Altered the template used for the search results slightly so more results will fit on a screen.
Added a list of the recently commented-upon entries in this Recent News weblog to the Recent Annotations page. Can regular readers think of anything else (annotation-oriented or otherwise) that would be useful on this page, as a one-stop-shop for viewing what’s happened recently?
Added a list of the most recently added background items to the front page of the Background Info page.
Changed the layout of the annotation forms slightly, to go along with recent improvements to the default Movable Type templates.
Added an FAQ in an attempt to answer some of the questions I get asked most frequently about the site in general.
Belatedly added background pages for William Prynne/Prin and Ralph and Sir Thomas Widdrington. (I won’t always mention when I add background items here, hence the new list mentioned above, but these characters have been the subject of recent discussion.)
It’s a leap year in 1659/60 which means we have two diary entries today, the 28th and 29th of February.
Update, 12.21 am GMT, 1st March: Anyone who looked at these entries before this time will probably have missed the 28th entry. Or something. Things got a little confused by me publishing two entries on the same day. Should all be fine now. I moved a couple of annotations to the 28th entry where they belonged.
I have just deleted several annotations from the 25 February 1659/60 entry, sparked by a lengthy posting by Hhomeboy of an obituary of the historian Christopher Hill. Not only was it far too long but it was also irrelevant to the events of the day. This prompted much discussion of the worth of such a post.
I’m often adding new categories here and there in the Background Info section but I thought I’d just mention a couple of bigger changes today. I’ve added a lot of new categories and pages in the Food and Drink category and I’ve split the Places category into some sub-categories to make it more manageable. Thanks to David for his exhaustive efforts in the former case! As ever, let me know if there’s anything else you think would be useful in there.
All my fault; the perils of inputting new diary entries in the small hours! Sometimes this is going to happen and I’m not always online to notice. Thanks for all the concerned emails. You can be sure that if anything was to intentionally, as opposed to accidentally, change regarding this site it would be announced here.
And many, many thanks to all those who have sent money to Movable Type or Project Gutenberg, or bought me gifts! It’s all most surprising and brings a smile to my grumpy face!
No doubt you’ve noticed the new section by now. Hopefully it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s a directory of pages each devoted to a specific topic. These pages can then be annotated with information or links to other sites. The information should stay rather more “current” than that posted to diary entries which tend to “fade away” as we move through the diary. The People and Places pages are now integrated into this section.
The Mirror has a brief story about Steve Coogan playing Samuel Pepys in a one-off drama as part of a BBC 2 series about “famous literary figures.” Filming is in the summer. For non-British readers, Steve Coogan is best known for his comedy character Alan Partridge, a TV presenter who falls on hard times and presents an early morning local radio show. It’s great stuff but his other work often doesn’t quite hit the mark (in my opinion).
A while ago a few people asked how they could support this site. To be honest, there’s no need — it only costs me time and this is what I enjoy spending my time on. However, if you do feel the desire to make some kind of contribution, I recently put up a page that details how you can do so, hopefully by donating to parties other than myself! But really, don’t feel you have to.
(I hesitated in pointing this page out to be honest, but a couple of people have just noticed the new link to it and suggested I did so.)
Several people have suggested something I’ve been thinking about for a while: general pages for background information in addition to the People and Places pages. Given the amount of general information that is posted to diary entries that will be of use again in the future it seems an extremely sensible idea. It should help people who are new to the site find out common information without it having to be repeated too often (although we should accept this will happen nevertheless!).
There are two questions however: What pages should there be? And what should be the policy on annotating the pages? To address these in order…
There was a bit about the site in the issue of Web User that just left the UK newsstands; I didn’t read it, so I’m not sure what it said. I’ll also be interviewed by Valerie Richardson on WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut at around 10.30am local time today.
I’ve been working on improving the Recent Annotations page format, as it was rather unwieldy. I’ve now set it so that rather than listing the last 30 annotations chronologically, it lists the last 10 entries ordered by whichever has the most recent annotations. I hope that makes sense! There didn’t seem much point in the previous listing where most of the comments were on the current diary entry. This way, it’s easier to keep an eye on new annotations appearing on older diary entries.
I’ve also worked out how to include the start of each annotation, which makes it a bit more interesting. I’ve changed the recent People/Places annotations list to the same format too (I’m trying to split this into two separate lists but haven’t worked out how yet). I hope you feel this is an improvement; let me know!
David Quidnunc has suggested we should discuss a general policy on plot spoilers in annotations. Sometimes it seems necessary to divulge something that happens in the “future” to explain a point, but given that most of us don’t know what’s coming up for Pepys this might spoil any suspense. He says:
The New York Times has an article which is mostly about Pepys, this site and comparing weblogs in general to Pepys’ style. Be a bit careful though; some huge interactive GE advert on the page locked my browser up for several minutes until I could get Back off the page (using Mozilla on Mac OS X); I resorted to Lynx. (Thanks Gerry.)
Up to now we’ve been reading entries for January that I entered some time ago, and it’s now time for me to enter the next batch. So I’d like to know how people feel about the amount of links to People and Places pages. At the moment I create a new page if the 1893 edition has footnotes for an item, if a reader requests a page, or if it seems obvious to me that it might be useful.
Would you like more of them? While I could make every person and place into a link I don’t think this would necessarily be a good idea. We don’t know anything about some of the people and there may be little if anything to say about some of the places. If a lot of these pages have little content I can imagine one might get frustrated with clicking links that often end up with nothing at the end of them.
So, is the current amount of links about right? If you want more, any thoughts on how to judge when a new person or place deserves a page? Thanks for your thoughts.
The Guardian has a Question and Answer with Claire Tomalin, the author nominated for a Whitbread Award for her Pepys biography. Strangely, the page doesn’t say when Tomalin will be fulfilling the Answering part of the deal, so you’d better rush over and ask your Questions now. Unfortunately you need to log in or register before you can submit questions, but don’t let that put you off; follow the “log in” link on the page to register. (Thanks for the tip mum!)
The local newspaper from where I grew up has published a short piece about the site. The Witham and Braintree Times isn’t online in any useful form so here’s the article for your entertainment and my embarrassment: