Sunday, 5 September 2010


I’m in a bit of an anxious place at the moment. This is no doubt something to do with it being a Sunday night. I’ve got that feeling I used to get on a Sunday night when I hadn’t done my homework. I suppose I’m just panicking about all the things I need to do in the coming week; most of them relating to the Pepys motet. Very soon I’ll need to know exactly who’s going to be performing it, but so much is up in the air at the moment. There are way too many singers I’d like to use for the early music choir, and feel some of them could be moved across to different choirs, but at the same time, this project needs to be about legitimacy, and there’s no point chucking someone into a folk choir who doesn’t have at least a passion for folk music... The main problem is that I’m doing it all by myself. I don’t have anyone to talk to about things, especially now that Nathan is off to do singing gigs across the country for the next few weeks. There’s no Alison, or a massive BBC team working on this one. I suppose once I’ve finished writing the piece, it’s going to be easier. I can take off my composer’s hat, and stick on a more organised one.

I spent the afternoon with Philippa, Dylan and my goddaughter, Deia, who’s turned into a proper little chatty thing with a seemingly enormous vocabulary. She recognised a watering can today, and pointed at a sheep in Hackney Farm, and said “little pig.” She’s mimicking words left, right and centre, so I suppose now’s the time not to swear, to avoid the embarrassing occasions when she shouts rude words in monasteries. I told Philippa she was being ridiculous at one stage, and the word was repeated several times. Thank God I only said ridiculous. We sat for some time, Deia and I, posting little stones through a slatted wooden garden table. We were seeing which stones were small enough to fall through the gaps and I suddenly realised how interesting little children become when they start to gain a meaningful vocabulary! She’s still talking about herself in the third person, however, but I’m told all children do that. One step at a time... She’ll soon be reading Virginia Wolf.

...Or by the looks of this picture, listening to Dizzee Rascal

September 5th 1660, and Pepys was visited by the father of his recently “put away” houseboy. One assumes the father was trying to change Pepys’ mind. I suspect the term "put away" means a great deal more in this context than being merely sacked. I suspect this particular lad was more likely on his way to Australia... Pepys explained about the lad’s countless misdemeanours, and begrudgingly his father accepted the situation. Pepys, perhaps feeling guilt, or sympathy, gave the father 10s for the boy’s uniform, which obviously the father had paid for when he put his lad in Pepys’ service. The thought of this man going away with 10s in his pocket and the knowledge that his boy would almost certainly be sent down under, almost breaks my heart.

Elizabeth, apparently “ became impatient” later in the day, so Pepys took her shopping and bought a pearl necklace for a whopping 4l 10s “which I am willing to comply with her in for her encouragement, and because I have lately got money, having now above 200l in cash beforehand in the world.” Not that I’m a cynic, but I’d suggest this extravagant gift was maybe bought out of guilt. Less than 24 hours before, Pepys was rolling around in a bed, with a barely teenaged girl, in his former house in Axe Yard.

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