Friday, 1 June 2012


We're crammed like sardines onto a Northern Line train. It's Friday. It's muggy. It's the rush hour. Can life get any more stench-ridden? The man next to me actually smells like dog food.  I have, if I'm lucky, 25 minutes back in Highgate, to send five important emails, pack my suitcase for Germany, squirt deodorant onto my arm pits and try to crawl down from the ceiling.  I've been to every corner of London today. I've delivered scores to print shops in corners of the city so far north they  might as well be in Birmingham. I've been to Crouch End and Dalston via Finsbury Park and latterly swealtered my life into a T-shirt in a boiling office in Shoreditch, where I've been attempting to print music for the choir rehearsals next week. It was here that the doors of hell opened up and threatened to drag me down...

Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. The photocopier overheated five times, then started printing pages from one movement on the back of pages from another. Then it started routinely printing page 12 on the back of page 3. Systematic failure. It melted. I melted. Furthermore, I'd only eaten a little piece of flan for lunch which isn't enough for a growing lad.  I got more and more stressed and at one point found myself sitting on the floor, unable to do anything but stare at a pile of papers whilst making whimpering noises. At that moment someone walked past me and quipped, "I hope you're being charged for all of those copies." It was a joke but I lost it. "Yes I am!" I snapped, "but I shouldn't be because the f***ing photocopier's f***ed!"  

I knew immediately that I'd chosen the wrong person in the office to swear in front of, and as Fiona reminded me later on, swearing in any office is usually frowned upon! Fortunately, just as I found myself forced to throw half of an entire ream of paper into the dustbin,  an angel arrived in the shape of an education officer from Rich Mix who offered to help, and with razor-sharp effectiveness completed my task, whilst simultaneously calming me down and even managing to make me laugh. I'm afraid I don't know her name, but she is a radiantly wonderful creature who deserves only the best in life. In fact, all the staff at Rich Mix genuinely seem to be some of the most pleasant-natured people in the world.   I immediately sought out the girl I'd sworn in front of and apologised for my outburst. She graciously accepted my apology and thanked me for the gesture, which made me feel awful because I realised that I'd genuinely offended her. It's easy to forget when you're as potty-mouthed as I am, that some people really dislike rude words. I must try and temper my use of the F word! Lesson learnt. 

A typical Sunday for Pepys 350 years ago, which involved a visit to church during which he endured a "long, sad" sermon from a presbyterian, which made him angry. There's very little else to report. He spent the morning singing French psalms. Aren't they bad enough in English?

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