Sunday, 19 September 2010

A lonely old night

It’s been an extremely dull and boring day which has seen me doing next to nothing. I decided to sleep until my body told me to wake up, and managed an epic lie-in which lasted until 11.30am. I obviously needed the rest. I wasn’t at all well yesterday and was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Towards the end of the day, my stomach also started to hurt, but I blamed that on the coriander that I’m sure managed to find its crafty way into my lunch at brother Edward's Arabic restaurant.

Since waking up this morning, all I’ve done is tidy the house, dry my clothes at the laundrette (our tumble drier is still broken), eat an omelette and copy out more parts for the Pepys motet. It’s now getting dark, which makes me feel slightly on edge. It feels like I’ve sort of thrown a day away. Nathan is doing a gig in Birmingham and I was hoping he'd be back by now to keep me company, but he doesn't seem to have left the Midlands yet, so it's going to be a lonely old night... 

I had a text today from Fiona who tells me she's in Moscow. Her tour with Placebo has taken her to all sorts of astonishing Eastern European locations over the past few months and I'm deeply envious, not least because I know if she were in London right now, she'd pop up the road and enjoy the Antiques Roadshow with me.

350 years ago, Pepys wore his mourning garb all day. He worked in the Navy office in the morning and went back home at noon, expecting to find Elizabeth similarly attired and ready to join him for lunch. Sadly her tailor “had failed her”, which I assume means he simply didn’t turn up, rather than appearing and dressing her inappropriately.

Pepys waited until 1pm and then left Elizabeth to change into something else before joining him at the Mitre Tavern on Wood Street, which according to Pepys was “a house of the greatest note in London.” The Mitre really does appear to have been a rather astonishing establishment. It was certainly very large. According to the hearth tax list of 1665, it had no fewer than 29 fireplaces. Unfortunately its good times were almost over. Its owners died in the plague and then the tavern itself burnt down in the great fire. Still, in 1660, it was a bustling, fashionable location and Pepys met a large crowd of his friends there. They were all “very merry and had a very good dinner” whilst the rain bucketed it down outside. They played a card game, rather hysterically called “handycapp”, which Pepys had never played before but enjoyed thoroughly. And with a name like that, how can you blame him?

1 comment: