"I sell antiquarian books from a farm in Sussex."
"Oh, lucky you! That sounds wonderful."
At this point, I always wonder if I should shatter their illusion and tell them my job actually involves sifting through thousands of manky, charity shop rejects in search of a small number of gems, whilst trying not to gag at the overpowering smell of manure.
I've had enough of this place, so I'm leaving.
I went to set up some shelving in the new unit this morning. I was only there for an hour, but during that time over 20 horse-drawn carts went past. Had I stumbled across a clandestine Amish community in the heart of Sussex?
It felt particularly disconcerting, as only 12 hours earlier I was here:
My wife hates organ music, but likes Neil Hannon. I love organs and Neil Hannon, so I had to go.
We used to feel so at home at the South Bank, but my wife and I now feel as if we're in Bladerunner ("The adverts have moving pictures!"). Our psychogeographical map of London is 15 years out of date.Where's the Wimpy Bar?
The concert was a mixed affair. The highlight was Vaughan Williams' sublime Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and a very moving performance of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind by Neil Hannon. I'm not a big fan of hymns, but this arrangement was beautiful:
I wasn't as keen on Neil Hannon's own composition, which sounded like a pastiche of Philip Glass and John Adams. The libretto was very witty, but like most minimalist music, it relied too much on repetition rather than development.
It's a pity, as Hannon is one of the most gifted songwriters alive. When he allowed his own voice to come to the fore, in the final movement, the music was far more successful.
I enjoyed the concert, but the best part of the evening was simply being able to go out with my wife and meet a friend. During the last few years we have been held hostage by our oldest son's condition and our world has shrunk. We haven't even bothered renewing our passports, as it seems like an unnecessary expense.
I find it hard to believe that I once went off to Chile on a whim.
In Chile, on a whim and a bicycle.