diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 18, 2004

diary geezer

I wonder how many of you have ever kept a diary. A secret place to write down your thoughts and inner musings or just somewhere to record what you did each day. You probably started on 1st January, tried really hard for a week, got a bit bored, missed a day out, then gave up before February started. Or maybe you lasted a bit longer. If you're the sort of person who can write a daily blog, you're probably the sort of person who can keep a diary.

I started writing a diary on January 1st 1977. It was a Puffin Club diary I'd got for Christmas, only three inches by four, with a red cover and a tiny biro stuffed down the spine. I duly filled in the Personal Particulars at the front and started to chronicle my life. I wrote in code so that nobody else in my family would be able to read what I'd written (well not easily anyway, I hope). There were only ten short lines to fill in each day so I recorded a few edited highlights and little more. Many of my early comments are now too cryptic for me to unravel, but it's fascinating to look back to my first year at secondary school, to remember what my life used to be like and to watch myself developing.

I started writing a diary on January 1st 1977, and I carried on. It survived into February 1977 without me slipping up, I logged religiously through the summer and my next Puffin diary arrived the following Christmas. I moved up to a small Letts in 1980, then a bigger volume in 1981 so I could write about things in a little more detail rather than just listing them. It still wasn't an enormous diary so most of my university days aren't recorded in quite as much detail as I might like. I upsized again in 1986, reaching a point where I probably spent far too long writing about unnecessary minutiae just to fill the space. Odd how you only really have time to write a regular diary when your life isn't quite full enough to be worth regularly writing about.

I started writing a diary on January 1st 1977, and I never stopped. I still write my diary every night before I go to bed (you can tell I'm single can't you?), except if I'm knackered or busy when I write it up the following day. I've never missed a day out either. There's not one gap, not one day's memories blanked, not one day where I thought "Ah stuff it, I can't be bothered to write about today." Which is bloody impressive actually. I can look back at any day in the last 27½ years and see what I was doing, what I was thinking, and probably what I had for lunch. It's more factual than emotional, more descriptive than confessional, but that's just a reflection of my personality. And it's all for personal consumption only. I have no eye on publication or posterity, so there are a few frank and honest chunks I hope nobody else ever reads.

I started writing a diary on January 1st 1977, and today is the 10000th day I shall write an entry. Ten thousand entries, that's a hell of a lot of writing. By my calculations that's about five million words, which is six times as long as the Bible (and to me at least six hundred times as interesting). It's taken approximately six months to write too, which is a bit scary. And I guess it's been good practice for daily blogging, even if a blog presents a different, less personal, more guarded face to the world.

To celebrate my "ten-thousand days" milestone, I thought I'd share some choice extracts from my diary with you. Just a few snapshots you understand, edited highlights for a wider-than-intended audience. Plus I'll chuck in a running commentary to explain a little of what was going on at the time. You can read Day 1, Day 1000 and Day 2000 today, and every thousandth day thereafter over the next couple of days. Samuel Pepys it ain't.

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