Temperature and politics

I have added a bit of extra contextual information in the sidebar next to every diary entry. You can now see:

  • The average temperature for that month (daily data isn’t available until 1772) as recorded by Gordon Manley of the Royal Meteorological Society. You can view the full dataset on the Met Office’s website.

  • Links to the relevant daily Journals for the House of Commons and House of Lords from British History Online. These will hopefully give some context to Pepys’ more political activities.

My thanks to Terry Foreman for finding both these sources of information that help bring Pepys’ world alive. If anyone can suggest anything else, do let me know.

Get Pepys' Diary by email

The most requested feature for the site has been to receive daily diary entries by email. It may have taken me nearly five years for me to manage this but, finally, it’s now possible.

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Site design updates

Thanks for all your comments on the new design. I’ve made a few changes based on what you said, as described below. If things look a little odd you may need to visit this file and click the Reload button in your browser.

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New design launched

As you can tell, the site’s had a lick of paint! Everything should be working OK now, so if you come across anything that looks broken, or that doesn’t work as you expect, do let me know (and tell me which web browser and operating system you’re using).

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Become a Pepys encyclopedia editor

Some time ago I raised the possibility of readers of the diary adopting pages in the Encyclopedia and becoming editors of them. I made a few changes to the site that made this possible, and a couple of press-ganged “volunteers”, Jeannine and Todd, have so far given this a try.

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An imminent new feature...

Update: The first article has now appeared!

You might notice a few things around here have been tweaked. This is to make room for a new section of the site: In-depth Articles. This will, hopefully, be a home to occasionally essays about aspects of Pepys’ life or the world in which he lived. If you would like to write something that doesn’t seem to fit elsewhere (perhaps because it’s too long for an annotation or covers too many topics to find a home in the Background Info pages), either drop me a line or raise the idea in the discussion group. The first article will appear this week…

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The story so far is now up to date

The Story So Far section of the site is now up to date, providing a monthly summary of events in the diary. Hopefully this should help people who haven’t been with us since the start, who have to take a break from the diary, or those of us who simply need reminding of past events occasionally.

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New further reading section

The old Further Reading page didn’t allow anyone to post their suggestions to it, so we were ending up with book recommendations scattered through the annotations. I’ve now created a new Further Reading section in Background Info, so if you would like to recommend something that isn’t already listed, feel free!

If you want to recommend a book but can’t see a page that’s right for it, do email me and I’ll add one.

New glossary in Background Info

It’s been suggested before, but the need for it has become more apparent as the diary goes on. I’ve created glossary category in the Background Info section for words that are used reasonably often, that need explaining, and that don’t have a more suitable category. “Link boy” is the only entry so far, and if you think of anything else (in past or future diary entries), just let me know. It should help cut down on anyone having to explain the same things too often!

Join the discussion forum!

In the past we’ve debated whether there’s a need for a more informal discussion space, aside from the diary annotations. While we didn’t reach a conclusion, I think it’s worth a go. There have been a number of off-topic annotations recently and I think we would all benefit from somewhere we can dicsuss things, or ask questions, that don’t fit anywhere else.

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A few new things...

I made a few little changes today:

  • 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.)

New things in the Background Info section

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.

The new Background Info section

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.

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New Recent Annotations page format

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!