Thursday, 12 August 2010

I'm on the case

I’ve just been kicked out of Costa Coffee! Not because I was being a naughty boy and using a plastic straw like a pea-shooter (although this has been known), but because, and this is really weird; “if they’re quiet during the summer months, they’re allowed to close half an hour early.” This seems very strange to me. The sign on the door says that the cafe closes at 7pm, and in any case, what constitutes “quiet”? Five of us were unceremoniously removed by a surly Polish woman and we had to ask a number of times before she’d even tell us why they were closing early. Surely a policy like this cries out to be abused by employees who are feeling a bit bored and just want to get home early? It’s a nonsense, but rest assured I’m on the case...


I’ve been talking to various official types today regarding the trees, or sadly now, the complete lack of trees. Obviously, I realise that there’s nothing I can do to bring them back, but I do want to find out why none of the people living in the area were consulted about the plans to remove them. Many of my neighbours, I’ve subsequently discovered, are also up in arms. We live in a conservation area and the council are being hugely evasive. I smell a rat, so again, I’m on the case...

Today I sat and watched a pair of magpies who used to live in one of the trees hopping around aimlessly. I wondered if they were looking for a new home and if they understood that their old home wasn’t coming back...

The bright side of the situation is that the episode has brought people out onto the streets and I finally got to meet some of my neighbours. Who’d have thought that within twenty metres I’d find an actress, two film directors and an editor? We spend so long, as Londoners, hiding behind doors, fiercely protecting the tiny spaces we can claim as our own, that we rarely make connections for fear that our privacy will be compromised. It was lovely to talk to likeminded people who, now that the trees are gone, I can wave at from my kitchen window!

August 12th 1660 was a Sunday and Pepys was behaving appallingly. The big news of the day was that he met up with Betty Lane and took her to Montagu’s garden where he plied her with alcohol and got a bit fresh. It seems he was interrupted by one William Fairbrother, who joined them for some time. No doubt Pepys couldn't wait to get shot of him. Pepys then took Ms Martin to his old house in Axe Yard; “where I was exceedingly free in dallying with her, and she not unfree to take it.” Dirty dog!

On his way back to Seething Lane at the end of the day, he called in on his father, but didn’t stay, probably because he found Fairbrother there and didn’t want the awkward conversation in front of his Dad which would, no doubt, start with the question; “who was the hussy in the garden, Sam?” Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive...

And I can't finish this blog before wholeheartedly recommending Our Lady J at the Soho Theatre. She's only there for about another week, but she's utterly electrifying. She's a huge talent and a wonderful composer and the London Show Choir, who accompany her, are sensational. Go tomorrow...

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