Thursday, 20 September 2012


The cold continues to ravage and I’m tired and emotional as a result. I got a little prickle behind my eyes whilst watching a second-hand book stall being set up in Soho this morning. It felt noble, yet somehow futile in the midst of all the shiny sexual made-in-China frippery of the district.

I was horrified to discover on my travels that the public loos in Leicester Square now cost 50p to frequent. In fairness, I’ve not been there for years, but I’m pretty sure the last time I visited they were free. Far be it for me to incite civil disobedience, but surely Westminster Council have just given us all yet another reason to pee in the street?

Yesterday, whilst flicking through a copy of Metro, I was appalled to discover a message, in the section where people are encouraged to text in with their thoughts and grievances, which went something along the lines of, “why would people without babies use the baby changing loos and stay there for fifteen minutes? From Miya (10 months).”

Here’s what’s wrong with that statement. 1) People without babies – particularly men with prostate problems - need the loo as well, sometimes very desperately, and if the baby changing loo (whatever this is) is the only free cubical – just as when the disabled loo is the only one which is free – you use that. 2) I would suggest the name Miya is better spelt Maya. 3) Why did the ten month-old Miya not have a go at the person who used her loo instead of passive-aggressively sending a text to a newspaper?

But MOST importantly, why the chuffin’ heck would ANYONE think it’s cute to sign a text message from a ten-month-old child?! It’s desperately tragic. I realise that Miya’s Mummy thinks that Miya is the centre of everyone’s existence, and that she won’t have had a decent adult conversation since Miya was born, but this sort of behaviour ranks with that of losers who obsessively photograph cats, freaks who collect snow globes, people who talk about themselves in the third person, Morris dancers and women who try on wedding dresses “just for fun.” If Miya could really text, she’d be contacting social services... or deed poll.

September 20th, 1662, and Pepys spent the day continuing the business of searching for a wife for his brother, Tom. It was complicated. Tom had some kind of learning difficulty; possibly autism. He had a speech impediment and struggled to socialise with anyone but servants. He died a few years later, unmarried (but with an illegitimate child from his maid) probably of a sexually transmitted disease!

The last paragraph of Pepys’ entry is intriguing:

To-night my barber sent me his man to trim me, who did live in King Street in Westminster lately, and tells me that three or four that I knew in that street, tradesmen, are lately fallen mad, and some of them dead, and the others continue mad. They live all within a door or two one of another.

Could these workmen perhaps have been suffering from lead poisoning?

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