Sunday, 16 January 2011

Veggie roast

Today is the first proper day off I’ve had in ages. I don’t actually have a great deal of work to do for the next week, so have created a list of things I’d like to do for me. Most of them involve tidying things. My mind is a bit of a mess at the moment and I think that this has a great deal to do with the piles of physical rubbish that have steadily built up in our house and on my computer over the last year or so. There are piles of old clothes in the bedroom and boxes filled to the brim with folders rammed full of bits of paper, which at various points I’ve felt the need to keep hold of. There are thousands of emails in my inbox; 400 or so are still unread! All these things can be quite engulfing, and I can’t wait to deal with them.

I have a wooden box which sits on the right hand side of our sofa. It's always full and I often can’t open it, because there are so many piles of papers sitting on top. Nathan calls it my squirrely area. Today, I went through the entire box like a whirlwind, and filled a bin bag with copious sheets of manuscript paper, hundreds of ancient household bills and screwed-up receipts. The feeling is amazing, though I'm worried I might suddenly have my identity stolen by someone going through our bins.

Fiona came over this afternoon, and we made an amazing roast dinner for ourselves. It was entirely vegetarian. I was shocked by Nathan, who announced in Sainsbury’s that he didn’t actually know how to cook meat. That said, I genuinely feel a roast meal for most people is only made exciting by the trimmings, which are, of course, entirely vegetarian, unless you insist on cooking your spuds in goose fat. We had leek cheese, broccoli, carrots, peas, sweet corn, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and red-wine gravy to pour over our chicken-style nut roast. It was divine.

Whilst Fiona and Nathan tried to find the Antiques Roadshow on television, I tidied our Blue Peter shelves in the sitting room, which have become a platform for the various object d’art we’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve always felt they look like a bit like the shelves they used to have in the Blue Peter studio, but before I tidied them they looked more like a Blue Peter Bring and Buy sale!

...You can't really see the shelves, but it's always nice to see a retro picture of Blue Peter

When I was a teenager, the Northamptonshire Youth Orchestra played The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Blue Peter. It was in the run-up to Christmas, so the Blue Peter totaliser was in the studio. We were all bitterly disappointed to see how rubbish it looked close-up, and how it was being propped up by bits of gaffer tape and a system of very cumbersome-looking weights.

...Another retro shot

January 16th 1661, and Pepys went to wait on Lady Jemima. When he arrived at her London home, he discovered she’d left the capital, thinking for some reason she’d find Pepys in Chatham. It was the mother of all misunderstandings, and Pepys immediately went into a panic, which was made considerably worse when he bumped into one Mr Child, who’d accompanied Lady Jemima on part of her journey to Kent, but turned back because his horse was rubbish. Pepys immediately jumped on a (better) horse and rode at high speed to Kent. He caught up with Lady Jemima, and her weird-freak daughter, Jem at Rochester. They’d apparently been at a proper loss when they couldn’t find Pepys and were overjoyed when he arrived. It’s not made clear quite why they’d gone all the way to Kent specifically to be waited on by Pepys, but these were strange times and Lady Jemima’s daughter, particularly, was very odd.

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