Friday 26 April 1661

At the office all the morning, and at noon dined by myself at home on a piece of meat from the cook’s.

And so at home all the afternoon with my workmen, and at night to bed, having some thoughts to order my business so as to go to Portsmouth the next week with Sir Robert Slingsby.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Susan  •  Link

What a quiet bachelor life after the high doings of the past few days! Studiously working all morning, takeaway dinner and hanging about (irrating no doubt) the workmen all afternoon. No play, no treating friends to beer and barrels of oysters, no conversation, no scurrying about after My Lord's business, no visit to parental home (avoiding same because of not wanting to be dragged into quarrels about the maid??) and so contact with Mrs P. All very somber, sober and quite unlike out usual Sam.

Michael  •  Link

The day Sam described could be a usual working day for most of us, without any special excitement. Just add some TV or radio and it could be anyone's day, anno 2004 (without a family). Its ordinary structure highlights at the same time just how extraordinary most of Sam's days are compared with today's standard fare.

dirk  •  Link

"The day Sam described could be a usual working day for most of us"

Re -Michael

...except for the fact that Sam has only worked till noon, and spends the rest of the day at home!

Vicente  •  Link

I guess he is worn out, and like the rest who are recovouring from their "Easter break" festivities too.
Ah! pre-sandwiched days. If only he thought of 2 pieces of bread to wrapp around his piece of meat. We might be having a pepys and ale to-day. Such is the fate of [not] documenting ones idiosyncrasies at the right moment.

Susan  •  Link

Sam's working day
Was it only until noon? Do we know what time he had dinner (and this wasn't "lunch" - that didn't get invented until the dinner hour got pushed further and further into the day and it became fashionable to dine later. Poorer people still had their main meal in the middle of the day. What one calls which meal is still a class designator in Britain even today).
But with Sam, do we know what time he started work? I think he puts in quite long hours and "office time" was usually only supposed to be until the dinner break. Sam, however, quite often goes back to the office after dinner, sometimes after supper and sometimes all day Sunday. His work seems to have been tidal. He seems to be on an ebb tide at the moment.

David Goldfarb  •  Link

Um, re-read the entry: he says right there that he dined at home at noon. He doesn't say what time he started, to be sure.

Susan  •  Link

To David et al - sorry!
Of course it says noon. Just being over eager to defend Sam against accusations of slacking! In some places in the diary he mentions rising by candlelight as if this was worthy of note, so I assume his working day starts at dawn normally. He would get up,get dressed have a morning draught at home (or go out for one with friends)and walk across the court yard to the office, so I reckon he's put in about 5 hours work. OK, not a long working day, but he often does work after dinner!

Rich Merne  •  Link

A piece of meat from the cook's.;
L&M do not give the above 'possessive', "cook's", but the following capitalised varient, "Cookes"

Pedro.  •  Link

What a quiet bachelor life after the high doings of the past few days!

"having some thoughts to order my business so as to go to Portsmouth the next week with Sir Robert Slingsby."
A quiet day planning an excuse to tell the Mrs about a "business trip" with the Lads? No doubt all will be revealed soon!

Rich Merne  •  Link

Susan's class designator;
"...well my good man, I'm away to *lunch*, you may go to *dinner*", the *s are mine, and I cannot recall the attribution.

J A Gioia  •  Link

feeling peckish at midday?

feel free to take tiffin.

Mary K. McIntyre  •  Link

my old granddad called the evg meal "supper" as long as I knew him. He was a carpenter by trade, 4th-gen Canadian, the family from godknowswhere in the UK before that...

Mary  •  Link

... a piece of meat from Cookes...

The L&M capitalized reading looks as if a specific tavern/ordinary is referred to. However, I can find no mention of such in the Seething Lane area being kept by a man called Cook(e) at this time. The Swan, in Dowgate Hill, was kept by a man called Cox, but that is well over half a mile away; a bit far to bring a piece of cooked meat and have it still warm for eating. There would have been several taverns and cook-shops closer to Seething Lane.

Carolina  •  Link

Re Sam's working hours - I would imagine that in his day, without artificial light, the normal working day would be between dawn and dusk for most people. Possibly his noon, although the same actual time as ours, would be equivalent to perhaps our 2 or 3 in the afternoon ?

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam's "today" would be 6th May in the Gregorian Calendar. Hence sunrise would have been at about 4:25 in what would later become GMT. Depending upon weather and pollution, it should have been comfortably light from 4am. So there was 6 hours or so to do a significant morning's work before astronomical noon.

If he WAS up at dawn, he'd have been mightily hungry.

Pandora  •  Link

Cook = Cookshop, i.e. Restoration era readymeals.

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