Thursday, 26 May 2011


We're steaming down the M1. We stayed in Leicester last night and I saw some lovely buskers standing on some steps. I swear one or two of them looked familiar but I couldn't place them.
It was a last minute decision to stay in the city over night, and we lucked out with a lovely hotel. I had poached eggs and mushrooms for breakfast, which I think is my favourite meal... Particularly when they're made by my mother-in-law, who seems to find these bright orange double-yolkers which are about the tastiest things on the planet! 

As we tried to leave Leicester, we noticed a major problem in the multi-storey car park. Cars were backed up from the exit, all the way to the fourth floor, and everyone was pipping their horns and shouting frustratedly. 

We had a look around, and discovered that the exit barrier was broken. Every time a car tried to feed their ticket into the machine, it just spat it out again. Each driver was then forced to press the emergency help button and wait for a woman in cyber space to respond. After a 2 minute conversation, the barrier would be raised, one car would pass through and then exactly the same thing would happen again. It was taking forever. Meanwhile about 70 cars were stuck in the car park and tensions were rising.

I called NCP and they assured me someone would be down fairly soon to monitor the situation. We went up to our car, which was right at the top of the car park and therefore right at the end of the queue. We sat for a while. The beeping continued. Nothing moved. 

"Leave this with me" I said to Nathan and triumphantly sashayed my way down to the ground floor again. I went straight to the barrier, heaved it up with all my might, and stood there with it on my shoulder whilst beckoning car after car through. 

It was a very special moment. I felt like Santa Claus. All the drivers waved and applauded me as they drove through. Some winked.  Some opened their windows and said "you're not from the NCP are you!? Top man!!" And within five minutes the traffic jam was clear, and everyone was happy again. Small things...

Sunday May 26th, 1661, and Pepys, as usual, went to church... twice. He had lunch with Elizabeth at home, and enjoyed sitting in a house which was almost back in order after being comprehensively renovated. After a second bout  of God stuff, Pepys called in on his neighbour, Sir William Batten. He'd made himself a stranger of late - very deliberately, in fact, because he thought it would improve his standing with him. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. It obviously did the trick, for he was immediately asked to be godfather to the child of Sir William's sister. Pepys agreed reluctantly, and then spent the night worrying about the decision.

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