Saturday, 22 September 2012

Great Aunts

I went with Cindy to East London this afternoon to visit Philippa and Dylan and my goddaughter, Deia. I felt immediately guilty upon seeing the aforementioned, as it’s the first time I’ve clapped eyes on her in probably 5 months, and she looked a great deal more grown up. I now know exactly what my Great Aunts meant when they used to say “my, how you’ve grown,” before sucking their lipstick-covered false teeth back into their mouths.

Philippa is pretty much 9 months pregnant. She's enormous and the baby is due at any moment. A new pram, in a flat pack, sat in her hallway. Apparently, she’d got Deia’s one down from the loft, forgetting that we used to call it ghetto pram because it looked like something that they’d have used to transport leaflets during the miners’ strike in 1985. Philippa took one look at the sorry-looking thing and said “never again.” She deliberately left it on the street outside her house last Sunday morning. She lives just off Columbia Road and when the flower market’s on, pretty much anything that gets left there finds a good home. She went out for the morning, and when she returned, a group of tourists were standing by the pram having their photographs taken! #retro

We walked to Broadway Market and bought food from some of the street sellers there. I’ve never had an enormous vegetarian scotch egg before, and it tasted wonderful. We sat in the shady London Fields gorging ourselves, chatting about theatre and playing with Deia, who was on very good form; giggly, intrepid and getting rather good at using her pleases and thank yous!

The sky was very misty and weird at around 4pm today. There were coronas everywhere; curious little soft focus rainbows. The sun looked like it was sitting behind loo paper, but with no trace of a cloud in front of it.

The atmosphere on Broadway Market, however, was electric. We went down to the Regent’s Canal and looked at a set of barges which had been turned into book and retro clothing shops. A guitarist sat on the roof of the book barge playing classical music. It was truly magical. Cindy bought a print by a local artist to remember the moment.

350 years ago, Pepys, who could be a desperate hypochondriac, demonstrated the woeful lack of 17th Century medical knowledge by writing:

I stood in great pain, having a great fit of the colic, having catched cold yesterday by putting off my stockings to wipe my toes, but at last it lessened, and then I was pretty well again, but in pain all day more or less

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