I am currently in the deepest wilds of Norfolk celebrating my friend Helen’s birthday in the most incredible country house. There are twelve of us, an open fire, about thirty rooms and countless acres of incredible garden. It’s as perfect a setting for a weekend as you could imagine.
We struggled here last night through rain and wind from London, arriving just in time for a perfect meal of cannelloni and lemon tart, cooked by the lovely Suzy, Helen's oldest friend. We then played games long into the night, culminating in an attempt to convey messages to one another using nothing but pen, paper and group telepathy. How very Bloomsbury. Pepys would have been proud!
The evening of January 23rd, 1660 was by all accounts a dark one. So dark, in fact, that Pepys ended up falling into a ditch somewhere between Whitehall and the river. He conveniently blames the mishap on lack of light rather than any alcohol he might have consumed, but frankly, the fact that there ever were ditches in Westminster is the thing that interests me! After the accident, Pepys meets up with some of his clerk friends. They really do seem to have been the stereotypical young lads out on the town. They eat “a rare pot venison” whilst singing and drinking ale long into the night. You can just imagine the disapproving faces of those Puritan elders!