The weather forecast for the weekend had been gloomy, so we were not entirely surprised to awake to rain this morning. Not that I pay all that much attention to weather forecasts which, like the prognostications of political and economic pundits, are usually wrong. This left the question as to how to spend the day.
Whatever we were going to do with the day, the first item on the agenda was breakfast and for this we decided to go to the Glass Works in the N1 Centre again.
We also decided that, in view of the weather, we might as well get the weekly shopping done in the hope that tomorrow will be a better day for outings.
On the wall of the Glass Works, among other interesting items, is a panel about Charles Lamb. The writer, son of a lawyer’s clerk, lived from 1775 to 1834, and produced a number of works including collections of essays, Elia and The last Essays of Elia, and, co-authored with his sister Mary, Tales from Shakespeare. For part of his later life, Lamb lived in Islington, first in Colebrook Row and later in Chapel Street (today known as Chapel market). Hence his appearance on the pub wall.
Charles Lamb was a much loved figure and had many friends among the men of letters of the day. He had two surviving siblings, an elder brother and his sister Mary. Though she was eleven years his senior, they enjoyed a close lifelong relationship. Both experienced mental problems and Lamb suffered bouts of depression throughout his life.
The tragedy occurred in September 1796 when Mary stabbed their mother to death by plunging a kitchen knife into her heart. Mary was found guilty by the court and incarcerated.
Fortunately, the court decided that the cause of Mary’s action was caused by “lunacy”, and was not premeditated murder. For this reason, she was eventually released into the care of her brother Charles. Despite having courted two women in his life, Charles never married and so Mary was to be his constant companion for whom he cared in her mental distress.
It is not an entirely sad story, therefore, and Lamb was to make his name as a writer and to enjoy the close friendship and admiration of other eminent men of the day. Though the style of his writings is a little different from what we are used to, I think his wit, intelligence and lively descriptions make them still worth reading today.
Having finished our breakfast, we passed under the Angel Wings, crossed the road, and braved the aisles of Sainsbury’s to do our weekly shopping. On our way home, it began to rain heavily. We had the choice of taking shelter or pressing bravely on. We chose the latter option and reached home a little damper than we would have liked.
This persuaded us that the rest of the day would be as wet and dull as its beginning and so we spent it at home, reading, working at the computer, and watching videos.
There are worse ways of spending a rainy day than at home in the affectionate company of the one you love.