Because I was in Hoxton, I was able to meet up with Philippa and my goddaughter, Deia. We sat in a bar called “Kick” which is lined with table football games. It’s got enormous windows which face St Leonard’s Church (The bells of Shoreditch) and it's a lovely place to sit and while away the hours, whilst the uber-cool Hoxton set wriggle past with their weird hair-dos and unwashed jeans. It also turns out to be a very good place to eat. We had a bowl of soup each, which had a delicious smoky taste, and beautiful Parmesan-infused croutons. Deia was particularly good company, although Philippa tells me she’s being quite naughty at the moment. Those terrible twos...
We went home via an impressive field of crocuses behind the church. Two large dogs were going a bit loopy, running through the flowers, whilst seemingly trying to tear each others' throats out. You could see the heads of scores of delicate croci shooting into the air, as eight enormous paws jumped all over them and ripped them apart. It was a hideous massacre. Philippa had to ask the owners to get the dogs away. That said, I’m never sure I particularly like crocuses. It's something I may have inherited from my Mum, who told me today that she thinks a garden filled with the flowers looks like a baize-covered table that someone has thrown Quality Streets all over. She’s absolutely right, of course.
Quality Street or Crocus?
I worked very hard at the gym, and was rewarded by an instructor, who saw me running on the treadmill and asked me to join an “invite only” training session, which he described as a form of boot camp. It seemed to involve a great deal of weight-lifting, which is something I’ve not done before, so I told him I’d go to his Monday session, which is much more based around cardio vascular work. I hope it's a different crowd, however. I saw these testosterone-pumped men filing into the studio, and recognised at least three homophobes from banter in the changing rooms.
I ended my session with a swim, and had a terrible argument with a silly woman in the pool, who decided to swim in the same lane as me – backstroke. She got nearer and nearer, completely oblivious, until I was forced to re-route. In an attempt to avoid a collision with her, I brushed past a woman in another lane, and as I returned, the backstroker was standing in the pool, shrieking at me that I shouldn’t have kicked her friend. I explained that I hadn’t meant to kick her friend, but that if she’d have checked behind her before deciding to swim backstroke, and stuck to the rules of the pool, which are to swim in anti-clockwise circles, I wouldn’t have had to swim off course and therefore wouldn't have kicked her friend. “Well you have to apologise for kicking her anyway” she said, in a "I'm-in-this-pool-at-3pm-on-a-week-day-because-hubby-earns-packets-of-dosh" accent. “No, YOU apologise to her" I said "for swimming dangerously and putting her in a position where she got kicked... and whilst you're at it, apologise to me for shouting.” It was clear from her response that she's used to getting her way with men. Silly cow.
So, as I write this, Fiona is tying the knot in Santa Fe. It’s such a strange thought, and I really wish I were there. I'm trying to imagine what Santa Fe looks like, and what the weather's like at this time of year...
350 years ago, Pepys and Sir William Penn went all the way to Westminster to visit Lord Sandwich. Sadly, they found him taking “physic” and he would not see them. Pepys, instead, went with his old acquaintance, Peter Llewellyn, to William Symons’ house, but found him out, but his wife Margaret in, who fed them nettle porridge. My stomach is turning at the thought, but Pepys claimed it was very good. Llewellyn was full of tall stories; how his mate had once pretended to be a doctor, and managed to get an unwitting lady to reveal all sorts of personal information about herself. He even administered medicine to her, which strikes me as about as low as it gets; not that medicine in those days did anything particularly useful.