Journal entry, 3 Jan 2008:
Earlier this year LK insisted that I must go up to New Abbey for Hogmanay – she had seen Andy and said that he seemed very ill. Andy now settled in Manchester, reasonably cheerful and in good health. We drove up to visit LK, stopping off at Tebay for dinner.
Went out en-masse for a trip to Dumfries, but apart from that we stayed in the house for four days. Robbie had invited two friends over for his Hyacinth candlelit supper on 1 Jan, but they cried off.
Got to work to find OCCA committee minutes from Dec including a reference to me giving a presentation at the half-day symposium in March.
4 Jan 2008:
Stevie Teats told me a joke, so I told Jemma, and she told Alan Dobson: “What have George Michael and wellington boots got in common? They both get sucked off in bogs.” Alan looked puzzled for a few moments and said ‘Oh, he’s one of those, is he?’
Two months ago the lovely Jemma carried out some PFR work on a sample of violet 23 from Wuxi chemicals, and obtained a close colour match to the standard. Today I repeated her work and got significant differences; inspecting her original panels revealed numerous lumps of undispersed pigment in one batch.
Journal entry, 1 Jan 2016:
Last Monday Paul and I bought tickets to Bruges and had a mad dash to get the ferry – severe widespread flooding around the UK, train lines disruption, motorways and bridges damaged, houses ruined, three bad storms named Douglas, Eva and Frank trashing northern England and bits of Dumfries.
Last night we stayed in and watched TV – I’ve got a telly now! – Jools Holland, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Bryan Adams and Esio Trot, a wonderful charming piece with Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman based on a Roald Dahl story.
Pink Champagne (sorry, Cava) still in fridge. Might have for breakfast.
Have now been at work for two months – I received the job offer then had numerous small hiccups, with the HR department being unavailable, and then my references not being requested on time, then the flat agency needing a reference from a credit agency who stupidly thought that I was going to live in Irlam and commute to Nottingham even though I had clearly stated on the form that my new flat was near the place of work. Idiiots!
Journal entry, 31 Dec 1996:
Since Kenneth Williams always started his diary entries with the weather: there are two inches of snow outside, pale feathers chased by a Siberian breeze. Sometimes all the flakes move in different directions, while at other times it looks like computer-generated graphics, with all the while dots streaming parallel at different speeds. Today I drove back from St Awful, set out 10.00, got here 6.30. Felt like a rally driver peering through the grime on my windscreen.
Weds 1 Jan 1997:
Happy new year and all that, am sat here listening to Metallica and Daley Lorien in attempt to come through a hangover. Last night drank a bottle of red and three glasses of port and was violently ill at 2 a.m.
Down in Cornwall Jean decided to carry out some crystal healing on me, so she waved her lumps of rock over my back. I could feel ‘something’ at the time. Following morning (Xmas Eve) I woke up with a really stiff neck and could hardly move, gradually eased over the next few days but I still ache.
Sat 4 Jan 1997:
Blast and buggery! Went to Abbey National to collect my cashpoint card but they haven’t sent it down from Oxford yet. Landlord has donated all the furniture to the tenants to avoid enforced upgrading for fire regulations. Nothing at all wrong with the stuff.in the flat.
Was just browsing through my copy of Northanger Abbey and found a ticket for ‘Tressine’s’, the awful nightclub where I ended up getting hopelessly drunk when I left IRL (Industrial Research Lab, B’ham City Council, 1987). It was £1.50 to get in on Fri or Sat nights, and the phone number started 021-.Oh happy days!
Imaginary journal entry, 1 Jan 1980:
Well, I have been in this house for about seven months now, ever since my grandmother passed away and I was hastily transferred to a children’s home run by the City Council. Since nobody knew how long I would be staying here, they decided to let me carry on attending Thomas Telford School even though this involved travelling for three hours each day by bus.
We had a Christmas dinner party here in the Home, with a splendid chocolate log cake as the table centrepiece. Then we all went into the playroom to watch television (perhaps many of the population would resent the idea that their rates were being used to provide such frivolous distraction for delinquents such as myself) but when we returned to the dining room this festive log had mysteriously vanished.
Perhaps it was my fault; after all, I had incurred bad luck when I attempted to walk past Aunt Peg on the stairs. She put a hand on my chest and gently forced me to walk backwards, sneering ‘Didn’t you know it’s bad luck to cross on the stairs?’ And I had once been to the local church, where the priest (on being told that I was a new resident at the Home) had invited me to chat to some of the local teenagers after the service. Aunt P was furious when I was late getting back she rounded on me, declaring that ‘You don’t go to church to drink coffee, you go to church to worship God!’
It is January 1980; we are in the playroom watching the first edition of ‘Top of the Pops’ for the new year, and Madness are playing in front of a plain backdrop that simply says ‘1980’. I have already been hypnotised by the lyric to ‘Duchess’ by The Stranglers, which appeared in Smash Hits last year. I am studying for ‘O’ Levels, and struggling to get to grips with basic algebra and 3-D geometry, unaware that just down the road my contemporaries were using better textbooks under the guidance of more committed teachers, and that they would all achieve more and better exam results than myself.