Monday, 21 November 2011

The tan that tanked

For much of the day, London has been sitting underneath a rather thick mist, which is currently swirling around Highgate like smoke in a war-time pub. I read a Facebook entry from my brother, Edward, which said the mist was so thick he couldn't see the other side of the Thames from where he was standing. 

I picked Nathan up from Heathrow this morning, who arrived with hundreds of exciting tales about South Africa. He seems to have been genuinely affected and inspired by the experience. Some of the photos that he took at the top of Table Mountain, with clouds cascading down the sides of great big ravines are utterly astonishing. He's seen circular rainbows, penguins, sharks, ostriches and baboons, and performed at a massive concert in aid of one of Desmond Tutu's pet charities. 

Fiona and I met Nathan in the arrivals lounge holding a sign with his name on it which we'd made out of a paper bag. He arrived looking tanned from a distance, but peeling like a glue on a child's finger on closer inspection. The poor bloke had badly burned his face and neck at the top of Table Mountain and the damaged skin had started to go a comic shade of mahogany.  He had a bath back at home, rubbed a flannel across his face and immediately removed all traces of his ever having been in a lovely hot country!

This evening I went to listen to the Fleet Singers; a community choir based in Gospel Oak. They've asked me to write some music to help them celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and I'm very excited at the prospect of working with them. 

Poor Nathan has spent 18 of the last 36 hours in aeroplanes and doesn't appear to have slept at all since leaving Africa. He is absolutely exhausted. He's currently trying to get our new router working, but I'm wondering how long it's going to be before the eyes close and he sinks into the deepest, most satisfying sleep...

350 years ago, and parliament voted in favour of over a million pounds being given to the king to pay off his debts. An astonishing figure! Perhaps the tradition of governments bailing out the unworthy is older than I thought! What is it they say? History never repeats itself, man always does...

Pepys purchased a copy of "Camden's Britannia" from his mate, Mr Moore and immediately took it to St Paul's churchyard to be bound by one of the many booksellers who hung out in the area. 

William Camden's Britannia was a major historical/geographical account of England, Scotland and Ireland (no mention of Wales), which was written in Queen Elizabeth I's time. It was a "must have" for any aspiring collector of books, and Pepys was very definitely one of them!!

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