Saturday, 23 June 2012


Yet again I find myself attempting to leave central London in the rush hour. The man next to me smells of creosote and the woman on the other side's perfume has something rather flavoursome about it. It's like being in the cafe of a garden centre.

I ventured into town to meet Nathan for lunch, whose allocated lunch break started at the ludicrously late time of 4.30pm. It's absolutely impossible for a hypoglycaemic individual like me to go that long without food, and I came close to decking a group of Spanish tourists who did nothing but shout at each other in pubophone voices during the seemingly endless tube journey in. I walked along Oxford Street cursing and muttering like a lunatic. The shops angered me, my trousers annoyed me, I even managed to feel irritated by a woman across the street whose legs were too fliddy to pedal her Boris bike. She wasn't in my way. She wasn't in anyone's way. Normally I'd have felt very sorry for her, and possibly even offered her a hand, but in my low-blood-sugar state I just felt terribly cross with her for being so profoundly mal-coordinated. The only thing which touched me was the homeless woman selling a magazine which her dog was proudly displaying in its mouth. I liked the image, and then hated it, worrying the dog was being forced to do something which it wasn't enjoying. I wondered how I would have felt being forced to sit with a magazine stuffed in my mouth for an afternoon. I once had a teacher who made me stand with my nose against a drawing pin. That wasn't much fun.

The weather didn't help my state of mind. It was both horribly muggy, from huge rain storms over night, and incredibly windy. The winds weren't refreshing, however. They simply made me feel like I was in a blast furnace. At one point they took the cup of tea I was holding clean out of my hands. Hot scalding water bounced in the air.

The bus workers are striking. I'm not sure what their point is, but one driver on the news actually said that bus drivers did the most important job in the world; "everyone copes when the tubes go down, and when the trains stop running" he said, "but when the buses stop running, that's it." Um. Thing is, I just took the tube into town. I didn't quite understand his point, and I reckon a medical scientist would give a bus driver quite a run for his money in terms of who has the most important job.

The “Ham and High” reviewed last Saturday’s concert, and said that grown men in the audience had been reduced to tears: “Superbly accompanied by a string quintet and Philip Godfrey’s piano... Dame Janet Suzman was a joy in her beautifully paced narration. This was a brilliant and unexpectedly beautiful evening” the reviewer wrote; “Benjamin Till’s piece... deserves a much wider audience.”  Hurrah!
22nd June, 1662 and there was still a great unease across Britain. Yes, Oliver Cromwell, the figurehead of puritanism was dead and largely discredited, but the puritans themselves, or "fanatiques" as Pepys called them, hadn't gone away. Their voices were growing louder by the minute. Henry Vane, regicide, who'd gone to the block bravely and with great dignity, gave the fanatiques a poster boy. The talk of London was whether or not he'd taken his place in heaven. Pepys didn't know what to think, but it troubled him.

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