Thursday, 23 August 2012

Rustic

Our inflatable bed deflated in the night, and Nathan and I woke up at 3am on the floor surrounded by bed sheets and hissing plastic! 

Julie's house is rustic in the extreme. We share the place with every insect imaginable. There are cicadas and beetles and woodlice, a wasps' nest over the front door, and a hornets' nest in a crack in the back wall. Julie co-owns the house with Carol, whose car has been parked outside for the last year. This morning, after going to check it was okay, we discovered a wasps' nest in the door; the rather sickening sight of a sort of papery honeycomb structure inside with hundreds of the little critters crawling about. Bleugh! 

We've spent the day on the beach; Julie, Nathan, the two knitting Yanks (Stephen and Marc) and me. Nathan has purchased a lilo and we spent hours playing in the sea. 

Periodically, a little bloke comes along the sea front pushing a trolly with a massive block of ice inside. He uses a special contraption to shave little bits of ice off, stuffs the shavings into a cup and pours syrup on top, creating a wonderful granita-style drink. At the moment my preferred flavour is cherry and my favourite thing in the world is to sit with a cup of it in the shallows whilst the waves lap over me. 

This evening we played ratfink; a game involving spoons, a pack of cards and a serious amount of violence! 

I am very slowly unwinding... 

350 years ago, Pepys went to the new Banqueting House in Whitehall to watch a pageant of boats drifting along the Thames in honour of the new Queen, Catherine de Breganza, who'd arrived in London for the first time. Pepys estimated that 10,000 boats were on the river, for he could see "no water," nor discern the king or queen!  Puts Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee to shame!

 Pepys was thrilled to see his pin up girl, Lady Castlemayne, watching the proceedings from the bank and "glutted" himself on watching her. He noted how her estranged husband was also present, but refused to pay her any attention, but for briefly raising his hat as they met. 

A big scaffolding block filled with people collapsed below them, and Castlemayne and her ladies rushed down to help the injured. Pepys was thrilled to witness this display of humanity!  

He walked home through streets crowded with people. The banks of the Thames had been jam-packed with revellers and there was an air of celebration. 

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