I have been reading Mark Girouard’s Friendships, soon to be published, which records his very extensive circle of friends, all now dead, from the 1950s onwards. Some of them are already well known, like John Betjeman with whom he collaborated on the establishment of the Victorian Society (‘dear little Mark, so good, and never says a word’) and Denys Lasdun, whose National Theatre both Betjeman and Girouard admired. But some of them are much less well known, like Gervase Mathew, the grubby Byzantinist and author of Byzantine Aesthetics and Dominic de Grunne, a Belgian Catholic who taught Indian art at the Royal College of Art. He has an obvious penchant for scatty upper class girls, but there is not much love interest apart from an unexpected confession that in the 1990s his marriage was in trouble, when he went on long walks with a Belgian ex-hippy who he had met in Ethiopia. It shows that there was much more to his life than writing about Victorian country houses and saving Spitalfields.