Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Burned with a shower of firedrops

The rash hasn’t gone anywhere, and I’ve just got back from the doctor who thinks I probably have a stomach virus, which has caused my skin to react badly. The good news is that I’m not running a temperature, so whatever caused the problem is probably in the past tense. It doesn’t mean I’m feeling any better. At the moment, I’m completely wiped out. The advice was to alter my diet and stick to simple, boring foods like pasta, bread and rice. The worst thing I can eat right now is cheese and that’s something I’ve been tucking into rather a lot recently. Oops!


I’ve been writing the motet all day. I even struggled up the hill to Highgate to work in the cafe, although it took me about half an hour to recover from the walk. Nevertheless, it’s been a productive day. I’m working on the Great Fire of London sequence; a gift for any composer. Such extraordinarily colourful writing;

"All over the Thames, with one’s face in the wind you were almost burned with a shower of Firedrops"

On Saturday 17th March 1660, Pepys said a fond farewell to his wife whilst the two of them lay in bed. He gave her some money and the papers she’d need should something happen to him. Whilst she got herself ready he slipped out the house and made a will which left everything to her, except his books, which he earmarked for his brother John (except the ones in French, which would go to Elizabeth.) Pepys returned to take his wife by coach to Holborn, where they shared a drink before she started her journey to Buckinghamshire. He went home to an empty house. All of his belongings had been locked into the dining room and his wife had the only set of keys. He stayed the night at a neighbour’s house in Axe Yard, ending the entry with a rather wistful and dusty account of listening to the old lady of the house practising her repetitive studies on the harpsichon.

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