At the Royal Asiatic Society:
"I am working on the opening of an exhibition of Persian manuscripts at the Ashmolean. No, at the Bodleian."
"I was at the opening of the Arabian nights exhibition in Paris. I was in Paris earlier this year and got so tired that I started working on a novel. It's set in the Wars of the Roses."
"I've been working with a private collector on exhibiting his Orientalist works at the Dorchester hotel. Should open in the next few weeks."
"I prefer the souk in Damascus. I bought an astrolabe there."
"Hmm, not the usual RAS crowd here today. On the other hand, I will travel far for a free drink."
"I've become a grandfather for the nth time. We're flying to New York soon - assuming there will still be a New York. But we're coming back on the Queen Mary. We can avoid the jet-lag that way."