Friday, 23 March 2012

Chocolate digestives

They've changed the lay out of King's Cross Station. You emerge from the tube, and all sorts of people wearing black, white and yellow, looking every bit like they work for charities, start ushering you to a brand new, and rather fancy entrance round the side. I'm sure it will be very attractive, but when you're running late for your train, and have planned - to the very last detail - how you're going to pick up your tickets and jump like an Olympiad onto the train, it all becomes a tad stressful. I ran around like Anneka Rice asking anyone who would listen where the ticket office was...

The newly refurbished East Coast trains now have a priority seat. A sign attached to the window reads, "please offer these seats to a disabled person." I was confused to note that the seat in question had been reserved from Peterborough. So here's the question. If you reserve yourself a ticket, and the powers that be decide to place you in a priority seat, are you meant to stand up if a disabled person hovers? Do they only reserve these particular seats for people with special needs? Answers on a post card...

Actually, I decided to ask the train guard, who told me if the seat is booked in your name, you don't have to stand up for anyone. Which raises an important question. Why have the seat in the first place?

I came to York today to do a media call for the Ebor Vox project, which involved a few photographs in a beautiful room overlooking St Helen's Square, better known as the home of Betty's Tea Shop. 

The photographer went a bit arty, and instead of looking at the camera, asked us to look out of the window, which I'm expecting will make us look like we're in some kind of 1960s film about zombies. On the bright side there were chocolate half-covered digestives!

I got to meet Gary today, whose words I've been setting to music for the past four weeks. He's actually from Durham, which rather proves my theory that an outsider will often shine a brighter light on a location. Like me, he came to York to study. His poem is sensual. My favourite line relates to the smell of chocolate on the breeze, which I remember experiencing for the first time just after I'd arrived in the city. It was a curiously romantic aroma. The smell of Easter Sunday. I think someone born in York wouldn't necessarily think to mention the phenomenon. It would just be something they simply grew up with, like the smell of beer in Biggleswade, or the cloying stench of offal trucks in my home town in Northamptonshire. 

We played Gary and his charming girlfriend the anthem on my computer. I sincerely hope they both enjoyed what they heard. 

It's been a day of playing the anthem to people. I have a splitter for headphones which means multiple people can gather around my computer whilst watching the manuscript floating past. It seemed to be very well-received, which was a massive relief, although not entirely unexpected as I'm very proud of the music I've written. 

York, as always at this time of year, looked beautiful in the sunshine. The city walls were a mass of daffodils and many of the trees in Museum Gardens were covered in pink and white blossom. 

350 years ago, Pepys went from church to Sir William Batten's house where he ate a number of "boiled great oysters." Eugh! Perhaps unsurprisingly they didn't agree with him and he was "forced to vomit" them up again before lunch. There are no words... 

That night the poor maid Sarah's ague continued with a period of fitting, which Sam and Elizabeth were forced to deal with before bed. 

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