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A good bathroom does help


When Hilaire Belloc came calling
John Julius Norwich Writer
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Belloc was a great friend of my parents, I remember him very, very well. He always wore a black suit, black wing-collar in memory of his wife who I think died 40 years before, but he was always in mourning for her after that. And... but tremendous fun. And I seem to remember he wore a cloak which was incredibly heavy when I helped him off with it, which I was trained to do, because it had... it was full of pockets and every pocket had a different flask. There was a flask of brandy, a flask of whiskey, a flask of port, a flask of everything. He was the walking wine cellar. He used to come... And he used to live not terribly far away from us at Horsham and he used to drive over in his battered little car and come to lunch and at the end of lunch, nearly always, he would start singing old French drinking songs in his old cracked voice of his and occasionally his own stuff, 'Do you remember an Inn, Miranda? Do you remember an Inn?' The French rolled 'r' always. And I adored him, he was wonderful fun.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Hilaire Belloc

Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018