Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Like two rolled up sleeping bags stuffed into nylon

I woke up this morning and received another letter from Tfl, who keen readers of this blog will remember are in charge of dealing with the very kind donation that the Mayor's Office offered us for last week's motet. The latest in this sorry story is that they've lost all of my details, which considering how many forms, letters, faxes and emails they asked me to send in the past, is no mean feat! The letter I received this morning, surely takes the biscuit in terms of blatent nuttiness. It reads: “As part of our ongoing customer service commitment within the Financial Service Centre, the Accounts Payable Team is reviewing all open items on our finance system. We therefore request an open item statement for all accounts you have with our Company.” A what? A who? A Why So Many Capital Letters? I actually think it must be a scam. Surely they can't seriously be asking all of their personnel to resubmit their financial details? The letter was addressed "Dear Sir/ Madam." I just 'phoned the number written on the letter, but couldn’t understand a word the guy who answered was saying, so I had to hang up... He was mumbling so much that I couldn’t tell if he was speaking with a thick accent, or had a half-chewed banana in his mouth. I think he said he was the only person answering the phones today. You think they’d have chosen someone with a bit more life about him to represent their company... unless he was the scammer and I've just 'phoned Africa. Gosh, now that would turn out to be an unexpected item in the bagging area!

I’m now on a train heading back to Newcastle; and am very excited about the prospect of finally getting my teeth into the Metro project, particularly now that I know we have a brilliant cast of performers. I love my new little family at BBC Newcastle. It has to be said that the BBC Regional Network is one of the greatest resources in the world. It is filled with people who know and care passionately about their patches and in my opinion, it single-handedly justifies the license fee. I’m beginning to feel hugely protective about it, particularly now that I’ve seen it working so well, and in so many parts of the country.

Unfortunately I'm currently sitting opposite a woman with the largest legs in carnation. They are long, and thick; like four rolled-up sleeping bags positioned at right angles and stuffed into nylon. To cap it all she seems to be wearing the largest boots in the world, as though she’d stepped into two Shetland ponies before getting on the train. When I move my legs, I bump into her, and she over-reacts every single time. We’ve had tuts, and gasps of pain. Short of suggesting she puts herself on a leg diet, I don’t know what else I can do! I’ve never had this problem with anyone sitting opposite me before.

December 7th 1660, and Pepys went to see Sandwich, but discovered that he’d left London to do some business at his Huntingdon estate. He found Lady Sandwich, the delicious Jemima, at home, and they had lunch with the mother of Sandwich’s page, Loud. I SAID LOUD! Later in the day, Pepys called for Loud and “examined him in his Latin and found him a very pretty boy.” I said he “EXAMINED HIM IN HIS LATIN...” (never mind...)

Pepys returned home and discovered his wife reading a book called Cyrus The Great; a novel in ten volumes by Madeleine and George de Scudery, who were siblings. I'm a bit confused to find references in the diary to novels. I always thought the first novel was Robinson Crusoe, which was written at least 50 years later. A bit of research informs me that this French book, is considered by some to be the longest novel ever written; a bewildering 2,100,000 words! You learn something new every day.

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