Today’s Constitutional (7)

I walked into this field this evening to look at the may which is flowering in the hedges:-

I find the washing which I hang up each morning reassuring:-

As is the view out to the mountains:-

The gatepost:-

The irises will be out soon and the willow already is:-

Maybe we will recover:-


Horses (3)

In the absence of much else to write about, I am posting more pictures of the horses which keep us company in the adjacent field – Welsh ponies, Welsh cobs, and, I gather, a highland cob, but I am not enough of a cognoscente to know which is which:-



I was tipped off that Tide, the local cafe at Halen Môn, where they make Anglesey Sea Salt, was doing food boxes if you order online. I tried it today: the freshest of fresh home-made bread; peppery salad leaves grown locally in Dwyran; chard; chocolate and sea salt cookies. It would have been good at the best of times. But, as self-isolation begins to take its toll, however beautiful the surroundings, the simplicity of the food, particularly fresh bread, collected from a beach hut on the Menai Straits, was nectar of the gods:-


Economy of Truth

The death of Robert Armstrong, the former career civil servant and Cabinet Secretary from 1979 to 1987, who, not incidentally, served as Secretary to the Board of the Royal Opera House from 1968 to 1988 and was chairman of the trustees of the V&A from 1988 to 1998, has caused me to look up the origin of the phrase ‘economical with the truth’, for which he is – somewhat unjustly – best remembered. The answer is, as I had suspected, much more complicated than the presumption that it was used as a synonym for mandarin evasion – not telling the whole truth when he should have done and for which he was made to look a fool in court. It goes back to Edmund Burke who used the phrase in his Letters on a Regicide Peace, published in 1796, as follows: ‘Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever: But, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an œconomy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure that he may speak it the longer’. In the court in Australia, where Armstrong used the phrase, he prefaced it with the reference to ‘As one person said’, assuming that his listeners would know that it was a reference to Burke and would also know that it was a reference to a form of dutiful reticence, of which Armstrong was a master, the opposite of wilful evasion. It was a total clash of intellectual and verbal cultures, which Armstrong lost.



At 6.30 sharp, we listened to a piece by Messiaen which was due to be played as part of a concert by Melvyn Tan at Charleston tomorrow evening. There was something both wonderful, but tragic, about listening to live music on YouTube, which was due to have been held at Charleston where not only tomorrow’s concert, but its annual literary Festival, have had to be cancelled:-