Saturday, 15 May 2010

Eliezer Jenkins

I feel fairly useless today. I had intended to do a day’s work, but seem to have done nothing of the sort. I guess the odd day off doesn’t do anybody any harm, but I think you only benefit psychologically if you're doing something other than staring at a computer screen and trying to motivate yourself. That said, there’s never an excuse for being a stroppy bastard and I’ve been one of them all day. The fact that I’m suffering somewhat from hay fever, general exhaustion and acid indigestion is not helping things, and our new oven doesn’t seem to be working properly, either, so perhaps I should give myself a bit of a break.

I woke up this morning, having had another dream that I was at a hotel in Seven Dials having tea and cakes with Benny from ABBA. It’s a dream I keep having and it always fills me with a rather pathetic sense of joy. I can list my life’s ambitions on the fingers of one hand; to own a house with a roof terrace, to win a Grammy, to live to the age of 90 without losing my mind, to see the pyramids and to meet Benny from ABBA. Perhaps it’s time to make the last of these ambitions a reality.

I’m currently sitting with brother Edward and Sascha in their beautiful home in Canary Wharf. We’ve been having an evening of television and food and are currently watching the entries for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Aparantly the Bulgarians have found the only attractive man in the country to represent them. It's a shame he sounds like someone blowing tracing paper over a comb! It’s rather lovely to sit here, right above the Thames. At one point I heard the sound of waves lapping against the building and thought it was the air conditioning.

We had an email last night from other brother, Tim, who is in Bangkok, seemingly terrified out of his mind. Poor bloke. The riots over there appear to be happening just outside his hotel, and his photographs of Molotov cocktails and Les Mis-style improvised barricades have even been featured all over the BBC’s website. The whole city is descending into chaos and Tim, very wisely, is packing his belongings and hot-footing it out of there on the first flight he can find. Unfortunately, I’ve just heard that planes might be grounded yet again due to Icelandic ice, so I’m not sure where that's going to leave him. If you're interested in seeing the BBC article, it's here

350 years ago, Pepys was still in the Hague and by daylight was finding the city even more to his liking. He was pleased to discover that the most refined citizens spoke either French or Latin, and that the women were pretty; many of them already wearing fashionable black patches on their faces. Pepys went shopping and bought a few books and a couple of baskets to take home to his wife and their friend Mrs Pierce. Elizabeth Piece made Elizabeth Pepys feel very jealous, and it was hardly surprising. It is said that after giving birth to her 19th child, she still looked like a 20-year old.

But I have a confession. Yesterday, I wrote that I’d changed my opinion about that troublesome Burr, only to discover today that the “boy” who diligently went back to collect Pepys' rapier; the one who took great delight in anything mysterious or new, and had almost died in a gale trying to rescue his master’s laundry, was not in fact the lazy Burr (who was Pepys’ clerk), it was Eliezer Jenkins from Ely. I make this amendment purely because I feel such an obviously open and innocent character, deserves something other than the humiliation of disappearing un-mentioned into the annuls of time. I’m, sure his life on this planet can’t have been much fun. So, I propose that everyone reading this blog should take a few moments to think about the millions of un-named men and women who died in wars, plagues and natural disasters, who have been entirely forgotten by time.

The weather continued to be horrid, and Pepys and Eliezer went back to the sea port of Scheveling, where the Nazeby was anchored and drank for some time in a “house of entertainment”; which surely must have been some kind of brothel. They sat and watched the waves crashing onto the sandy beaches whilst countless boats overturned in the sea, which was awash with “trunks, portmanteaus, hats and feathers.”

Later in this seemingly endless day, Pepys was back on board the mother ship. Montagu took him to one side to show off his brand new wardrobe of posh clothes, which had just arrived and were described as; “very rich as gold and silver can make them, only his sword he and I do not like.” In the process, Montagu talked openly about his decision to switch allegiance to the King, and the exact moment he decided to jump ship, which seemed to be during a trip to Denmark. He genuinely seemed to be very fond of Pepys, and had obviously started to trust him implicitly.

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