Thursday, 25 August 2011


We're sitting in a rather desperate-looking strip mall in Cambridge, outside Frankie and Benny's. There are plastic flowers on a plastic gingham table cloth, which is wrapped around a plastic table. I had no idea there were such ghastly places in this beautiful city, or, in fact, so many dreadful people! 

We've come to see some friends in an amateur production of Return to the Forbidden Planet, and I'm very excited. 

The journey up was pleasant enough, not least because it gave me an opportunity to watch the progress of the sky, which was filled with the strangest clouds, of every shade from black to white, through brown and yellow. 

This afternoon we played host to an ITV crew who were interviewing us about our unpleasant experience with bailiffs. They crammed into our living room with various cameras and microphones and for some reason, I suddenly lost the ability to say anything either concisely, or with any meaning. Still, Nathan was on good form, and I think they went away happy enough.

350 years ago, and Pepys was in a pickle. Lady Batten and her daughter had been  looking at Elizabeth "something askew" because, he assumed, she'd not doffed her cap enough in their presence, or as he worded it, "not solicitous for their acquaintance." Good for Elizabeth. 

Pepys, however, was worried. He'd obviously decided that the women in his life were all out of control, for in the evening there was a hideous scene where he and his father ripped into Pall (Pepys' sister-cum-servant) and told her that she was a proud, lazy good-for-nothing and that neither of them wanted anything more to do with her. The row had been manufactured so that Pepys' father would eventually capitulate and offer to take this troublesome, undesirable, ugly woman to the country with him. Oh to have been a 17th Century woman! 

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