Miles Kington, late of The Oldie, is much missed in these pages. He died in 2008, aged only 66.
Now his widow, Caroline Kington, has brought out My Mother, the Bearded Lady – his selected letters (Unbound, £25).
Already, Kington is like a figure from a lost age, as someone who wrote long, considered letters by hand. And he wrote to everyone, from Philip Larkin to Stanley Baxter.
In 2004, he wrote to Richard Ingrams, thanking him for an Oldie lunch. Miles had written down bons mots delivered by lunch guests, including Wilfred De’Ath.
Wilfred told Miles, ‘Yes, you are right. I have lost a few teeth. No, I didn’t get into a fight. Yes, someone knocked them out. In Cambridge. No, I don’t want to talk about it.’
Lines worthy of Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett.