This week I had to cancel an interview as the charming shadow spokesman for the arts, Hugo Swire, lost his place in the reshuffle. I have begun to think of Hugo as a friend, but only based on the fact that he has been remarkably assidious in visiting events associated with the heritage and arts, and had a real understanding of my world so I naturally think his move is rather a loss.
I did have the consolation of working on my article on Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, one of the finest houses in Britain in my opinion, but strangely too little known. Sir John Vanbrugh is one of my great heroes of all time, witty in letters and discourse, he clearly designed for friends and family often for free, or in return for protection and patronage, but I feel he must have been the best of company, better than Wren, who would have been very brainy but grand, and Hawksmoor, who would have been brainy but crabby. I hope to organise an exhibition on Vanbrugh in 2008, but it will have to have a private view and witty speaker every evening to really create the right atmosphere. Any sponsors out there?