I have a new mobile phone. I'm not at all excited about it. New phones are often more hassle than they're worth. The man from Orange finally arrived at about 11am to take the old one away. He was only 18 days late, so there was no point in being angry. Fiona and I rushed into Crouch End to sort out a replacement and ended up in Crap-phone Warehouse because they’d inexplicably run out of phones at the Orange Store. That's like Greg's running out of pasties..,We had poached eggs for lunch and then swept back up the hill to continue ticking things off from our “we’re going away” lists. Fi leaves for the US on Wednesday. I suspect it’s going to be rather cold oop north, but haven’t yet reached the clothing section of my list, so can’t give the matter anymore thought.
I went to the gym. I thought if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in any reflective surfaces for the next ten years. As I drove down the hill from Highgate, the sky looked like the well-polished bonnet of a dark blue Roller. The horizon, in contrast, was glowing like a Manhattan Sunrise cocktail, or the fringe of a tie-died skirt in a summer meadow and there was a massive fuchsia X scrawled across the sky; an example of this recent business with the vapour trails going all 1980s as the sun sets in the freezing air.
I looked at myself in the mirror at the gym and saw a hamster staring back. Must shave...There’s too much to do – and no time to do it, so I must head off.
350 years ago, Pepys walked from his house to Cheapside, and saw on his way, the funeral cortege of Frederick Cornwallis, the late Steward of the King’s Horse, whatever that means. Pepys couldn’t have thought the man was “all that”, because he described him as a “bold, profane-talking man.” Sounds a bit like me. Whatever happened to not talking ill of the dead? Pepys went to see Mr Savill, the painter and coughed up 6l for the two portraits he’d commissioned, and 36s for two matching frames. Lovely.
He had dinner with Sir William Batten and a few rather grand navy men who talked about an African country called Gambo (possibly Gambia), which was “so unhealthy, yet the people of the place live very long, so as the present king there is 150 years old, which they count by rains: because every year it rains continually for four months.” This 150 year old king apparently also had 100 wives, which he would offer out to any explorers passing through. Very generous. I'm sure the wives were thrilled.