I Have just spent the last few days catching up with friends and family in London. It was good to spend some time there with my daughter Katy.
First, we had lunch with the Baileys, Kris and Bill, who are busy refurbishing their house, which is home to a menagerie of five dogs, two, cats, two monkeys, two white cockatoos and a black cockatoo.
They have two Balinesian peacocks - very beautiful birds. Of course, not all these animals live in the house, thank goodness or I don’t think I could visit.
The back garden has sand, palm trees, a hexagonal hothouse, a pond with giant goldfish and lily pads, with stepping stones over it, then another pond with two beautiful white ducks and at the top of the garden yet another pond with frogs.
The Balinesian influence flows throughout and the house is furnished in the Indonesian style. It is pretty stunning, with original woodcarvings and will be all the more impressive when the work is finished.
The only problem is the noise, as you can imagine. It is not easy to have an intelligent conversation while dogs are barking (Balinesian street dogs that show you their fangs when they bark - pretty scary). However, it keeps away the wrong sort of visitors and the Baileys seem to thrive on the racket.
A slightly more sedate visit was with Tim Minchin and his family, who we had lunch with the next day. It was particularly good to catch up with them as they are about to relocate to Los Angeles, a move that was inevitable, I suppose, what with his writing skills, his solo show and orchestra shows, acting and singing skills.
There will be no stopping him now, he is writing an animated musical, making a sitcom and Matilda is being made into a film - lots of other things, that I could not get out of him, as we were with his parents, his sister and his wife and children.
So again reasonably noisy, but luckily no scary animals!