Friday, 5 February 2016

Bomb alert!

As we walked down to the tube this morning we realised we were being pursued by a rather handsome robin. He hopped onto a fence, then a car bonnet, and eventually onto the pavement in front of us, seemingly entirely unfazed by two giant humans staring right back at him. I'm a big fan of robins. I like the fact that they remain loyal to the UK all year round, and stay with us through thick and thin. I get irritated by these flighty creatures who naff off to Africa whenever it gets a bit chilly. I also like the fact that robins are genetically programmed to be inquisitive about humans, so if you ever have the sense that you're being followed from branch to branch by one of these delightful creatures, the likelihood is that you are.

There are many theories as to why this might be the case, most of which revolve around the fact that robins know that we keep our gardens neat and tidy and that we have a tendency to regularly overturn soil which offers them a plentiful supply of worms. Sparrows are apparently the same, but tend to be more skittish than their prettier cousins.

Far more interesting than all of this is the fact that British robins are considered the friendliest robins in the world! Fact! Non-migratory birds will often evolve very differently on an island like ours than they will on a continental land mass. British robins have apparently evolved to be more inquisitive than robins anywhere else on the planet. Perhaps us Brits spend longer gardening or have a larger percentage of cultivated outdoor space. Perhaps we're just nicer to robins.

So, when you're next out for a walk in the country, keep an eye open for a robin, because he's almost certainly watching you!

I saw an advert on the tube today for the Emirates Airline, which is the cable car which, for some unknown reason, runs from North Greenwich tube to Royal Victoria DLR station. Can anyone please explain to me why I might want to go from North Greenwich (that's the O2) to an obscure dockland development in East London? Surely a cable car from Greenwich Village to the O2 would have been a) more useful and b) more of a tourist destination?

I took the Victoria line down to Pimlico this morning, and was a little startled when our train ground to a halt in the tunnel outside Victoria. We could hear an announcement drifting out of the station which informed us that "due to a reported emergency would all the passengers leave the station immediately." The carriage went silent and the colour drained from a hundred faces. For about five minutes we held our collective breath, wondering if smoke would suddenly start drifting through the carriage, feeling like absolute sitting ducks, before the tube hurriedly passed through the station and deposited us all at Pimlico.

It turns out it was an unexploded Second World War bomb which rather like. I often wonder how often these "unexploded" bombs actually go off. Are they an actual risk or are the authorities being too cautious? Nathan later told me that his work colleague was also in the station. The escalators suddenly stopped and everyone started running about in genuine terror.

Whilst we were in rehearsals today, another set of actors were attending auditions in another one of the rooms. I think they were being seen for a touring Shakespeare play because they all seemed a bit worthy and there was a lot of shouting coming from the room they were in! It strikes me that classical actors do nothing but shout at one another in rather damaged husky voices. The kids love it.

I was attempting to orchestrate music from the show in something of a panic this afternoon, and took myself to the quiet kitchen area for a bit of head space. This happened to be where the Shakespeare hopefuls were hanging out. One, a typical RSC type, wanted to be the centre of everyone's world. He talked to anyone who'd listen, and when he saw I was trying to write music, he hovered behind me and started whistling... When the other two actors left the room he started singing (as it happens, rather beautifully) and then reading his lines out loud. Before long, the inevitable happened and he attempted to engage me in conversation about what I was doing. I answered his question quickly and politely before disappearing under headphones to continue with my work, only to realise he was asking me more questions. He sounded like everyone on Midsommer Murders.

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