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A periwig and procrastination

11 April, in the year of our Lord 2020

Up, and after breakfast to Jervas the barber for a new periwig. Gesticulating for me to stay put with one hand, his mouth hidden by the other, he did throw me a wig from across the shop, saying he did not want to catch anything. I countered that I knew exactly what he meant since his last wig was full of nits, so tossed it back with faux cheer and ‘Here, catch this!’ and sure enough he did. Bought nothing, but felt it prudent to cleanse my hands with a jell purchased at the Exchange. Home, the street empty; but when I did raise my eyes to admire my house, alarmed by great cracks in the plasterwork, which I presume from The Fire, enough to disturb me for the integrity of the house.
  After dinner, a reply from Mr. M. Jones, a good friend, to whom I had proposed that these times offer ample opportunitie for some Do It Himselfe, but the opportunitie that interests him most is for himselfe not doing it and it is manifest in Procrastination, he procuring excuses from a seeming endless list, to wit: it is going dark, going a bit cold, he needs his tea, he wants not to tire himselfe out, he hath done enough for one day, he might not have all he needs, there’s the dog to think about, he is no longer sure about the colour, that last time he did something like this he did nearly hurt himselfe and, more perplexing than any, that ‘his curve hath not yet flattened’, which last I understood not at all, but felt was born of desperation or gin.
  After supper news that The First Lord of the Treasury hath lately been into St. Tho. Hospitalle wherein he hath received Entensive Care. I am glad, for though I think him a charlatan who doth hide vacuity behind a glib facility, I cannot find it in me to wish him ill. And so to bed.


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Trouble brewing

9 April, in the year of our Lord 2020

Up, and at ablutions a pymple upon my nose, so to the apothecary. The streets again with almost no one, though keeping a few paces distant a figure disguised by eyeglasses, fur hat and gloves despite the clement day, and fabric wrapped around her nose and mouth so tight it did amaze me she could breathe. Presently she spoke and it was my lady Mrs. MacSporran, whom I did desire but it was obvious this morning that I could hazer nada que jo voudrais con all that paraphernalia. She told me I should wear across my face a scarf, and when I ventured why did merrily retort, ‘Well, I would, with a Plooke like that!’ – and chortling on her way. At the apothecary’s a tail of people standing singly in the street, many with mufflers and one kneeling anxious on the cobbles with a six foot measure. Inside only I and the apothecary, a fool. I did request a cream for my nose, to which the oaf made reply, ‘Single, double, whipping or fraîche?’. I made to cuff him round the ear but he dodged and admonished me with ‘Special Distancing’ or some such. I said I had no time for japes like this, to which he did slyly reply, ‘Oh, I think you will find you do, sir.’
  After dinner to the office, where a letter from Whitehall with the seal of The First Lord of the Treasury, another fool, which I was tempted to set aside but did open and read. The change in circumstances of this last few days explained and it did put me in disquiet, for in 1665 the town empty and shops closed owing to the plague, and by December many of such as I knew very well, dead, and I pray God will not suffer the same to come again. I begin to think of setting things in order.

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A dead starling

31 March, in the year of our Lord 2020

Up betimes, and a dead starling on the hall mat, the perpetrator nowhere. After a meagre breakfast to my friend’s house where I did feed his cat, which is the most companionable and inquisitive I ever did see in my life; and did take my Book Club book to read chosen by Mr. T. Radford, which is ‘Crime and Punishment’ – an odd circumstance, I did reflect, since it would not come to be written for two hundred years – there to sit and give companionship to the cat, though after a short while it did nip out not to be seen again till suppertime, whereupon I pondered on the conceit of cats and the nature of gratitude. Strange to see the streets so quiet, as if there is lately something going on of which I know nothing.
  Anon, and being at leisure I did bake a pie of blackberrys, which I know to be not in season but were lately a gift from my father who had kept them on ice and assured me of their worth notwithstanding the date of 2017 writ on the container, which in truth perplexed me further since it is either 350 years from now or three ago. I did later question my wits for the blackberrys, for early evening with some grutchings, the consequences apparent by nightfall which I shall not relate save that the paucity of closet paper doth trouble me the more. And so to bed.