Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Last weekend, George started climbing stairs (he’s not keen on going downwards yet) – and his crawling is pretty expert and fast enough to escape if you don’t keep an eye on him.

He’s training as a safety inspector by instantly seeking out the most dangerous part of any environment he’s placed in.

The Circus comes to town
This weekend, Zippo’s Circus arrived on Peckham Rye and Sam thought it would be a good idea for us all to go along… in fact, when we turned up, it seemed the idea was pretty universal… Abi was there, Debs was there, and Phil turned up too – all with their children.

Now, I know circuses are supposed to be for children and I wasn’t expecting it to be the greatest show on Earth (whatever the publicity said). However, these people put on shows every day of their lives and move from town to town with a vast infrastructure – or at least a lot of lorries, so I did expect it to be polished and professional.

This was rubbish – the juggling involved throwing things into the air and waiting for them to land. The high-wire was a very low-wire and the guy balancing on it didn’t seem at all sure he could do it. The dancers didn’t actually dance and the trained horses just walked around the ring in different directions – if there was supposed to be a routine to it, I couldn’t tell.

It was also hot – very hot. It was like watching the first round of “Britain’s Got Talent” in a sauna. I had to keep taking George outside for fresh air and water – something which I didn’t mind since the show was so poor.

Later on we had a dinner party and we spent much of the day preparing for it – which mainly consisted of trying to locate a working pasta maker – something which I thought would be readily available on Lordship lane – since there are almost as many posh cook shops as there are estate agents. We eventually borrowed one – and made ravioli (or raviolo because each person only got one!).

Mushroom and ricotta stuffing and saffron and truffle butter no less….

We followed this with salmon and veg baked in packages made of grease proof paper – so that the fish and veg steamed in the oven and everyone had their own parcel to open.

I’m not sure how, but 2kg of dauphines potatoes managed to get eaten by the 7 of us. However, one explanation might be that my brother turned up and Andrew’s appetite can make even the most ample portion disappear.

It was good to see Andrew – fresh from a whirlwind tour of what appeared to be most of Europe. His first intercontinental lorry delivery had taken him on a grand tour. He was on good form – and even spotted that Claudia (Sam’s flatmate)’s wedding ring was being worn only for effect…

Sunday was another feast – this time at Adrian’s. This was a Sunday lunch that started at 1 and hadn’t finished by 7. It involved several courses culled from Adrian’s allotment including edible flowers, pie and a paella. I’d never been to Adrian’s flat before. He’s a picture frame restorer and his home was a little like a step back four or five decades. Everything seemed to be homely, but nothing modern – and everything was in perfect restored condition. On the sideboard sat a picture of Adrian’s mother at the age of 17 beside a sofa . Today the sofa has been expertly re-upholstered, but it’s still in the living room.

Nathan – Jane’s son looked after George for much of the day. He’s always happy to play with him and as I told him, it will probably be twenty years before he realises just what a valuable service he was performing for us…

The dreaded openwide mail out
On Monday night, Gillian and Nicky came round to lay out the yearly mail-out they send advertising their plays to schools and theatres. The mailout is a ritual which always involves a late night of discussing the minutiae of where each picture goes, exactly what wording is needed for the blurb of every show they perform and what colours, styles and shapes the text needs to be.

I guess I must have been doing this for a while now because I remember that it was their mailout I was working on when the news came in that the world trade centre had been hit by an aeroplane.

This time, we worked until midnight, but got the job done.

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