Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roy's rehearsal

I'm on a rail replacement bus from King's Cross to Highgate. It's one of the most uncomfortable journeys I've ever made. The bus seems to have no functioning suspension system and we're all being buffeted around like little rag dolls.

I've spent the entire day rehearsing the Roy Harper concert, and it is so delightful to take a dive into such extraordinary music accompanied by such amazing musicians. Apart from me, there are ten of us on stage. Roy and Jonathan Wilson who plays all manner of instruments; banjos and mandolins mostly, five string players and three brass. We've worked incredibly hard and I think the gig is going to be a corker.

I am, however, hugely dehydrated and just had to endure one of those conversations where a shop keeper, just trying to be friendly, doesn't seem to understand that small talk is not always welcome. I walked in wheeling my little "I've got back issues" suitcase. "Heathrow Express?"he asked. "What? No! Oh you mean the bag?" I explained I was having back troubles and that the wheelie suitcase prevented me from carrying my laptop on my shoulder. There was a silence. I thought I'd got away with it.

"So you have a bad back?"

I wanted to scream and tell him I'd just told him that very piece of information. "You wheel the bag so you don't need to carry it on your shoulder?" "Yes, that's right."

"Have you been on holiday?"

I couldn't think of anything to say which wouldn't involve repeating everything we'd just said to one another so just said no.

I yawned. "Tired?" he asked. "Yes," I said, "it's been a long day. I was rehearsing." "Holiday?" He asked. Sometimes life feels to short to enter into a ground hog day scenario, so I made a dash for it. As I left the shop, I swear I could hear him saying "Heathrow Express?"

I got home and started heating up some food I'd left on the cooker. Perfect food for a weary traveller. I could see the shadow of a large moth flickering around in my peripheral vision and then realised to my horror that I was actually staring at a mouse. It ran along the back of the cooker, all the way around the sink and darted off towards the litter bin. Perhaps more horrifyingly, I actually yelled. Yes me, the lover of all things rodent-like, screaming like a girl at a mouse.

My dinner went straight in the bin of course. Plainly someone else had got there first! Nasty business!


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