Monday, 25 April 2011

Suspended reality

London has notched-up yet another day bathed in beautiful sunshine. It feels surreal. It's hotter here than it is in LA, Rome, New York and Athens. We never get prolonged periods of sunny weather like this. We certainly don't get them in April. Reality for most Londoners is now officially in a state of suspension. No one is working; we've had countless Easter bank holidays, and this coming week we have the extra bank holidays associated with the Royal Wedding. As a result, most people have taken the next 4 days off work. The parks and river banks are full of people basking under a glorious sun and London has ground to a halt. We'll be taking siestas next!

I went for dinner with Uncle Bill and Rupert today. I sent Hilary a text last night asking if we were going down to their house in Lewes or heading for the boat in Chelsea, and was told that we’d be going to Philippa’s house in Hackney instead. Slightly bizarre.
It was a charming afternoon. We made delicious pesto, ate huge quantities of food and played with my god-daughter, Deia, who was particularly good company this afternoon. Her current favourite toy seems to be a mini Vileda mop, so we cleaned the kitchen floor together. Train ‘em up nice and young, I say!

Uncle Bill, at six months pregnant, is beginning to get a bit scared about things. I don't think she has enough women around her who've been through a pregnancy, and hasn't yet started the ante-natal classes, which will introduce her to scores of women, who will, no doubt, be similarly terrified - and indeed excited. Philippa gave advice. "Having a child," she said, "is the most difficult, yet most rewarding thing I've ever done." I’m not altogether convinced that women talk to each other enough about the experience. Maybe everyone feels ashamed to ask questions that they feel might be too obvious. Maybe it’s simply that there are no rules. The experience is totally different for everyone. I sometimes feel it’s like a big secret that only those who have been through childbirth can access. You catch mothers looking at one another occasionally... knowingly.

350 years ago, Pepys spent the morning with his workmen, thrilled to note that they’d almost finished the job which seemed to have taken them forever. Pepys’ went with Mr Moore to an ordinary on King’s Street, which was a sort of tavern where simple meals were provided at a fixed price. Intriguingly, Pepys described the food he ate as a “dirty dinner”, which I can only assume was a bad thing. I've heard of dirty old men, dirty dogs and even dirty bombs... but never dirty dinners. Any thoughts, anyone?

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