Diary – Monday 29 July 2002

Hot ‘n’ sticky day, slow to rise and only settled down at my desk at 9.15. Had early call to visit Chris to go through his comments on the scanning paper, which were roughly as I’d expected, i.e. long (a plus and a minus), and some additional details/suggestions, to make it even longer. Once I’ve taken in and digested it all and spewed it back out again as carefully constructed prose, it’ll go before the ITC in Oct.

Phew. Sitting here on the 19.48 to Windsor & Eton Riverside, via CJ… hotter and sweatier than is pleasant – that’s me and my fellow passengers.

I’d started home via Covent Garden, intent upon buying that pair of buffalo trainers I’ve been nurturing a growing keenness for. The shop manager, aka the London-and-UK manager gave me a top tip for getting a pair without having to pay the online ordering shipping charge. Perhaps he makes the same covert subterfuge suggestions to all his just-before-closing customers… only one way to find out! I also received a detailed account of the origins and growth of Buffalo, and the recent amicable divorce from Buffalo GmbH.

I was on the verge of putting my escape plan into action when noticed a tall, lean young man had entered the shop – ’twas Phil! Lovely, lovely 30 minute interlude, wandereing along Neal Street and around Covent Garden, cooling down with an M&S calippo c(l)one. Phil having headed off to yoga, I strolled on to Waterloo along The Strand and over the new Hungerford footbridge (taking pics as I crossed).

Plan is to head home to enjoy a lazy hour or so on the roof terrace, tidying up this revo-writing. H’s houseplants can wait until tomorrow morning for a water. I hope…

[interlude, marking arrival at CJ]

‘Just nipping into Asda en route’, always a mistake. Still, the result was a bargain haul of reduced veg and korma sauce, plus another George top. For the past hour I’ve sat out here on the roof terrace as the dusk darkened into night-time, serenaded by the whirring o the M&S aircon units and eavesdropping on my neighbours alfresco telephone conversations. Cool breezes move more freely than they can indoors, and the night sky glows orange with metropolitan light pollution. But not bright enough for me o see my laptop keyboard, and I’m not proficient enough at touch typing to continue composition. Time to adjourn to the lounge.

I hope we catch some of the perseids over the weekend.

Diary – Sunday 28 July 2002

Another lazy morning, with the juicer coming into its own for breakfast on the terrace. Off out again in to gorgeous weather, aussie style skirt and t-shirt weather in fact, and north to Regent’s Park to see what Indian Summer had to offer.

Only the Cricket it transpired’. So we stretched out in the shade of one of the trees for an hour and chatted some more before walking on to Camden Town, bussing back to Euston and tubing to TCR. Thence to the British Museum ‘ and after an irritated interlude resulting from out-of-service toilets, long queues in smelly subterranean substitutes and my nearby favourite the Museum Café not being open, we explored the Great Court (with camera this time!) and (re)visited their temporary exhibition of North Vietnamese posters from the Vietnamese War.

Our flight on the London Eye was booked for 5.30pm, and after collecting tickets we queued in the shadow of the Eye in between a denim-clad extended family of eastern European origin, and an asian family with telltale brummie accents. Once aboard, our capsule companions included a holidaying American group, and the glamorous eastern Europeans.

A quarter of the way round, vertigo struck. It was the fourth time I’d been on the wheel, and I’d spent the weekend telling Catriona that the capsules cater for those without a head for heights and looking forward to taking some birds-eye photos of London. And there I was, gripping the bench with white knuckles staring at the floor, in a panic-driven and panic-stricken attempt to rationalise away my fears. Fears that the wheel would topple into the Thames; that the pod would become detached and plummet into the river, leaving us in a submarine tomb; that someone would fall through the entry/exit doors.

Only once we’d passed the zenith did the panic start to wane, but it was the longest 45 minutes I’ve endured for a while – yes, 45 mins, 15 minutes longer than the standard flight due to numerous halts to allow for the embarkation and disembarkation of less able passengers.

Waved goodbye to Catriona at Waterloo, hoping she’d not encounter and glitches taking the bakerloo line as far as Marylebone. SMSed phil to alert him to my likely tardy arrival chez moi, but still had 20 mins for a swift swoop into Sainsbury’s for supplies and a cooling off shower.

Lovely evening with TLP, aperitif-ing on last night’s left over bhajis, black olives and crisps out on the terrace, before munching on chilli pasta with veggies in front of the Frontier House, then moving onto strawberries with The West Wing and balancing out the disappointment of the Big Brother’s Little Brother award ceremony with the remaining two squares of Millionaires Shortbread, finishing off with the scary ‘evil is a virus’ X Files. Very relieved Phil stayed over to protect me

Diary – Saturday 27 July 2002

Lazy morning Saturday, uninspired to stir too swiftly out into the overcast day. However, upon emerging to make our way to Spitalfields to mooch the markets, we discovered too late that it was actually a warm day, with the promise of warmer hours to come. Disappointment awaited in Spitalfields where the range of market stalls was even less than the weekday offering, and we’d not got enough time to squeeze in the Geffrye Museum before we were due to meet Catriona’s friend Helen.

The three of us adjourned to St Botolph’s churchyard with drinks and chippies from Tesco Metro before Helen headed onto a housewarming and C and I returned to the terrace for a cup of tea and Sainsbury’s scots version of millionaire’s shortbread. Yum. Phoned Jean to chat and to wish her Happy Birthday for tomorrow – thank heaven’s for Interflora!

Plans to venture north to Regent’s park for the weekend’s Indian Summer extravaganza courtesy of Channel 4, drawn in particular by the promise of Monsoon Wedding on the big screen, were abandoned in favour of a food foray to Asda and renting Monsoon Wedding from my local Hollywood Video store. Plans changed again en route as we opted for an Indian take away, and later on again when my eye-conomy prize winner’s DVD player refused to function. Luckily Saturday evening TV sufficed, and featured some coverage of the Big Brother grand finale.

Diary – Friday 26 July 2002

Catriona came to stay this weekend. The original plan had been for Hazel and I to co-host, with maybe a night out at schooldisco to relive old Wayward times, but JPM

Here in Blighty, Catriona appeared outside CityPoint around 5.30pm (Fri) and we headed over to Holborn on the tube. After explaining a bitter shandy to an antipodean barmaid, and dining speedily at Strada, we raced to the Albery, where we were snuck into the stalls via the tardis-like telephone booth. Actually, more of a Lion/Witch/Wardrobe wardrobe… We were at the Benefactors, by Michael Frayn. An interesting play, a main theme pertinent to London’s propertied and unpropertied masses. Neither of us could work out who the taller of the two male actors was, and I had to confess to not recognising the woman who’d been in The Vicar of Dibley. Actually, there’s no reason why I should have recognised her, not having ever watched or wished to watch tVoD!!