Monday, 31 October 2011

Casting shadows on the walls

Last night we had an adventure on our way home from Brother Edward's house. It was fast approaching midnight and we were very keen to mark the arrival of hallowe'en by hollowing out a pumpkin. It's an age-old family tradition. I've carved pumpkins on October 31st every year of my life for as long as I can remember. As children, we used to go to a magical yard, where hundreds of different sized pumpkins were stacked up. The large ones cost ten pence and the small ones were 5p. I think we were allowed to pick one of each sort, and it was the highlight of the year. I longed for hallowe'en more than I longed for Christmas. I've always been a proper little pagan!

Anyway, at 11.30pm on a Sunday night, searching for pumpkins is like looking for the Holy Grail. We drove through Holloway, Muswell Hill and Crouch End, searching for little shops with racks of vegetables outside. A surprising number of these sorts of shops exist in North London, but most of them are Greek or Turkish-run, and pumpkins must be fairly culturally insignificant to these Mediterranean types! They don't know what they're missing...

We almost gave up, but decided, just before heading home, to make a detour along the Stroud Green road, where, to our great excitement we saw a great big row of glorious, bright orange creatures, waiting patiently for us under a halogen street light. The feeling of excitement as we rushed over to them and selected two for carving was incredibly reminiscent of the feelings I had as a child in that yard in Bedfordshire. The  very best things come to those who wait, and we carved the pumpkins in front of Glee, whilst Castor and Pollux tried to run away with the little stringy, gloopy, mushy, cruddy inside bits which we were decanting into a washing up bowl. We put little candles inside our masterpieces and they danced all night!

This morning I went to the hospital for my whooping cough blood test. The male nurse took a look at my form, read the words "suspected pertussis" and went a little pale! He vanished for a while, saying he needed to have a little chat to one of his colleagues. I half expected him to return wearing a mask like those little camp Chinese boys in the nail bars. I have seldom felt so much like a leper! 

The rest of the day has been spent preparing music for my concert and studying the music I'll be MD-ing on Saturday's Roy Harper gig. Rehearsals begin the day after tomorrow and I'm excited. It's such remarkable music. I feel incredibly privileged to be helping...

I'm currently in Soho waiting to hear Nathan performing a song from the musical Taboo in a fundraising gala. I expect to feel extraordinarily proud, although I've just had a text from him saying the rehearsals are over-running and that he's planning to "wing it." Jeopardy in a blog. Perfect! 

October 31st, 1661, was a terribly boring day for Pepys. HE might not have been bored, but I'm afraid his account of things is utterly tedious. In short, the diary entry is all about his uncle's will. Someone came from the country to talk to him about the sale of a house that came as part of the estate. I'm falling asleep writing about it... Gonna go hear some West End Wendies! 

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