Monday, 27 December 2010

Reverting to type

It's my mother's birthday, and we've come down to London to celebrate. We had to get up at a ridiculously early time in order to facilitate meeting my extended family for breakfast in a hotel near the London Eye. It's astonishing how some of my cousin's children have grown. I feel like one of those elderly aunts who smells of butterscotch and wee and usually points out such things.

My family all seemed well, and I enjoyed chatting to Boo, who married my cousin about 18 years ago when I was a student. I think, because she never knew me as a precocious child, she was always able to judge me as a proper human being. I feel my other cousins, all of whom are a great deal older, still look at me and see a lunatic 8 year-old, which makes me feel painfully shy when I'm with them!

We walked en masse to Trafalgar Square before group inertia took over and everyone went their separate ways. We ended up eating cake in the cafe at the National Gallery before popping in to the Portrait Gallery to pay homage to Pepys et al.

My mother's birthday treat was a visit to the matinee of When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre. It's one of those plays with everyone you can think of of a certain age in the cast. Well, after you've listed the cast of Calendar Girls! Maureen Lipman was there, Roy Hudd, her off of Frank Spencer, him off of Allo Allo, Nurse Gladys Emmanuel and the one that did the TV announcements in Victoria Wood who knows my mate, Nat. It was all very beautifully acted but my God it was dull. On the bright side, the theatre was wonderfully warm and dark, and I had a lovely sleep during act one!

350 years ago, and Pepys and his wife went for lunch with Sir William Penn. Elizabeth felt ill and went home leaving Pepys to consume copious quantities of alcohol, so much, in fact, that he spent the night vomiting and was forced to call on his maid, Jane. Hungover, he may have been, but he still felt able to compliment her on her appearance as she ran "up and down so innocently in her smock." He woke up the following day and had trouble weeing, which made him fear that the dreaded stones were returning.

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