Fiona and Paul arrived this morning in an enormous white van which Fiona had hired to take her stuff out of storage in Northampton. She’s also been storing a few boxes in our attic so decided to pick them up in the process. She was given strict instructions, however, to leave some things behind so she always has a reason to come back! She arrived with a little box of delicious Thornton’s shortcakes which her Mum had sent for me. I instantly made a cup of tea, and they lasted about five minutes.
After Fiona and Paul had gone, I threw myself into writing orchestrations for the live premier of the Requiem at the end of the month but was, thankfully, rescued from working by Danny Boy Carter who suggested I might like to come for a walk on the heath. He had a friend with him from America who was doing a 12 hour stop-over in London en route to, I think, Bucharest. They’d already “done” central London, hiring Boris bikes to cycle from Covent Garden down to Westminster and all the way along the South Bank.We drove up to Jack Straw’s Castle, and I took them to the mile-long pergola on the West Heath, which was covered in autumn roses, and down through the Vale of Health to the tree with the hole in it where we sat and chatted for a bit. I always feel so proud of Hampstead Heath; particularly when I’m introducing someone to it for the first time.
We ate soup and paninis in Hampstead village before making our way back to the car.
On the way up Heath Street, we bumped into Boy George, and had a nice chat with him about the new production of Taboo, which is being staged in Brixton, with Paul Baker reprising his Olivier-award-winning role as Philip Sallon. George looked well, and seemed genuinely thrilled to see us both. He’s had a lot of tattoos done on his head since I last saw him, and he’d literally just had one of Siouxsie Sioux done on his left forearm arm to match the one of Bowie on his right. It was still wrapped in cling film. It seems the world at the moment is being tattood.
I came home and continued to work, and I've now been sitting in the same spot on my sofa for about 5 hours.
350 years ago, Pepys, the two Sir Williams and Sir John Mennes, comptroller of the Navy, went to see the Duke of York to give him an account of what the Navy office had been up to recently. Pepys was, understandably, thrilled to be the one selected to sum things up, and he went about his task with great zeal.
He spent the afternoon criss-crossing the river to Southwark, then to the City, then to Rotherhithe and eventually to Deptford, where he found out that Sir John Mennes, who also lived in the Navy Office complex, had been complaining about the loo that Pepys had put on the roof of his house and the natural light which his new extension was blocking out.