Monday, January 26, 2009

Pepysian weekend

I've been reading Samuel Pepys diary which is fascinating look into life in London in 1660
Hence today I am blogging in the style of Pepys...

This morning the heat did cause us to sit idly, fanning ourselves cool. Ms Scott did accompany us in the garden where we supped and dined and had much discourse about musicians new and old and compared mp3 players. We had several visitations from the two Dylans, who are young sons of neighbours. Their heads a-popping above the wooden rail did cause us distraction and annoyance such that we wielded the garden hose on the said boys to dampen their spirits and improve our humour.

After lunch Ms Scott did take leave of us to go by water to Waiheke to meet Lady Lisa. I did henceforth go with Mr K by road into town to amble by the waterfront. There we found many townsfolk and visitors amassed to see the celebrations. On the dockside we did witness a racing yacht taken from the water with a hoist on a large frame. A sight to behold indeed. After a while, with legs weary, we dined at an alehouse called ‘Soul’ upon fine game and puy lentils and a veritable Shiraz from the commonwealth, and were very merry with it.

A surprise visit from Kim, to whom we administered caffeine until her son cried out for her to depart for their fishing trip forthwith. Then we set forth after breakfast, which was relaxed fare, to the northern shopping area at Albany in search of some well crafted footwear to help relieve Mr K’s Achilles tendon that troubles him so. Perchance, we did come upon some suitable attire, for himself, and I also took the opportunity to purchase new sandals.
The afternoon we did both relax and read a lot. At sunset we did dine upon roast chicken and vegetables served with couscous dressed with dates, nuts and pungent herbs. The meal superbly accompanied by a Gamekeepers Reserve Shiraz Grenache by St Hallet’s. At night, still warm, and music did emanate from our windows.

Monday (Auckland Anniversary Day)
Up but not early, as the stomach did require some remedy to appease the pain. After a light breakfast of fruit ‘smoothie’ (concocted in a fangled contraption called a blender) the pair of us did brave the heat and went by road, to the coast at Devonport to walk the North Head. Again many persons about, and much swimming and jollity was being had on this public holiday. The weather is again fine and fair. At home, we did lunch on some tasty kippers from Scotland (the barrel of oysters being waylaid) after which we administered the worm tablets to the little cats, along with the monthly flea remedy as advised by their physician.

Then Mr K felt a need to do some manly tasks, and did wash down both our carriages. I admit they did indeed look in need of a clean due to the layer of city grime. I was not troubled by need to be active and reclined with a book and sent some friendly messages by SMS (the pigeon being waylaid with the oysters).

In the evening we shall venture again into town, by road to a show at the cinema where we will see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Ms Scott who has returned from Waiheke Island by ferry service this afternoon.

Thus ends this long weekend, my family and I in good health. God bless.
(Normal service will be resumed).


Alan said...

Great to see another Pepys fan !
I was really surprised to find I couldn't put down the abridged (but still very fat) Pepys diary, when I read it about 15 years ago, ex libris with heaps of overdue fines Auckland public library, having expected them to be heavy going and not to get past about page 4. Its something like, his enthusiastic exuberant nature and lightly-done candour that makes the diaries so great - plus the pleasant surprise at how accessible they are. And the strangely familiar feel of the office politics and general brown nosing (which Pepys himself does alot of !). Arthur Bryant wrote several books about Pepys (e.g. "the saviour of the navy"), though they're maybe a bit old fashioned. I like your simulation, it reminds me alot of his diary. He certainly did write alot about food and entertainments as I recall ! I guess making up for lost time during the boring puritan Cromwell years. I quite regularly wonder, as I've got older, what it was that made him write them, and then stop writing them as he himself got older - what sort of loss ? Loss of his wife ? - maybe too late, he realised she was his muse all along (having been a bit of a bastard and cheated on her during the diary years) ? Loss of time or energy of youth ? -too busy at the navy office and shagged out at the end of the day, as he lost his youthful vigour ? Anyway - nice job !

Alan said...

PS Prompted me to actually get properly into volume 2 of Arhur Bryant's 3 volume Pepys biography, "Samuel Pepys The Saviour of the Navy" (the only vol. I've got - have not read vol. 1) and its a really great read - I'm just up to where William of Orange has invaded England, and all of Pepys' work in rebuilding the English navy was for naught as the Admiral Lord Dartmouth, and King James Stuart himself, dither rather than commit the navy to battle, so allowing the invader to land unopposed. It was October-November 1688, winter, "8 hours daylight and 16 darkness", and simply navigating and avoiding shipwreck and being at sea was harder than any battle. As with the diaries, you get a vivid sense of the personalities involved, their flaws and idiosyncracies, and also of how little things change despite technology - the damaging immature email flame has its exact 17th century analogue in some of the childish intemperate epistolary exchanges between the protagonists - though Bryant presents Pepys himself as a master of restraint and sagacity (not to mention a general paragon of good virtue). I love this quote from the book : "They [...the English local worthies joining the bandwagon of desertion from the catholic King James to the protestant Dutch invader William of Orange...] were not disloyal, but merely, as was natural to Englishmen in a crisis, a little confused as to what was happening and intensely determined to do what all their neighbours were doing". And he did keep working dairies later on in life.