We're sitting in a very charming Brighton pub called The Mesmirist. There's a giant still from the film Le Voyage Dans La Lune on the wall; a miserable-looking Man in the Moon, with a rocket sticking out of his eye. It's such a stirring image. I can't stop staring at it.
We decided last night, after burying our little mouse, that it would be fun to have a day trip. Brighton felt like a good choice, as Fiona is mooting the idea of escaping London permanently and moving down here. I don't blame her. It's very easy to run out of reasons to live in London. It's expensive, frenetic and unforgiving and Brighton, even on a fairly ordinary day in January, puts on a wonderful show of laid-back-ness.
We hung out in Kemptown, which is the area to the East of the pier, and sat in a lovely cafe with Meriel, who came to join us as soon as she knew we were down here. Her dog, Berry, curled up on Nathan's lap and created the perfect Sunday afternoon tableau of lazy contentment.
We had a beautiful walk along the seafront, as the sun slowly dropped from under a cloud. Somewhere between 3 and 4 o'clock, we were treated to ten minutes of glorious, treacly sunshine. And then it was gone, and a misty, pinky light engulfed the sea front again.
350 years ago, Pepys went to Westminster Hall, where he heard some rather troubling rumours about his clerk, Will Hewer, whose uncle was apparently a rogue. In those days, being a bad egg was considered to be somewhat hereditary. Sir William Penn, chief gossip-monger, advised Pepys to get rid of the lad, despite "loving him greatly". Agenda anyone?
It certainly troubled Pepys...