Tuesday, 11 May 2010

That troublesome Burr

I think my brain has been wired badly. I came to this particular conclusion when our team, The Eristicats, came almost last at our regular Sunday night quiz. The quiz-master, aware of the almost unstoppable rise of the i-phone, has tried hard to make his questions relatively google-proof, but this means they tend to revolve around visuals and it would appear I have no aptitude in this department. We’re given sheets of paper which are covered in pictures of Hollywood directors, famous landmarks and various company logos. I look through them, faking a kind of knowledgeable air, but nothing seems familiar, even though afterwards I realise I should have recognised almost all of them. And it happens all the time. I often don’t remember faces that I’ve seen in the flesh. And this confuses me. I’m a relatively successful director, and I'm regularly complimented on my photographic skills. I must, therefore, have a good visual eye. But why don’t I process what I see?

I suppose my entire life is based around instinct. I pride myself on having good instincts, so perhaps my subconscious is actually stopping me from transporting visual information to the part of my brain where it needs to be processed. Perhaps I just like to use my instincts! Sadly, I’m not much better with words. I forget words all the time, and find it difficult to bring them from the little grey cells to the tip of my tongue. Are these all symptoms of early Altzheimer’s, I wonder? My biggest fear in life is losing my mind. I have dreams where I’m locked in a tiny space, terrified beyond belief, because I don’t recognise the voices of the people outside who are calling my name. Sometimes I wonder if that's how it must have felt to be my Grandmother in those last few confusing years.

I'm watching the pictures of Brown resigning and feeling a little bit sad. I think the image of him walking away from Downing Street with Sarah and the two children will stay with me for some time. We were all watching the end of New Labour: the end of an era that had been such a large part of my life, an era which started with joyous singing and dancing on that misty Spring morning in 1997.

Friday 11th May 1660, and everyone on board The Nazeby was making arrangements for the start of their journey to Holland. All the flags and heraldry in the fleet had been removed and replaced with images bearing the King’s Arms. But once again, the troublesome Burr had gone AWOL. When he finally returned to the ship, an apoplectic Pepys came within an inch of sacking him, but yet again, Burr managed to wriggle his way out of trouble. A more cynical person would wonder what he had on Pepys. Nevertheless, and perhaps as punishment, he was sent back to shore to pick up Pepys’ laundry and told to meet the Nazeby, which was about to raise her anchor, further along the Kent coast.

As it happened, the fleet snaked all the way to Dover, where it was rewarded with a 30-gun salute from the castle.

There was a bad storm that night, and Pepys became worried about Burr, who still hadn’t returned to the ship. Eventually a fleet of smaller boats arrived, bringing a bewildering amount of provisions for the voyage ahead which included all manner of livestock. And it was these boats that also returned Burr, and some freshly washed linen, to their master. Pepys went to bed and slept soundly.

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