The Pelican Brief.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 18 February 2010

I've just come in from 'The Wolseley', the posh restaurant next to the Ritz.

I was treated to liver and bacon courtesy of a wonderful man I have known for years. He works for a publishing house and represents Jackie Collins and Adriana Trigiani. He and his partner go to Florida every year to drink Vodka Martinis and hang out with the retired, we talked about life and the art of publishing.

'The Wolseley' is noisy and starry and perfect for an evening of indulgence. We shared cheesecake and gossip, then he went off to Sarf London whilst I walked down to Hyde Park Corner and grabbed a taxi to get me back to the flat.

Two nights in a row I've had cabbies that told me about the five bridges that are closed in London. The hold ups, the water works and the Blackwall Tunnel closures. Getting around London is proving to be a nightmare. Please can I blame Boris Johnson?

Thank you I will.

'Boris pull your finger out'.

I had a meeting at 4.30 with my literary agent. We finally had that light bulb moment of what I had to do to become a best-selling novelist with a string of titles behind me, and in front of me, not to mention the broad sides of me although if I share any more 'Wolseley' cheesecake my sides will get even broader.

My agent is in Gloucester Road, I walked from the tube and entered the world of books. His office is like something out of Dickens. Small, contained and hot. He made me a perfect mug of coffee, the effect of which re-set my thermostat. That, along with his central heating, turned me into hot property. Had I been a wax-work dummy I would have dripped all over his manuscripts.

Last night was 'THE VAUDEVILLE' for MEGAN MULLALLY. She of the squeaky voice from 'Will and Grace'. She sung with her band of twelve years. The songs were a mixture of Hillbilly twang, show tunes including a beautful version of a Sondheim that made the hairs on the back of my legs stand up and blues. She told us little stories including one about a man who saw her regularly and at the end of every vocal would shout out, loud and clear - FLAWLESS. I wanted to shout it out after her delicious version of 'Ave Maria', but a man in the top circle got there before me. When he yelled FLAWLESS everybody cheered, Ms Mullally said he should be writing sit-coms, his timing was perfect, I felt robbed, but the evening was about Megan not about my heckling....She's only doing 8 shows and we're trying to get her onto my show on LBC.

She looked a little like Nana Mascouri with her glasses, a jacket over a striped matelot tee-shirt and jeans. She's a delight. Generous, warm, funny and utterly authentic. She is what real stars are made of, earthy dust.

Yesterday morning I walked from Victoria. The air was cold and the sun shining. Entering the park, The Buckhouse end, I marvelled at the way the pigeons, geese, ducks,swans, both black and white, and the squirrels all mucked along with each other. Even the seagulls begrudgingly shared their bits of bread wihich come from all sorts of tourist handbags.

So I sauntered through the Royal Park and by the time I got to the little bridge a crowd had gathered by two St. James's Pelicans.

One pelican stood, like a grumpy old sentinel, whilst his friend bagged a pigeon. The pelican bagged a live pigeon in his very big beak and I thought I was seeing things. The size of those pelican bills are enormous, at first I couldn't make out what it was doing and then it became apparent that the pesky pelican was shaking his head, vigorously, from side to side, to paralyse the poor pigeon. The crowd roared. There was a surge as many of us wanted to save the grey bird but it was impossible to get near and anyway we were watching a real life Attenborough moment.

The pelican shook his head and neck, the pooped pigepon tried to climb out of the beak, the pelican shook his head and neck again, the sentinel stood there with his wings in his trouers. Not a movement, eyeing us and daring us to interfere.

The pigeon struggled, we could see it fighting in the neck of the pelican frantically flapping its wings to get free. The pelican shook his head even harder, shaking his head dismissively, the crowd grew silent.

I phoned Jim. He said to take a video I couldn't bring myself to film it.

The pigeon went down the gullet and fought its way up again. The crowd groaned. The pelican stood its ground and waggled his head so hard the crowd screamed.

The the pelican opened its mouth,the pigeon scruffy and defeated was dead. Very dead indeed. It was, like that famous parrot, deceased. That pigeon was no more. The pelican began crunching on his breakfast. An Italian woman turned and looked at me with disgust as if I was responsible for the pelicans antics. Her look said volumes about what she thought of British ornithological practices.

Writing about it now makes me nauseous. Jim was upset that I didn't record any of the gruesome goings on, so the next time I see a pelican shaking his head at me it'll be full exposure at twenty five paces.

Only another three days left and the old man is off on his thespian travels. I always kid myself that it'll be lovely when he's away, that I can have quality time to myself but the reality is it will be lonely and empty without the old git. I shall put my head down and concentrate on my writing, go to bed early, get up early, start walking again and run up a massive phone bill talking to the 'oosbind in Warwickshire, Lancashire, Oxfordshire and Scotland.

All being well he'll miss me, although given his Northern disposition it's something I will have to wait to find out sometime in the not too distant millenium.....

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At February 19, 2010 10:41 PM Marmite wrote:

I am green....yes green with envy I LOVE Megan Mullally. Still I have got the hottest ticket in town JB at Radlett March 21st !......slightly grossed about the Pelican story.
Love ya
Marmite xxx

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