Friday, 22 January 2010

Splendid Periwigs

I enjoy my mornings in the cafe. They feel extremely productive and I love watching the regulars coming and going. Some of them are heartbreaking. There’s an elderly couple who come in twice a week, and sit with a coffee and a bun doing the crossword together and then there's proud old lady who smells of mothballs, but always looks so beautifully turned out. Today she was wearing a beret and a smear of incredibly pink lipstick. I wondered what would happen if someone told her she smelt of mothballs. And that made me feel incredibly sad.

You’ll notice that the Pepys-o-meter is back, with a wonderful $100 pledge from a Pepys Club member in the United States. We’re slowly creeping up!

The blue and red of the Pepys-o-meter made me think of the enclosed, which is a picture of me as a child. It surfaced with a set of slides that my parents have just had converted into sensible formats. I’m dressed as Wonder Woman. Obviously. I’m not sure why I’m carrying a wand although I remember at the time thinking it looked rather special. I adored Wonder Woman, and if any of you want a reminder of the marvellous Charles Fox theme tune, click here. Look at the photo of me whilst you listen. It’s bound to bring a smile to your face. It was taken shortly before the party I refused to go to unless I could dress as ABBA, which seemed to involve a crocheted shawl and a pair of my mother’s knee high platform boots. I wonder how I got to be so butch in later life!

Today in 1660 was a Sunday and Pepys went to church. He sat in the pew belonging to W. Thurburn and listened to “a very eloquent sermon about the duty of all to give good example in our lives and conversation” but then adds of Thurburn; “which I fear he himself was most guilty of not doing”. Pepys could be bitchy. His diary is filled to bursting with snide remarks about people, particularly those he was jealous of. Even King Charles II feels the sharpness of his quill! Pepys was a man of superlatives both good and bad.

The last sentence in his entry tells us that on this day Pepys began to wear buckles on his shoes. Fancy shoe buckles were the first ostentatious sign that Londoners were moving away from the simplicity and austerity of puritan garb towards the camp mayhem of Restoration fashions. In 1660, a nice shoe buckle subtly indicated refinement and wealth. Pepys the social climber had been born and very soon, he’d be adding a splendid periwig to the look!

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