More curiously, Ian's mother hails from Northamptonshire, up near Pitsford Reservoir, so we were able to talk about familiar landmarks including Brixworth church, which I've long considered to be the most eerie place in the UK. Every time I've walked into the churchyard there, my legs have felt really heavy and my head has started spinning.
We once had a very good-natured dog who point blank refused to enter the place; all the hackles went up on the back of her neck and she started growling. The poor creature was terrified.
When I was 18, I travelled there with a university friend on a hot summer's evening. We decided to go for a walk as the sun was sinking in the sky, but as we crossed the stile out of graveyard, we could hear the sound of a fox hunt - bugles blowing and hounds barking - being carried to us on the breeze. "It's not the hunting season, is it?" asked my friend, "I don't know," I replied, "I'm not up on that sort of thing, but I'm surprised they're still rushing about at sunset..."
We went for a charming and lengthy walk down to the bottom of the hill, and returned to the churchyard after dark. As we arrived at the stile, we heard the very same fox-hunting sound, once again being carried on the breeze. Crazy or what?
I took Sheila with Ian and Jem to the pergola on Hampstead Heath, but, for the first time in my life, found it closed; health and safety reasons, because of the snow and ice. It annoyed me intensely, but we got to look at it from the outside, and everyone seemed suitably impressed.
I then took them to look at the view over London from above the Vale of Health, which I consider to be one of the finest in the city. An enormous fair had been set up on the bridle way there, which looked a little pathetic. A few children were wondering about aimlessly with little bags of candy floss. There are no houses anywhere in the vicinity and I can't imagine how anyone would know it was there, or be bothered to walk to it from other parts of London. It's hardly going to appeal to the dog walkers and cruisers who normally hang around up there!
We had lunch at the Flask in Highgate, and it was only at this point that I realised today is a bank holiday. Ah! The life of a freelancer!
I'm reliably informed that it is Good Friday, which is the day when this bloke called Jesus, who shares his birthday with Annie Lennox, got nailed to a tree. Well that's what Tim Rice told me, anyway. Mind you, he also told me that Evita Peron was a saint rather than a crypto-fascist, so maybe I should downgrade his oracle status.
My Mum used to tell me that the sun always goes behind a cloud at 3pm on a Good Friday and I always forget to check. It was quite sunny this morning, and indeed this evening, when Ali Pali from my sitting room window was glowing so majestically that I immediately tweeted the world to tell anyone who could potentially see it to rush to a place where they could. Anyway, the point of that ridiculously long sentence was to suggest that it was indeed rather overcast this afternoon, so God's plainly embraced the concept of time zones.
Nathan is currently learning Sherry by the Four Seasons for a gig tomorrow. My Mum would be in 7th Heaven, but it's always been one of my least favourite songs. All that shrieking in falsetto. Nasty.