If I hadn't happened to read a review of a new biography of Richard Burton - and I wouldn't have happened to read it had I not noticed that it (the review) was by the excellent Byron Rogers - I would never have known that the craggy and fabulously austere poet R.S. Thomas once came face to face with Mrs Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor. Gwydion Thomas, R.S.'s son, was a talented actor at Oxford and - here I'll leave it to Rogers to tell the tale - 'was recruited by Burton to appear in his film of Faustus. On set, when served tea, Burton, he recalled with awe, had to have the cup glued to the saucer, because his hands shook so much the rattle was picked up on sound.
Then there was an extraordinary lunch after the actor had asked to meet Gwydion's father. In the course of this, R.S. Thomas tried to interest Elizabeth Taylor in small talk. The poet did this by broaching the subject of flatfish. "And have you tried plaice?" he asked the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.'
And have you tried plaice?... I pass this on purely because it made me laugh. But I've made a mental note of the line - you never know when it might come in handy.