Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hidden treasure

It’s been another day of relentless admin, which involved several trips into Muswell Hill and a great amount of waiting around in post offices. So much waiting in fact, that I nearly got a parking ticket. When you pop to the post office, you don’t expect the queue to be out on the street, and to still be standing in it 30 minutes later.

I went to the gym feeling sluggish. I’ve been in a strange space all day. In fact, I was sort of hallucinating in the night. I kept thinking I was floating in water in New York. It was all rather strange. Nathan puts the funny turn down to the full moon last night. He might have a point. It was a beast of a moon!

Friends in New York are obviously all without electricity because none have been on Facebook today. I trust they’re all doing okay and that they put enough candles aside. It’s strange; once the electricity goes down, computers and mobile phones have an incredibly short shelf life these days. Heaven knows what people even do without phones and computers. I’d be stumped after a few parlour games, and in a blind panic after a day or so. They’ll probably have a whale of a time. They’ll pull together and support one another. Community spirit is often hugely enhanced by an outside threat like this.

Pepys found himself embroiled in a genuine treasure hunt 350 years ago. The treasure was supposed to have been buried by one John Barkstead, a goldsmith of The Strand, who'd been Lieutenant of the Tower of London. The poor man had buried his treasure towards the end of the interregnum, and then escaped to Holland, where he was arrested and executed. There was rumoured to be something like 7000l’s worth of gold, which was to be divided between those who discovered it, the King, and, for some reason, Lord Sandwich. Pepys was given the task of going to the Tower with a group of men with pick-axes and digging in various places where the treasure was meant to have been buried. The clues were sketchy and talked of cellars, archways and columns, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they were ultimately unsuccessful. Pepys left the Tower feeling upbeat, but one assumes his crew never found the treasure, because people were still searching for it in 1958!

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