Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 339

Samuel Pepys


Hello Everyone



Towards the beginning of the year l wrote a blog post about calendars.


We were about a couple of weeks into the year at the time and l asked you whether you were keeping your New Year’s resolutions.


Now we are over half way into the year, l wonder if the answer would be the same.


A lot of people might have decided to keep a diary as their New Year’s resolution.  One of mine is to keep writing my blog posts for all you wonderful readers out there.


Some people write in their diaries every day because it is their habit.


Some people have more interesting things to write about than others!


The good thing about diaries from other people’s perspective is though, if written well, they can be very interesting historical documents.


Things people write about can be little, everyday things that don’t happen anymore.  lt isn’t always easy to guess which things you do now will still be a feature of life in years to come, and which will be assigned to the history books.


Some people have written about their lives and ended up writing about something that became of huge, historical significance!


Nowadays, these accounts are really useful to historians.


These writers have become famous diarists – as they are called.


One such man was Samuel Pepys.  He wrote one of the most famous diaries ever.


Before l go any further l must say that this surname is pronounced ‘Peeps’. 


His diary is now very old. 


Samuel Pepys was born, well, getting on for 400 years ago.


He was born in 1633 and lived in London.


He had an important job and was obviously educated because he was a good writer and not everyone could even write in those days.


He worked for the government as a Member of Parliament and did much to make improvements in the Royal Navy with tremendous hard work.  He was clever and dedicated.


He started his famous diary on the 1st January 1660 and continued writing it until 1669.  This is a time period that covered two of the biggest disasters London has ever known: a bad outbreak of bubonic plague called the Great Plague and the Great Fire.


He also wrote about his family, friends and himself – and his work and every other thing that was important to him. 


He wrote about how the historical events of the time impacted on them. 


He was curious and intelligent and took an interest in all that he observed.


ln his diaries he talked about the weather, what he ate and how he spent his money.  He was very focused on his social position and his growing wealth.


He talked about his trips to the theatre and his arguments with his wife and his naughty, little cat who woke him up at one o’clock in the morning.


He talked about arranging music lessons for his servants and an out-of-town visitor who complained about how London was too crowded.


He talked about his new watch with great pride because it had an alarm on it which was a latest, new gadget.


And living in London, Pepys could observe first-hand the coronation of Charles ll and the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War and two of the most shocking and significant events in London history as l have already mentioned.


Oh yes, and apparently he saw the first ever Punch and Judy show ever performed in England too.


Anyway, back to London…


The Black Death had been ravaging the city and been taking lives since 1664.  Plague outbreaks were not unusual in the cramped living conditions of the very poorest.  Pepys did not live in a high-risk area.


The Great Fire of London started with a small mistake that had great consequence.  On 2nd September, 1666, baker to the king, Thomas Farrinor failed to fully extinguish the fire in his oven.  A spark from it ignited some nearby firewood. 


The blaze was to spread into the largest of conflagrations.


Farrinor managed to escape with his wife, daughter and one servant in the early hours of the morning through an upstairs window.  His maid was not so lucky and became the fire’s first victim.


The summer had been hot and dry and the wind that night was strong. 


Because the tightly-packed buildings of the town were mostly constructed of wood, the fire quickly spread through the city.  The warehouses by the river were full of oil and wine and brandy; all very combustible goods.


A servant who had spotted a fire in Billingsgate woke Pepys to tell him, but he thought the news of little consequence at the time and returned to bed.  Shortly after waking, the servant returned to report that 300 houses had been destroyed and that London Bridge was under threat too.  Pepys went to the Tower of London to see for himself and then took to a boat where he could get an even better view from the river.


Some of our maids sitting up late last night to get things ready against our feast today, Jane called up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose, and slipped on my night-gown and went to her window, and thought it to be on the back side of Mark Lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I thought it far enough off, and so went to bed again, and to sleep.

By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that above 300 houses have been burned down tonight by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish Street, by London Bridge. So I made myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower; and there got up upon one of the high places.


and there I did see the houses at the end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the other side . . . of the bridge


Pepys then went to the king and was the first to report what was happening.  Pepys recommended to the king that houses should be demolished in order to stop the progress of the fire.


The king told Pepys to take the order to the Lord Mayor which he did – taking a coach to St Paul’s and then making his way partly on foot through the burning city.


When he found the mayor, he passed on the instructions, but the mayor said that they had already been demolishing houses to no avail.  The fire had just overtaken their efforts.


Pepys goes on to talk about how people flee the fire loading up their carts with everything that is most precious to them.  They carry sick relatives out of the city on beds.


He talks about the plans and heroic efforts to conquer the fire.


He talks about his inability to sleep and how his sleep is beset with nightmares when he does eventually fall asleep.


Pepys returned home and with news of the fire advancing towards his house, he started packing his possessions up through the night.  A cart arrived in the early hours of 3rd September and Pepys oversaw the removal of his possessions.  Many of his valuables, including his diary, were sent for safe-keeping to a friend from the Naval Office at Bethnal Green.


Some of his wine and cheese he buried in a pit.  His wife and his gold he sent to Woolwich.


The blaze lasted until 5th September and was so large, the smoke from it could be seen as far away as Oxford.


The fire destroyed four fifths of the city and took 16 lives.


But the Black Plague abated afterward because most of the city’s rat population had been destroyed too.  Pepys writes about how he saw smoke coming from cellars a full six months after the fire had ended.


Of course many people were homeless.  They took to living out on the heaths around London because they had nowhere else to go.


lt took years to completely rebuild the destruction.


Pepys eventually gave up writing his diary because he thought writing in dim light wasn’t doing his eyes any good.  He had thoughts of getting someone else to do it for him, but he probably decided in the end that it was too private to do that and his diary writing ceased.


A lot of the diary was written in shorthand and code.  lt clearly wasn’t to be read by others.


His diary was first published in the 19th century.  lt is one of the most important documents historians have to understand the everyday life of an upper-middle class man of the 1600s.


lf you want to write a diary for people of the future, don’t forget to write in it in a way that other people will be able to fully understand what you are saying.


You must write in paragraphs – cryptic, little, illegible notes won’t be of any help to anyone.



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  Which animal needs oiling?


Bob:  l don’t know.  Which animal needs oiling?


Bill:  A rat – because it squeaks!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


Samuel Pepys


Samuel Pepys


London was much smaller in those days








We are now half way through August – don’t the months fly by so quickly!

Are you enjoying you summer holidays?

The weeks go by quickly if you are enjoying yourself and slowly if you are not.

September will be here before you know it. 

Have you ever thought about where the names of the months of the year came from?

I was reading my Sailor’s Book of Knowledge this week and I found out.

Did you know that January is named after the Roman god Janus who was the god of gates and doorways?  Of course, January is the gateway to the New Year, isn’t it?

Februa is the Roman festival of purification and was held on 15th February.

You need usually need to find something to cheer yourself up in February – especially if you have got a touch of the ‘Februaries’!

March was the first month of the year at one time.  It is also the beginning of spring.  It is named after Mars the Roman god of war.  It might have been the start of war season for the Romans but it is the time to get back in the garden for gardeners.

Because it was the time the soldiers had to come back to work after the months of bad weather, it was also the beginning of their working year.

We hope that the weather gets noticeably better from the beginning of the month to the end.  We go onto British Summer Time this month and the evenings become much lighter.

April is associated with the goddess of love and beauty.  The Greek one was Aphrodite and the Roman one was Venus.

It certainly is a beautiful month when the blossom and spring flowers come out.

The word ‘April’ may have come from the Latin word, Apeire, which means to open.  The blossom flowers are opening and the new leaves are unfurling all across the Northern Hemisphere at this time.

‘May’ comes from the Latin Maia who is the goddess of spring and growth.  She was the wife of Vulcan and the mother of Hermes.

June comes from Juno which is the name of the principal goddess and goddess of marriage and well-being of women.  A lot of people get married in June because they think it is lucky.

Because Julius Caesar reconfigured the calendar in 46BC, he thought it fitting to name a month after himself.  This month is now called July.

When Augustus Caesar completed Julius Caesar’s calendar he named a month after himself too.

After that, the months are numbered rather than named after deities (beings to worship).

September was the seventh month when March was at the beginning of the year.

Oct means eight and November and December were the ninth and tenth months.

Although we have twelve calendar months there are more than twelve lunar months.  Lunar cycles are about 29.53 days long.

Each month has a flower and gem associated with it – I expect you know what the one is associated with the month you were born in.

I must get on now and go over to the mainland to do some baby-sitting, sorry child-sitting – there is no time to waste!









Quick Quiz


What things are these a part of?


  1. tongue
  2. clapper
  3. page
  4. wick
  5. blade
  6. spoke
  7. face





lt’s the Weekend!




This chicken can be stuffed and made into a toy or it can be left hollow and put over a chocolate egg and given as a present.

Auntie Alice plans to make a lot of these chickens in different colours and use them in her children’s Easter egg hunt next year in the garden.

They will look great sitting in the trees in her garden.

If you would like to do the same thing, you will have lots of time to make some too.




Using 3¾mm knitting needles and white yarn cast on 20 stitches

(Knit 1, purl 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to end of row

Repeat the last row 3 times (4 rows of 1×1 rib)


Change to 4mm knitting needles

Knit 20 rows of garter stitch


Cast off 10 stitches and knit to the end of the row

On the 10 remaining stitches knit 17 rows of garter stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 20-30cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away



Using 3¾mm knitting needles and white yarn cast on 20 stitches

(Knit 1, purl 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to end of row

Repeat the last row 3 times (4 rows of 1×1 rib)


Change to 4mm knitting needles

Knit 20 rows of garter stitch

Knit 10 and then cast off 10 stitches


Rejoin yarn to knitting

On the 10 remaining stitches knit 17 rows of garter stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 20-30cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away



Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 90 stitches

Cast off

Curl the knitting around into a spiral

Sew across with yarn in a knitter’s needle in different directions until you have a solid disc



Keep your knitting very tight as you knit the beak…

Using 3¾mm knitting needles and yellow dk yarn cast on 2 stitches

Knit 1 row

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (3sts)

Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row (4sts)

Cast off



Crochet 12 chains into a length of red yarn leave ends for sewing to chicken



Crochet 8 chains into a length of red yarn leave ends for sewing to chicken



  1. Pull in the top of the head on each side
  2. Sew the curved parts of the body together using over-sew stitching and right sides together
  3. Turn the chicken the right way out
  4. Stuff
  5. Sew the base into position
  6. Fold the beak over and sew triangle sides together
  7. Sew the beak onto the front of the head
  8. Sew the comb into a zigzag with 3 points standing up and the wattles into a zigzag with 2 point standing up
  9. Use the ends of the crochet to sew the comb to the top of the head and the wattles under the beak
  10. Sew some eyes onto the sides of the head




Using 4mm knitting needles and yellow dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 12 rows of garter stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 15cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away



Using 4mm knitting needles and yellow dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Cast off

Wind the piece of knitting and sew across it several times until it becomes a solid disc.



  1. Sew along the back seam with right sides together using over-sew stitching
  2. Turn the chick the right way out
  3. Stuff
  4. Sew the base into place
  5. Secure some yarn into the back of the neck, wind around the neck twice and then secure again before you cut off the excess
  6. The beak is a French knot made with orange yarn wound around the needle three times
  7. Sew two black eyes into place making French knots by winding the yarn around the needle once



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. zip
  2. bell
  3. book
  4. candle
  5. knife
  6. wheel
  7. clock



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