I took a few hours off in the early afternoon to spend time with Fiona who got back from the States today. It was great, as ever, to see her. She watched the Hattersley films, we caught up on the last three months and then walked in the spring sunshine up to Highgate Village to pay in some cheques. Isn’t March 21st officially the first day of spring?
The trees outside our front windows are beginning to show signs of life. There’s a tiny little bud on the end of every twig on every branch. Within a week or so, they will be a riot of lime green, and our view of Alexandra Palace will vanish for another year. One of the deeply satisfying aspects of living in Highgate is the amount of green space up here. There are two woods, several parks and a heath within spitting distance. The trees I’ve just mentioned line the little cut that the tube is built into. They are tall, strong trees, filled with squirrels and bird’s nests. I merely need to glance out of the window to know what month we’re in. My view goes from vibrant green to deep evergreen, to red, orange and yellow before finally melting into dark brown. My own little seasonable rainbow. Deep down, I’m a bit of a rural lad, so it provides me with a necessary injection of nature!
Pepys spent much of the day in Whitehall 350 years ago, and drank wormwood ale in a tavern close to the house of Lords, “which doubtless was a bawdy house, the mistress of the house having the look and dress.” A bawdy look and dress? Wow!
Pepys went to his former master’s house to find his wife, but discovered that she, and Lady Sandwich, had already eaten their dinner. Pepys ate with the servants instead. Funny the difference a few years will make; three years ago, he’d have been lucky to do anything other than eat with servants. Pepys returned home to discover his serving boy, Wayneman, had fallen sick with the same ague that his maid had been suffering from. Getting dangerously close to plague-time...