He claimed to be misanthropic and sometimes posed as a misogynist, yet he cherished his many friendships and often seemed most at ease in the company of women.
He was a stickler for old-fashioned properties, and deplored the modern use of Christian names at high table, yet he was universally known as``Bob''.
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Yet I'm still finding it hard to say "no" to him, as he's a particularly good colleague.
Have you any ideas about how I can get out of this without hurting his feelings or, worse, seeming mean?
Dear Virginia, I've been asked by one of my colleagues at work for a loan of £500. He has said that it's just to "tide him over" for a couple of months and I have no doubt I'll get it back.
‘Cold,’ she says of the woman who gave birth to her, as well as ‘deeply flawed and deluded’.
I've often been asked to lend people money and with one exception – a Russian masseuse who never repaid it – they have all been men. I think a woman is usually a) too organised to have to ask for a loan and b) too proud.
Or is it that some men seem to see money as just jolly stuff to splash around, to be shared and spent in a raffish, bohemian way, rather than as the result of hard-earned work, to be logged, recorded, and accounted for?
Robert Robson, historian: born Haltwhistle, Northumberland 11 August 1929; assistant, Department of History, Glasgow University 1956-57; Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge 1956-95; died Cambridge 16 January 1995.
``Life is a rum business, however you look at it.'' This, from ``the Gospel according to St Anthony (Powell)'', was a favourite saying of Robert Robson, with whose death Trinity College, Cambridge, has lost what many would regard as its life and soul.