Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kiwi hell

The time has come for me to put some serious effort into losing weight. Having seen some excerpts from the “Making of” film, I see nothing but a man getting fatter and fatter; quite horrendously so, and with frightening speed! With people like me, who balloon up and down in weight, there’s always a moment when you realise you’re about to pass the point of no return, the stage at which you cease to care about the way you look, and two years later find yourself unable to get out of bed without a winch and pulley system. I’ve just reached this stage...

I seem to have brought the Yorkshire rain to London. The weather is extremely disappointing and I keep forgetting to take an umbrella with me. Thankfully, the storms have suppressed my hay fever, but I ate a banana earlier, which has made my eyes itch. This happens rather a lot with fruit. Kiwis are the worst, followed by melons. Both fruits make my mouth feel weird, and when I get the juice on my skin, it can sometimes trigger a weird reaction. Much as I refuse to be allergic to fruit, I find myself avoiding Kiwis, which makes me wonder what would now happen if I ate one by mistake. Sometimes I think if you carry on eating something you’re slightly allergic to, it makes you less prone to violent attacks because your body just deals with it. I worry that more and more people are becoming horribly allergic to things precisely because they cut them out of their diet at the slightest provocation. So many babies now have these long list of allergies, which they never get a chance to remedy.

I am heading to Ladbrook Grove to see my good friend Glyn, but unfortunately this has meant getting on a rail replacement bus, which will, no doubt, take forever. Two men wearing LU tabards were standing by the bus stop at Paddington, but didn’t seem to want to make eye contact with me, or speak any louder than a whisper when I was trying to ascertain how long the bus was going to take. You’d have thought they’d understand that being forced onto a bus mid-journey can be a stressful experience. Again, it’s another example of bad customer service; and something I don’t think you’d get as much up North, where people genuinely seem to be friendlier and more willing to help. Having been up there all that time, I now find it slightly odd that strangers down here don’t exchange friendly banter... or for that matter call each other “love” or “pet”, which is something I’ve enjoyed greatly.

350 years ago, Pepys wrote a rather epic and descriptive diary entry which was far more entertaining than many of his previous efforts. His day started in Whitehall with a visit to his patron, whom he discovered had gone with the King to dine at the Tower. Montagu’s daughter, Mrs Jem, that strange, unfortunate creature with the dodgy neck, was at home, and the two of them dined together alone.

After a great deal of work at the Privy Seal Office, he found himself in Westminster Hall buying some bespoke bed linen from Betty Lane. Ms Lane was, or at least became Pepys’ mistress. It’s difficult to tell whether they were lovers at this point in time. Pepys took Betty for a drink at The Trumpet “where I sat and talked with her, &c” The “&c” possibly implying a little bit of how’s your father...

Pepys returned home by coach in a storm “it thundering and lightning exceedingly” and took Monsieur L’Impertinent (who must have popped up at the pub) as far as The Savoy. Arriving in the Navy Office courtyard, Pepys found a man in the darkness asking which his house was. This was in the days before buildings were numbered, and in a city with 400,000 residents, it’s a wonder that anyone found anyone! The man in the darkness had come to tell Pepys that his beloved clerk, Will Hewer was ill and would be staying with his mother that night. In those days, news of someone being ill could often mean death was just around the corner, so Pepys was justifiably concerned.

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