Dear June, Is my ‘oosbind in mint condition?
What do you think?
He was six years older than me 32 years ago which makes him nearly 92%older than the number you first thought of.
It’s 00.04. Four minutes past the witching hour although it feels like 7 in the evening and I’ll tell you why…..
Yesterday I ventured out to Westbourne Grove. I had never been there before, or so I thought. In fact two producers optioned a script of mine, some time ago, and I had visited their offices, it was the very building I was about to find myself in.
Don’t you just love synchronicity?
Anyway I took the tube from Latimer Road and two stops later walked left out of the station and left again into ‘Meanwhile Gardens’. A more delightful name I’ve yet to find. The gardens run alongside the Grand Union Canal which sparkled in the sunshine. Ducks and geese floated along the water I was mesmerised by this hidden treasure in West London.
After about 3 minutes – the directions I had been given – I walked down the slope to Kensal Road and counted the numbers until I reached 222. Inside a fairly bland building I was shown to unit 3.
I was doing a voice over for a new product. Make no mistake voice overs are a pressure; a script you’ve never seen before, an unknown producer,director, client, not to mention the possibility that they made a mistake choosing you as opposed to Jane Horrocks. A new voice over is like the first audition you have ever did, nerve wracking.
Unit 3 was all pea-green walls, Rococo furniture, doors leading to hidden composers and a buxom Kiwi receptionist who fed me ginger snaps, two crumpets with lashings of butter and a mug of ‘ot ‘erbal tea.
The recording went down well as did the five ‘Roses’ chocolates I chewed between takes, in fact the last one nearly cost me the job as I couldn’t suck the toffee quickly enough. I left to walk back to LBC, only I went the wrong way so ended up taking the tube.
I’m listening to BRAVADO MASALA by JAMES ASHER and MAHESH VINAYAKRAM at the moment, a fusion of Indian singing and wonderful drumming perfect for balmy weather and barmy driving. The trip back to
Battersea was brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrilliant.
The old man arrived at 8.30. I was all relaxed after a long soak although the new bath pillow had been blown up too high and I very nearly broke my neck. We drove off to the ICA as the sun turned Buckingham Palace pink. We parked the car in front of the Royal Society. Jim got all excited that Darwin had probably visited there and I got all excited at the old street lamps, I nearly sung a medley from ‘My Fair Lady’.
Down the steps and left into the ICA. THE RED LADIES, by the CLOG ENSEMBLE started at 10.00. The audience, which was big, was comprised of actors, directors and artists. The cast was comprised of several women all dressed the same; black macs, red scarves, black glasses, red shoes, black stockings, red cases. They made patterns on the stage and perfomed what can only be described as a working-walking-art-installation. My middle step daughter was one of the red ladies. After we hugged her she left with her partner for Brighton. Jim and I had a drink in the buzzy bar shouted goodnight to the Windsors who were sleeping somewhere in Buck. House and drove round St.James, down behind Knightsbridge, through to the Embankment and over Battersea Bridge to the flat. We got in late.
Jim drove home this morning. I went off to my acupuncturist, who needled me back into sanity, and arrived 5 minutes later than I like to at LBC.
After the show I parked the car and took the 170 bus to Victoria. Took the Northern Line to the Angel where a young man offered up his seat. I think he thought I was pregnant, or at the very least ‘old’. Either way I declined and thwacked him with my cardigan.
I walked to Camden Passage. Antique shops, clothes shops and PAUL YOUNGS CHOCOLATE SHOP. I had the pleasure of opening it two years ago. Now he’s about to open his third in New York.
I went to look at jewellery made from Tagua, an Ecuadorian fruit. Beautiful beads carved out of the huge seed by Lourdes a cocoa bean exporter from Ecuador. Every penny she makes goes back to the people in Ecuador. Paul will be selling some of her collection at the TASTE OF LONDON in Regents Park in a couple of weeks, he’ll also be launching her incredible chocolate bars made of 75% arriba dark chocolate – CHCHUKULULU – look out for it.
I walked from the Angel down to St. Pancras.
I got all emotional. I journeyed from St. Pancras regularly through-out my young days. Travelling to and from my mothers. A huge sculptor of John Betjeman looks up at the sky and Two Young Lovers, embracing under the clock, replace the tatty eateries and train tracks. I stopped an elderly woman and her even older mother by the Champagne bar. They had come down from Kettering and Leicester with their cameras, to snap the new station that used to to take their train to the Middle of Britain but now takes the Euro Star to the Midldle of Paris.
I skipped down the stairs across to Kings Cross and took the Circle Line to South Kensington and the Jamaican High Commission.
Peter Jones, from the ‘Dragons Den’, Ainsley Harriot from the box and Levi Roots, a winner from ‘The Den’, as well as hundreds of others, were there to celebrate Levi’s new ‘REGGAE REGGAE COOK BOOK’. Levi started with the Jamaican National anthem then made an inspirational speech. He credited Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley and Mr.Jones for their part in his life. Then he presented his bemused, but lovely mother. She came here to work to support her six kids whilst they stayed in Jamaica with Miriam his granny. When he arrived in the UK, aged 12, unable to read, his ma took him to Tulse Hill library and introduced him to Shakespeare. Not literally you understand.
Two years ago Levi was selling 65 bottles of ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ at the Notting Hill Carnival. Now, with the backing of Peter Jones, he has a factory in Gwent and the ridiculous statistic of out-selling Heinz’s Tomato Ketchup.
Mr. Roots now visits schools to encouarge the young. He was a feisty ‘yoof’ like them. He spent time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, so now he takes time to give back by talking and teaching the young how to slay their own dragons. I felt privileged to be there.
I strolled through Kensington. Past ‘Harrods’ which has a huge tarpaulin over its scaffolding with a painting of ‘Harrods’ on it. You would never know it was a facade.
Grabbed a No 19 on Sloane Street. Climbed off on the south side of Battersea Bridge, walked along the river and at 8.52, as the sun went down over the Thames, I passed St. Marys Church. ‘VOX CORDIS’ were singing an evening of ‘watery music’, unfortunately I only caught the last three songs.
A smattering of listeners.
As ‘Songs of the Fleet’ by Charles Standford neared its conclusion I started to cough, the little church amplified my chest so I left.
As I stepped out into the evening two geese waggled towards me.
I have photos of them, on my phone, looking up at me. Next to pictures of John Betjeman looking up at St. Pancras’s glass ceiling and me looking up at the lovers under the clock.
From West London to Central. From North London to South. I’ve been a tourist in my own town.
Tomorrow I am to the cottage and a weekend of eating.
Restaurant, friends and the Northern Git, if the weather holds up I may just give the lawn a little trim. But I’m taking home Levi’s cook book, I may even rustle up a seriously special reggae boat fish, or not…..