Friday, 6 April 2012

Docile ratties

I’ve always hated bank holidays. More than anything else I don’t really understand them. I don’t see why my local deli and my favourite cafe are both closed. Surely people have an inclination to shop more on bank holidays? Surely they’re more likely to want to go to a cafe? I mostly hate bank holidays because they make me feel that I should somehow try to enjoy a day off. But in my line of work, a bank holiday is a day just like any other. Nathan is acting in his theatre and I still have pots of work to do which won't magically disappear just because I decided to take a day off. Besides, I enjoy working. My work is a hobby. Some people knit, others go to the theatre, I sit on my own and compose whilst drinking copious cups of tea. On paper I'm a workaholic but I assure you that it doesn't feel like that.

Throughout my life, music has meant everything to me; its been my social life, my way of relaxing, the thing that spurred me on to do well at school, the thing that made me want to go to school. Music is the most important gift you can give to a child so sing to yours as often as you can. That's where it all begins and it'll keep them off the streets. I promise! My parents went away for a holiday when I was in my upper sixth, and my mate Edward came to stay with me. Whereas most red-blooded teenagers would have been partying through the night with cheap booze and rave music, Ted and I decided the most daring thing we could think to do (apart from searching for crop circles) was to call Fiona at 11pm and say; “we’re coming to Northampton in the car to get you... Bring your violin!” And we played chamber music until 5am in my front room, eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking cups of tea! Apparently my mother called from Germany one night to try and catch us out, but all she could hear in the background was Winter from the Four Seasons!

My rats have eaten 'flu medicine! They seem to be okay. We’ve recently had a pate of letting them out of their cage to run around the sitting room. They’ve created a little nest behind the sofa. We’ve given them a towel back there to snuggle in, but their real penchant is for paper. They will find paper anywhere, and go to great lengths to drag it behind the sofa. Sometimes the paper they find is three times the size of them, but they struggle to get it back there all the same. Periodically I’ll pull the sofa forward and find lost invoices, receipts, poems, pieces of manuscript, Jaffa cake boxes, passports, all in neat little piles, carefully dragged there by the two little chaps and often ripped into tiny pieces. Anyway, imagine my horror this afternoon when I pulled the sofa away to find a whole blister pack of Beecham’s Cold and ‘Flu tablets, with only a few little shards of yellow plastic where the tablets had once been. I ran over to see if Cas and Pol seemed particularly docile, but they were fine. The trouble with rats is that they don't have the facility to vomit up anything untoward, which is why poison works so well when you’re trying to get rid of them. Not that I advocate getting rid of rats...
April 6th, 1662 was a Sunday, and Pepys went to church in Whitehall Palace, where a “Canon from Christ Church” delivered a sermon (in the King’s presence) about adultery. Charles II wasn’t yet married to Catherine de Breganza, but he certainly didn’t seem to mind a bit of how’s-your-father with various actresses and orange sellers across the city, and no amount of sermons would ever stop him from doing that. After church, Pepys went for a stroll in St James’ Park, and then took a boat to the city where he walked around Grey’s Inn fields, his first visit there that year. He was impressed by the standard and quality of the totty he saw.

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