They wrote it this week: An ageing Woolf and a world at Waugh


They wrote it this week: An ageing Woolf and a world at Waugh

Extracts from diary entries and letters written between May 27 and June 2


May 28
1990, London
Twenty years to the week since I started my Finals at Oxford (Scholar, President of the Union, editor of Isis, jeunesse doree, so much promise!) I find myself in a television studio at break of day (5.00a.m.!), the early-morning toast of the ITV Telethon: standing on my head, unravelling the world’s biggest jumper, leading the dawn sing-along with Rustie the Caribbean Cook. Something’s gone wrong somewhere.

Gyles Brandreth, British writer and politician, b. 1948.

Something Sensational to Read on the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime by Gyles Brandreth, John Murray, 2009
May 29
2013, an Amsterdam retirement home
An eighty-year-old chap has managed to climb Mount Everest. I have enough trouble stepping up on the kerb. It isn’t fair. The previous record holder, Min Bahadur Sherchan, now eighty-one, promptly announced he intends to recapture his record next week. There’s also been a one-legged woman who reached the summit. On a prosthetic leg surely? She can’t have got all the way up to 8,000 metres hopping on one leg, can she?
The first man with no arms has also been spotted up there. It’s quite a remarkable convoy that makes its way to the top of Everest these days. I am waiting for the first incontinent veiled nun to plant the Polynesian flag up there, and then I shall have a go myself...

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