I have, not surprisingly, been preoccupied by memories of visiting Iran in the summer of 1973 and of those monuments which Trump has so casually and brutally threatened to bomb out of existence, now only half retracting because it is so obviously contrary to international law, not because he accepts that it is an appalling proposal. Most especially, I got out of the library a copy of Robert Byron’s Road to Oxiana, which is what inspired the trip, together with the contacts of Peter Avery, the great Persianist. I was trying to remember where it was that we stopped en route between Tabriz and Tehran and realise that it must have been at Soltaniyeh, with its great fourteenth-century mosque or mausoleum, which Byron shows as a ruin, but has been at least half reconstructed. Only one of so many great and memorable and culturally important monuments. I wish I had been taking photographs then or, if I did, had kept them.