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THE DIARY OF RICHARD PEPYS

London During The Great Visitation Of 2020

Richard Pepys.

Being observations and musings
of the most remarkable occurrences,
which didst happen in London
during the great visitation of 2020.
Written by a Citizen
who continued all the while in London.

April 28th 2020

I didst spend a most troubled night beneath Mr John's piano. Every time I started to fall asleep Mr John struck up with another of his ditties, and, in consequence, my attempts at slumber were constantly interrupted by crocodiles rocking around my shed having so much fun with a lady called Susan; candles being blown out by the wind before he was old enough to know them, and him boasting that he was still standing, although I didst point out that he was, in fact, sitting at his piano.

Come seven, I didst go to leave the shed, but found that the door would not open. To the window, and I didst espy the cause of the obstruction to be Mrs Madonna, who was clothed in an old dressing gown and wearing a pair of secretarial spectacles. She was sitting at a table on which was a Petite International De Luxe typewriter and a cup of lemon tea. The back of her throne was pressed hard up against my shed door, hence my inability to egress. She was busily typing what she has chosen to call her "quarantine diary." Reading over her shoulder, I didst perceive her lamenting how, "The pain-o-meter was on 10 and when it's on 10, I just need to, want to, have to, get out of my body."

Mightily offended that she should have the audacity to record her daily musings directly outside the shed of one of the world's preeminent diarists, I didst tap hard upon the glass to attract her attention, and then didst rebuke her sternly with the reprimand:- "Oi, stop stealing my material, girl."

Sheepishly she didst move her throne aside, allowing me to exit the shed and step out into the garden. Here I found a veritable cavalcade of banality streaming in from the street. Broadcasters, musicians, singers, actors, artists, poets, all of whom were determined to ensure that I did not become despondent or feel abandoned during this crisis.

Mr Martin was over by the gate trying to cheer everybody up with one of his jolly Coldplay compositions. Mr Ramsay was by the barbecue, swearing at everyone and complaining that he was working his f***** fingers to the bone and that if he'd known that being a chef meant he'd have to cook food then he would have chosen to do something else. Mr Henry was explaining to Mr Kay that, since he had been forced to furlough himself, he was forbidden to be funny at the moment. Mr Essex was advertising his new online classroom, "Lern the time with Joey Essex: starts tonight at 8:37 A.M." Miss Ora was sitting at the backdoor, showing our maid, Jayne, how to put tops on and take them off again whilst ensuring that your nipples remain visible at all times. Mr Legend was sitting behind his piano announcing proudly that he didn't have any pants on; and Miss Pink was offering "Free concert slash piano lessons from my heart to yours to make you feel my love rehearsals," which probably makes more sense tweeted than written down, spoken out loud or actually thought about too much.

Meanwhile, a long line of psychologists and life coaches were eager to impart the lessons acquired from their years of research as to why being cooped up in a shed for long periods of time might prove an unsettling experience, and they were anxious to ensure that I understood the positive benefits of breathing during times of great uncertainty.

Desperate to escape the awful pandemic of vacuous verbosity, I lurched towards the gate, and, crashing through it, I escaped into Seething Lane, where I saw Mr. Richards - whom Mr Trump has appointed his Special Adviser On How To Inject Toxic And Corrosive Substances Into Your Body And Still Live To Be 120 - stepping through Mr Trump's gold-plated front door for his first day on the job. I must say I didst feel considerable sympathy for the old devil.

Wishing him the best of luck, I strolled down to the riverside to enjoy my allotted bout of daily exercise. Making my way along the shoreline, I cautiously picked my way through the flotsam and jetsam of washed-up reality TV stars, all of whom were wearing "Please resuscitate my career and follow me on Instagram" notices, and were despera....sorry, eager to get through this crisis so that they could once again appear on countless compilation shows talking about being on television on television.

Continuing on through Steelyard, I veered along Cousin Lane, where I encountered Mr and Mrs Redneck pushing a trolley that was brim-full with copies of The Sun, which Mr Trump has convinced them has been proven to kill the contagion on contact.

Heading up Dowgate Hill, I turned along Cannon Street, and here I didst meet with Mr Prof. Whitty whose appearance has undergone a tremendous transformation. A skull and crossbones bandanna was tied fast around his usually impeccably polished pate. Dark shades covered his eyes. He was wearing a black leather jacket over a "Make Tetrahydrocannabinol Legal" t-shirt. A pair of torn skinny jeans, held up by a heavily studded snakeskin belt with a large silver buckle, clung precariously to his legs. A half-smoked Ye Marlboro hung haphazardly from the corner of his mouth, whilst a bottle of Ye Jack Daniels dangled nonchalantly from his right hand. He didst tell me that Epidemiology is the new Rock 'n' Roll and that, since he is the undisputed bad boy of the virology world, that a****h**** Mr Sir Vallance can go f**** himself if he thinks clinical pharmacologists are bigger badasses than epidemiologists. So saying, he took his leave, slurring, "I gotta get to Westminster for my five o'clock gig, man."

Back to Seething Lane, where Mr Trump comes to his window and tells me that he thinks the solution to stamping out the contagion has been right under his nose all along. Apparently, he has discovered a red button on his desk, and he is certain that if he presses it he will be able to save the world by wiping out the pestilence in an instant. "It takes a smart guy like me, who's got more brains in his little finger than he has in his head, to think of something like that," says he. "I mean, I'm not a medical person, they couldn't think of such a smart idea, but what do we have to lose? I'll say it again, what do we have to lose? I bet that Mr Alfred Pulitzer will give me one of his noble prizes for this breakthrough."

Thinking the man a galumphing smellfungus, I left him being sarcastic to Miss Collins by turning his back on her and asking Mrs Dr Birx if she had thought of testing his excellent idea.

Stepping through my gate, I hurried to the shed, where Mr John was still sitting, warbling about his wife packing his bags pre-flight. Verily, I do think it's going to be a long, long time before lockdown brings me round to anything like normality once more. Oh, no, no, no.

April 24th 2020

Up at 8 and out upon my morning constitutional.

As I walked along Gracechurch Street, I didst encounter Mrs Patel who came over to say that she was sorry if I thought that she had hurt me when she struck me with her baton the other day. She said that she wanted me to know that she was there for me, and that she had been working 24/7, three days a week during the current crisis.

Back to Seething Lane, I didst encounter Mr Trump who tells me that, although he's not a medical person because he is too smart a guy to be a doctor, he has discovered that bathing in sulphuric acid can kill the contagion in an instant, and because he is a guy with a good, you know what, he thinks that injecting it might prove to be just the solution that is required. He tells me that his medical advisers think that he has had an excellent idea and they are extremely eager for him to start testing it before he says another word.

A little further on, I found Miss Winslet standing by the Seething Lane conduit holding a bar of soap. "Hello Pepys," says she, "I've come to show you how to wash your hands." Apparently, she is exceptionally well-qualified to advise on battling the contagion as she once played an epidemiologist in one of Mr Shakespeare's films, although, as I recall, she actually caught the contagion in the film and spent most of it on the floor of a treatment centre, so I politely declined her offer and headed into my garden.

Here, I didst behold one of the strangest sights that ever didst greet mine eyes.

Miss Carey was standing on the roof of what used to be my house. She shouted down that she had come to entertain me during this troubling time.

But, no sooner had she started singing one of her fine compositions than I heard another voice from the corner of my garden and, turning, I found Mr McCartney had also come to entertain me with a pleasant offering about mist rolling in from the sea, for which he was accompanied by some men in knee-length skirts who were collectively emitting a sound that was a cross between a tomcat being castrated with two bricks wrapped in barbed wire and a Whitehouse doctor arriving home after having sat through one of Mr Trump's daily briefings.

Meanwhile, Mrs Madonna was sitting naked in my pond, on the surface of which she had scattered petals from my prize rose bush. She lamented dolefully that nobody cares anymore how rich she is, how famous she is, or what amazing stories she can tell. She wants me to know how equal we all are in so many ways, and, if the ship goes down, then we must ensure that women and pop stars are first into the lifeboats. I didst think her a borderline fustylugs, and left her trying to get into the groove along the rim of the pond.

As I turned toward my shed, I almost tripped over Mr Oliver who announced with his great boyish enthusiasm that he had dropped by to show me how to make simple recipes using the contents of my herbaceous border and a few blades of grass. Declining his offer of a mouthwatering healthy dish, I headed towards the shed, only to find my path blocked by Mr. Sir Lloyd Webber, who was wearing the most amazing coat which had almost as many colours on it as Mr Trump's face and hair.

Mightily afeared that he would treat me to a rendition from his famous musical Ye Cats , I made a lurch for the shed, whereupon I found myself surrounded by the entire cast of Les Miserables about whom I had dreamed a dream only the other night.

Longing to be on my own, I finally managed to get to the sanctuary of the shed.

However, on throwing open the door, I found my way to be blocked by a huge piano that was taking up almost the entire interior. Squeezing my way around it, I didst espy Mr John sitting there. "Hello, Pepys, darling", said he, "I've come to sing to you," and, as his fellow musicians sat on the roof and kicked off the moss that has accumulated there of late, he began:-

It's a little bit funny, with you all stuck inside
We can sing to you daily, you've got nowhere to hide.
We might not be in tune, but it's the best we can do
When we're using our Wi-Fi, with no studio crew.

And you can't tell anybody, we can't really sing.
We're doing it for free, whilst, wearing our bling.
I hope you don't find, I hope you don't find
We've forgotten the wooooooooooords
You could always log off and watch War of the Worlds.

I watched Eamon and Ruth, interviewing Kate Moss.
The Marsh family from Kent, well they got me quite cross.
Alfie and Thomas, and Ella and Tess
could all sing in tune, though, their house is a mess.

And you can't tell anybody, we can't really sing.
We're doing it for free, whilst, wearing our bling.
I hope you don't find, I hope you don't find
We've forgotten the wooooooooooords
You could always log off and watch War of the Worlds.

Finding myself not knowing who to turn to as this cacophony of celebrity positivity set in, I didst edge quietly from the shed, just as Mr John got quite aggressive and began shouting that he was going to have a fight on Saturday night.

Shuffling furtively around the edge of the garden, I, unfortunately, bumped into one of the cast of Frozen, who raised the alarm of my impending escape, and I suddenly found myself pursued by a gaggle of honking celebrities all shouting that they didn't want me to feel like I was alone and that they were all here for me and will entertain me until we have got through this together and I can start buying their records and concert tickets again.

I managed to evade them by ducking in through the gates of St Olave's churchyard, where I sat down next to the tower to catch my breath.

Overcome by pangs of hunger, I looked up at the belfry, where I noticed several succulent looking bats. I must confess, this was the first time I had looked upon such creatures as possible sustenance, but, hey, what could be the worst that could happen?


March 30th 2020

There came a mighty tempest in the night, and, around dawn, I was awoken by a loud crash. Out into my garden, and I didst find a large golden, marble "T" lying across my grass. Looking up at my neighbour's roof, I was mightily amused to see that the name RUMP now surmounted his house. Mr Trump didst look over his wall and ask if he could have his T back, and it didst give me great pleasure to point out that, since he had closed the border betwixt our gardens, I would not be able to co-operate with his request, and that it didst gladden me to see that he was starting to lose his marbles. Calling me a horrible diarist, a really horrible diarist, he didst head back indoors in a pouting sulk.

The name RUMP in gold letters.

So out into the street, where I didst behold a scene of total devastation. Mr Caine's chimney had been toppled, the tiles had been stripped from his roof, and his windows were all shattered. I didst find him standing in the middle of Seething Lane, shouting, angrily, "you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off."

I walked along Thames Street, and on through the City, where I didst encounter similar scenes of destruction.

Along Pudding Lane, where I didst find Mr Farriner's shop had survived the storm, although the houses of his neighbour's had not fared so well. I didst bid him "good morning";, and heard him mutter "Result,", as I passed.

Back to Seething Lane, I didst find the local boys were now taking great delight in the loss of Mr Trump's T, and they had now given up insulting each other with "kiss my a***", and were, instead, leaning out of their windows and taunting each other with cries of, "Kiss my Donald," which I do confess I didst find mightily funny.

Mr Trump, however, was not so amused, and he didst lean out of his window to tell them that they were nasty boys, really nasty boys, and he shouted that he was going to send them all home. They responded by telling him to stick his threats up his Donald, at which he did turn a strange shade of puce, and did slam his window angrily.

A cartoon of Donald Trump with steam coming out of his ears.

And so to shed, where I didst sit down to pen these words, and it pains me to state that I have reached the last page in my journal, and that, with the lockdown in place, I may be unable to purchase a new journal in which to continue my musings on London life.

But, until I reach the end of this last page I shall continue wr


March 29th 2020

Lord's Day. This morning I awoke to a great confusion. Heading out into my garden, I didst look up at the clock of St Olave's Church to see that it had just turned nine. But, on looking at the clock on Mr Bacon's strange little box, I didst see that it said the time in my garden was 10.

Afeared that something may have happened to time during the night - and that one side of Seething Lane was now an hour ahead or behind the other - I didst make my way to the church doors, where I found them still locked fast.

Mightily afraid that our creator hath abandoned us and that time itself is now self-isolating, I didst kneel down outside the doors, and I didst implore my God to come to the aid of the City and help me exorcise the demon pestilence that does so torment us at this time.

No sooner had the words left my lips, than I heard a loud commotion coming from the direction of my house, and, hurrying back to my garden, I was greeted by a truly wondrous vision.

Standing at the centre of my lawn was a lithe, elderly woman, who was dressed in a striking, figure-hugging, bright green leotard, a sparkling green hat perched atop her unruly blonde locks. She was jumping up and down, waving her arms over her head, whilst at the same time leaning from side to side at awkward, almost impossible angles.

'Hello Pepys", she cried, with jaunty enthusiasm, "I have come to help you exercise. Wake up and shape up. Stretch those arms. Annnnnd down, annnnnnnd up. Come on Pepys, shake those buttocks. Now over. Well done, keep it up. What about a bit lower? Come on, get lower. Gooooooood. Now let's just make sure our backs are in order... hands together, annnnnnnnd round you go, and back to centre, annnnnnnd shake that derriére one last time, annnd down, annnnd, relax."

My periwig didst fall from my head several times as I bounced up and down, struggling to obey her exhortations, my coat tails flapping wildly about my shoulders.

By the time she had finished and had leapt, with a single bound, over the wall and into Mr Trump's garden, I found myself aching in places that I had long forgotten I actually had, and it was necessary for me to lie down upon the grass to recover my breath and composure.

My muscles aching from the contortions they had been forced to endure, I set out for a constitutional, and didst make my way along Thames Street, whereupon I had a sudden desire to pay a visit to my good friend Mr Farriner. And so to Pudding Lane, where I found his door bolted shut for the Sabbath. However, on looking through his window, I didst see that a pile of kindling he had placed close to his oven, no doubt in order that he could resume his essential calling of baking for London promptly on the morrow, was smouldering.

Without thought for my own safety, I didst grab hold of the bucket of water that all households are obliged to keep outside their doors, and, putting shoulder to his door, I didst gain access to his premises and didst douse the smouldering twigs.

Back into the street, I didst hear a noise above me, and, looking up, I didst espy Mr Farriner furtively shuffling along the upper-storey ledge I had seen him measuring yesterday. I shouted up to him to tell him that I may well have just saved his bakeshop, ad that he really should be more careful of leaving dry kindling so close to his oven, to which he did reply that he was certain that he had extinguished any flame, so he couldn't understand how such a thing could have happened. I didst leave him at his task of re-weaving his wattle and continued with my constitutional.

Making my way along Eastcheap, I didst espy Mr Jackson walking towards me at great speed, looking very agitated, and shouting loudly, "enough is enough I have had it with this ******** pestilence in this ******** City, everybody stay in and don't open your ******** windows." His words had immediate effect, as people began running home in a panic-stricken frenzy, and I, likewise not wishing to incur the wrath of Mr Jackson, didst slither home as fast as my aching legs would carry me.

Having enjoyed a supper of gravel and grass pottage, I sat for a while pondering the mystery of how the different sides of Seething Lane were now an hour apart, and, unable to fathom it, I drank a little wine and was happy as could be, happy as could be.

And so to shed, and so to bed.


March 28th 2020

Methinks the days and nights of sleeping in the shed, without recourse to bath and change of clothes, are taking their toll. For, this morning, as I didst venture out for my daily constitutional, I encountered many people whom I have known long. Yet, on seeing me approach, a look of fear and unease that bordered on abject terror didst appear on each of their faces, and they didst cross the road to avoid me, several of them pressing masks and scarves across their noses. Indeed, on Fleet Street, as I didst pass the bolted door of Ye Cocke alehouse, I didst espy Mrs Knipp, with whom I didst selvom jeg prøvede dansk i dag, selvom Pepys aldrig skrev nogen af hans dagbøger på dansk, men så havde Pepys ikke google-oversættelse just the other year, and even she did cross to St Dunstan's side to avoid me.

And so to Pudding Lane, where I didst find Mr Farriner carrying a large bundle of kindling into his bakeshop, but even he, on seeing me, didst look most ill at ease and didst hurry indoors without exchanging pleasantries.

It was, therefore, a great relief, when, on arriving back in Seething Lane, I didst encounter the friendly face of Mr Alexander, who was leaning out of his upstairs window, lobbing stones at the letters TRUMP flashing brightly upon my neighbour's roof.

He didst shout down to tell me that Mr Trump hath written to the City of London Corporation to demand that they change the name of Seething Lane to Trump Lane, to reflect the importance of his position on the Parish Council. This angered me greatly, but Mr Alexander didst continue that the Corporation had written back to say that they were not in the habit of changing their street names to flatter the vanities of mutton-headed old mugwumps and they would respectfully suggest that he change his name to Donald Seething, which, they were sure, would aptly reflect his usual demeanour.

At this point, Mr Caine didst lean out of his window and didst shout down that there was, in fact, a Trump Street adjacent to Cheapside, which becomes Russia Row halfway along, and, observing that, "not a lot of people know that", Mr Caine didst close his window.

The sign for Trump Street.

Chuckling merrily to myself over the Corporation's most excellent rejection, I to my garden, where I didst feast well upon a delicious Gordon Ramsay ******** knotweed and ******** wood-shaving ******** soup, and, promising that I would afford myself the luxury of an extra hour lying upon the floor on the morrow, I didst to shed and so to sleep.


March 27th 2020

Up betimes and did breakfast long on a bowl of shady lawn grass seed. It appears that we are now allowed to go out once a day for exercise, providing we adhere strictly to the social distancing guidelines.

Washing in the garden pond, and shaving with a shard of glass from the window that Mr Trump didst break yesterday morning, I prepared myself to venture out for a morning constitutional.

So down to Tower Stairs, hoping to take boat to Temple. As I stood waiting for a waterman, I didst espy Mr Putin on the opposite bank looking exceptionally manly in his string vest.

His arms were raised heavenward and his hands were pointing, palms outwards, towards the Thames. I didst decide to have a little sport with him, so I sent him a txt msg from the little box that Mr Bacon didst provide me with when he didst abseil into my garden in January:- "Hi Vlad, you look like a proper Cnut." To my surprise, he didst appear to take great umbrage at my jape and, shaking his fist angrily, he didst start wading through the water towards me.

Not wishing for a confrontation in these days of social distancing, I didst hurry by foot along Thames Street and turned into Pudding Lane, where I didst find Mr Farriner leaning out of his upper window measuring the distance between his window and that of his neighbour. I didst shout up in jest to enquire if he was planning his escape, which did not elicit his usual good-humoured reaction, but instead he called down to know what it was that I was suggesting?

It didst cause me great consternation that people were so easy to take offence in these troubling times, and, ruminating upon this issue, I along Lombard Street and onto Watling Street where, as I turned into Bow Lane, I didst feel a sudden and terrible pain across the back of my head. This was followed by a bright flash, and I didst fall to the ground with stars fluttering about mine eyes.

Rolling over, I didst find Mrs Patel, wearing a pair of her very sensible flat shoes, standing over me, swinging a large truncheon and motioning me to stay down. "'Ello, 'ello, 'ello," says she, "wot's all this 'ere then, you're nicked, sunshine. Wot you doin' out and about?"

I didst stammer that I was out only for exercise, pleading with her that I had not left my shed for three days, and that I was strictly adhering to the Government guidelines on social distancing. My pleas, though, fell on deaf ears, and she didst inform me that I was not obliged to say anything but that anything I did say would be recorded on her mobile phone and might be used on the Victoria Derbyshire show.

At this moment, however, there came a dreadful commotion from Pau's Cross, and Mrs Patel didst shout, "HO1 responding", and she didst run off at speed in the direction of Friday Street, making a strange "Waaaaaahhhhhhh Waaaaaahhhhhhh, Waaaaaahhhhhhh Waaaaaahhhhhh" noise as she went.

My head mighty pained from the blow, I didst make my way to our local physician, Dr Hancock, but I didst find his door locked and a sign on the window which read:- "In keeping with the government guidelines I am washing my hands of the lot of you. Go home and call 111 instead."

And so home, and didst press the digits 111 upon Mr Bacon's strange little box. A stern man's voice didst inform me that my call might be recorded for training purposes and that my call was important to him, whereupon his wife didst come on the line to tell me that I was 2,000,0001 in the queue, and then the following proclamation was sung down the line:-

When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be,
I'm gonna be the man who keeps away from you.
When I go out, yeah I know I'm gonna be
the man who keeps about six feet away from you.
If I get drunk, well, because the pubs are closed
I won't be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver up, yeah I know that I won't be
I won't be the man who havers close to you.

And I won't walk 500 miles
And I won't walk 500 more
Just to be the man who keeps two metres
distance when I';ve knocked upon your door.

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)
Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da
Da da da (da da da) Da da da (da da da)
Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da.

Seven hours later, the man didst ask me to press the digits that corresponded to my symptoms. His wife then came on to say, "analysing symptoms" and, after a pause, didst announce that I was showing classic signs of having been Pritied, and instructed me to take two paracetamol and contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman at my earlies convenience.

Exhausted, I didst lie down for another lonely night next to no one upon the shed floor.

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)
Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da.


March 26th 2020

Early this morning, I was resting in that pleasant dreamlike state that is somewhere between half asleep and half awake, when my semi-repose was interrupted by a loud cry of "FORE", and suddenly the shed window didst shatter into a thousand fragments.

Out and into my garden, I didst just manage to throw myself to the ground as a round white stone flew past my head and smashed through the window of my former bedroom, whereupon my wife didst begin screaming loudly.

Crawling across the lawn and under the barbed wire that Mr Trump has had erected over the herbaceous border by our local builders, Independent Construction Engineers (ICE), I didst pull myself up on the wall that he has built betwixt our gardens, and I did see him in his garden swinging a long iron stick at another white round stone, which then flew at great speed over my head and smashed into our chimney. He was dressed very casually, with a yellow jumper hanging around his shoulders, and he was wearing a red hat on which was emblazoned "Make Seething Lane Great Again."

I demanded to know what he thought he was doing, to which he replied that that was a nasty question, a really nasty question, and, calling me a terrible diarist, he didst cry "FORE" again, and didst take another swing at another white round stone. This time, however, he didst miss and, losing his balance, he didst fall face-first into a little pile that our cat, Hilary, had deposited on his lawn in the night, having snuck over the border when he wasn't looking. It didst greatly lift my spirits to see a gillie-wet-foot such as he brought down to size by our humble cat.

I didst shave and wash in our garden pond, and then didst breakfast upon some Rolawn landscaping bark mulch that I found upon a shelf in the shed.

Come 10, as I was mulling over the order in which I would visit the corners of my shed today, I didst hear the sound of a familiar bell coming from the street outside.

So to my gate, from which I didst espy Mr Cummings walking along Seething Lane in his beaked mask, holding before him the mini Mr Johnson, who was waving from within his boxed abode, wearing a homburg, and with a huge Cuban cigar clenched betwixt his teeth.

Mr Johnson didst tell me that he was on his way to the House, where he is to face Mr Corbyn for the last session of Prime Minister's Questions before the Easter break, and Mr Corbyn's last session as Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition ever. I didst inquire whether, given the diktat that he himself had issued only yesterday, 650 people crammed into such a small chamber was a sensible idea, to which he replied that it would be a reduced session and that they would be rigorously enforcing social distancing by ensuring that each of the members maintains a distance of at least 2 metres from their nearest colleague. I asked him how members were to judge such a distance accurately, to which he replied that his Government had come up with a simple, yet ingenious, method. The members were to imagine Mr Rees-Mogg reclining on the bench next to them, add the height of his upper body, and that would be sufficient length for effective social distancing. Readily I did agree that it was nice to find that Mr Rees-Mogg has finally proven himself of some worth.

Jacon Rees-Mogg reclining in the House of Commons.

No sooner had Mr Cummings and mini Mr Johnson departed for Westminster, than I didst behold a sight that didst verily take my breath away. Miss Widdicombe didst come strolling along Seething Lane with Mr Farage trotting before her on a lead. He was padding along on all fours, drooling heavily and sniffing at everything, whilst cocking a leg at all the trees they didst pass. 

Coming to my gate, Mr Farage didst stand up on his legs and didst try to lick my face, whereupon Miss Widdicombe didst scold him with a stern rebuke of, "down Nigel, down." She tells me that this is their ruse to get around Mr Johnson's command to stay indoors, as walking the dog is specified as an acceptable reason to be seen out, and people hath ofttimes said of Mr Farage that he doth epitomise the bulldog spirit.

At this point, our cat, Hilary, didst jump over the wall, and, seeing her, Mr Farage didst break loose from Miss Widdicombe's grip and didst chase Hilary past my neighbour's abode, just as Mr Trump was returning from Mr Bercow's costermonger barrow clutching six freshly laid eggs. Hilary passed easily between his legs, but Mr. Farage hit him full square, causing Mr Trump to flip head-over-heels and land with a heavy thud upon the pavement, where, not for the first time during the current crisis, he didst end up with a considerable amount of egg on his face.

I do confess that I didst struggle to stifle a guffaw, and so I hurried back to my shed, where I didst find our maid, Jayne, who has come to tell me that my wife thinks we should extend my isolation by, say, the rest of our lives.

Didst sit chatting merrily with Jayne in the garden for several hours, keeping the advised distance betwixt us of course, and she was mightily amused by my account of Mr Trump's misfortune, telling me that she hast long thought him a conceited gnashgab.

It proved a pleasant evening, and, at length, realmente no puedo hablar una palabra de español, pero encuentro que si pongo algunos de estos en la gente piensan que soy realmente inteligente, entonces uso el Traductor de Google para hacer que la gente piense que soy más talentosa de lo que realmente soy. La gente simplemente lo ignora sin molestarse en leerlo o traducirlo, pero todavía están impresionados por mis habilidades lingüísticas, lo que lo convierte en un triunfo, gana hasta donde puedo ver. Y de todos modos, Pepys solía escribir en español cuando no había hecho nada bueno con otras mujeres que no fueran su esposa, pero dado que estoy confinado en mi cobertizo, la oportunidad sería algo bueno. Entonces, para aquellos de ustedes que se han molestado en traducir esto, guarden mi secreto y si no tiene ningún sentido y es, de hecho, un galimatías total, culpen a Google, no a mí. Probaré ruso mañana.

And so to shed, and so to sleep.


March 25th 2020

This morning, as I slumbered upon the shed floor, I didst feel a strange sensation around the nether regions, which I can only describe as a sort of buzzing vibration. Reaching into my pocket, I didst find the mysterious little box that Mr Bacon had persuaded me to take a 200-year contract out on in January - assuring me that I would be able to socialise with others without having to speak to them, and which would enable me to walk down the street without paying a blind bit of notice to anyone else or to where I was actually going - was glowing.

Removing it from my pocket, I discovered I had received something called a "txt msg" from GOV.UK. It told me in no uncertain terms "New rules in force now: you must stay in the shed. Yes, that means you Pepys."

So Mr Johnson's nationwide lockdown is underway, and from this moment I am forbidden to venture out, unless it be for exercise, to shop for essentials (apparently Mr Ashley's Sports Direct Emporium does not fall into this category), or in the event of an emergency - oh and to walk the dog, of which I have not one.

Didst rise, and made my way to the corner of the shed, where I stood for around an hour, counting the lines in the wood grain of the walls.

And so to the opposite corner, where I didst discourse with a spider who had gracefully descended from a cobweb in the corner above me, and which did, if my eyes were not deceiving me, bear an uncanny resemblance to Mr Raab. So I didst engage my new companion with talk of politics and the goings-on in government, which took up much of the morning. At length though, it came time for my friend to hoist himself, or herself, up by his or her draglines, and he or she was gone, leaving me alone again, naturally.

'Twas time then for a change of scenery, so I to the next corner of the shed, where I didst lunch upon one of the juicy tomatoes I hadst purchased from Mr Bercow, and then I passed a little more time whistling Mr Stewart's song about Mary Jane, and wishing that one of his creatures would, indeed, come and eat me up.

At this point, I didst look out of my shed window to see that the golden letters of the name TRUMP upon my neighbour's roof were now illuminated in flashing lights, and I didst think to myself what an unfathomable saddle goose he truly is, the only consolation being that, thanks to Mr Johnson's tough new stance on social distancing, it would now be extremely difficult for him to present me with the bill for the wall he hast built between our gardens.

By this time, it was gone five, and so I didst move to the fourth corner of my shed, where I stood rocking back and forth on the balls of my feet for another two hours, whence my stomach began to rumble and so I out into the garden, and didst scrape a few shavings from the shed door, which I didst boil together with one of Mr Bercow's onions to make a filling pottage.

And so to shed, where I didst bed me down, and, wondering which corner I would begin my day in tomorrow, I didst seek release in slumber, where, accompanied by Mrs May, I was soon running naughtily through fields of swaying wheat.


March 24th 2020

Was awake long into the night, as every time I began to doze Mr Stewart didst strike up with a mournful ballad entitled "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at", which he doth sing in a strange tongue that puts me in mind of Mr Prescott.

As far as I could tell, it involved me courting a lady called Mary Jane, who I have, to my recollection, never had a dalliance with, although she sounds a lovely woman. It also involved an awful lot of creatures eating other creatures that have eaten me, which did cause me to have a most troubled sleep when, at length, Mr Stewart didst tire himself and fall silent.

Awake at seven, to find Mr Stewart spit roasting Quorn sausages over his low emission candle. We didst feast hungrily and, I must say, the fare did go down rather well given my recent privations. We didst wash and shave in my garden pond, Mr Stewart reminiscing about the time he didst cross Afghanistan on a unicycle, supporting himself by playing the ukulele for the indigenous warlords, several of whom didst take him up the Khyber Pass and escort him over the border into Pakistan, where he continued with his odyssey along the old silk road. Oooh matrona, todavía no he hecho un doble sentido, así que pensé en darteuno.

We didst part at my gate, and I didst walk through the City where I was surprised to find the people going about their business in great numbers as though they had not a care in the world.

At Holborn, however, I didst hear a loud bell, and I didst espy Mr Cummings walking through the crowds attired in his strange costume with the long beak, and carrying aloft the mini Mr Johnson, who was sitting behind a desk and was shouting from inside his boxed abode:-


MR JOHNSON'S SPEECH TO THE NATION IN FULL

Boris Johnson.

"People of Britain, I am your leader and we are all in this together. I have nothing to offer you but no toil, much sweat and mixed messages. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of isolation, other than when we go out for daily exercise and to walk the dog.

You ask what is our policy? I can say: it will change by the day. That is our policy. You ask what is our aim? I can answer that in one word:- Go home, stay indoors and only come out under exceptional circumstances. (What's that Dominic? Cripes, you're right, that's eleven words. Lucky I'm not Chancellor. eh?)

At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say:- "Come, let us all go home together, well, obviously not all together as that would be irresponsible and would not be social distancing. Let us watch endless repeats of Eastenders and Emmerdale and let us not come out again until the all-clear sounds.""


At this point, Mr Branson didst walk behind Mr Johnson wearing a Hawaiian shirt and looking very awkward when he realised he was in shot, whereupon the box didst again go strangely black and Mr Cummings didst hurry off toward Westminster.

And so to Oxford Street, where I was surprised to see Mr Ashley climbing down from the wall of his Sports Direct Emporium, with Mr Gove in hot pursuit.

A little further along, I didst encounter Ms Abbott standing outside the shop of Mr Clarke, the cordwainer. She was wearing one red and one green shoe and was looking mightily troubled as she didst count with apparent difficulty upon her fingers. She tells me that Mr Johnson's pledge to send the pestilence packing in twelve weeks doth trouble her much, as that doth mean we will not be getting back to normal until November.

And so home to Seething Lane where I didst find that Mr Trump has now erected his accursed wall betwixt our gardens. Knowing him to be a chucklehead rattlecap, I didst tippy toe past his window for fear he might see me and present me with the bill for his confounded wall.

This evening, as I didst relax in my garden, having dined rather well on a delicious soil and moss stew, with a grated dandelion topping, I didst hear a strangely familiar voice crying, "Orrderrrrrrr, Orrrderrrrr, Orrrrrrderrrrrrrrr yer fresh veg 'ere."

Going to my gate, I didst spy Mr Bercow, attired in a chequered waistcoat and a Herringbone Tweed flat cap, and pushing a large costermonger's barrow along the street. On seeing me, he doth give me a friendly wave and, with a shout of, "'cor blimey guv, fancy seein' you 'ere", he doth come to my gate and does inform me that he has now entered the nibbles and fresh produce business and tells me that I can orrderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr my daily staples from him.

He tells me he is expecting a delivery of delicious kangaroo testicles on the morrow and if I would like to orrrrrderrrrrrrrrr some he would be happy to put a few aside for me.

At this point, Mr Trump comes to his window and shouts down that he wants to purchase Mr Bercow's entire stock. Mr Bercow didst reply that he must only orrrrderrrrrrrrrrrrr what he needed and that panic buying was the behaviour of an incorrigible delinquent. Mr Trump didst object loudly, to which Mr Bercow didst reply, "Mr Trump, you may be a cheeky chappy but you're also an exceptionally noisy one, calm yourself man, take up yoga or something." Mr Trump shouted down that Mr Bercow was a horrible person, a really horrible person, and didst slam his window in disgust.

A cartoon of Donald Trump with steam coming out of his ears.

Mr Bercow tells me that he is enjoying his new calling, although he does find rising early to orrrrderrrrrrrrrr his daily stock something of a challenge. Aside from that, he has merely exchanged one bunch of vegetables for a far less troublesome and fresher bunch. I didst purchase a goodly selection of his wares, and, bidding him goodnight, I to my shed, and, laying down, I didst soon sink into a contented slumber, having promised myself that I would lie long on the morrow.


March 23rd 2020

The name TRUMP in gold letters.

Slept soundly, with a pleasant dream of Mrs May who was naughtily running through fields of wheat in her Laura Ashley autumn flora patterned canvass lingerie, and was shouting at me in that stern monotone of hers, whilst giving me that withering, patronising look she didst ofttimes give Mr Corbyn when he faced her across the despatch box.

At seven, my slumber was suddenly interrupted by loud hammering and sawing, mingled with coarse profanities, which were accompanied by whistles and shouts of "'ello darlin'" emanating from Mr. Trump's abode next door.

Putting Mrs May to the backbench, much as Mr Johnson didst do last July, I up and into my garden, and did find it cast into gloomy shadow.

Looking up, I did see that the name TRUMP has been erected in giant gold letters atop my neighbour's roof. This did cause me great palpitations and a severe griping in the guts. Mightily vexed, I didst shave and wash in the garden pond, then breakfasted well upon some dandelion leaves that I had found growing in the herbaceous border before Mr Trump closed it.

And so to White Hall, where I did discourse with Mr Cummings, who was wearing a strange mask that did cover his entire face and which hath a long beak at the front. Verily, I do believe that it is something of an improvement on his usual countenance.

A man wearing a plague mask that has a beak.

He is holding the mini Mr Johnson in his hands, who is still encased in the strange little box he was in when I didst meet him last.

Mr Johnson does tell me that he is the new Churchill, and begins nodding strangely and saying in a deep voice, "erm, err, oh yuss, oh yuss." He tells me that he is confident that he can send the pestilence packing in around twelve weeks, and that he would most certainly fight it on the beaches if he hadn't been forced to close all the beaches until further notice.


He said that he is aware that people were anxious to know how long he could keep it up for, but vowed that he was going to refrain from talking of personal matters until these troubling times have passed.

At this point, the box did turn strangely black, and Mr Cummings apologised, saying something about having forgotten to charge it overnight. I did feel much sorrow for poor mini Mr Johnson who must now be as much in the dark as we were those nine days past when he did tell us we must carry on as usual.

And so home, where I did find a huge coach blocking Seething Lane, TRUMP 1 writ in large gold letters upon its side.

Mr Alexander does meet me and informs me that Mr Trump has formed a Neighbourhood Watch and that all the neighbours will be expected to watch him speak from his rooftop each afternoon at around five.

Methinks him too much of a snollygoster to waste time upon, so, squeezing past the coach, I to my garden, where I find that the reflection of the sun from his rooftop has caused the name TRUMP to be burnt into my grass.

Much out of sorts at this, I did throw open my shed door, whereupon I did find Mr Stewart sprawled across my workbench in his sleeping bag and wearing a pair of Mr Men flannel pyjamas. He informs me that he wants to get to know me better as part of his #comekipwithme campaign in his bid to become the next Mayor of London.

He tells me that he has brought his guitar so that we can sing bawdy campfire songs around the low-emission candle he has borrowed from Mr Kahn, and that we can exchange silly stories whilst enjoying steaming mugs of lactose-free, fair-trade cocoa.

I do think this is going to be a long, long night. As Mr Morrison didst sing, before he became famous for his grocery emporium, strange days have indeed found us.


March 22nd 2020

Lord's Day. Up betimes and calling up to my wife didst ask if I could end my isolation in order to shave for church. She shouts down that I should get used to it, as she has enjoyed having the bed to herself these four nights past and this isolation malarkey might prove a boon to our marriage.

So, shaved myself in the garden pond after four days growth. How ugly I was yesterday and how fine today. Breakfasted upon a piece of mouldy bread that I did find in the street outside Mr Farriner's bakeshop the other day, and thence to St Olave's church, where I did find the doors bolted fast and a proclamation nailed thereon which read:-

"Due to the current situation, God, being of considerably advanced years and very much in the high-risk group, is currently self-isolating as per Mr Johnson's instructions, and my house is, therefore, closed to visitors for the foreseeable future. Miracles and divine interventions are available via my website but, due to the current high demand, delivery may take longer than usual. Apologies for any inconvenience this might cause. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @RealGod."

The Church of St Olaves Seething Lane.

So to Holborn, where I did encounter the Duke of York who was looking mightily troubled outside the locked doors of Ye Pizza Express.

He tells me he had been hoping to stop in for an alibi on his way to be interviewed by Mrs. Maitlis. He wondered if I remembered meeting him there twenty years ago, to which I did reply that I did not. He asked if I would mind awfully saying that I did remember him being there if I was ever asked under oath? He then tells me that he has a raging fever, which did surprise me greatly as there was not a bead of sweat upon his brow.

I didst leave him berating an unruly street urchin for not addressing him as His Highest Royal Highness on High when begging him to spare a groat.

Mr Gove did trot past with Mr Rees-Mogg upon his back, who was spurring him on with a rolled-up copy of The Sunday Telegraph with which he was striking him across the hind-quarters.

By foot through the City, along Newgate Street and Cheapside and on through Lombard Street, where all the shops were locked up, and a sad sight of utter desolation it was.

At length come to Pudding Lane, where I find that Mr Farriner's most excellent bakeshop emporium is still open.

Stepping inside, he greets me warmly and does tell me that his bread is selling like hotcakes, which doth amuse me greatly. He says that he has plans to expand in order to keep up with the demand but that he does not foresee any neighbouring plots of land becoming vacant in the foreseeable future. I joked that he could always burn a few of his neighbors' houses down and then claim the land for his own. He did laugh long and hard at my jest, and asked if I thought it would be possible to ever get away with such a thing? I do think him a fine fellow and do greatly admire his burning ambition.

And so home, where I didst encounter Mr Trump, who tells me the men will be starting work on the wall between our gardens on the morrow and that I can expect the bill this week. I asked him why he thinks I should pay for it? To which he replied, that that was a nasty question, a really nasty question and if I don't know why I should pay for it, then how could I expect him to know why, even though he is a smart guy who knows more about everything than anyone else, and anyway what have I got to lose? I think the man is all hat and no cattle, but we shall see upon the morrow.

And so to shed, where didst bed down upon the floor again, and, looking forward to lying in late on the morrow, did soon drift into a deep slumber.


March 21st 2020

Awake at eight and into the garden, where our maid Jayne comes to tell me of a strange orange glow around London Bridge.

Into the street to look, and perceive it to be in the region of Pudding Lane, but it seemed to be heading our way. I did recall that of old 'twas said that such bright glows in the morning sky were harbingers of doom and did quake at the thought of what awful calamity might be about to befall our City.

At length comes Mr Trump, who tells me he has everything under control and that he is going to beat whatever it is that he has to beat before he gets beaten because he couldn't beat what he was definitely going to beat before it beat him. I do confess that I think the man a dreadful gollumpus.

Did breakfast, and then back into the street, where I did find our neighbours Mrs Queen and Mr Dukeofedinburgh loading their robes and corgis onto their carriage. She tells me they have sold their London house and are moving to Windsor, as she thinks they will be safer there. She did look very nervous as Mr Dukeofedunburgh did take the reins, and I watched as they did pull off at great speed, Mrs Queen waving her gloved hand at us as they went.

And so to Carey Street, where Mr. Corbyn had asked that I meet him at Ye Knights Templar to dine upon Wetherspoons own brand Vegan Venison Substitute.

However, found the doors chained fast and no sign of Mr. Corbyn.

Banged long and hard upon the door, until, at last, Mr Martin didst come to the window and told me that Mr. Johnson had ordered him to close all his pubs and had told him that he must self isolate for the rest of his life. He tells me he doth think Mr Johnson an awful stingbum, and that he has really wound him up in Carey Street.

By foot to Fleet Street, where I met with Mr Gove, who didst offer me a ride home. My feet being sore, I was mighty relieved at his offer, so jumped on his back and we trotted up Ludgate Hill and through the City, where he informs me that he is now working for Ye Uber, as annoyingly smug gits were no longer considered necessary in the House in these troubling times.

By and by, we come to Seething Lane, where I did jump down off Mr Gove's back and did bid him a hearty farewell.

Walking homeward, I was dismayed to see two or three houses in our lane were marked with a red cross upon the doors, and 'Lord have mercy upon us" writ there; which was a sad sight to me, and I didst trouble my mind greatly as to what it could mean.

Jayne didst meet me at our gate, where she did impart the grave news that Mr Trump has moved into Mrs Queen's old house and will now be my neighbour.

After supper, Mr Trump comes to my shed to inform me that he is going to build a wall betwixt our gardens and that he expects me to pay for it. This did vex me muchly. He also tells me that he intends to close the herbaceous border on my side of his garden and that our cat, Hilary, is now banned from crossing it. Forsooth, methinks the man a blockhead fopdoodle, and he doth now live next door. The end of days is truly upon us.

A cartoon Donald Trump standing in front of a wall.

March 20th 2020

Had a very bad night on the shed floor, with a strange dream that I did feast upon the most succulent plump-breasted goose, which made for a pleasant distraction in these troubling times.

Awake at seven and didst call to my boy Tom to bring me my finest linen shirt. But, no sign of boy Tom. I do sometimes find his insolence impossible to stomach.

Felt strangely full, so forwent breakfast, and took coach to Whitehall, where I find that Mr Johnson has been somehow shrunk, flattened and squeezed inside a strange little box which was standing on the table. Methinks this might involve witchcraft.

Mr Johnson said he was speaking from somewhere called Reemoatlee, of which I do confess I have not heard. He did tell me he was going to get something done, but he wasn't sure what that something was because he now had many things to get done, but I would know which one he had got done when he had got it done. Till then I should keep washing my hands whilst singing Happy birthday twice for twelve weeks.

A photograph of Boris Johnson.

Did try to take a coach to City, but Ye TFL had suspended coach travel for all but essential workers, and so walked to Pudding Lane, where did arrive, footsore, at Mr Farriner's Baking Emporium. He did tell me he had no bread because people had been panic buying. He let me have a ship's biscuit, which I didst devour hungrily. I truly hope that nothing ever happens to stop Mr Farriner in his excellent business, as that would be a disaster for London.

And so home, where my wife tells me, through the locked door, that 'tis only day two of my isolation and so I must sleep in the shed again.

And so to shed, where still no sign of boy Tom. Strange though that his hat should mysteriously appear in the pit in which I took my evening ablution. I confess I find this jape of his difficult to digest.


March 19th 2020

Up and to the office, but found it closed as everybody was working from home.

And so to Whitehall, where I did find Mr Johnson looking like a man spent with a handkercher about his mouth. When I asked him why he had not closed all the pubs, he replied, like a fainting woman, "Lord! What can I do? I am trying to close the pubs, but people will not obey me, so I've closed all the schools instead."

So by barge to Vauxhall, where, at length, did meet with Mr Trump looking a strange shade of orange. I asked him how he was, to which he replied that that was a nasty question, a really nasty question, and he told me that I was a fake diarist. I didst think him a braggart bufflehead.

By this time it was almost 10pm, and so home, where my wife had barred the door against me because I'd been about without a mask, and she did tell me that I must sleep in the shed for 14 days.

And so to shed, and made my boy Tom to read me asleep.


March 18th 2020

In the afternoon did walk through the City streets in my night-gowne; and, Lord! to see how the streets are empty.

And so to home, where I did step into the Tesco Express Emporium, and Lord to find all the people, their carts loaded with goods and nothing left on shelves. And so to home.

And in the evening did dig a pit in the garden, and put our toilet paper in it; and my paracetamol, as well as my beans and some other things.