Friday, 3 December 2010

Newcastle or New York

Last night's snow...

Ten observations about Newcastle:

1. It’s very cold
2. The people here are very proud to be Geordies
3. The quayside area is stunningly beautiful and reminds me of Brooklyn
4. It's very cold
5. There can’t be many vegetarians in the city because the vegetarian food is rubbish
6. The BBC Staff up here are incredibly friendly and passionate about their patch
7. Young ladies here don’t wrap up warm enough when they’re out on the town.
8. Everyone sounds like Sarah Millican or Matt Baker.
9. When walking through the streets, it's difficult to stop oneself from singing the theme tune to Byker Grove
10. It's very cold.

The temperatures here dropped to minus 14 last night, which was just ridiculous. Today is officially my day off. It wasn’t meant to be, but the shocking weather has meant that countless meetings have been cancelled. It’s no longer snowing – but the lack of cloud-cover has led to the temperatures dropping even further. I went for a walk today but ended up having to turn around. My feet, through two pairs of socks and a pair of wellies, felt like blocks of ice and my hands had frozen solid. I can safely say I've never felt such arctic temperatures, not even in Leningrad. I’m told it’s colder here than it is in Iceland. There seems to have been a spate of pensioners freezing to death in their gardens up here, which is incredibly sad. I wonder what’s happened to the man in the wheelchair by the canal in Oxford.

There’s not really much else to say. I'm marooned in my hotel room, really. I should try and take myself out for supper, but I’m not sure I have the guts! At least there’s a bath and a television. I've already had two baths today – mostly just to thaw myself. The heating is on full blast and yet I'm still needing to wear a jumper. Madness. Utter madness.

Newcastle or New York?

350 years ago, Pepys had set himself a resolution to get up as early as he could. He rose by candlelight, noting that it was the first time he’d done that this winter. He subsequently spent an hour playing his violin before going to work. He tells us that the House of Commons spent the afternoon debating the concept of tickets, finally arriving at the compromise that half the sailor’s pay would be given in cash up front, and the rest paid with said tickets. Pepys thought this was a great deal more sensible.

He went home, and two of his friends arrived whilst he was he was being shaved by a barber, so he gave them a good bottle of sack and told them to make themselves at home.

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