Sunday, June 19, 2011

Retro Centre and Samuel Pepys

Retro Centre and Samuel Pepys

I always enjoy visiting St Albans. Yesterday I visited a treasure house of items from times past at a Retro Centre, which I will visit again, and I shall attend the Retro Fair next weekend.

The Retro Centre is divided into sections where different sellers arrange their wares. China, glass, curios, soft furnishings, clothes and a treasure house of books.

As I went round I yearned to own a country cottage with oak beams which I could decorate with colourful china, lace edged throws, embroidered tablecloths, traycloths, framed tapestries and embroidered or tapestry cushions. Having admired, picked up and put down various items I found the book section after I rummaged through clothes and admired costume jewellery.

This is the year when I’m supposed to be saving money but I couldn’t resist three books by one of my favourite historians, Arthur Bryant, Samuel Pepys The Man in The Making, Samuel Pepys The Years of Peril and Samuel Pepys The Saviour of The Navy.

I have collected a number of Arthur Bryant’s books and always enjoy his style. Samuel Pepys, The Man in the Making begins: - “North of Cambridge lie the Fens. The sea from which they arose laps at their northern boundaries, and north and east great rivers lazily wind across them, drawing black cattle to drink among the sedges at their brink. This land would be one of silence were it not for the innumerable company of larks, of bittern, coot and moorhen, of sedge warblers and reed sparrow, which ever provides it with a faint and not discordant music. In summer it is still, as the monk William of Huntingdon remembered it, a land of clouds and orchards and golden corn. Yet it is so only by right of battle waged ceaselessly by its invading armies of water. Whenever civilization has receded – when Roman legion fell back or monastery bell was silenced-the waters have taken back their own. Salt tides have swept in with winter gales through forsaken walls, and the rivers have flowed out, cold and remorseless, over the fields and houses of man.

“.…On this land came the Pepys’s. For centuries they had grazed and ploughed, haggled at markets over country wares and peered at the Fen skies…”

Although Samuel Pepys was first published in 1933 it has not dated and is full of fascinating information, and I the preface very interesting.

“…Samuel Pepys was the creator of three remarkable, and still surviving things. The first, in the order of their making, was his Diary. The second was the civil administration of the Admiralty-the rule –and order that still give permanence to the material form, fighting traditions and transmitted knowledge of the Royal Navy. …Lord Barham testified that there was not a department of the Admiralty that was not governed by he rules Samuel Pepys had laid down in the 17th century. It was Pepys who made the scabbard for the sword that Nelson, and the heirs of Nelson used.

“Pepys third creative achievement sprang from the second. He has bee described as the father of the Civil Service. Here, too, his orders hold. The rules he laid down and the administrative principles he elucidated have become part of the continuing life of his country…”

I am writing a light-hearted novel set in the Restoration period when Charles Second came to England after his exile which followed his father’s execution. I always try to ensure that my novels are as well-researched as possible and Arthur Bryant’s trilogy about Pepys will be invaluable.

Forthcoming release. Tangled Love 27.01.2012 Muse It Up Publisher.

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