And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

11 May

Jens Munk,

On the 11th of May, it was very cold, so that we all remained quietly in our berths that day; because, in our extreme weakness, we could not stand any cold, our limbs being paralyzed and, as it were, crushed by the cold.’

Nobody to dig the graves


John Evelyn,

I dined with Mr Charleton, and went to see Mr Montague’s new palace, near Bloomsbury, built by Mr Hooke, of our Society, after the French manner [now the site of the British Museum].

A most excellent person


George Whitefield,

‘Preached to about 15,000 People in the Morning, and observed a great Melting to follow the Word.’

Preaching with power


Charles Abbot,
lawyer and politician

‘The House of Commons being in Committee hearing evidence on the Orders in Council, at a few minutes after five, I was called down from my room into the house by a message that Mr [Spencer] Perceval [Prime Minister] was shot in the lobby.

As soon as I had taken the chair, the assassin, a bankrupt Liverpool merchant, John Bellingham, was forcibly brought to the bar. I detained him till a Magistrate was brought, who came almost instantly; and then the assassin was conducted to the prison room belonging to the Serjeant-at-Arms, where he was examined before Mr White, a Westminster Justice; and Mr Alderman Combe and Mr Taylor, two Members who were also Justices, and thereupon committed to Newgate for murder.

Mr Perceval’s body (for he fell lifeless after he had staggered a few paces into the lobby) was brought into my house, and remained in the first picture room till the family removed it (for privacy) at one o’clock in the morning to Downing Street.’

An agony of tears


Allan Cunningham,
botanist and explorer

‘It is as large as the northwest river which we intend to continue upon, and which we are induced from appearances to conclude will not be of long existence as a river. We fathomed the deepest part and found it did not exceed 19 ft. It is evident that these plains are inundated by the river in great floods from the eastward, for in fact the highest land (the few rocky hills excepted) is on the immediate bank of the river, so that the floods rising over the banks descend down upon the plains on each side this channel. On the plains we observed two native companions (Grus australasiana), and our people shot two swans. From the circumstance of having seen two bark canoes moored among the reeds on the river’s left bank, and from the body of smoke ascending above the small trees at the base of Mount Melville on the opposite side of the plain, it is evident that there are some natives existing in these parts. We, however, saw none.

It was a matter of surprise that we fell in with so very few natives, whose marks are daily before our eyes, but it appears sufficiently obvious that experience has taught them to retire from a river where a supply of food is extremely precarious, and where a sudden inundation would in a moment sweep them away. Choosing rather to retire to the hilly country where they are enabled to obtain a daily subsistence with greater facility, and are not liable to be surprised and overtaken by floods.

N.B. It appears they only visit the river in great drought, when there is but little water in its channel, and are then able to procure the large horse mussel from its muddy bottom, which they cannot possibly obtain in floods and strong currents. They have no idea of angling or have any method to catch that we know of. The viviparous Pancratium purpureum] grows extremely luxuriant on these slimy plains. An unfortunate accident happened us this day. The horse that usually carried the barometer fell beneath his load and broke that valuable instrument.’

In search of water


Henry Greville,
courtier and diplomat

‘I went yesterday for the first time to the Exhibition. It is really a marvellous place, beautiful and singular, but although filled with everything curious from all parts of the world, its immense size gives one a feeling of hopeless bewilderment. I did little more than walk through a part of it, glancing at the wondrous things it contains, and at the general effect of the building, and of the crowds of people who perambulated it without confusion or inconvenience, but I returned home jaded, with aching head and eyes from the glare, and with the sensation of being glad I had seen it, and (no doubt stupidly) with no desire to return there. Its success is great and universal, and when one recollects that seven months ago the building was not begun, and that now this stupendous edifice is finished, filled with everything most wonderful, and gathered from all corners of the world, it is nothing short of marvellous. The receipts are immense and daily increasing.’

I went with the Queen


Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,

‘Traveled near about 16 miles & camped again on a large Prarie near a beautiful spring which we consider a great treat. After getting our tents pitched & supper nearly in readiness a heavy thunder shower struck us & we were nearly drenched but succeeded in keeping our beds tolerable dry.’

We hope for better times


Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff,

‘Attended the Wellington races and lunched with my staff, who have a pretty camp near the course. Wild weather, with thunder, rain, hail, and what not, cut short the proceedings, and we drove back in a deluge, accompanied by the largest flashes of lightning I ever beheld. The four horses never shied nor flinched.’

Good-natured books


Marie Curie,
physicist and chemist

‘My Pierre, I got up after having slept rather well, relatively calm. That was only a quarter of an hour ago, and now I want to howl again - like a wild beast.’

Without seeing you


Thor Heyerdahl,

‘Today a huge marine animal twice came up to the surface alongside us as we sat at supper on the edge of the raft. It made a fearful splashing and disappeared. We have no idea what it was.’

The Kon-Tiki man


James Gordon Farrell,

‘Over a month since my last entry - an interval in which things went downhill at a fairly brisk pace, with the roaches multiplying in my room at the Belvedere faster than I could control them . . . In this time I took out Anita Gross a couple of times. She’s attractive, sure. But there’s something slightly wrong somewhere [. . .]

A week ago I came to Block Island to stay at the Surf Hotel under the aegis of Mr and Mrs Sears. He is a fat, genial chap and she is somewhat severe with elegantly rolled white hair that makes her look like an immigrant from Versailles. [. . .] At first I found myself eating with an English couple called Porter: she is a psychiatrist, he described himself as a ‘poet’ but I didn’t question him about this and he didn’t volunteer any further information. [. . .]

I’ve covered most of the island on foot in the past week and feel much healthier for it. The weather has been a mixture of terrible storms and sunny, windy days. Last weekend the ferry was unable to make the return trip because of a storm. Now the rain has returned I think I shall return to NY tomorrow.

While here I have made yet another ‘fresh start’ on my book - partly inspired by the charred remains of the Ocean View Hotel which stands, or stood, on a cliff overlooking the old harbour where the ferry comes in. It burned down a year or so ago. “A place with a thousand rooms,” Mr Porter (the poet) said. “200 to 300” said his wife. This morning I went up to look at the remains while the sun was still shining. Old bedsprings twisted with heat; puddles of molten glass; washbowls that had fallen through to the foundations; a flight of stone steps leading up to thin air; twisted pipes; lots of nails lying everywhere and a few charred beams. I think the way the glass had collected like candlegreas under the windows impressed me most. When you picked it up it was inclined to flake away into smaller pieces in your hand. I must remember to ask someone how many storeys it had. Anyway this gave me an idea, which seems to me a good one, for the dwelling place of the family.’ [Ocean View Hotel did, in fact, provide the catalyst for the Majestic Hotel in Troubles, and give him the structure for the novel.]

Catch some of my life


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

in diary days



Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.