3 February, in the year of our Lord 2021
Up betimes, the day brighter than these last, when there was a mere diminution of darknesse. Before breakfasted I abroad for a little exersice, which was to walk up the lane, where in the window of the Physician’s espyed a note writ in the insecure hand of a novice: WaИted ~ VaskernateЯs to Help fite the COVIE plaig! The NSH knead ur Help!!! Ferther enformacion wit hin. Or aply 2 Mrs. Eliz. Cadwalleder. Singed: Geo. Erchin — which put me to think if the roll would be to my taste for I need a Project.
After dinner set about a big hidrangera at the bottom of the garden, with secketiers, and to the hacking of an elder flowershrub which was over grown, with thick branches, which I cut with a saw, and which brought me to the view that if I can do something like that I can be a vaskernater, so determined I will persue it. Then it rained so I came in.
5 February, in the year of our Lord 2021
Up, and at breakfast read the gazette, wherein news pertaneing to divers matters of the Worlde, incl. that it it will snow a great deal and be mighty cold, that the oister busyness says it will be compleatly shucked by our leaving the Continent, and that in Burmerland the soldiery hath couped its Govt. After, to the butchershoppe, where none but I and the merrie ding-a-ling of the door on my entering, and obliged to stand on bright blue stickers in the shape of a pare of feet, which were adhered to the floor, and to discourse with Mr. Jas. MacSporran at a special Distance. Inquir’d as to the availabilitie of lamb choppes but with little expectacion, for his counter as bare as ever I saw it — which is not much, it is to be admitted, but the bareness of it, and the lack of persons at the door or in the lane, or of any other coustemer, all suspiciose of hard times. MacSporran glowered me from under untrimmed eyebrows and over wire-rimmed spectackles, two enormous tomes before him, which were open on the counter.
‘Is not business as fruitfulle as formerly?’ hazard I.
‘It is not, Pepys,’ growls he. ‘It is fullie and firmlie not as f***ing fruitful as f***ing formerlie. D’ye know what these are?’ asks he, stabbing his quille at the ledgers before him.
‘Orders for your fine fillets? Or perchance the special Haggies?’ suggest I, with a degree of hesitence, to which he gave me a short and satisfactory answer, compleat with alliteration.
‘No, they’re nae f***ing orders for my fine f***ing fillets, Pepys!’ rages he. ‘These, Samuel, are what the First Lord of the Treasurie and his lacky Master Gove hath determined are required to ship a chicken leg to Calays!’
‘But the First Lord protested such a chicken readie for the oven, gas mark 4 and bobs your Unckle — ’
‘Aye, that he did! Along wi’ “a strong relacionshippe with our friends across the Channel whatever the cyrcumstences”. Along wi’ “we agin have control of our laws and our destinie”. And along wi’ “Mrs Stergin shall have all the f***ing fish she can possibly f***ing eat!”’
‘And did you, erm — vote for that?’
‘If ye think ah’m answering tae ye as tae my votin’ habits, Pepys, ye’ve another think comin’!’ roared he (which took I as a Yes). ‘But if that bastaird Johnstone doesnae do somethin’ aboot it suin, ye’ll see his unfilleted bawbag skewered to this bloody counter wi’ a sgian dubh!’
Thus ranted, he intooke of a great breath and adjusted himselfe into a semblence of professionalysme. ‘Will thair be anythin’ else ah can do fair ye? Afore ah go bankripped?’
I retreated to the pare of blue stickers six feet nearer the door.
‘I don’t suppose you know a good fishmonger?’
At which I was obliged to leave in a hurry, with both the bell and the words ‘ — and it’s haggis not Haggies, ye bampot Sassenach!!’ ringing in my ears.
After dinner I to my office, where corresponded on the account of my thinking to become a vaskernator against the plague, which seems a noble thing to do, onlie the first hurdle on the way to nobly doing it means I must spend an hour on a magick window, watching a Core Module with little storys where someone falls dead to the ground, and thereafter answer lots of questions about it — though not who dunnit?, which I think a great omition.
By and by comes Mr. M. Jones for supper.
‘How goes the vaxinator applicacion?’ asks he.
‘Vask-er-nat-er,’ say I, heavilie, correcting him. ‘I saw it on the advert.’
‘Vax-in — ’ incysts he, but gives up. ‘I cannot believe your inabilitie to grasp the Basicks of English!’
‘Whatever,’ say I. ‘To be honest, it is a bit tediose, but there are some good bits. This very afternoon, for instance, I have learned that you can bring someone back to life by repeatedlie hitting them and if that does not work you can ask people in a car park to help.’
‘I see,’ says he. ‘Are you certain your extraordinarie skill set is what they really need? You need not answer that. It is going to be very cold tonight — what is for supper? I can smell garlique butter and burned breadcrumbs.’
‘Chicken kevin,’ say I, squinting without my spectackles at the packaging. ‘With freets.’
‘You do not pronounce that in that way, either!’ exclaims he, crossly.
‘I have already had a lesson in Scots from MacSporran today,’ retort I. ‘I do not need one in Russian from you. Chicken kevins with frights, if you must.’
Mr. Jones changes tack, reaching for the gazette and taking in the head Lines. ‘It is a great shame about Burmerland. You have been there, I think?’
‘I have,’ say I, removing supper from the oven. ‘It is a lovely and exotique land with a delightfulle people. In fact, now I remember, I have a Burmese delivryman, though he is of a paler complection than are natives of that country.’
He blinks at me in dysbelief. ‘That is because you do not have a Burmese delivryman. You have a Hermes delivryman. From Wandsworth.’
After a cool supper, I tight of lippe lest I be incorrected again, we did decide to watch a repeate of Travelman on the magick screen. From Ibbizzia (‘Ib-EETH-a,’ growls Mr. Jones). With Richard Waddyoddy.