Saturday, 29 October 2011

Giving up the fight

How easy it is to forget to blog before midnight these days!

I probably forgot to blog because I don’t really have anything to write. The day, as ever, was spent preparing music for the concert on the 27th, and printing out parts for the singers who requested them. Postage is ridiculously expensive. It costs about a fiver these days to send a set of scores to someone...

I went into town to meet Nathan for lunch and we ate at a greasy spoon called Diana’s. I was served a plate of road kill masquerading as a vegetarian lasagne, but ate it with great alacrity. The journey home ought to have taken about 45 minutes, but it was actually never-ending.

We had an incident with a stroppy bus driver. It’s an all-too-familiar occurrence for Londoners. The bus drew to a halt just before Archway Station, and the driver announced that everyone would have to get off because he’d been re-called to the depot. As we milled around on the lower deck, he informed us that there was another bus just behind, which is something they always say. I HAD made a resolution not to pick any fights this autumn, but there was something in his manner which made me want to scream. He seemed to have no concept that his actions were seriously disadvantaging his erstwhile passengers and seemed to take great pride in chucking us all off his big shiny bus.

Fortunately a woman with a baby in a pram made a stand. “I’m not leaving this bus until the next one pulls up” she said, “I don’t want to stand in the cold with a newborn baby.” Obviously, a bit of cold never did a newborn any harm, but I felt proud of her for being belligerent. I joined the game; “I think you’ll find we’re well within our rights to stay on the bus until the next one arrives.” And at that point, the driver got very shirty. He shut all the doors, started the engines, and shouted that he was going to drive us all to the depot if we didn’t get out of the bus. He started to pull away from the curb, so I hit the emergency door open button, and he promptly slammed his foot on the brake.

I went up to his pathetic little bulletproof plastic screen, and asked if he could tell me for a fact when the next bus was coming. “It might be very soon” he said. “But it might not be?” I asked, sarcastically. He shrugged. “Well, can you radio someone and ask?” “I’m on my break” he replied, “I don’t need to talk to you anymore.” And with that, he put his feet on the steering wheel of the bus and took out a newspaper. “Look, just radio your boss!” I demanded, “I don’t want to have to complain about you.” He childishly pressed the appropriate button, and after a seemingly interminable wait, a voice came over the system. The voice asked how he could help, but the driver simply shrugged and indicated that he wasn’t speaking. He looked like a grotesque mime act. I opened the cab door and shouted through; “hello, I’m one of the passengers on the bus. We’ve just been asked to get off, but there’s a woman with a baby on board, so we’re all staying put until the next one comes along. Could you tell us when that will be?” There was a pause, and then a slightly surprised voice replied; “the next bus is just leaving Kentish Town. It will be with you in about ten minutes?” “Thank you” I said, “can you tell me why the bus driver is refusing to co-operate?” The disembodied voice then said something really weird; “some people in this world are nice, and others aren’t.”

There was nothing that I could say to that, so I went and relayed the news to the pregnant woman, who pretended to be listening to me, but made it very clear she was only interested in gurgling at the baby. Am I the only one who gets fed up with going on and on about the fact that they’re amazing multi-taskers? If you’ve ever tried to have an in depth conversation with a mother who’s anywhere near her child, you will know that women aren’t quite the multi-taskers they’d like to think they are!
# Controversial.

The next bus eventually drew up, and by the time we’d negotiated a set of road works, we were all about 45 minutes late.

I finally heard from the doctor’s today about the whooping cough tests. Apparently I need to have a blood test at the Whittington, but by the time he phoned to tell me the news, it was too late. I’ll have to wait until Monday morning. He did, however, write me out a prescription for anti-biotics, which they usually only give to people in the early stages of the illness, but he said it could do me no harm. I’ve taken one, and am already wondering if it’s done me some good. This obviously irritates me no end, because I feel it’s something that should have been spotted more than a month ago, before I potentially ruined my voice by hacking my vocal chords into my tonsils every five minutes!

350 years ago, Pepys went to St Paul’s churchyard to pick up his theorbo, a kind of lute, which he was having altered. It cost him 26 shillings and George Hunt, the instrument repairer, told him it was now as good a lute as any in England. Pepys lapped this particular comment up like a hungry kitten drinking milk.

He went to the theatre with the roguish Captain Ferrers to watch a production of Argalus and Parthenia, and noted that the lead was played by a woman; a woman with “the best legs that ever I saw.” He was well chuffed. Pervert.

In the evening, the men went to the pub, where Pepys brought a belt for “second mourning” which cost him 24shillings, and was, apparently, “very neat.”

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