A happy diversion from research and writing, Sophie and I attended a wedding party held in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace, for Dr Quinn Peeper and Michael Harrold, the friends who had been my hosts in New Orleans; both pianists of great ability, they played for the assembled congregation with terrific skill, which was pretty heroic at their own wedding celebration – although they did raise a laugh when they had to admit they had left some of their music in some distant castle they visited on their pre-wedding holiday tour. The blessing was given by Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco who had been at Oxford with Dr Peeper.
After the service, there were drinks in the rose garden, and we talked to many of Quinn and Michael’s friends from New Orleans and other old friends of mine there including Jennie McCahey of the Royal Oak from New York, Robert Sackville-West from Knole, Sir Tatton Sykes and Alexander Chancellor. The whole wedding party is one of the most beautifully organised we have ever been to and we have a most interesting party at our table – many invitations to return to New Orleans. The excellent speeches were by Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and Cindy Shaw-Stewart.
Best house visit: after Blenheim, Nymans, house, ruins and gardens in Sussex
Best buys: salvias for our garden, planted in the company of inquisitive robin