Saturday, 20 August 2011

But every time in rains

I travelled back from Malvern this morning and as soon as I arrived in London, the heavens opened. I took advantage of a gap in the clouds to go for a little walk, but immediately got soaking wet. I might as well have thrown myself in a river, or just sat in a puddle and waited to be run over by a bus! It was hot as well, so after the rain had stopped, I couldn’t tell what was water and what was sweat. It’s my least favourite form of weather and it makes me deeply irritable. I’d rather a driving gale than rain on a muggy day. I was speaking on the phone to Fiona whilst walking up Highgate West Hill, when it suddenly became clear that I’d sweated into the earpiece to the extent that I couldn’t hear her any more. I had to hang up and let the phone dry out!

I genuinely don’t have anything else of interest to say. The rain has cleared and it’s turned into a very pleasant evening, so Fiona and I are going for a nice walk, which I’m very much looking forward to now that I’ve dried myself off a little bit.

It’s a double bill in the land of Pepys today. In order to find 3G reception on my iphone in Worcestershire last night, I had to drive down about sixty country lanes, so was unable to access the internet to see what our 17th Century friend was up to.

On the 19th August, 1661, Lady Sandwich came to collect her sons John, Oliver and Sidney Montagu, who’d been living with Pepys since their brother had contracted a disease similar to small pox. Said brother was well enough to be taken out of quarantine, so it was time for the lads to go home. Pepys had obviously enjoyed their company. He always longed for his own children. When he came home at the end of the day, to a relatively empty house, he described himself as “troubled” to have lost their company.

During the day he did business in Whitehall and whilst waiting to meet a couple of Lords, he was fairly surprised to see the King drifting through a room “in a plain common riding-suit and velvet cap, in which he seemed a very ordinary man to one that had not known him.” As my Grannie said, “they’ve all got blood” even if it is blue...

Pepys went to Chelsea after lunch, and sat for some time in an alehouse with his mate Mr Moore, but by the time they’d finished, their coach had buggered off, so they were forced to walk home, which Pepys, ever the miser, wasn’t hugely bothered about. Besides, as they walked, they met interesting people, and by the time they’d reached Westminster had made all sorts of new friends including a lutenist, who they took for a drink and a bit of a sing song.

Tuesday August 20th was a quiet day for Pepys spent entirely at the Navy office. I can’t think how to make that statement sound more interesting, so I’ll just leave you with a joke.

Q. Why did the girl fall off the swing?
A. Because she had no arms.

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