I’d thought the father was a Member of Parliament. Turns out, no. “Robert is a member of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council – or whatever the official title is. I plucked up enough courage to ask him a few questions. Parliament has approx. 500 members, each represents about 1/2 million Britons. [So there are 250 million Britons? I don’t know.] There are 46 councillors in Kensington & Chelsea, Robert being one of only about 15 who are Labour Party, the rest being Conservatives but one, who Robert says, is an Idiot.” (diary, 9/22/88)
Then I went over my freshly worked out new budget: “I had only spent 1.45 and was prepared for a quiet evening of study & perhaps some television when Maria [the mother] came home in a foul mood. She’d had an absolutely rotten day at work … & was looking forward to just plopping the tortellini in some boiling water for a hot meal. She came into the main room, said to Linda [the au pair], ‘Do you know what’s happened to –‘
“So I admitted that I had eaten it & apologized & asked if I should replace it. Yes, she said. I apologized again & she almost reflexively said, ‘That’s all right,’ but instead said, ‘That’s all –‘ and then did not want to forgive that quickly so finished her sentence with a grumble. She was also in a rush cuz she had to get along to an evening class. When she was out of the house I … hopped the Hoppa bus to Earl’s Ct then over to Sainsbury’s, the nearest supermarket, and got some more tortellini of exactly the same type as I’d eaten. 1.09 pounds. So then I was 4 pence over my ceiling for the day.
“Last week or so Maria had said, ‘Help yourself to anything in the refrig.’ I have been careful in the past – not wanting to eat anything special. Good fruit has spoiled (food spoils here quickly, I suppose because of the humidity) that I would’ve been glad to consume had I known it was going to spoil. I’ve tried to confine myself to eating things which there are a lot of & those whose expiration dates had passed. The tortellini’s expiration date passed 12 days ago. It had been in the freezer so I guess Maria thought that didn’t matter. It must not have because the tortellini was quite edible.”
Then I wrote that I had bought a loaf of bread and planned to pack a lunch from then on, no more cafeteria.