Monday, 2 July 2012

Cambridge

Last Sunday we went to Cambridge for Nicholas de Lange's annual Garden Party (Nicholas is a cousin of my wife).  As usual, our host, looking hardly a day over 50 (he is 67) was resplendent in garb (there is something of the 50s dandy about him), with time for everyone and exuding good cheer.  His redoubtable mother, Elaine, as ever held court and delighted all.  We found ourselves spending most of the time in the company of Mr Tom Priestley, the distinguished Film Editor, both worldly and gentle, who had worked on many seriously well-known movies, including John Boorman's 'Deliverance'.  This reminded me of something Boorman had written about my father in his autobiography, Adventures of a Suburban Boy:

He took me under his wing, asked me to take over Monitor, that jewel I had admired for so long.  I was too intimidated.  Wheldon was an inspirational figure and a brilliant raconteur.  He fronted Monitor with great elan.  He chatted as an equal with Henry Moore and Orson Welles.  I always felt tongue-tied in front of Huw.  I had a dream one night that he had (painlessly) extracted all my teeth and my gums were frozen.

While Boorman may have been a suburban boy, Tom Priestley wasn't.  His father was J. B. Priestley, who did one Monitor before my mother mysteriously insulted him while a guest at his lunch-table.  She certainly had not meant to do any such thing.  Unfortunately I do not recall the details of the story.  I'm glad however that the Preistley-Wheldon association has been amicably repaired. It was very good to meet Tom, and Nicholas's party in the Betty Wu gardens at Wolfson as cheerful as ever.


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