I went to visit LBC last week. Courtney, the guy on security, hugged me, broke seven of my ribs and hugged me again. Sent me up in the lift and I climbed out on the third floor. Of course I burst into tears, it was as if I had never left.
I hugged Matt, and Jessie, I hugged Declan and Dan, I hugged Chris and a phalanx of LBC’ers, all of whom made me blub even more.
I left the third floor to take the stairs to meet Jo Parkerson but she had left – was on maternity leave – I turn my back and…..
So I met up with Jo a day later, cuddled her delicious baby Lois, and we sat and talked, munched on salad in Leicester square, shared water and vowed to see each other again.
LBC was such an important part of my life, when I walked out of the doors into Leicester Square I felt the loss all over again.
However the move from the flat is keeping me busy and I cannot deny the satisfaction I get from working at BBC London. Esther and the crew are warm, supportive and really good at their jobs. So I have leapt from one hot frying pan into another….

The move throws up the difference between the old git and myself. I organise everything in my head, box it up, fold it neatly and then stack it carefully. He walks in and wonders why its in the hall. Can’t understand why I don’t want to sleep in the middle of boxes.
I accuse him of exhibiting the dust gene. i.e. it’s-not-my-stuff-that-collects-the-dust-it’s-yours…you know the type of thing. In this case it’s eight years of my London living that has caused all the disruption so rather than put down his golf clubs, turn off the golf tournament, switch off the computer, put down his Kindle, I am left with everything from wrapping to crying, to wishing and hoping….After 35 years of married blitz I should know better but like all good marriages I have the ability to forget instantly what a tit he is…..
He came up with the daughter on Saturday night, we were going to a birthday party in South Hampstead, I had been packing all day, my eye was still watering, my left foot in elastic bandages from pulling a tendon, my hair grey, my eyes pink, my mood black and my temper a hot chili red.
I showered and we left.
B sat in the back under headphones and I sat next to the driver and let him have it. Thirty five years of frustration, irritability, pent up anger, thirty five years of repetitive brain injury, flew out of my mouth like molten lava. To his credit he took it. When we arrived at the do I was spent. He was cool, the child was oblivious as we entered a room of canapes, champagne, noise and a pile of old friends.
No recriminations, he put his arm round me and I munched on deep fried camembert a really good remedy for everything as it goes.
I slept well and took to the road in my little red car. The taxi was late, I was in no mood to wait, so I arrived ready for the show all ship shape and dungaree fashion.
Penelope Soloman was a terrific paper reviewer, she made me laugh. Frank Loman, made me cry with his singing, Stuart Korth spoke eloquently about osteopathy and its ability to sit easily with allopathic medicine, Ana Isobel jammed the switch boards with her life astrology. Actually she helped me deal with the Lion in my life and told me that the end of August was a good time to move, which is a bloody good job since that’s what’s on the tarot cards. Mark Dolan was fab and Isla Blair was as eloquent and articulate as I knew she would be. A TIGERS WEDDING is her memoir about being a child of the Raj. Go read….
I drove home exhausted. The eye still dribbling, the foot still throbbing, Gods Gift emailed into the prgramme asking me whether it was okay for him to leave and go home, it made me laugh out loud. I gave him permission to go.
The flat feels ever more magnolia as the walls are cleared of my pictures and gew-gaws. The office echoes as I have no books to dampen the sound of my typing.
I sat in front of the box and fell asleep. Then dressed and drove back into town to see Frank Loman do his cabaret at The Jermyn Street Theatre.
I parked on St, James and walked down Jermyn Street. Shirt shops, shoe shops, shaving shops, chapeux shops, shut shops, all for the very, well heeled man in your ife. A very damp ‘Big Issue’ seller asked for some money he made me laugh, I gave him a couple of quid and told him to go and dry out. I hope he didn’t read too much into it….
Then I sat down for supper in ROWLEYS the dining room opposite the tiny little theatre.
There are tables for four and three and six, tables for two and tables in the window. The white linen table covers are crisp and starched. The candle holder is fashioned into a little lamp. The table is laid with a salt and pepper set and very big silver cutlery. The bread basket arrived with little rounds of white bread, brown bread, black bread and bread with caraway seeds in, the butter was soft and buttercup yellow.
I ate half the slices before my meal arrived.
The walls are tiled in duck egg blue, royal blue, mustard and brown. The frescoe, at eye level, has little tiles of raised oak leaves and plants that are unrecognisable. I felt like I was sitting in a Terence Rattigan play. The silence, the emptiness, one woman hiding behind her book nursing an empty wine glass, a family of four were seated in the window, I was put at a table for two facing Jermyn Street, alone.
I counted the seats, I counted the tiles, I counted the minutes before I had to go into the theatre which only has 70 seats, I counted them too.
I chose asparagus with a poached egg and a bowl of chunky chips. The five spears of asparagus were perfectly cooked, the poached egg wobbled seductively on top, the bowl of depleted fresh bread and dish of yellow butter perfectly matched my taste buds. The chips came but they were of the Gallic spindly variety, the Polish waitress apologised and brought me a stack of Brit chunky chips, the French fries were thrown in free and gratis. The far from British chef shaved parmigiano over the top of the egg, the pea salad had a drizzle of truffle oil. I can honestly say that, apart from the continental trimmings, I felt like I had time warped back into the Great Britain of my child hood. Not the asparagus, didn’t eat that till I was well into my thirties, but the wobbly egg and the sound of the ticking clock of a Sunday tea time.
When the waiter sat me down I joked I was ‘Jeni-no-mates’ he didn’t laugh as he couldn’t speak English, but the food and the decor, the silence of a Sunday night in St, James was about as Biritish as you could get. An American tourist slipped his beige linen jacket over the back of a chair and asked me how the food was. I told him in detail. The food was exquisite, the water crisp and cold, the service impeccable and the evening would be divine. Had I been forty years younger I would have skipped Frank and stayed with the Yank at the table in the window Terence Rattigan style.
Frank Loman played to a nearly full house, Lily, his 8 week old adopted neice was in the audience,as were many of his fans. I sniffled again and drifted off into the world of Sondheim.
I left at 9.00 nimbly drove through the traffic to catch the last part of ‘The Apprentice’.
I punted on the inventor winning, he had to win as he was the only one with a modicum of roundedness about him. lts positively the last year I will be watching ‘The Apprentice’ I hate it, the ethos and the idiots they get on it.
Inevitably I could NOT sleep at all so welcomed my appointment with Monica my Swedish acupuncturist at 9.00 this morning. She has all but cured my eye and given me a remedy of insomnia:
2 Fresh eggs – with or without the white.
1 Greenish banana – less acid than the ripe ones.
2 Scoops of raw Honey.
Cup of Almond milk.
Whizz it all up and it should do the trick. I am getting sleepy just thinking abou…… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

9 thoughts on “Rowleys”

  1. I’m sure your blog was called “Jeni no mates” when I started reading it but when I’d finished it had changed, am I going mad? Love your blogs, it seems that everybody’s life is changing, mine certainly is, still not sure whether to embrace it or worry about it.

  2. Dear Jeni,
    It’s been a while since I’ve read your blogs.
    But, finally, today I had the day off and have spent the afternoon catching up with all your adventures.
    I love your writings and your words…… glad I’ve caught up!
    Many thanks Jeni Barnett.
    Joe from South London

  3. might as well embrace change….JENI, i thought i’d stick my ore in and try and bust a blazing myth. I’ve heard so much ‘end of world hysteria of 2012, the mayan and other ancient prophecies. The energy of 2012 represents the end of ‘The outbreath of Brahma’ It is well documented but subject to misinformation and hysterical interpretation the world over. Only recently a so called soothsayer said “the end is nigh…#it was news headline – so it must have been true..# Well unless we all slipped into a wormhole….
    The Outbreath of Brahma represents the potential for great change. Maybe dramatic changes. Letting go of the old and embracing the new. Raising the vibration and embracing Love and Light in terms of whatever that means for the individual. Pain and suffering, lies and deceit, cover-up and denial, hatred fury and anger….all things negative resonate at the lowest most dense vibration. The vibration of matter and three dimensional perception. This is also represent in the symbology and term of; AS Above – So Below. Love, self acceptance peace joy and all things positive resonate in Light. The more Light, the greater the unveiling of darkness and secrecy. As in conventional science – so simple is the truth.
    Wisdom tells us this…that there is nothing to fear but fear itself – and even that turned out to be a phantom! “To embrace thy true self in acceptance. And to embrace the Love and Light in our own heart and others.”
    Easier said than done of course, if your having a bad day and it’s piz pouring with rain, but no less true and simple.
    Love and Light LV

  4. Your description of Rowleys was beautiful. I could almost hear the hushed sounds, I could imagine the light from the window looking white and cool, not warm and summery. Deep shadows, quiet. Who knows, was it like that? Your writing is very descriptive.
    Years ago Richard Bach used a phrase about a landscape he was flying over. He said it was ‘ the colour of old memories’. Isn’t that beautiful?
    You use words like he does.

  5. Sounds like you are becoming depressed. No sleep/agitated mood/just fed up with it all.
    No shame in being depressed. perhaps see your GP when you return …. let yourself settle and if you still have problems …. seek advice.

  6. Turbulent times are throwing themselves at you. The calm will be restored and embrace you once again.

  7. I was so glad to hear LBC had got rid of you Ms Murray. I listened to you just the once but your saccharine, patronising tone made me feel ill. You do become quite shrieky with people you disagree with as well, don’t you? Shame about the MRR scandal. A joyous farewell to a Champagne socialist.

  8. I am slowly beginning to realize the importance of identity. I scoffed at it for a long time – enjoying life in different cultures made me think I was immune to such issues. In retrospect, I lacked the courage and foresight to look within and track the changes to which I was slowly submitting myself.

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