The Simple Things
WHAT I TREASURE
Writing things down has always mattered to me. Throughout my early teens I kept a diary, religiously documenting my life growing up in the 1980s. Looking back I know what I had for tea every day (cottage pie and chicken Kiev feature heavily) and can relive moments of pure joy (school shut for snow, boy asked me to the disco) and total devastation (not allowed kitten heels, dumped by boy for best friend on day of disco). The best bits are at the back though, where I kept my lists, ranging from best friends ( lots of crossing out here) to pop star crushes (George Michael, Limahl). Apparently, my face when my husband pulled out my 1986 Garfield diary during his wedding speech and read a couple of his favourite extracts, was a picture. Everybody howled apart from my grandmother (why oh why didn’t he edit the swearing?!).
Moving on a few years and I have a tiny but detailed diary from my round-the-world trip including lists of the 24 books I read, many of which I plan to re-read one day, and the names of the many hostels and guesthouses we stayed in. Another precious journal was a present when my first baby was born in 2004. It’s empty pages soon filled with lists – this time it’s gifts received, feeding and sleeping times and occasional long entries to mark events such as our first family holiday and finally my return to work.
When my third child was born, I was too busy and tired to keep a journal, so I asked my daughters (then aged four and six) to do it. We all love looking back at their pictures and funny entries like “My brother hes a cheekie boy he likes climing and apples but not potaytoes”. Now I don’t keep a daily diary, but I do always have a notebook or journal on the go for thoughts, things to remember, projects and plans. When I’ve finished a book, I add it to the others and it gives me comfort knowing that I’ve got a pile of memories to hand should I ever feel like a dose of nostalgia, or even just a good giggle.