Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Art Neuveau pigeons

I’m sitting in the Haringey Council offices in Crouch End. It’s too hot in here and it smells of dirty socks and poo. To make matters considerably worse, children's TV is blaring out of a television mounted on one of the walls and a baby is screaming so loudly that all I want to do is yell myself. Fiona called earlier to say that the Northern Line was broken and that she’d subsequently had to abort a bus because the traffic was so bad. The man sitting in front of her had compared the roads to Bombay. I've never been to India, but imagine the Council offices in Crouch End, with their chaotic staff and pungent smells could well be reminiscent of that country! I spoke to a great lummox who went out of her way to make things difficult to me. I was forced to wait 45 minutes to see her and all she did was hand me a form, tell me to fill it in, and then join the end of the queue again. So it was another hour before I could be seen. Fortunately, the lady, Marie, who saw me that time was charming, and went out of her way to help me despite the battleaxe breathing down her neck. I sent a letter to Haringey Council to say how lovely Marie was.

Crouch End is, of course, the centre of the British Art Neuveau and rather appropriately the pigeons I fed in the square outside were almost every shade you could ever imagine pigeons to be! They were beautifully shaped as well, with refined, rather long necks and not a bit like normal London pigeons. Some were as white as doves; others were speckled with brown and mauve. None were conventional-looking.

Today has been one of those days which was filled with the most ridiculous amount of admin. There were trips to Muswell Hill and Crouch End to visit various banks and post offices and there were huge queues almost everywhere. I found myself running for buses and then walking long distances because the credit on my Oyster card ran out. I was very relieved to get back home.

This morning I had a rehearsal with Nic, who is singing the soprano part in the motet. We covered another two movements and she did incredibly well. Afterwards, we had a long chat about her acting career and she seemed very despondent about things. Imagine my delight, therefore, when she called me later on to tell me she'd just landed a brilliant part in a TV drama that could easily change the path of her career. Bravo Nic!

Friday September 28th, 1660, yielded another short but very sweet entry for Pepys. Most of the Navy office had cleared off to Chatham in Kent to do some business involving a ship there and Pepys was left in the office with Sir William Batten. I'm not sure his hatred of the man had developed by this stage but he went home in the afternoon and hung out with his workmen until 11pm. He gave them alcohol and was “very merry with them.” He seemed very pleased that they were a “droll” bunch; proof that he’d not entirely lost his common touch!

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