I woke up feeling stressed and uneasy. My alarm clock failed to go off and it was almost 11 o'clock when Nathan flung open the curtains and called me a lazy bones. The day has spiralled downwards since then, raising one question; do we create our own bad luck?
My first mistake was probably having Rice Krispies for breakfast. If you’re hypoglycaemic do not expect this breakfast cereal to fill you up at the start of the day. You'll be ready to punch a wall by lunchtime.
My second mistake was attempting to leave the house. I should have stayed on the sofa all day with a hot water bottle and a packet of Jaffa cakes. It's miserable outside. The snow's thawing and Highgate is a mass of brown sludge that seeps into your shoes and doubles the time it takes to get anywhere.
I went to the post office with my completed Arts Council application to be told that “because of the bad weather” they weren't able to guarantee a next day delivery. Even if you pay for one. Instead of this, and for the same price, they can “prioritise” your mail, which means it might get there the next day and it might not. Perfect!
Obviously this sent me into something of a spin. The application needs to reach Manchester by tomorrow or it won't be considered until the end of March, which is too late. I phoned the Arts Council and could barely understand the man on the end of the line, but he did manage to convey that there were no extensionson to the deadline and that if I wanted to guarantee my application reached them by 5pm tomorrow, I'd need to get on a train to Manchester. “What? From London?” I asked. “Yes” he replied. “Paying sixty pounds for a ticket?” I gasped (remembering that I drove to Manchester last week precisely because it was cheaper than going by rail.) “Possibly” he mumbled, helpfully.
Frankly, if you can afford to pay £60 quid to deliver a document by hand, you don’t need the money they’re offering. I’m fairly shocked at the Arts Council. It’s not my fault that it snowed and it's certainly not my fault that the Royal Mail can’t get their act together. I hope very much they’ll consider re-appraising this hard-line attitude.
I'm now on a tube heading for a meeting with a lovely lady called Glyn, who is hoping to work with me on a film about Route 50 in America. This would be similar in feel to my piece about the A1, but with any luck, bigger and better. Route 50 goes from San Francisco to Ocean City in Maryland; coast to coast, literally cutting the United States in half. It ploughs through salt plains and over the top of some of America's highest mountains, passing through ghost towns that are literally blowing into deserts, and into the green leafy suburbs of cities like Washington DC. All humanity must live along that road, and I think it would make the most wonderful focus for a musical film. I'm very excited about it.
I’ve changed trains and am winging West to the ghastly world of Notting Hill, which is just like Highgate, really, but with a trendy mullet. It seemed to take forever to get from the Northern Line to the Circle Line at King's Cross. They must be doing some heavy duty renovations at the station, cus I reckon I could have walked to Birmingham in the time it took me.
A very short entry from Pepys today. There was no work for him at the office. There often wasn't at that time. It was after he'd changed jobs and the money started to roll in that he became something of a workaholic. Captain Holland and his wife called in to see him unannounced. Pepys sent for a dish of meat and they stayed all afternoon. In the evening, he took Elizabeth for a walk, deposited her at the market and headed to a coffee shop for what he describes as an "exceeding good argument."