Uptight & Personal Diary Entry Thursday 18th March

30 03 2010

Thursday 18th

Another bollocking at work. I must not sympathise with the plight of Melrose authors. This is unprofessional according to Jill. Must schedule complete empathy by-pass operation. I should ask her for the name of the doctor who performed hers. It’s a sterling job.

Friday 19th

Have no idea where week has gone. Fizzog back to normal. Head into Cambridge to meet with a prospective author then have to dash back to Newmarket to see doctor. However, before departing Cambridge manage five minute detour into Burleigh Street which yields the following treasures – a fabulous Morgan de Toi black chiffon skirt (£5.00) and an Audrey Hepburn t-shirt (£3.00) Great success!

Author has fun book about her trip around Australia by motorcycle. Reading the MS has made me yearn for stark cerulean skies of a shade one only gets in Australia. In England everything is diffused as if God smeared Vaseline on the lens through which he created the place. Soft focus creations in a country of shy sunlight.

Doctor says tests reveal I have no stomach virus. Just too much gastric fluid as I seem intent on eating myself alive. Come out to doctors to find last bus of the evening has broken down and its pissing with rain. Shout self taxi home.

Saturday 20th

Spend day on ghost writing job. Very good. At this rate I might even get it finished by the end of summer.

Sunday 21st

A cow has had twin calves on Simon’s estate. They are unbelievably cute.

Naughty Turpin has been made to wear his head collar permanently – obviously in an effort to make catching him easier. I enter the field and call him and he crosses to see me but when I put my hand up to pet him he backs off thinking I am going to grab the collar. Three things I refuse to put up with in my life: badly behaved kids, dogs and horses. If there is any chance I may get to ride this horse I need him easy to catch as I’m not about to play tag with half a ton of horseflesh that can run a damn sight faster than I can.

I walk away and stand there with my back to him. Sure enough, a few seconds later there’s the sound of hooves and heavy breathing right behind me. I don’t turn and I don’t move. Sound of horse moving closer. Horse then puts his chin on my shoulder and gives a deep sigh. I do nothing. Horse then puts his cheek next to mine. No response. Horse moves and stands right in front of me. He blows in my face and when I still fail to react gives me a big horse kiss as if to say ‘Look, I was only kidding, okay? I’ll let you catch me. We’ll go out!’ Why does this remind me of so many men I know? The moment you lose interest in them they’re all over you.

Grab his head collar to make my point and he stands there looking contrite. Now we’ve re-established who’s boss I let him go and he reverts to his usual behaviour of following me around the paddock like a puppy and then when he feels he’s not getting enough attention blocking my path. Males of any species. I ask you.

Come home and feel a bit odd. Fall asleep on the couch and have a strange dream about God. God I might add has been curiously abis enough to scare anyone.

Wendy and I give a talk in Ely library to a nice reading group. Afterwards they give me £10 to donate to Greenpeace as I told them I didn’t want a fee – yes, I know that would have been £5 split between Wendy and myself but what does five quid buy you nowadays? Wendy and I decamp to Costa’s where of course, the £10 would have paid for coffees with change to spare.

Go home and experience existential crisis of monumental proportions which culminates in me asking my friend Andrew for advice even if he does live in Australia and not speak English as a result. For someone who doesn’t grasp the subtleties of it, he’s pretty damn good at summing up my current plight but am upset and sleep very badly as a result.

Wednesday 24th

Head to London for interview with recruitment consultant whose offices are in Old Bond Street. Not only that – they are two doors up from Prada. Danger! Danger Will Robinson! In Prada’s window is a divine pale silk coat. I want this coat. I press my nose up against the window as if attempting to somehow inhale it through the glass. I have to get a better paid job. Prada coats are waiting.

After this I go to the Army & Navy Club in Pall Mall to meet a prospective author and pioneer aviator Dr. Herbert Ellis. He’s also the inventor of the device they put on aircraft that pings to let you know how far off the deck of the aircraft carrier you are and is of course now included in expensive cars. This has made Dr. Ellis very rich indeed. He’s 89 years old and wants me to help him publish a book on Alzheimer’s. He tells me his diagnosis is that he is in the early second stage of the disease and is in fact participating in clinical trials of a new drug. He’s wonderful.

We are joined by his friend Brigadier General John Hemsley. I don’t know what I was expecting. I’d never met a Brigadier General before and for some reason had the Gilbert & Sullivan ‘Modern Major General’ song going through my head and I expected somebody rotund, red and sporting more bling than 50 Cent. Wrong. John is funny, engaging, definitely neither rotund nor red in the face and the jacket of his pin-stripe suit is minus both scrambled egg and bling.

These two guys together are hilarious. At one point over lunch Herbert enquires as to my marital status. I reply that if either of them knows an eligible gentleman perhaps they would be so kind as to introduce us at which point Herbert tells me that before I come down to stay at his house in Sussex I should know that his second wife Jean is not terribly bright and he didn’t marry his intellectual equal. ‘Oh for heaven’s sake, Herbert,’ counters the Brigadier. ‘You can’t marry every intelligent woman you meet and besides – you’re old enough to be her grandfather.’

‘I know that,’ Herbert replies. ‘I’m 89 years old. I’m not functional.’

‘So what kind of chap are you looking for?’ John asks me.

‘Intelligent, creative, kind, loves animals . . ‘

‘Rich?’ suggests John.

‘It’s not mandatory but it would help,’ I admit. ‘Plus he must like Aston Martin’s,’ I add as an afterthought. ‘Again, he doesn’t actually have to have one but if he did that would be a big plus.’

‘So, you’re looking for someone intelligent, creative, kind, who likes animals and Aston Martins and who possibly has one and some money? You don’t want much, do you?’

‘And functional,’ pipes up Herbert who has been silent up until now. ‘Chap’s got to be functional. No damn use to her otherwise.’

Like I said – hilarious.

After lunch we retire to the drawing room – a wonderful room furnished in apricot and a green similar to the Prada coat. Consume two ports with John then we put Herbert into a cab and John gallantly walks me to Piccadilly Circus tube. It’s been a wonderful lunch and the two of us resolve to push the project along to the best of our ability. I depart feeling I have made two wonderful new friends.

Already rather pissed I meet up with Sam at the Angel. It’s a lovely mild evening and we sit outside the pub where I unwisely consume more alcohol before heading to Kings Cross to catch the 9.15 train.

I remember getting on the train and taking a seat. I remember reflecting on the lovely day and how it has been a vast improvement on the previous one. In fact, there has been no comparison. Must have closed eyes as the next time I open them there’s an announcement that we are approaching Ely. Ely!!!! Whatever happened to Cambridge? OMFG. I’ve gone past my station and missed my connection home.

When I get out at Ely it’s pissing with rain and the last bus left five hours ago. Have to call a cab. It costs £26 for a taxi to go from Ely to Exning. That will learn me to drink after little sleep and an existential crisis. Only have self to blame. Am lucky I didn’t end up in King’s Lynn. Am lucky all round. It really has been a great day.

Twin calves on Simon's estate




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