Thursday, 15 March 2012


It’s been a beautiful spring-like day. Earlier on, I went into Highgate Woods and sat on a bench writing. The sun was watery in the sky and the large glade in the middle of the wood looked like a painting by Seurat. Someone was playing a ukulele, a group of girls was playing footie, the breeze was blowing gently, the birds were singing. It was a wonderful English scene.

We’ve been putting little suet fatballs out for the birds. I’ve seen all manner of little yellow and green things darting around the garden and wanted to attract some more. Sadly, wherever I put the suet balls, the squirrels find them, and within hours, the little things are gnawed to the floor, and whisked away to be ensconced in a nearby dray.

It feels like I’m slowly suffocating under the weight of what I need to write between now and the end of April. No one becomes a composer for speedy gratification, and all we’re ever able to do is chip away slowly at whichever manuscript we have in front of us, but every time I contemplate writing an hour’s material for the Fleet Singers, and think that I’ve only managed to write ten minutes so far, my heart starts to beat a little faster.

They’ve pulled up most of the road at the bottom of Jackson’s Lane. There are all sorts of men wondering around wearing hi-viz jackets which say “gas” on them. I was horrified to see one of them smoking! I rushed past him, expecting a massive explosion at any moment.

350 years ago, and Pepys’ maid, Sarah was ill, which seemed to be troubling him rather greatly. He went with the two Sir Williams to Whitehall, where the three men “waited” on the Duke of York in an attempt to get him to hand over some more money to the Navy. An early form of lobbying, I suppose...

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