5 JULY 1975, Page 12

Spectator peregrinations

Although it has been almost continuously sunny in South-East England for the last few weeks it was raining very hard on the day 1 went with the National Trust to Calais to take a European view of the White Cliffs of Dover. We had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding followed by trifle in Calais harbour without catching so much as a glimpse of a Burgher. On the return journey at 15.20 when it said on the schedule. -View of White Cliffs as we approach the shore': I went up to the bridge to see if I could help out With the aid of radar, binoculars and a revolving windscreen I located the Cliffs as we entered Dover Harbour.

On this stroke of bad luck the National Trust iaunched its £250,000 appeal to buy up stretches of the cliffs to preserve them from development • and corrosion — with the assistance of Sir John Winnifrith, chairman of the appeal, Lord Cornwallis, patron, Sir Norman Tailyour, Captain of Deal Castle, Sir Robert Menzies,. Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Mr C. W. , Cittv who writes, "As I am now over a hundred I regret that the only assistance I can give is financial."

My own feeling was that taking seventy thirsty journalists across the Channel on a Townsend-Thoresen ferry was an expensive way of launching an appeal particularly when most of them are just out for the ride — how else do you account for two Sunday Telegraph reporters on a lylonday? But most of it was at the Thoresen line anyway and they make most of their money from their duty-free shops. Nearly all their guests bought their full quota of spirits, wines and tobacco.

The appeal has been given an early boost with contributions from France, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Brazil. So you evidently don't have to see the White Cliffs in order to preserve them.

Field sport

My sympathies to Wilson Stephens, Editor of the Field, known to his friends as Steve. He has just published a letter from awful Tim Keigwin, the Powellite candidate for North Devon who came dangerously close to unseating Jeremy Thorpe several times before resigning in a petulant huff after his resounding defeat at the general election last year. He attacks the Field for being pro-Market. "A Marxist-Socialist majority in that Federal Parliament will put an. end to all Field Sports in England," says Keigwin, a keen but bad fisherman. "Why don't you stick to sport. Naturally 1 am cancelling the Field." You can't please all the people all the time but if you ever please Keigwin you must be on the wrong track.


Further publicising his book, My Queen and I. Willie Hamilton, the anti-monarchist MP, launched the paperback edition by proposing a referendum on the monarchy. He read out a catalogue of iniquities which included the new roof on Kensington Palace, Princess Anne's riding, Prince Charles's beard (which must be an economy I think) and the subsequent Order of the Bath. "There would be almost unanimous approval for a massive redundancy programme for the hangers-on — the well-heeled leeches that infest the whole mothballed institution." Of course, he didn't get away with this. An elderly journalist who knew the colonies pointed out that mothballs were the most

effective things for removing leeches. From my own experience of leech-infested parts, the notion that leeches are well-heeled is confusing. It all sounds like nit-picking to me.

Iris and Irish

I understand that Iris Murdoch has been consulting Peter Ady the Oxford economics don who is a close friend of Rose Dugdale now languishing with her illegitimate child in Limerick jail. Peter Ady is one of the few people who can communicate with Dr Dugdale and has visited her in Limerick — since the Dugdale parents have long lost touch with their difficult daughter. Iris Murdoch is quite good enough at constructing convoluted and improbable relationships from her observations of dreary Oxford dons. God preserve us from an IRA opus.

Strained relations

Relations between Harold Wilson and his former blue-eyed boy Richard Marsh are strained. He was dismissed from the Labour Front Bench as suddenly as hp arrived there. And his absence from the Birthday Honours list was conspicuous — all previous Chairmen of British Rail have had knighthoods or peerages. But, odder still, despite the recent crisis he has not been to Downing Street since the days of its previous tenant Mr Heath, the man who gave Marsh his job. Can we attribute the inflationary 30 per cent rail settlement to the Chairman's habit of mimicking the Prime Minister?


Ting Wen-Pin from the Chinese Embassy was asking pertinent questions when he visited the Times the other day. At a book launching party (Exploding Cities published by Andre Deutsch) he wanted to know why so many obvious free loaders had been asked. A kindly literary editor explained that if Andre Deutsch asked him to their party and gave him a copy he would in turn review it. "And if you don't you return it" said Ting Wen-Pin with Chinese h our.

Clearly he has not seen Fleet S t jI en of letters earning an honest livin •11.!i:?1,‘ng heavy piles of review copies to the A V.., k shop. 0.1


I must apologise to Cyril Ray for calling him toffee-nosed — an ill-considered retaliation to his letter the previous week in which he used the immortal phrase "toffee-nosed twit" to describe me. (As a peregrine I am at least a greater toffee-nosed twit.) Mr Ray is not only one of my most regular readers but also a distinguished wine-writer known in the trade as the pompous prawn'. So I should instead have said he has a nose full of fruit — perhaps with too much acid.

Oxford girls

The St Anne's Amazons, an Oxford Women's Lib dining club, recently attacked in this column, offered me an end of term drink the other day:They were handing the torch to next year's Amazons. So forgiving and unaggressive _have they become that they now want that arch male chauvinist Auberon Waugh to go down and speak to them. He once described St Anne's as an institution for turning pearly debs into neurotic bores and criminals.

Through the gap

More and more Wimbledon players, I notice, are using those new-fangled rackets with triangular gaps at the end of the handle. All my best shots, the really mean ones that just scrape over the net, are played with the wood. I may have to abandon my Wimbledon aspirations.

Deep water

Lord Robens, the Chairman of Vickers, is

radiating enthusiasm about • a new author from Vickers. He is Roger Chapman who has.Ikritten a book called No Time on Our Side about his experiences in September 1973 when he was submerged in the Atlantic and eventually rescued from the Vickers experimental submarine Pisces. Robens says its a story that even Jules Verne could not have written. As a former chairman of the Coal

Board with considerable experience of people being trapped at great depths, Robens says that Chapman's observations are of inestimable value to the energy situation — since the sea bed may replace the coal face as our major form of sustenance.

Inside job

I am happy to report that since I've been writing this column the readership of The Spectator has been going up. I hesitate to take any credit for this except to say that it may be something to do with the number of copies I pinch from the circulation department further to chastise and terrorise the peregrine's numerous victims.

Little woman Jack Hulbert's autobiography, The Little Woman's Always Right, largely concerns, not surprisingly, his sixty-year marriage to Dame Cicely Courtneidge. The secret of a happy life, he says, is to find someone like Cicely Courtneidge. With that he asked her to cin the cake. But she refused, saying, "The little woman's always right."

Sherry party

How do you discover the real thoughts of a committed wine connoisseur? On the one hand he wants to be diplomatic — yet he does not want to be shown up for over-praising a bad idea. I was sitting beside Michael Broadbent, the Christie's wine expert, at Harvey's sherry lunch in Pall Mall. We had six different sherries, one as aperitif, one each with the gazpacho, the sole, the chicken, the cheese, strawberries and.coffee. Harvey's are promoting the idea of drinking sherry like wine on all different occasions — since it has gone up in price less than other fortified wines. Mr Broadbent was accustomed to drinking champagne with all courses but sherry was more hit and miss. Harvey's Bristol Cream with strawberries and cream is certainly worth a try. I think Mr Broadbent would like time to consider the matter.