It’s amazing how long a day can seem when you haven't been able to say a word to anyone! It’s a particularly odd experience because my throat doesn't even hurt. I’ve been given high doses of pain killers, but at the very worst I’d describe the pain as that slightly tickly sensation you get the night before coming down with a cold. Mr Rubin obviously did a very good job.
I went up into Highgate Village this morning to do a day of composing. I've written a message on the back of my little white board which says “I cannot speak as I’ve had an operation on my voice.” I'm obviously aware that it’s impossible to have an operation on your voice, but most of the staff in the Costa are Polish, and I thought the phrase “vocal chords” would freak them out. In any case, the message was clearly understood, and I managed to order myself a cup of tea and a glass of tap water without having to so much as gesticulate! It’s astonishing how the white board managed to attract so much attention. People were sauntering over at regular intervals to ask about the operation. I've never been spoken to by so many people in that cafe. A woman even offered me half of her cream tea!
I went to the gym in the afternoon for a swim. I decided it would be a softer form of exercise than running up and down countless hills and panting like a fat man. Having been weighed at the hospital, I feel it’s important to get back to the fitness regime. I was not just two kilos heavier than I was when I last weighed myself, but am 1cm shorter than I was when I was last measured! I'm turning into an aubergine again.
Back to the cafe in the late afternoon, where I worked until 7pm. A woman with dreadful greasy grey hair sat on one of the sofas opposite having a deeply inappropriate phone conversation. It became immediately apparent that she was talking to a debt charity – rather too loudly and a tad aggressively for my liking; almost as though she were blaming the person at the debt charity for her problems. I learnt that she was £40,000 in debt, that she doesn’t live anywhere at the moment, and that she’s been hiring a car for a year that she hasn’t been paying for. She asked the charity what would happen if she left the country, and whether she’d be arrested when she returned. She did sound like she was in a horrible pickle, and as the conversation continued, I felt more and more sorry for her. £40,000 of debt is no laughing matter, but I suppose these are the sorts of conversations I may hear more and more regularly as the credit crunch continues.
Our rat, Pol, seems to have left a coded message on my computer. Can anyone make it out?
Sunday 9th March, 1661, and Elizabeth wore her black silk gown for the first day which was “laced all over with black gimp lace, as the fashion is, in which she is very pretty.” Black gimp lace sounds very kinky to me, but I'm sure she looked a picture. Pepys took his wife to The Wardrobe, where they had lunch with Lady Jemima, who treated them both with a great deal of respect. Pepys left Elizabeth at The Wardrobe, and went to Mr Pierce, the surgeon’s house and then to the Swan Tavern before returning once again to the Wardrobe where he sang in a tower with William Howe, a junior clerk in Pepys’ office and a gifted amateur musician.