Just returned from a hugely enjoyable lecture tour for the English Speaking Union, having been asked to be the Sir Evelyn Wrench lecturer for 2011. I toured several cities in the American South, starting at Tulsa in Oklahoma, and moving on to Louisiana: Shreveport, Monroe, and then down to New Orleans, all very different places, and finishing with a tour of Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas. I was so very well looked after at each place I stayed and really touched by American directness, enthusiasm and politeness. In Tulsa my kind hosts the Vaughns took me on a tour of the Philbrook Villa, a delightful Italianate house built for an oil millionaire, Waite Phillips, in the 1920s, and designed by a Kansas City architect, called Edward Beuhler Delk. Now preserved as an art museum, we enjoyed a delicious brunch here and admired paintings and gardens (a must for any visitor to Tulsa), and then they dropped me off with John Walton Brooks, architect and lifelong preservationist and anglophile (who deeply admires Lutyens in particular), who took me on another tour of Tulsa’s highlights, downtown and in the elegant suburbs too. He pushed me into the art-deco Boston Avenue Methodist church – a really fine spectacle inside and out, and said – “go and explore, if challenged start singing: ‘onward Christian soldiers!’” I am happy to say that I explored without the need to sing. The lecture was over a fine afternoon tea and it seemed very appropriate for an ESU gathering. More to follow soon . . . .