Jeanie was obviously entitled to half of our pictures and furniture, and she was sensitive to try to avoid taking things that have been in my family for a while. But that inevitably meant that I have been watching most of the stuff that we bought together over the last 20 years being packed into boxes and wheeled out the door. By the time they had finished, the house looked desperately sad and empty. A complete mess.
I had not slept well yesterday; at 4.30 am I gave up on the idea of trying to get any more sleep, and started work on putting the day room and the drawing room back together. For 14 hours, I cleaned, polished, shifted furniture around and generally tried to fix the place up. One modern thing that had not gone was my glass desk, and I thought to myself, “Sod it, I am going to put a desk in the day room, so that at least I well have a nice view, watching the kookaburras and the parrots, whilst I am writing at my computer.” So I did.
Then some friends kindly came around and cheered me up. I cooked. Vichyssoise with parmesan-flavoured breadsticks. Then a leg of lamb with cumin sauce. Then cheese and grapes, with brandy.
I drank far too much, but at least I then had a good night’s sleep. For the first time in a long time, I woke up with a hangover. I know this because, when Perdita licked my head in bed (she is remarkably perspicacious), it hurt.
Germanicus Posthumous is on my desk. He is sort of a stand in, really, for Marcus Aurelius. In times like this, one cannot afford to be too picky; it is any old port on a storm.