Sunday, 8 May 2011

Weird hillocks

We're in the car heading back from Woking, where we've been to a barbecue with some of Nathan's friends. They have to be amongst the campest straight men I've ever met, referring to each other repeatedly as "she", which I thought was strange to say the least. It’s amazing what a life in theatre will do to you! The plan was to eat in the late afternoon, but I got over-hungry and subsequently gorged myself on table snacks. I now have that horrid feeling you get when you've eaten too many crisps; a sore tongue and a funny tummy. Every time I eat crisps, I’m reminded how bad they are for us.

The weather's turned. It's much colder now, and I think it must have rained a fair amount in the night. That said, on its way down, the sun suddenly dropped below the clouds, and a brilliant orange light made everything look very magical for a brief half hour period.

We stopped at those weird hillocks by the side of the M40 at Greenford. I’d never thought to visit them before, but they looked so wonderful against the bruised sky, that we doubled back on ourselves, dumped the car, and climbed to the top to look at the amazing views across London. I was very pleased we’d made the decision to stop. The hills are part of a beautifully landscaped park, which you can't see from the motorway but I would recommend anyone to visit. The hills are the perfect spot from which to view the sun setting.

350 years ago, Pepys' brother, John called in on his way to Cambridge. I assume he was heading back to the university for the summer term. Pepys gave him 20s.

He sat with his workmen all day, watching the work progressing with great excitement. Elizabeth appeared unexpectedly. She'd had a foretooth removed. Not a fun operation by any stretch, and Pepys was furious with her for coming in such a state to such a dirty house. No doubt she was simply after a bit of sympathy and compassion.

Pepys received a letter from his Uncle Robert, asking if he could spare one of his old fiddles. It seemed Pepys' cousin, Frank, a miller-cum-violinist, had recently lost his mill in high winds. As a result he’d been reduced to scraping a living as a violinist, but didn't seem to have a violin, and needed one to accompany the country girls in a Witsun parade.

Pepys was incensed that his (wealthy) uncle would ask him to help when he was more than capable himself of buying a brand new violin for Frank. Pepys nevertheless decided to send one the following day.

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