27. 5 December 1989 [ES] (Letters from Italy; Hamilton and a candidate Shakespeare signature; TV film on Music and Cipher)
My dear Hayat,
Here I am on the train en route to see my sadly hospitalized mother, and expecting to be quite sombre. Instead I'm basking in a stupor of sunshine, like an old bee, one that's seen better seasons, but is still fairly active, and humming to itself. And the source of this agreeable irradiation is not only external, but emerges also from your pages and those of another sweet letter I've just had, from my much admired protege and Wunderkind Erik Battaglia of Turin. A more than happy coincidence for me: my most cheering correspondents write from Italy, like so many beakers full of the warm south. And (off the train mow and back from my quite happy yet rather harrowing hospital visit) how I relish such restoratives.
I don't know of Graham Rees, but I'm glad his advice has proved cogent and helpful. I've written recently to Charles Hamilton - enclosing another candidate Shakespeare signature! I'll tell you how he reacts, if at all. I ventured to remind him of your letter; I trust he'll reply before too long.
Meanwhile my TV film is almost finished, and I've proposed a further feature on Shakespeare. Now it's back to Brahms. My eyes are, thank you, much better, and there has been no further flashing. [...]
I trust you are well and flourishing; I enclose a copy of my latest piece, in case it's of any interest.
Warmest good wishes, as ever,