I’m back in London, sitting in my brother’s riverside flat, listening to a moody Russian folk song, whilst looking across the black Thames towards the Millennium Dome. We’ve just been for a lovely Portuguese meal, right by the side of the water. It was a charming spot, and I suspect it would have been rather fabulous food, if they’d had something vegetarian on the menu. In the end I had to make do with a skewer of grilled vegetables for my starter, followed by a skewer of grilled vegetables with rice for my main! I get rather irritated by restaurants who stubbornly refuse to offer vegetarian alternatives. I understand that some people love meat, and can't be bothered to cook food that they think is going to taste bland, but this is the 21st Century and we live in a country where at least 5% of people are vegetarian. Conversation flowed rather wonderfully, however, and top marks have to go to our friend Daniel, who’s obviously been living in America rather too long, for when the topic of Alton Towers came up, he asked; “where is the nearest Alton Towers?” Oh how I laughed... (And for the Americans reading this blog, his question was a bit like asking where the nearest Coney Island is. Alton Towers is very much lacking a franchise!)
I travelled back to London this morning after a quick coffee with Siobhan in Leeds. Shiv produced Coventry Market The Musical brilliantly and seems to be the person at the BBC everyone phones if they want to find out how to make one of my musical films. Apparently she gets contacted all the time by people in the regions who think it might be possible to make a musical in a week. She spends many hours trying to explain that they take time, money and a huge amount of expertise. She looked very well and seemed relieved to be escaping her Leeds-based mother-in-law for a few hours. I finally got to meet her daughter Tilley, who was born just before we shot our film. She was very shy, and upon meeting me turned her head resolutely to one side, and promptly fell asleep.
I took the 10.05 from Leeds station. It was a pleasant enough journey, until we reached Peterborough when THE smelliest woman in the world decided to plonk herself in the seat next to me. I watched her as she limped her way towards me, sweating profusely, dragging her obese, rotting body down the aisle. The stench was one of mothballs, halitosis and cheesy poo. I was trying to eat a muffin at the time, and she entirely put me off it. At one point I actually gagged. To make matters worse, the poor woman then decided to engage me in conversation, and I was forced further and further into the corner of my seat. Eventually, I couldn’t bear it anymore, and spent the rest of the journey standing by the loos outside of the carriage.
After arriving in London, I hot-footed it across to Limehouse where we recorded some extra double bass parts for the symphony to make up for the music that we didn’t have time to record in our dreadful string session last week.
The 25th of June 1660, and a number of people were expressing their anger at the appointment of Pepys as Clerk of the Acts. At one stage (according to our hero) Lady Monck herself was asked to intervene, but Montagu refused to stand down. Pepys was his man and he was standing by him. There was a potentially awkward moment when Pepys met the man who was currently doing the job, but both men resolved to behave like gentlemen, Pepys claiming, "he was very civil to me, and I to him, and shall be so..." I'm sure civility is far easier if you're the man who's being parachuted into a position, but Pepys was not a man who made many enemies.