Samuel's innumerable friends included the late Dylan Thomas whom he knew well. 'Dylan used to come to watch the London Welsh games,' he recalls, 'and when, after the match, the teams would gather, as rugger clubs do, for a few pints at the old "Half Moon Hotel" at Herne Hill, Dylan would be there adding lustre to the gathering. He was a great conversationalist.' And what does Mr Samuel think of the future of modelling and carving? He is not very sanguine. 'Years ago we were apprenticed to good studios and learned our work the practical way,' he says. 'Today too many young students want to start at the top and not the bottom, and never get the experience so vital if they are to become successful. Neither is there the detail to be worked into the modelling and carving of today. In olden days the foliage, the ornamentation were tremen- dous in anything you did. Now everything is so plain. In present day architecture beauty is being sacrificed for area; one building looks just like the next. It doesn't call for the exquisite, detailed work such as we were required to do.' And, having concluded his reminiscences for my benefit, Mr Samuel looked at the mantelpiece clock. 'Got to be off to meet a friend,' he said, and was forthwith away to the 'bus stop. STOP THEM TALKING AND THEY SING SUSAN COOPER (who is nearly all English) One might not readily link Augustus John with Sir Miles Thomas and the Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office. No one can preach like a Welsh parch, or plead like a Welsh politician. It is their tongues, too, Huw Weldon says, that get them to the top in the B B C. There's no 'U' accent in Welsh. Cythraul y canu, the devil in the singing, has given birth to a dozen inter- national opera singers (not to mention Harry Secombe). Every Welshman, deep down, is an amalgam of Merlin, Svengali, Caruso, and the Wizard of Oz. 't, Another top Kemsley lead-in piece (not connected with any National Daily Newspaper).