Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Hurtling down the hill

On the way back from Euston station last night, Nathan and I went tobogganing on Parliament Hill. It’s become something of a tradition for the two of us ever since we were introduced to the joys of midnight sledging by Philip Sallon about two years ago.  I’m always intrigued by quite how much light from the night sky the snow reflects. It’s as though the whole heath is lit by a massive halogen light. I guess it's a fairly worrying indication of how much pollution there is in the sky around us. Nathan’s sister gave us a pair of sledges for Christmas and it was a delight to christen them. They are so much more aerodynamic than tea trays or the lids from council recycling boxes! A fair amount of the snow had already gone, so we had to choose routes very carefully to avoid running aground on patches of exposed grass and mud.  It’s such an adrenaline rush, however; hurtling down a hillside at an impossible speed, the wind rushing through your hair, the fear of death by tree or grassy knoll... I only wished we’d been able to go when the snow was fresh.

When we returned home at about midnight, I found a letter waiting for me on our stairs. The back of the envelope simply read “make it happen” and there was a cheque inside from lovely Roy.  Obviously I was hugely touched, and terribly excited, but I also thought; “Roy knows a shrewd investment when he sees one.” I need to programme my mind to think a great deal more like this in the future. Why wouldn’t someone want to invest in the requiem? It’s the best thing I’ve ever written.
So - and this is the really exciting bit - I now get to unveil the new Requiometer. We’re slowly creeping up the ivy!

The temperatures continue to stay at really low levels in London. It's much colder here than it was in Manchester. It was bitter as I ran around Highgate this afternoon, and more than a little challenging. I was trying to avoid the snow and ice, but some roads obviously took a proper pounding, because they’re still entirely covered. There were piles of snow by the side of the road on The Bishop’s Avenue about 5 feet tall.

I spent the day in Colindale Newspaper Library; my final day of research for the Fleet Singers project. I was just looking for a few choice headlines to contextualise one or two of the memories. I’m excited. There’s now a seed of something which could be really wonderful. Quite when I’m going to be able to take a day off between now and never, I’ve no idea. Tomorrow has been earmarked for Requiem funding. I have to be able to think of some wealthy people. The trouble with being a creative person is that one’s friends tend to be similarly struggling!
February 7th, 1662, and Pepys went for dinner with Lady Sandwich, where they met Captain Hill, fresh from Portugal, who brought news of Lord Sandwich and the most astonishing number of gifts from him including a civitt cat, a parrot, various apes and “many other things.” I dread to think.

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