Friday, 27 August 2010

Salty anchovies

It’s pizza and telly night tonight and we’re presently watching the programme about home movies, which yet again I’m finding incredibly moving. They’re currently showing sequences from the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and I’m struggling to believe that any future celebration would have the capacity to bring communities together like that. Seeing little films like this make me realise quite how much we’ve lost over the last 30 years. Maybe it’s because I live in London. Perhaps there are wonderful street parties in villages and towns across the country where people welly-wang, pancake-toss and race homemade boats down local rivers, but I’m sure there can’t be as many as there once were, and I think it’s a shame.

I had a lie-in today in an attempt to try and shake this cold. It’s done no good. The cough is still here and I'm feeling ridiculously energy-sapped. I did an afternoon’s work at the cafe and then came home and just sort of sat there, doing nothing.

Bad news came this morning from my parents, whose friend Anne lost her struggle with cancer yesterday. In a bizarre twist of fate, they picked up a card from the sorting office this morning, which had been held because it didn't have enough stamps. The card was from Anne. A message from the other side.
Monday 27th August 1660, and a smack boat arrived, bringing Pepys all sorts of gifts from his aquaintances at sea. There was a vessel of Northdown ale from Mr Pierce the purser, a Turkish rug from Captain Cuttance and a “pair of fine turtle-doves” for Elizabeth from John Burr, who'd been Pepys’ clerk at sea. There's no such thing as a free gift, however, and I assume that all the above were expecting a good word from Pepys at some point down the line.

The smack also brought Eliezer Jenkins back to London, who’d been Pepys’ extremely loyal boy during the days when he was at sea. His navy job was over and he was hoping Pepys would be in the position to take him on as a domestic servant. Sadly there was no room for him, which apparently made him cry so much that Pepys gave him half a crown, which was not a small sum in those days.

There were drinks with the boys at the Bull Head 'til late, and then home, where Pepys entertained one Major Hart with wine and anchovies. But the anchovies were so salty that Pepys was ill in the night and his maid, Jane Birch was woken up several times to fetch him water.

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