular restaurant we like in Soho had closed. He said he'd walked past it and it was utterly shuttered, the building for sale. Frankly, this seemed unlikely, so I looked online. The website was still up, the street address hadn't changed, and when I called, a maitre'd answered, ready to make a reservation. Chris simply would not accept that he could have been mistaken.
He's the same way with current events. He'll sort of listen when we argue a point, but he is completely immovable and when we next see him, it will be like the previous conversation never occurred.
He also insists on calling Olga "he," which is a small thing, but it annoys the heck out of me. She has a girl's name, for God's sake.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, it was a lot of socializing for a single day.
Dave baked a chicken, and we had some bits left over, so I stripped it from the bones and set it out for the foxes right before I went to bed. As you can see above, one showed up promptly, and then came back a few hours later, no doubt hoping for more.
Before going to sleep, I read more of Tina Brown's "Vanity Fair Diaries." Here's another juicy tidbit. Brown went to Oxford in June 1986 to do an article, and hired a student named Allegra as a temporary assistant. "I had lunch with a bunch of posh students Allegra knows, including her boyfriend, a young fogey with a thatch of blond hair and a plummy voice called Boris Johnson," Brown wrote. She eventually decided not to do the article, feeling unable to penetrate the "class loyalty of the group," and returned to New York. About ten days later, Allegra wrote a "really nasty piece" about Brown in the Sunday Telegraph, with the centerpiece being that lunch. "But Allegra wasn't present, so Boris must have told her what to write -- a snide, garbled version of what I said, because he took no notes and clearly recreated it, full of falsehoods, from memory -- and then she put her byline on it. I was truly gobsmacked by the awfulness of it. God knows why smiling Boris would behave this way either." She protested to the Telegraph, which agreed to run a letter correcting the record. "But Boris Johnson is an epic shit," she concluded. "I hope he ends badly."
(Photo: A dog statue in Belgravia, identical to one at a house near ours that I've photographed before.)