She's a bit nippy today. I went out for beans on toast in the late afternoon and could swear there was frost in the air. Yet again Southwood Lane has been blocked off as a result of gas works, which makes me wonder whether the whole neighbourhood is destined to explode in the biggest peace time disaster to occur on British soil. I like to go big with my doomsday scenarios.
I have not gone in to rehearsals today and instead have stayed home to work on arrangements in a quiet atmosphere. I am working on a bitch of a song, which changes time and key on numerous occasions, so it requires a great deal of thought... And a shed load of notes! The target is to finish the song and have another one started before heading off to Dalston tonight where the lovely Philippa is celebrating being suddenly very old. Quite how I managed to get so old that people in my school year are celebrating their 42nd birthdays I'm not sure, but here I am. Older. No wiser.
I didn't make my target. I got to the last chorus of the song and then completely froze, totally unable to finish, feeling I'd written everything I needed to write in previous choruses! I started another song because a change is as good as a rest, but then it was time to go.
Dalston is a funny old place. The shops on the Main Street are universally stocked with things I would never want to buy. There's even a 98 pence shop! That's deflation for you.
We bought Philippa a little gift bag and filled it with a random set of presents. There was a candle with a depiction of the crucifixion on it, two plugs, some silk flowers, a pair of plastic medals, a "Happy 30th birthday banner" and a no entry sign with handy screws to fix it to the wall... She was suitably bemused.
We celebrated her birthday at The Pond, a Hawaiian restaurant which is owned by Hilary and Rupert. The food was exquisite. We had a sort of taster menu, which means lots of different plates of food are brought to the table for everyone to dive into. The vegetarian dishes were the last to arrive, so I was beginning to panic, but they were well worth the wait. I had celeriac with mushroom and samphire tempura and a whole heap of glorious vegetables. Hawaiian food, it appears, is definitely on the South East Asian taste spectrum with a hint of American... Probably almost exactly what you would expect!
It was so lovely to see Philippa, Moira, Rob, Fiona et al, and brilliant to catch up with Oliver and Lucy who have to be two of the nicest people in the world. Happy days.
Philippa got very drunk at the end and told me at length what a special person our Meriel is and how she feels Meriel is suddenly going to rise like an all-knowing angel.
We came home via the Archway roundabout, which is soon to no longer be a roundabout. They're turning the whole area into a pedestrian zone, cus God knows everyone who visits Archway wants to sit on a bench outside a charity shop eating their sandwiches at lunch time. Some evenings I might suggest to Nathan that we go for a promenade down there. Or not. There are certain places which just don't want to be glam'd up, and Archway is one of them. Apparently we're due eighteen months' traffic chaos as a result, which will undoubtedly badly affect us up in Highgate.