Annotations and comments

Harvey L has posted 14 annotations/comments since 21 October 2017.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Tuesday 17 July 1666

Harvey L  •  Link

Louise... yes, every age thinks they understand the workings of the world, and now more than ever the experts are "often in error but never in doubt."
Since I trained in Health in the 1960s, the striking thing over the next 50 years has been just how many of the known facts of that time have turned out to be wrong.
Of course we would like to believe that we have finally reached true enlightenment, but I suspect that we've just moved from 1% to 1.1% accuracy about what we 'know' compared to Sam's time. One of the things that makes this diary so good is to see all the parallels of then to now.

About Tuesday 19 June 1666

Harvey L  •  Link

"... what the Navy complex looked like..."

Visiting London a few weeks ago, I walked round the area which is all modern buildings, having been heavily bombed in WW2.

Great to see Seething Lane and Crutched Friars (a street crossing the end of Seething Lane), and the (new) Pepys Street. Best of all is St Olaves, cnr of Seething Lane and Crutched Friars, which has a very nice small churchyard, side gate with skulls, the 'Navy staircase' now removed but clearly identified and leading into the Navy pews to the side near the altar. No need for them to mix with the common people on the way in or out. You can feel Sam's presence, with Elizabeth Pepy's bust high on the wall directly in view from the Navy pews, added after the diary period but so evocative to see. I sat a while in each of the 3 or 4 rows of Navy pews to soak up the atmosphere, and that now provides mental video to go with the diary entries. Any of us Pepys followers... definitely worth spending time at St Olaves.

About Thursday 14 June 1666

Harvey L  •  Link

Secular... yes.

He goes to church on Sunday to see and be seen, and doesn't seem to draw any particular inspiration. When he says, "If God wills it..." that seems to be like we might now say "If fate wills it..." rather than any sense of being judged from on high.

The convention of the day was to believe in God, so he acted as though he did. Unlike Evelyn who was an obvious believer.

About Thursday 14 June 1666

Harvey L  •  Link

Hi S.D.Sarah,
Good point... its not just the facts that matter but equally, or even more, the atmosphere in which they're viewed.

We've exchanged the superstitions of 1666 for those of 2019, but people are still disgraced, lose their jobs etc for actions (or even just statements that can be misconstrued) that go against the 'correct' behaviour of the times.

One of the delights of Pepys diary is to see how much life then is like life now... the toys change but us humans don't. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

About Monday 9 April 1666

Harvey L  •  Link

Its only in the last 100 years that 'the authorities' have felt the need to be involved with minor changes to people's property.

About Saturday 30 December 1665

Harvey L  •  Link

I multiply Sam's pounds by 1000 to get NZ$... the values seem about right. Or around 500 for US$, STG or EUR. His pounds do seem to buy a lot more than the 130 x as on the official currency converters.
Perhaps because of the lack of technology toys like cars and having one's body repaired.

About Sunday 24 December 1665

Harvey L  •  Link

Merry Christmas to all from New Zealand, where it is currently 9pm on Christmas Day... all over full on traditional heavy winter Northern Hemisphere Christmas fare as inherited from Pepys and his contemporaries... plus some Southern Hemisphere summer additions like strawberries.

About Thursday 21 December 1665

Harvey L  •  Link

In another 350 years, should any of us have a diary that survives to be read (and is worth reading), I suspect that many of the things we consider normal will seen just as outrageous by the standards of that day.

Like John, I observe without judgement.

About Monday 19 December 1664

Harvey L  •  Link

Bad behaviour in any age... and Sam realises that.
But human nature doesn't change, just the things that are authorised at the time.
In 300 years, diaries of today will contain just as many entries drawing the same disapproval.

About Tuesday 13 December 1664

Harvey L  •  Link

I'm often struck by how little things really change... the senior execs work until the work is done regardless of the hours (likewise self employed)... people make important decisions based on incorrect 'facts' and rumour... the VIPs are no different in private than the rest of us... people do try to accumulate wealth for their retirement (despite modern academics claiming that 'retirement' is a modern concept)... and in the end 'man proposes but God disposes'.
Life goes on much as it always has.

About Wednesday 19 October 1664

Harvey L  •  Link

London women in the 17th century... If the Pepys had children, they would have had servants to look after them so Elizabeth might have been as free.

I too, have found that the diary shows a greater freedom for (at least some) women than expected. Elizabeth and Sam seem to have had a similar relationship as do many today. The world changes but human nature does not.

Another surprise is Sam's father being retired... various academic experts have stated that 'retirement' is a recent invention, which is clearly not so. I guess that to be an expert you can be "Sometimes in error but never in doubt."

About Saturday 15 October 1664

Harvey L  •  Link

Re Sasha's comment:
"Sam has hardly been "spoiled": he's worked, grafted & networked for everything he's got. With Sam's help and encouragement, young John certainly has had the same advantages given him as Sam, ie St Paul's and Cambridge; he just hasn't made as much of them."

No further explanation needed as to why young John resents his older brother... he has the choice of saying 'Sam was favoured over me and it's not fair', OR 'Sam worked harder than me, and despite his help I never got off my backside, so Sam deserves what he has got.'

Not hard to see which version a younger brother might prefer to believe.