And so I felt tired and dispirited this morning, not helped by the need to clear the car of snow, which took quite some time with a broom before I could even tackle the windows, and it seemed a jolly good idea to cheer myself up with a hot bacon sandwich on the train. They’re not mean with the bacon, I’ll say that for them, and I ended up eating the rashers and leaving the bread.
This evening, Elle says that she and her friend are planning a joint party – Elle’s leaving party and Em’s birthday – next month and they’ve been trying to find a suitable venue, without much success. Of course, they’re welcome to use the bungalow again, I’ve said, so they’re very pleased.
Lunch was at Simpson’s in the Strand and I arrived first, so spent a little while in the National Gallery before going to waylay Wink outside Charing Cross station – and I missed her, so she got there first after all. I was reminded, as I looked on the other side of the road, of the time I was, for some reason, in London on my own when I was about 17 and my mother needed me to run an errand for her at her bank. I could hardly, at that age, have felt grander, sitting in a taxi and asking the driver to take me to Coutts (440, Strand, if I remember right) and please would he wait? But then, on my way out I wondered if I’d recognise him because I had the worst memory for faces (and names) of anyone in the world ever – but it was easy of course, because I hadn’t paid him and he made jolly sure he recognised me. It was about my pinnacle of grandeur I’m afraid, I’ve steadily come down in the world ever since.
It was a ‘literary lunch’ we went to – my birthday present from my sister – and we had a very good time, not least because everyone was so friendly. Neighbours chatted to each other – Barbara and Shirley were opposite us, Richard was on my right and we met a delightful man beforehand, though didn’t exchange names, who lives near Guildford and enjoys the theatre but not the cinema. Richard and his wife are expecting their first baby and he’s slightly apprehensive about it, though looking forward to being a father. He’s 41, though looked a lot younger. Barbara and Shirley live in Newbury. There you see, I can remember casual conversations with people, and their names. Usually, that’s Wink’s speciality and I’m hopeless. Or I used to be. I’ve worked on it over the years. I’ve even got better at remembering faces.