Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The heady scent

The heady scent of hyacinths in the BBC office is making me feel quite faint. The smell seems to be dividing people. Men hate it, women quite like it, but it’s not a smell I think I’ll ever become accustomed to; in fact, it’s beginning to make me feel quite sick. Furthermore, hyacinths are ugly, sinister-looking things. There’s something rather prehistoric about the way they look. The petals look like little blisters.

Today’s been incredibly long and terribly tiring. People have been coming in and out every half an hour or so, and I’ve been taking them through their solo lines. Today’s crowd, a sparky bunch, included a ballet-dancing soldier, a male soprano, a female bass, a trio of brothers, a girl who’d just had a car accident, a poet who made me cry, a man who smelt of ripe cheese, and 2 pregnant women who seem to be within weeks of giving birth. It’s all go...

I’m looking forward to crawling into my little Travelodge room and putting my feet up in front of the tiny television with a nice bowl of soup. Sadly, that’s some way off, as there are about another 6 people to see before I can leave this hyacinth mayhem.

I just got very upset talking to one of our cast members, who said she’s been trying to raise enough money to pay for her nephew’s headstone. As if it weren’t bad enough that the lad was murdered, the poor bloke’s now lying in an unmarked grave. It’s terribly sad that his family can’t afford to have him buried properly. I hope they find the money.

This morning, I was up with the lark to go jogging along the Tyne. Running underneath all of those iconic Newcastle bridges is such a wonderful experience. Many Geordies say that they only truly know they’re home when they can see them there, lined up, and stretching into the distance. And they are iconic. Each bridge seems somehow grander than the next. First high, then low, then steel, then stone, then brick. Swinging, dipping, blinking like an eye in the morning air. And all the while, The Sage, like a metal hedgehog, keeping a watchful eye over the waking city.

February 1st January 1660, and Pepys went into town to buy some books and a belt, and to collect his newly refurbished sword. He went to bed, leaving his “people” to prepare the house. They were planning yet another dinner.

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