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In a Bygone Age. . .

Of course, we were not dressed this formally, but the spirit was right.


The Grand Duchess and I had another couple here to Totleigh-in-the-Wold for drinks yesterday evening.  50 or 60 years ago, it might have been called a cocktail party, but we served wine.  We began outside around the fire pit, but moved to the screened back porch after 90 minutes or so once the mosquitos found us where we continued the conversation.

I have written before about how these sorts of gatherings can seem ponderous, but last evening was a very pleasant surprise.  Our guests, both professors in different corners of our university here, came originally from Nigeria but have been in the U.S. many years where they eventually met and married.  

He is in journalism, she is in history.  And talk about a small world.  

It turns out that the husband, who was in Nigerian journalism (radio, television, and the press) for many years before earning his doctorate and moving into academia, traveled the length and breadth of Africa and elsewhere, meeting numerous leaders and cultural figures as he covered international news and affairs.  A genuine raconteur with a deep sonorous voice, to whom I could listen for hours.  

The wife was at UCLA at the same time and in the same department as The Grand Duchess in the mid-1990s, although they never met at the time given the sheer size of the history department there at the time.  It turns out that she is the daughter of a noted Nigerian author, whose work I used to include as part of an Introduction to World Literature course taught almost 20 years ago in my first position following graduate school.  Six degrees of separation at work.

Both extremely interesting people.  It goes without saying that there was much to talk about with many observations about life, people, and situations.  Laughter too, which is always a good thing in my book.

Like the best guests, they also knew when to bid goodnight after about three hours.  I hope we might have opportunity to see them again though.  Their company was a genuine delight and a breath of fresh air.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


  1. Indeed, Old School! Indeed.

    Best Regards,


  2. It sounds delightful and eminently civilized, as Old School noted above. I wish my wife and I could have been there, even just to listen.

  3. It was a lovely evening, Charlottesville! You and your wife would have been more than welcome.

    Best Regards,



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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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