✹ About Monday 31 May 1669 Stephane Chenard on 31 May 2022 • Link Our little boat comes to rest on the shore, with a dry hiss of its paper hull against the fine sand. Behind us the immense sea of paper churns and heaves, stirred by the fights of the Archival monsters deep within. Sam Pepys neatly stows the oars, stands up, adjusts his golden lace cuffs and his periwig, steps ashore and walks away without a word or a look back. "Mr. Pepys", we say, "we urge utmost caution! Those are the Sands of Time! People have been known to disappear in them. On this Sea and with us you would be safer". Up and down the shore, dozens of other boats, of all styles and sizes, are similarly beached, and from them dozens of Sam Pepyses step out. The Annotators all plead like us, to no avail. Some leave their boats to trudge after Sam up the beach, but he's already disappeared behind a dune. It's a problem for the Annotators. We are, you see, mostly from the future. But most of us are in fact from our past, though we converse with them almost as in the present. And now we have no future, because the past has stopped; the past has no future anymore. What to do? Why, of course the past has a future. It is the past itself – the deeper past! We fell into this boat, in Sam's company, on 1 January, 1665. And so we will turn our boat around, round this little cape here, on which stands this tavern appropriately named The World's End, and the shop where they make these elegant white walking sticks for the blind. Then we will resume our progress from 1 January, 1660. Aye, that is our designe. The past will then be younger! Sam, younger, fresher and poorer. The King, still brushing off ashes from the recent past. London, still a warren of timbered, combustible narrow lanes, and the plague still on its way to Constantinople. The Annotators, also younger, though this much older, and bringing to the past their new wisdom from the future – for we know the past's future, the past years 1665-69 that will all be the future (but only then, in the past of the past) and these future people that we will meet in the past will not yet have seen this future. That is, we will do this in the future, if the Diary Gods allow, as we pray. On the dune, two seagulls contemplate us. "This one's severely confused, isn't he", one remarks to the other. "Didn't bring us any fish, though. Is it going to be like this every ten years, then? We should put up a sign: 'Bring fish for the Time Gulls'." Ah well. We have six months now to find January 1, 1660 and haul our little boat there. Sure, we could just cross over, and be there already, but who wants to read of wintertime at the height of summer? So see you soon! Let's meet again, ten years ago in six months. How shall we survive until then? Not to worry; just scoop some Gazettes, some State Papers, from the bountiful sea. Onward, now! Onward, to the past!