I am on a train to London. I’m finally getting the chance to have that hug! The BBC have identified that I’m stressed out of my mind and have arranged for me to have a bit of TLC. I can’t thank them enough. I think I may have worried a fair number of you yesterday with my reports from the front line. What I didn't realise was that a lot of work was going on in the background to try and identify the problem and a solution could well have been found... So as I wing my way back to London, I feel a great deal calmer. When you’ve been deeply and personally involved in a project, it’s sometimes very difficult to respond to inevitable crises in a calm and considered manner. I apologise to any of you who were worried.
My brother, the ever-cool banker says that a deal is only good if it dies three times. If the first death was the dramatic walk-out by string players in the recording studio, and the second was the mayhem with the percussion group on Hessle Foreshore, then perhaps, just perhaps we’re nearly there!!
The fact remains, that this will be the finest film I’ve ever made. It may have stolen my sanity, but with any luck it will all be worth it!
I spent the day today drifting around Leeds with my oldest school friend, Tammy. We were the best of friends from the age of 11 and have remained close since leaving the sixth form. Every time we meet, she makes me want to burst with pride. Very few people from my home town managed to escape and even fewer managed to make something of themselves. She lives, in my view, an extraordinarily rich and exotic life in Italy. Her husband is an engineer for Ferrari and she is a teacher. More excitingly, she’s now pregnant, so we spent a great deal of time leafing through maternity dresses in H and M, Tammy rightly believing that there’s no point in splashing the cash on something you’re only going to wear for a few months. She was being very exacting, however, and I felt the need to point out at one stage that when she’s 8 months pregnant, she’ll wear a hessian sack if it’s comfortable and won’t care two jots about the colour!
It was very charming to see how nervous she was. I suppose when you’ve watched all your closest friends getting pregnant, you get to observe all the stages; the excitement, the terror, the protective urges, the boredom, the excitement again, followed by the unbelievable boredom and finally that long march towards the scaffold that gets forgotten as soon as the little tyke appears and wisely surveys his new surroundings.
For some reason, I also felt the need to remind Tammy that all babies are dull as dishwater until they begin to speak and walk, at which time they become the most fascinating little people in the world. This opinion never goes down particularly well with the parents who always believe theirs is the most interesting and beautiful baby in the world. I can sense the mother of my goddaughter bristling as she reads this and thinking; “if you’d spent longer with Deia in this period you’d realise how amazing she was at that age...” She’s probably right!
Now why do you suppose my computer clock suddenly thinks it’s 23.22 on 3th January 2009? That’s very weird. Am I in a time slip, I wonder? Did I get so stressed yesterday that I put back time? Hang on a minute, 03.01.09 is my god-daughter’s birth date! That is seriously weird! I was just writing about her! Is this some kind of sign, I wonder? Is my very wise goddaughter communicating with me psychically? What is she trying to say? When I last saw her she said nothing but the word “kick” as she threw a ball in my direction. Maybe she's frustrated by her present lack of words and has started to investigate the higher forces of connectivity. With her mother and grandmother being the way they are, this would hardly be a surprise!
A quick shudder as I pass through Grantham. My mind has been very far from all that nasty business, but it continues to chug away unpleasantly in the background. The MU are currently working through the various legalities. Thank God for the MU!
The entire train carriage is now in hysterics because a frustrated woman has just phoned someone and is delivering a high-octane, 5-minute monologue without actually drawing a breath. Literally without breathing. It is a wonderful thing to listen to, made even more enjoyable by the reaction of everyone around her. She is, of course, oblivious. The highlight came when she called the person on the end of the phone a "freekin' spastic" which caused the woman opposite to snort so loudly that she almost choked!
July 24th 1660 was a Tuesday. The more I delve into the late 17th Century, the more complicated the politics of the time seem to become. "Reversionism" was the buzzword of the day. This referred to the practice of bringing people back into the official positions they'd held before Cromwell swept to power, which of course makes Mr Barlow’s claim to a chunk of Pepys’ income slightly more understandable. Of course, there were many exceptions, and the reversion card was always trumped by a “grant beyond sea” or a promise made by Charles II when he was “beyond sea” or in exile. Pepys’ rise and rise was as a result of neither of these two processes, so noses were being put out of joint all over the place by those who felt they had a more legitimate claim to the various positions he was being awarded. I can't imagine Pepys was making many friends at this point in his life and when half the world hates you, sometimes you just gotta pretend not to notice!