Tuesday, 10 April 2012


When I worked at Stonewall, the kindest thing Angela Mason ever said to me was that I was "very good" at talking to peers.

She had in mind the occasion we'd sat in a bar with Earl Russell, the late son of Bertrand, (or "Conrad" as she called him).

I don't recall whether we were discussing the age of consent, the repeal of section 28 or some other long forgotten bill we wanted to get passed in the Upper House.

Whatever it was, it had to do with buggery.

Here is Lady Fitzwalter, of Goodenstone Park, Kent in whose garden I spent the afternoon of Easter Day.

It is a truly delightful garden, full of surprises and imaginative planting and has a tea room  that offers genuine hospitality.

I enjoyed Lady Fitzwalter's conversation, the cinnamon and ginger cake and, as I grow older, I find myself more drawn to borders than buggery.

One shouldn't have to choose of course.

But needs must.

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