I take the bus to work. This is a huge indulgence, because it takes forever, unlike the tube which is practically teleporting, but I have downloaded a 'Georgette Heyer bundle' onto Kindle-for-iPhone, and am so utterly gripped I'd take the slow boat to China if it meant I could spend more time reading A Convenient Marriage. Anyway, I've not long settled myself into a window seat on the top deck, when I become distracted by the conversation between a man and his son, evidently on the way to school.
'Great Granny is dead isn't she? Where did she go?'
'Well, to heaven, I suppose. That's where you go when you die. If you're good. And she was very good.'
'What if you're bad. Where do you go then?'
'Oh, people used to say you went to hell if you were bad. But people don't tend to believe in the devil so much any more.'
'To hell?' says the boy, in extremely disbelieving tones.
'Yes, where did you think people went?'
'Rotherhithe? Really? What do you think it's like there?'
'Cold and dark.'
'Well, yes, I rather think that's what Hell's supposed to be like.'
They lapse into silence. I think that if Milton had described hell as 'Rotherhithe' rather than as 'a dungeon horrible' full of 'darkness visible', Paradise Lost would have been a rather different sort of poem.
The Christmas decorations on Carnaby Street are defiantly secular and terrifyingly large robins, suspended over one's head. I am not wildly in favour of small animals blown up to monstrous proportions, it reminds me too much of the nightmares I had as a small child after watching 'Kitten Kong', an episode of The Goodies f , in which Twinkle, a sweet white kitten, terrorises London.
I take the Infant Trefusii ice-skating, about which the less said the better, other than the Tiniest Trefusis is like Bambi on the ice, skinny flailing limbs akimbo. She slides twenty feet on her face and knocks her head on the barrier, but soon dries her tears when she discovers she is to have an Accident Report written about her. No mention in dispatches could have made her feel more important. We will never hear the last of it.
The Jesus Man is back at Oxford Circus - not, alas, the entertaining 'Are you a Sinner, or are you a Winner?' evangelist - who I think went to Australia - but someone much more old-school, who shouts 'Repent, for the fires of Hell await you.' as you struggle through the dawdling tourists, trying to make your way home. I'm tempted to tell him about Rotherhithe, but think better of it.
Friday seems to be all about religious preoccupations: later, in his bath, Trefusis Minor announces he doesn't think much of Reincarnation. 'Why ever not?' I ask. 'Well, if people came back as animals, cats would be more intelligent, and be able to do morse code and stuff.' Really, there's no arguing with his logic - irrefutable, I'd say, but then, unless I repent, I'll probably go to Rotherhithe.