Proverbial (9)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

At my musique practice, and so into my cellar to my workmen, and I am very much pleased with my alteracon there.
About noon comes my uncle Thomas to me to ask for his annuity, and I did tell him my mind freely. We had some high words, but I was willing to end all in peace, and so I made him dine with me, and I have hopes to work my end upon him. After dinner the barber trimmed me, and so to the office, where I do begin to be exact in my duty there and exacting my privileges, and shall continue to do so.
None but Sir W. Batten and me here to-night, and so we broke up early, and I home and to my chamber to put things in order, and so to bed. My swelling I think do begin to go away again.

I tell my mind
to the barber,
put things in order
to go away.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 6 February 1661/62.

Proverbial (8)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Fast-day for the murthering of the late King. I went to church, and Mr. Mills made a good sermon upon David’s words, “Who can lay his hands upon the Lord’s Anoynted and be guiltless?” So home and to dinner, and employed all the afternoon in my chamber, setting things and papers to rights, which pleased me very well, and I think I shall begin to take pleasure in being at home and minding my business. I pray God I may, for I find a great need thereof. At night to supper and to bed.

Murdering words
can be guiltless,
and the afternoon paper may find
great need of night.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 January 1661/62.

Proverbial (7)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

This morning up early, and to my Lord Chancellor’s with a letter to him from my Lord, and did speak with him; and he did ask me whether I was son to Mr. Talbot Pepys or no (with whom he was once acquainted in the Court of Requests), and spoke to me with great respect. Thence to Westminster Hall (it being Term time) and there met with Commissioner Pett, and so at noon he and I by appointment to the Sun in New Fish Street, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and we all were to dine, at an invitation of Captain Stoaks and Captain Clerk, and were very merry, and by discourse I found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler.
After dinner to the Wardrobe, and thence to Dr. Williams, who went with me (the first time that he has been abroad a great while) to the Six Clerks Office to find me a clerk there able to advise me in my business with Tom Trice, and after I had heard them talk, and had given me some comfort, I went to my brother Tom’s, and took him with me to my coz. Turner at the Temple, and had his opinion that I should not pay more than the principal 200l, with which I was much pleased, and so home.

Ask me the time and I point to the sun.


An oak is a fine scholar of the ear.


Comfort took me to the temple Ease.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 November 1661.

Proverbial (6)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

By coach to White Hall with Sir W. Pen. So to Mr. Montagu, where his man, Mons. Eschar, makes a great complaint against the English, that they did help the Spaniards against the French the other day; and that their Embassador do demand justice of our King, and that he do resolve to be gone for France the next week; which I, and all that I met with, are very glad of. Thence to Paternoster Row, where my Will did receive the 50l. I borrowed yesterday. I to the Wardrobe to dinner, and there staid most of the afternoon very merry with the ladies. Then Captain Ferrers and I to the Theatre, and there came too late, so we staid and saw a bit of “Victoria,” which pleased me worse than it did the other day. So we staid not to see it out, but went out and drank a bottle or two of China ale, and so home, where I found my wife vexed at her people for grumbling to eat Suffolk cheese, which I also am vexed at. So to bed.

Char a bass and be glad.


The pater noster yesterday; war today.


Vexed to eat, vexed to be.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 4 October 1661.

Proverbial (5)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

At the office all the morning, at noon to the Change, and then home again. To dinner, where my uncle Fenner by appointment came and dined with me, thinking to go together to my aunt Kite’s that is dead; but before we had dined comes Sir R. Slingsby and his lady, and a great deal of company, to take my wife and I out by barge to shew them the King’s and Duke’s yachts. So I was forced to leave my uncle and brother Tom at dinner and go forth with them, and we had great pleasure, seeing all four yachts, viz., these two and the two Dutch ones. And so home again, and after writing letters by post, to bed.

I change
by appointment,
think the dead.

But before the seeing,
the writing.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 September 1661.

Proverbial (4)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up early, my Lady Batten knocking at her door that comes into one of my chambers. I did give directions to my people and workmen, and so about 8 o’clock we took barge at the Tower, Sir William Batten and his lady, Mrs. Turner, Mr. Fowler and I. A very pleasant passage and so to Gravesend, where we dined, and from thence a coach took them and me, and Mr. Fowler with some others came from Rochester to meet us, on horseback. At Rochester, where alight at Mr. Alcock’s and there drank and had good sport, with his bringing out so many sorts of cheese. Then to the Hillhouse at Chatham, where I never was before, and I found a pretty pleasant house and am pleased with the arms that hang up there. Here we supped very merry, and late to bed; Sir William telling me that old Edgeborrow, his predecessor, did die and walk in my chamber, did make me some what afeard, but not so much as for mirth’s sake I did seem. So to bed in the treasurer’s chamber…

Knock on a clock, owe an owl.

A sage and an owl meet where a light is out.

Never was a house pleased with the arms that hang there.

We die in fear, not for mirth’s sake.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 8 April 1661.

Proverbial (3)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up among my workmen, my head akeing all day from last night’s debauch. To the office all the morning, and at noon dined with Sir W. Batten and Pen, who would needs have me drink two drafts of sack to-day to cure me of last night’s disease, which I thought strange but I think find it true.
Then home with my workmen all the afternoon, at night into the garden to play on my flageolette, it being moonshine, where I staid a good while, and so home and to bed.
This day I hear that the Dutch have sent the King a great present of money, which we think will stop the match with Portugal; and judge this to be the reason that our so great haste in sending the two ships to the East Indys is also stayed.

I debauch the morning with a pen.

Who needs to think, find a garden.

On my flag: moon and money, our two hips.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 3 April 1661.

Proverbial (2)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

This morning Sir Williams both went to Woolwich to sell some old provisions there.
I to Whitehall, and up and down about many businesses. Dined at my Lord’s, then to Mr. Crew to Mr. Moore, and he and I to London to Guildhall to see the seamen paid off, but could not without trouble, and so I took him to the Fleece tavern, where the pretty woman that Luellin lately told me the story of dwells, but I could not see her.
Then towards home and met Spicer, D. Vines, Ruddiard, and a company more of my old acquaintance, and went into a place to drink some ale, and there we staid playing the fool till late, and so I home.
At home met with ill news that my hopes of getting some money for the Charles were spoiled through Mr. Waith’s perverseness, which did so vex me that I could not sleep at night. But I wrote a letter to him to send to-morrow morning for him to take my money for me, and so with good words I thought to coy with him. To bed.

Wool to sell and fleece to dwell.

War and spice acquaint a place.

Ale and a fool spoil sleep.

Let tomorrow take money for good words.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 7 March 1660/61.

The Canela tweets

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

fearless tracker

I use Twitter for a bit more than just Morning Porch updates these days. Three weeks of dog-sitting — and especially dog-walking — yielded a few insights, which I shared on Twitter because they weren’t really long enough for blog posts. Canela is an eight- or nine-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever with a very easy-going disposition, boundless energy and an insatiable curiosity. We walked three to four miles every day. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what I’ve been writing. (The first and last of these also appeared on The Morning Porch.)

Jan. 2
Dozens of juncos flit through the bushes. The old brown retriever that I’m dog-sitting watches from the porch, her nose quivering.

Jan. 12
Trying to teach sarcasm to the dog.

Before I can stop her, the dog wolfs down a frozen coyote turd.

Just back from a three-mile walk full of fascinating scats and urine samples, the dog falls asleep on her Dora the Explorer blanket.

Before I started dog-sitting, I had no idea how much I talk to myself.

The dog’s sleep is punctuated with sighs and episodes of labored breathing. She snores. She smacks her lips.

She rumbles like an appliance with a bad motor.

Her jaws move as if around recalcitrant syllables of human speech. Then she dry-retches and falls silent.

Jan. 13
I just complimented a dog for taking a dump. This pet thing is insidious.

Jan. 14
The dog appears to have two modes: full-on excitement and sleep. I of course am an Eeyore and an insomniac. What a disappointment I must be.

On a walk in the thawing woods, the dog smells everything. All I smell is dog.

Going out to pee in the moonlight, the dog stands gazing into the shadows.

Jan. 15
Having just circled the field, more than anything the dog want to circle the field.

You can’t circle the same field twice, as Heraclitus might’ve said.

Like a suburban kid getting a “tribal” tattoo, the dog wants desperately to roll in coyote scent.

Straining against the leash that won’t let her catch up to a porcupine, the dog whines and whimpers like a creature in pain.

Jan. 16
Ten minutes after telling our neighbor that the dog never barks, I hear her bark, left alone in the house.

So the dog doesn’t bark at people, other dogs, deer, ruffed grouse, rabbits or porcupines. She barks at the absence of all those things.

Jan. 18
Last night, I gave the dog back to her family. In the morning, two inches of wind-blown snow, and the yard unmarred by a single track.

Proverbial (1)

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

To the office.
From thence by coach upon the desire of the principal officers to a Master of Chancery to give Mr. Stowell his oath, whereby he do answer that he did hear Phineas Pett say very high words against the King a great while ago.
Coming back our coach broke, and so Stowell and I to Mr. Rawlinson’s, and after a glass of wine parted, and I to the office, home to dinner, where (having put away my boy in the morning) his father brought him again, but I did so clear up my boy’s roguery to his father, that he could not speak against my putting him away, and so I did give him 10s. for the boy’s clothes that I made him, and so parted and tore his indenture.
All the afternoon with the principal officers at Sir W. Batten’s about Pett’s business (where I first saw Col. Slingsby, who has now his appointment for Comptroller), but did bring it to no issue. This day I saw our Dedimus to be sworn in the peace by, which will be shortly.
In the evening my wife being a little impatient I went along with her to buy her a necklace of pearl, which will cost 4l. 10s., which I am willing to comply with her in for her encouragement, and because I have lately got money, having now above 200l. in cash beforehand in the world.
Home, and having in our way bought a rabbit and two little lobsters, my wife and I did sup late, and so to bed.
Great news now-a-day of the Duke d’Anjou’s desire to marry the Princesse Henrietta.
Hugh Peters is said to be taken, and the Duke of Gloucester is ill, and it is said it will prove the small-pox.

Chance is a rogue: my clothes tore.

I saw no peace, my wife being impatient to buy it.

A rabbit and lobster desire to marry, it is said.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 5 September 1660.