Sunday, 10 April 2011

More cemeteries

We went to see Philip in hospital again today. He seems a lot cheerier, although has various head injuries which need to be monitored very carefully by the medical staff. He has been moved to a different ward, right at the top of St Thomas', which has the most astonishing views over the Thames. 

He seemed very pleased to see us, and I told him how much support there was for him on the streets of Soho, recounting the story of the tranny who burst into tears when she was told what had happened. Ever the great wit, Philip responded "she was probably only crying 'cus I wasn't dead!"

We brought ourselves a little picnic at the M and S in the hospital, and drove through the beautiful sunny London streets to Brompton Cemetery. 

All these trips to cemeteries aren't the product of my suddenly developing a morbid fascination. I am developing the idea of performing a Requiem in a grave yard. The traditional Latin Requiem text would be bolstered by passages inscribed on some of the gravestones within the cemetery where the work will be performed. It's an exciting thought.

Brompton Cemetery is a lovely place; very much at peace with itself and utterly beautiful when bathed in sunshine. Blossom on the trees as far as the eye could see. Stunning.

April 10th, 1661, and Pepys remained in Kent, inspecting dockhouses and various ships. Mr Pett, the builder, offered Lady Batten a parrot - the best Pepys had ever seen. It spoke. It sung. Apparently it recognised the Negro slave Mingo, having been bred in a house where Mingo had once lived. 

In the afternoon the Navy contingent travelled to Rochester, to visit the Cathedral and look at the huge organ, which had just been fitted and was in the process of being tuned. They studied the great doors of the church, which were rumoured once to have been covered in the skin of a Danish pirate; one assumes a rather fat one!

Later still, in what seems to have been an everlasting day, there was a trip to a house on the outskirts of the town, where Pepys was subjected to the worst music he'd ever heard, played on a sorry selection of stringed instruments. There was a lovely collation of food, but Pepys didn't enjoy any of it because his ears were being so offended!

He was also rather busy persuing a pretty thing called Rebecca Allen, almost obsessively! He eventually followed her back to her family house where there was more decadent partying and copius amounts of drinking. He stole many kisses from the poor girl. Quite how complicit she was in the business, we'll probably never know...

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