It was so grim and dark this morning that the street light outside our living room window didn't go out. It spent much of the day instead casting rays of eerie orange light onto our sofa. I woke up at 8.30am, heard the rain literally pounding onto the roof, and allowed myself to fall asleep again for another hour. Ah! The joys of being freelance!
When I finally woke up, the terrible weather outside instantly made me want to eat porridge. Porridge is the elixir of life!
I worked throughout the day, finally finishing the fine-tuning on the second movement of the Fleet Singers composition, which I can officially reveal is called The Man in the Straw Hat. I've actually set four John Betjeman poems to music in this composition, and all the other lyrics in the piece are inspired by his writing. Betjeman often wore a straw boater, which he tended to place at a rather jaunty angle on his head, so the title felt appropriate. Wistful, not too pretentious, evocative of long summers on Hampstead Heath in the 1930s...
We went to a quiz in Chelmsford tonight, which involved driving out of London in the early rush-hour on a Friday night. Rookie error. By the time we'd arrived, 2 1/2 hours after leaving Highgate, our car's computer revealed we'd been traveling at an average of 14 miles per hour. When traveling East, the capital seems to last forever. Traffic light after traffic light. Jam after jam. My foot went all fizzy and kept shaking on the clutch. I hate the A12.
The quiz was a lot of fun. The MC rattled through the questions, although it instantly became clear that it was one of those easy quizzes where an almost perfect score was required to beat the competition.
We came joint second - out of 18 - largely due to having played our joker on a round about comic books which we did rather badly on. It was like watching a car crash. There was nothing I could do to prevent catastrophe. I'd nailed my colours to the mast before the round began to say I knew nothing about comics. I have never read a comic. Never once. I wasn't one of those sorts of lads. I did, however, know the name of Wonder Woman's alter ego... (Diana Price, for those scratching their heads.) I loved Wonder Woman. I dressed up as Wonder Woman as a five year old boy, with a cape made out of a dressing gown and a lasso of truth made out of newspaper! And, for some reason, a wand made out of a old chair leg. Hmm. Anyway, for me, Wonder Woman was a lovely lady with blue eyes on the telly. I had no idea she was also a comic book character. Glad to have been of assistance. Shame I didn't know anything about the Beano. Someone's now going to tell me that Wonder Woman WAS in the Beano. I don't know...
The journey home was a speedier affair with Nathan driving at 90 miles per hour along the M25... But then we were utterly destroyed by the North Circular. We're still here as it happens. Crawling along. Three lanes of traffic merging into one, and a tunnel closed somewhere ahead. Joy!