One of the more irritating developments of the current unpleasantness (as Churchill might have described it) is learning how the beautiful people who write columns in the mainstream media – the Telegraph is the worst – are coping at home and pulling together. I know I should not look at this sort of stuff, but being by nature somewhat perverse, I cannot help it.
No swearing, no tantrums from their teenage kids, no computer game addictions, no alcohol, no frozen food, and, apparently, no queueing for food in the early hours. It’s all creative activities, old-fashioned boardgames, sharing the chores, cuddling the kids (who are desperately missing their ballet classes and active pursuits), and then cuddling the pets. Interspersed, naturally, with charitable acts in the village, conveniently close to London, but far enough removed to be quaint, picturesque, and, most importantly, demographically homogenous. The only blot, I hear, is that dear old Charles Moore can no longer get hold of organic free-range eggs from his local village store. Perhaps he should try Tesco.
This is all most admirable, except that I prefer people who wear their virtue and their family achievements more lightly. Which all comes down to good manners. Of course, I am envious too – and mindful that unlike socialists and liberals, conservatives ought to practise love not resentment. My own suburban family’s dysfunctional goings on would not make very good rose-tinted copy. A good morning for me is the rest of the family lazing in bed for as long as possible so that I can extract another golden hour of private study.
However, I can report one small triumph amidst the dross. Although the keyboard gathers dust, as do the board games, my youngest is spending considerable time drawing. I dredged out my old drawing guide the other day, composed by the wonderfully aptly named Jeffrey Camp, with inspirational foreword by David Hockney extolling the virtues of learning to draw and seeing through another artist’s eyes by copying. And to my amazement, my youngest spontaneously began to copy from it.
I doubt whether even the beautiful people of the Telegraph, brandishing their perfectly composed family lives and harmonious relationships, could conjure up that one.