The diaries

‘Excuse me sir, we’re doing a door knock of the neighbourhood to see if anyone can help us with our enquiries into what happened at number 23 on September 19, 2001.’

Come in officer. Doris, it’s the police. Make us a cup of tea, love. Now,  where were we?

September 19, sir, 2001.

Ahh, yes. Doris,  wasn’t that your tango night at the village hall? I seem to remember you shimmying out of the door in that low-cut, figure hugging number when the colonel called to pick you up in the vintage Rolls. You told me not to wait up.

No,  George. Tango night in 2001 was on a Tuesday. On the Monday I cooked a nice piece of haddock for our tea and we had jam butties for afters. Remember?


I’m always amazed at the prodigious memories of characters in TV police dramas. It seems that the investigating officer only has to say a date and the details of the day come flooding back to the person being questioned. I’m not talking of the villains and victims here, just plain everyday people. How do they do it?  Am I the only one with a dodgy memory?

I remember dates of birthdays and  anniversaries or if something significant has happened to me on a certain date. For the rest of the time I am clueless. I rely on my diaries.

I started keeping a diary in the 1970s. I used it to record financial details, who to pay and when. I’ve culled them since then so the oldest diary I have is from 2000. They are not treasures of wisdom just markers of years. They have nothing much of interest in them unless you want to know when I had a doctor’s appointment or a visit to the hairdresser. But the few words I wrote can be expanded into so much more. I picked today’s date and, obviously, just the most interesting of the entries.

7 January 2000, Friday.  Pay Day.                                                       

I had just finished my first week’s work as a travel consultant after a life time working as a teacher. I was the world’s oldest office junior. I had no idea of office protocol. I couldn’t type but I was quite good at taking the money to the bank and getting the mail from the post office.

 7 Ocak 2002, Partesi. Moving to Kusadasi. Snow.                         

My dairy was a Turkish edition. We were living in Izmir in Turkey and on the 7th we moved to a house in Kusadasi with views across the Aegean to the isle of Samos, Greece. The house was two storey and the beds were too wide to fit up the little winding staircase so the removalists hauled them up on ropes across the snowy roof and in through the window.

7 January 2006, Saturday. Bikaner. Junagarh- Sati handprints at gate.                                                                                                                                             

We were in northern India. It was a special trip to celebrate my 60th birthday. Junagarh is a fort and the handprints at the gate commemorate the wives of the soldiers killed in battle who are said to have committed ritual suicide – sati- on their husbands funeral pyres.

7 January 2009, Wednesday. Saw the girls off on the seaplane. Had a swim at Merewether sea baths. 200m.                                  

I’m not sure which of these two bits of information is more interesting; that I saw the sea plane take off for the first time or that I actually had a swim and for 200m! Glad I wrote that little detail for posterity as those who know me realise that it takes a lot to get me into water.


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