Saturday, 9 October 2010

Chocolate chip scones

I’m back in an overcast London feeling exhausted and jet-lagged. I woke up at 5am this morning and was wide awake for about three hours. I got up and pottered around for a bit before going back to bed and drifting into a coma. I forced myself up at about 11, fearing that I could otherwise have slept all day and I refuse to become crepuscular!

We arrived home yesterday in a murky fog and poor Nathan had to leave immediately for an 8 hour shift selling tickets at the Shaftesbury Theatre. I slept for much of the day, and then drove to Cambridge to do my first rehearsal with the five motet singers from Magdalene College. Rather excitingly we were rehearsing across the courtyard from the Pepys library; within earshot of dear old Dr Luckett and the very texts that we were singing excerpts from.

They were good singers, and we staggered our way through about half the piece, so, despite the fact that I STILL don’t have a choir of gospel singers for the work, I’m feeling a tiny bit more relaxed about things.

Cambridge looked rather wonderful in the autumn mist, which had descended on the city. I’ve written before that I feel most optimistic in the autumn and as I walked back to my car, and took a few gulps of that heady East Anglian air, I decided that life was pretty good.

I went back to London via Thaxted, stopping off at my parents’ for a natter and a late night cup of tea accompanied by three of my mother’s speciality chocolate-chip scones. Heavenly.

350 years ago, Pepys visited Sandwich and found him ill in bed with a portrait of himself by Lely hanging on the wall above him. Pepys thought it a fine piece of art and admitted to “being with child” – ie very excited - at the prospect of getting his own copy, perhaps when Sandwich was next at sea. Pepys met up with Sir William Penn, and the two men went by water to Redriffe (Rotherhithe) before walking across the fields to Deptford, “the first pleasant walk I have had a great while.” Pepys very much enjoyed chatting to Penn, describing him as “a merry fellow and pretty good natured” adding that he “sings very bawdy songs.”

They stayed in Deptford eating, doing business and chatting until 10 at night. Pepys was told the story of a black man (meaning one with dark hair) who scolded his beard on a mince pie. The beard apparently turned white, and never regained its colour in the many years before the man died. They returned to the City by barge in a “clear moonshine night” and it was midnight before Pepys got home, finding his wife in bed, in a semi-upholstered room, which he felt had been done so badly, he barely slept.

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