Tuesday, 7 February 2012


As an eight-year-old schoolboy, what I recall about the death of King George VI, 60 years ago yesterday, was just one thing: all day long boring (so it then seemed) music, and music alone, poured out of the radio. Today, we celebrate another anniversary, 200 years since the birth of Charles Dickens. His recent biographer, the indefatigable Claire Tomalin, writes a Happy Birthday letter to him in the Guardian: she wishes she could summon up for lunch "in a cheerful restaurant" some of his friends - amongst whom she mentions my 4 greats-uncle Clarkson Stanfield, to whom Dickens dedicated Little Dorrit. I bought this photograph of him in old age a year or so ago on eBay.

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