I'm not going to say anything about Brideshead on this page, nothing of substance anyway. But I will point out that there is a huge section of this website devoted to a Brideshead Festival, so, dear reader, you might want to scroll down to that.

The novel has been well served by Penguin. Following its hardback success with Chapman and Hall in 1945, the first Penguin appeared in 1951:


Above is how the book looked until 1956, when the horizontal bands were changed to vertical ones. Clearly the designers at Penguin had collectively gone into overdrive:


But I shouldn't be sarcastic, because by 1962 this (below) was the edition that was circulating, though most of the credit must go to Quentin Blake who drew the cover image. Charles and Sebastian regarding Aloysius with disdain:


The covers of the Waugh books that were introduced in the 1970s look superb as a set. Though I can't think that anything was gained by dropping Sebastian and Aloysius from the cover of Brideshead.


Anyway, that sets things up nicely for my picnic. I've got an assortment of special things in my wicker basket, as you can perhaps glimpse.


I've had a good look around the Perthshire countryside, and this is the nearest I could get to a sheep-cropped knoll. It's here I watch Alo's profile as he smokes Turkish cigarettes and throws apples at a mature Scots pine tree..


Joining Alo on the picnic rug, I notice the letter that David Bowie once wrote to me a few months before phoning me up. What is that doing here? Oh well, if Aloysius has added a couple of my things that he is especially fond of, then that is all right by me.


But what is a Brideshead picnic without some Brideshead reading? I find a favourite passage in two different Penguin editions.


And then I read aloud page 26 from either book, from "Just the place to bury a crock of gold."


I ask Aloysius what his favourite bit of the novel is. At first, he claims to be too shy to say.


And then he pulls himself together enough to tell me that it's the bit that he has highlighted in green on page 120 of the edition with the Quentin Blake cover drawing:


Me: "What does 'venery' mean?"

Alo: "I don't know."

Me: "What are caryatids?"

Alo: "I don't know."

That bear is so bogus. It must be charm alone that gets him through life.

I think I'll dig a hole and bury him here along with the letter from dear, dead David. Then when I'm old and ugly and miserable I can come back and dig him up and remember how young and happy I once felt. Though I suspect there would be Hell to pay on that occasion.