6 August 2005

It’s been a bad week, a very bad week, and I’m only now just coming out of it, just feeling able to sit down at the computer and do some writing. I see that I did write down my initial reactions last Sunday, my initial reactions to Cora’s suddenly announced decision that she was going away on Wednesday, but my thoughts about her and about the way she did this have festered in me all week.

Other bad things have been happening. I applied for two or three jobs and heard nothing. Last week, I did hear something. I saw an advertisement on ‘The Guardian’ website, sent off an email, and within 24 hours I was sitting in a recruitment agency talking about a possible managing editor job worth £70,000. It turned out to be a kind of deputy for Patrick Heron in his company Heron Energy. I vaguely remember Patrick, he worked at the FT newsletters before me, and then went to Argos I think. He started his own company the same year I did (1993), and now has 20-30 employees. He must be quite rich too. His publications are very specialised, for they report on gas and electricity prices, and his journalists spend most of their time on the phone to traders. Heron himself was away but the recruitment guy - Steve - wanted to chat to me before putting my details forward to him. The agency’s offices were small and a bit cramped, and Steve had someone make him a cup of tea but didn’t even offer me one! Also, he was dressed in jeans, and an open shirt - which might be ok if you’re interviewing for secretarial temps, but I was there for a £70,000 job! Anyhow, we talked for nearly an hour, and I found myself not as cool as I should have been. His very informal manner infected me, and, by the end, I think he was less enthusiastic about my application than he had been when we spoke on the phone. In particular, I felt he was disappointed to discover how small my company turnover had been. He was, after all, looking for someone experienced and skilled enough to run a much bigger company. So, the point is, I didn’t heard back from him, and so he (or Heron) had decided I wasn’t worth a proper interview. There were so many things wrong with the job, and, even if it had been offered to me, I wouldn’t have taken it. For a start it’s in Greenwich, and I really do not want to be over on that side of London. Secondly, I can’t imagine it would be easy trying to deputise for someone who owns the company, and who has created and controlled every bit of it for 10 years. A deputy is going to be in an impossible position, never knowing when, or to what extent, to deputise; and always being utterly and completely dependant on the boss’s good will and temperament. Thirdly, the business is based on price reporting. I hated price reporting, and the only reason to go back into it would be to make a decent salary. And, I don’t really feel any money pressure at the moment.

On top of that, I applied for two or three temporary technical writing assignments and heard absolutely nothing. Then there were my shares. Having managed to increase my funds by other £2,000 at one point, I went and lost about half of that. Basically, I made all the money by buying and selling Astrazeneca shares as they went up and down; and then I lost it all in two batches, both of them trying to ride an upwave in Royal Bank of Scotland shares, and being caught out by sharp falls. Also, I think I was tiring of the constant share price and information research that I needed to be doing to maintain any active buying/selling efforts.

And, finally - to conclude the saga of this horrible week - there was Adam’s birthday on Thursday. Adam has not been a happy bunny this holiday. He was so sure he was going to get a job this summer, but didn’t, and moped around. He reads a lot, practices his guitar/harmonica a fair amount. I think he’s trying to teach himself Spanish, and maybe he spends time writing his diary. But I’m not sure what else. When it came to thinking about his birthday, he didn’t have any wishes or plans. He didn’t tell his friends it was his birthday, nor did he ask them to come for a drink, nor did he take up Barbara’s suggestion that she would pay for a a few of them to go for a meal. I tried to engage him in conversation about this several times. I said that, sometimes, it’s necessary to make an effort, to take a bit of a social risk (i.e. that people might say no). You enjoy helping your friends celebrate their birthdays, I said, so why wouldn’t you want them to have the pleasure of celebrating yours. He was unmoved, unconcerned.

Not wanting to let the day pass uncelebrated, I offered to go up to London with him and just wander around, but we had one hell of a mix-up over trains, and he ended up going to London on his own. I was all tied up, about Adam, about Cora, about my life, and decided to open a bottle of wine. I can’t remember ever doing that in the afternoon before. And so I was already drunk by the time Adam got home and B called, so there was no way I could drive to Guildford for tea, so they came here - and we spent a good hour deconstructing the morning’s events. Since he’s older, he’s developed a new conciliatory technique (which is good, and I’m not knocking it) of always trying to offer to take on board any message I’m trying to stress. The trouble with the technique is that it’s just words. They sound good, he thinks he means them. But he doesn’t, because, in his head, he doesn’t actually believe he’s done anything wrong, or is responsible in any way for events that have gone wrong. After tea and cake, Adam opened his presents from me, and then B drove us to Farnham where we ate in Pizza Express. I was exaggerating my drunkenness a little bit, which helped enliven the evening.

I’ve a little bit of synchronicity to report, which is a pleasure, albeit a rare one. I wrote a story for Adam’s 18th. I thought I’d make the effort this year, since he gave me one for my birthday. The last time I wrote him a story was for his 16th, and that was called ‘Beyond’, so I tried to find another similar word that would give me a hook from which to start, and I chose ‘Between’. We’d had a discussion a couple of weeks ago about the word. Adam was confused because he felt it had different meanings, but wasn’t prepared to accept that Fowlers and the dictionary had pinned those meanings down properly. When he first came to me with the problem, I was keen to listen, but, as I thought about it, and as I examined the dictionary and Fowlers, I came to the conclusion that Adam was wrong, and hadn’t thought about his problem enough. He wouldn’t be guided. But that’s not the point, and I didn’t really take any of that into account, I simply tried to devise a story called ‘Between’. It was very difficult, and it’s not one of my best. It does, though, contain several famous quotes which happen to include the word ‘between’. Sometime between opening his presents and the three of us heading off to Farnham, Adam came racing downstairs to tell me that one of the quotes in the story was, in fact, the very quote that had provoked his confusion about the word ‘between’ in the first place! He’d never told me the source of the his original confusion, so I couldn’t have known, even subconsciously.

21 August 2005

It’s A to A today. Ads has left for Amsterdam, and all being well won’t be back for 28 days, having travelled to Brussels, Paris, and through France, Spain, Morocco and Portugal. The last few days, since we got back from Greece on Tuesday night, have been a bit tense. Ads spent part of Wednesday with Max discussing their trip, but, mostly he was just waiting for his A-level results, which came on Thursday. And all of Thursday and part of Friday was given over to socialising with his friends, many of whom he hadn’t seen since college ended.

Adam finished with one A for maths, two Bs for philosophy and English, and a C for politics (with a B for General Studies). So he has five A levels, and easily made his grades to get into Sussex University. He was, however, disappointed that he didn’t manage to improve on any of his earlier grades. He took a couple of re-sits at Christmas, and then worked feverishly for a month up to his final exams. With his good memory, and commitment to revision he was able to cram well, and hold on to the grades he got at As level. Max, Adam’s travelling friend, got three As.

I did give Adam a lot of advice about packing for his trip, and about his trip, but he’s so replete with information and advice from me (I’ve always over-advised him, over-filled him with common-sense knowledge, when what he needs is experience) that he got tense and irritable with me. And, at the same time, didn’t take in much of what I was trying to tell him. A classic example of this is pack weight. I went to some trouble to ensure he had a good-sized rucksack. He left his packing very late. I suggested he lay out what he wanted to take so I could look it over, but he didn’t want to. He packed from the mess of his room, rather than from a laid out set of clothes; and when he’d finished packing around 9:30pm (we were due to leave for the airport at 4:30am) he asked me if I thought it was too heavy. It was. Way too heavy. But how could I help him reduce it, when he’d already packed it.

I drove them to Gatwick in the middle of the night, but didn’t stay to go inside. I feel quite relieved that he’s gone, and that he’s going to have to make, and live with, his own decisions. I really hope everything goes well, and that nothing happens to them as a pair, or to upset their journey. Will they get to Morocco? will they spend 28 days on the road and come back as planned by plane from Lisbon? I do hope so. So long as nothing goes seriously wrong, it should be an important experience for them both.

The Diary Junction has been given a review by a ‘Guardian’ blogging website called Culture Vulture. This is it: ‘The Diary Junction is never going to win any prizes for its design, that much is certain. When will people learn that white text on a dark background (in this case, indigo) is a really bad idea? Better use of links and more generous spacing would also help with the navigation and ease of use. But, gripes out of the way, this amateur (in the best sense) attempt to document historical and literary diarists is a great browse. Truly a labour of love by one individual, over 370 diarists can be accessed through a variety of lists, including alphabetically, chronologically and by profession, and for each there is a brief biographical summary, journal dates and a few links. This isn’t the site for in depth information on any of the diarists but it does provide a good overview of journal-writers from 838 right up to the present day.’ By Michelle Pauli. Site of the week. 04:00pm.

A comment later added: ‘What a great idea to have one portal linking to such a wealth of information for diary lovers and diarists! Certainly a product of passion by the author as a champion of diaries and their writers! Well done!’ Posted by Robyn Heathfield.’ !!! I wonder who Robyn Heathfield is.

As a result of the listing, the site got a few more hits than usual, 20-40 visitors a day. But, it’s never going to take off, unless Google returns it fairly high up the listing when someone searches for a diarist name with the word diary. If I search for Teonge + Diary for example, The Diary Junction doesn’t even come up on the first page of hits; and Teonge is a fairly obscure diarist. Also, I noticed that almost none of the browsers that visit The Diary Junction from the ‘Guardian’ website take a look at any part of the Pikle website.

I’ve recently taken to revisiting some of my old correspondence, from the 70s and 80s. Since I’ve done this before, much of it was familiar, but no less a fruitful experience for all that. It is fine to be reminded so strongly that, in the past, I was loved and loved, and had many friends. However, I found a couple of letters from someone called Amanda Reddy, and I couldn’t remember her at all. My journal mentions her, once or twice, as living with me in the Iverson Road flat. So I did a Google search, and found an Amanda Reddy with a jewellery website, and living in Lancashire. From a small bio, I judged the timing seemed right, so I sent her a jovial email before leaving for Greece; and when I got back, she’d replied. She doesn’t seem to have had any children, but is into fell walking and mountain biking with her partner. I replied lightly to her email, suggesting she pop in any time she’s in this area. Interestingly, if I’d tried to find her a month ago, I’d never have chanced on her jewellery website, since it was only launched three weeks ago!

Not much news from the wider world at the moment. The British media seems to go into melt down when Parliament isn’t sitting. Mo Mowlem died, aged in her mid-50s. She never looked a very healthy person. I always thought she did a good job in Northern Ireland, and that it was courageous of Blair to put her there. It’s interesting that the mavericks in the Labour Party seem always to be good people, while the Tory Party mavericks are the opposite (I’m thinking of Alan Clark).

I missed a very exciting test match while in Greece. England’s cricketers let a near-certain win slip away from their grasp. But, in the test match before, they held their nerve and beat the Aussies by two runs. So I don’t want to read anything into the third test match draw. Confidence-wise, I think, England have the edge. They’re learning the measure of the Aussies, and, I expect, will beat them in the next Test. The only slight worry is that they can’t afford to lose the last Test at the Oval, because that would lead to a drawn series, and Australia would keep the ashes.

22 August 2005

It feels like a new beginning today, with Adam gone away, and the emptiness of my life now starkly in focus. I mean I’ve no short-term projects on the go, I’ve nothing needs doing around the house urgently, I’ve no plans to do anything, go anywhere in the future - none. My future life is a blank slate. How astonishing is that. I could do anything, go anywhere, be anybody, in the sense that I have no practical restrictions on my activities; but, in another sense, of course I can’t do anything, go anywhere, be anybody, because I am so terribly constrained by what I am able to do and who I really am. Already this summer, I have sat down with pen and paper to try and chart a route towards what I might do with my life in the short and long term, without much success. But now this task has become more urgent. I need to find something to do, and it’s going to be so terribly hard - if it were easy or only a little bit hard, I would have had an inkling of what to do. But there is nothing in my head. I can’t believe I am so without needs, so without ambitions, so without desires, so without impulse, so without momentum.

It’s not only Adam’s leaving for Europe but even when he gets back, he’ll be soon off to Brighton, and so any temporary activity created by his presence then for a couple of weeks will only be a brief distraction. I was thinking yesterday that I should try and find something constructive to do for the 28 days he’s away, try and achieve something in the set time of his absence, but my head is empty of ideas. The only vague idea I had was to net-publish London Cross, which would mean tidying up the text and adding a few pages to the pikle website. It wouldn’t take very long, nor would it achieve very much. I might still attempt to come up with a plan to write something - but I’ve actually lost a lot of confidence in my ability to write any kind of decent fiction.

So I did sit down to read my previous notes, and then try to work on scenarios, thinking them through as thoroughly and clearly as I could.

Sunday 28 August

A year ago today, I was leaving for my Explore trip to Sri Lanka. All I have to show for the last 12 months is The Diary Junction and my relationship with Cora. It’s quite amazing how little one can do in a whole year, if one really doesn’t try.

As I said in my last entry, it feels like a new beginning this week. My relationship with Cora is well and truly over, and Adam has more or less left the family home. I need to make decisions about my future, and, to that end, I have been spending an hour or two each day this week trying to give the matter serious attention. The rest of the time, I’ve been clearing out the loft, doing other odd jobs, and watching the cricket. It has been the quietest, emptiest week in my life since before I met Cora - but, it has also been good. I’ve been calm, not depressed; coming to terms with my new status (free of all connections, even Adam). I think I’m deliberately downstepping my emotions, attempting to focus on the fact that my life has come to a standstill and that it’s not going to be easy in the short or medium term to find a new balance.

During the day today, I’m hoping to summarise my thoughts this week - drawing on a dozen pages of notes I’ve written - and set out a plan for more considered thinking next week. Nothing really new came out of my thinking, but perhaps it helped me to come to terms with the limited options facing me.

First, though, I want to write down a few other things. Yesterday, I took half day stroll through a very quiet part of Hampshire. It was a typical local walk, in the sense that it was full of interest, but not remarkable in any specific way. I started out quite early, so when I got back around 1:30 or so having walked 10 miles or more, I was quite content to let the rest of the day wile away (especially as I had a residual headache which hung around too long). I do wonder, though, whether I should be doing another walk this morning instead of spending the time writing about the walk yesterday. It’s the classic dilemma which I’ve commented on many times in my diary, I’m sure. In terms of a life lived, is 10 walks better than five walks and five descriptions of those walks in a diary. I’ve always been interested in balance; and in consciousness. I believe that writing a diary helps the conscious self experience its experiences more thoroughly, more solidly.

It took a little over half an hour to drive to Old Alresford, just north of New Alresford, itself not far from Winchester. I chose the walk from an AA book of Hampshire walks borrowed from the library. I might have chosen a different walk, west of Basingstoke, but for the fact that the Alresford walk was contained within the Ordnance Survey map I’d also borrowed from the library, and the other walk wasn’t. I parked by the village hall, and walked south towards New Alresford which isn’t new at all. There’s an interesting 18th century brick church in Old Alresford, but it was locked up, so all I could do was walk through the cemetery. New Alresford is a very attractive village, with Georgian terraces (the old Alresford, full of timber-built houses, was burnt down in the 17th century and rebuilt, hence the ‘new’), and many specialist shops, greengrocers, butchers, mini-art galleries. At first sight, I thought I really liked the place, but then, as I walked round, I realised there was something pretentious about it. It may be an historic pretty village, but I felt it was full of people overly interested in being seen to be in an historic pretty village. It was as though the pre-supermarket kind of shops (dating in fact only from 50s and 60s and 70s really) were too obvious, too necessary. There was a small Tesco Express (imagine what fights must have gone on to get that approved) which was busier far than other shops. In particular, I noticed there was not one single tea-shop nor a single bookshop. I did find a place to buy tea, at the Swan pub, which has a big cafe area at the back (fitted out like a national chain restaurant - Beefeater or Little Chef), but after 15 minutes when my tea hadn’t been delivered as promised, I asked for my money back. There were only two foreign girls running the cafe area, and they were making a complete balls up of it. Surely, if New Alresford were the kind of place it thinks it is, there ought to be cute little tea-shop with home made cakes.

Much of the wealth of the area, in the past, came from watercress; and the business carries on today (I saw big Vitacress lorries, and lots of watercress beds). Everywhere, there are streams and channels directing the clear water to prepared flat beds where the watercress grows perpetually. Apparently, it’s the spring water that emerges at a regular temperature of 51 degrees centigrade that the watercress likes.

After walking around New Alresford (including not getting a cup of tea and a brief visit to the library), I walked along the River Arle a short way to the old Fulling Mill Cottage, supposedly dating to the 13th century!, and then across gentle hills to Abbotstone. The route passes by several fields with obvious evidence of past habitation and dwellings. In fact Abbotstone was badly hit by the Black Death in 1349 to 1350, and then - apparently - gradually declined especially during the 18th century when a lot of the local agricultural workers left the countryside for life in the towns. I ripped that sentence from the internet, but I can’t see how a village can decline for 400 years.

From Abbotstone, I was heading for a ruin called The Grange, but I must have gone wrong somehow because the track I was on took me down by the river, when I shouldn’t have been that close, and led me to barbed wire fences without stiles. As I tried to follow the river upstream towards an interesting looking tower (which, at first, because I hadn’t read the notes, I thought might be the ruin) I was drawn into a trap. On my left was the river and its very marshy banks, and on the right was a barbed wire fence with a thicket of impenetrable brambles and shrubs on the other side. And, in front of me, where the land between the river and the fence was its narrowest, stood a herd of cows. When I first walked towards the narrow bit of land, the cows went back a bit, but as I approached they all came forward menacingly, filling up the narrow space between the river and the fence. I retreated, and was just about to seek refuge behind the fence, in the brambles, when I decided that the best plan - why hadn’t I thought of it before - was to cross the river and get my feet wet. In doing so I scared a couple of large herons, beautiful birds.

It was then a simple matter to get near the tower, but as I got close, I realised that it was inhabited and that I was probably trespassing, and, also, that this wasn’t the ruin I was looking for. I walked up a drive with lots of landscape/garden evidence (more clues that I’d been trespassing) to a junction of four or five tracks/drives which left me clueless as to where I was. The guide book certainly didn’t help, and I couldn’t even work out where on the Ordnance Survey map I was. I took the best decision I could, and walked up a dirt track, and it wasn’t long before I rounded a woody corner to see, across the valley, the most amazing building, The Grange, looking like a huge Greek temple, plonked in the middle of fields, and an otherwise deserted countryside. In the valley, along the line of the river, were a series of ponds, artificially created for The Grange. Because of these, the track to get to the range seemed to round a very long way. So, I decided to cut down to the river, thinking it would be interesting to walk by the ponds anyway, and perhaps I’d be able to get across quicker than by the track. In fact, there were animal tracks by the ponds, and there was a lot of interesting bird life on the pond shores, but the way through was very difficult. I chanced on a rotten bridge, but to get through to it, and to get away from it on the other side, I had to scramble across and through head-high nettles and brambles. Not much fun. And, even once I’d got to the other side, and clear fields, I was still worried, because I thought I might trespassing and The Grange greek temple might be private.

Not so. It’s an English Heritage site, and as such one can wander round the outside, not the inside, though, which is derelict. I think the building is quite ugly. I don’t like the stark Greek temple style with its six huge Doric columns (designed by Wilkins in the early 19th century for Henry Drummond - one of the first buildings to use the ancient Greek style), nor do I like the stone material. But I loved the place. There were a couple of people wandering around quietly, but they hardly intruded on my pleasure at being there. I sat down on one of the corners of the portico, with a view out across the valley, and ate my lunch (and listened to the test match - I’d brought my portable radio and followed England’s excellent progress against the Aussies during the day), and then very quietly, very slowly walked all around the site. There’s not much there, but once there were gardens, a conservatory, and a much bigger house. There’s an odd large new building at the back, which doesn’t fit at all, and there was no indication as to what it was for, or why it was there. This, along with the fact that all the windows to the main building were in tact, but all were blinded so you couldn’t see inside, only added to the bizarre nature of the site. On the way out, I talked to a couple who were also leaving, and they too had been intrigued by the new build, and by a large set of electric sockets. I’ve now solved the mystery, though, with the help of the internet - ‘the appearance of the connecting wing has very recently been restored with a new building which, combined with the orangery, houses an opera stage and auditorium.’

The latter part of my walk, back to Old Alresford, was rather uneventful I would say. It was mostly through woods and fields.

I’ve cleared out the loft. Surprisingly, this achievement made me feel good, and continues to do so! I brought down all the bags and boxes which I’d accumulated there over the years, swept up a large quantity of dust and birch tree seedlings, and repinned the dust sheets back to the timbers. I’ve now no need to return ever to the loft, except to turn off water taps and the like.

In the loft were the following: lots of Adam’s clothes from when he was a toddler, lots of Adam’s games and books ditto, and my scarves and material. I sorted them all out, throwing some things away, washing others, and repacking them into plastic bags and then into boxes. (I had to wash some stuff since there was evidence of moth activity - thus I hadn’t eradicated the clothes’ moths in the move from Aldershot Road to here.) The boxes are now stacked in the spare room, along with the remaining boxes of Kip Fenn (some of which I’ve begun to chuck out). So I feel that’s all nice and clean and tidy now, ready for me to move!!!

The fourth Ashes test match is drawing to a close. England have been on top for most of the match, but Australia aren’t going to be beaten until they’re beaten. They are fighting tooth and nail. England need 129 to win with their second innings, but lost both Trescothick and Vaughn to Shane Warne’s wonders. Australia would never have dominated world cricket for the last decade without Warne. He must be one of the greatest spinners there has ever been in the game.

I’ve picked a sweet corn, a courgette and beans for my supper. Earlier on I went for a run, but it was so warm I took off my top for part of it. I’ve also listened to a radio production of the story ‘Le Grande Meaulnes’ which I vaguely recall as one of the few significant books I read in teen years. I’ve still got the penguin copy. I gave it to Adam to read once, but I don’t think he liked. And now I realise, having heard the story again, how very old-fashioned it is.

Adam is in Paris, staying with Colin, after three days in Amsterdam and two in Brussels with friends of Max. His emails are short and feel as though he’s been forced to write them. I think Barbara asked him to send emails every few days. I didn’t ask him to email or phone at all. The emails don’t read as though he’s keen to communicate, to share his adventures. But I doubt that my postcards from the Pennine Way at that age were any more informative.

Julian popped in last night on his way back from a cricket game at Goodwood. He was warm and chatty. Said he’d had a nice time in Australia with his family, and stressed how much he liked being with his family. He was very positive about all his children too, which was nice to hear. We talked a bit about the cricket, and a bit about Mum and Mel. And I told him about Cora and I breaking up, which he didn’t seem to know about.

29 August 2005

Two great sayings I’ve just found in one of the A4 pads I use for my computer mice: ‘Fine words butter no parsnips’ and ‘Save your breath for your porridge’.

It doesn’t feel like a Monday, although I don’t know why because here in Russet House every day feels and sounds the same.

So, here I am about to try and synthesise all the thoughts - handwritten on six or seven pages - I had last week vis-a-viz my future. The first thing I did was write down a list of possible options: 1) Get a job; 2) Write a new book; 3) Study something significant; 4) Sell RH and go abroad, or to a remoter part of the UK; 5) Buy a business.

I then tried to think about each one really really hard, and these are the broad conclusions or actions I decided on.

1) In terms of getting a job, I need to carry on doing what I’ve been doing, i.e. looking at the advertisements, and applying for the occasional job that might suit. I could also do the following: Write to a list of industry associations in Brussels etc, offering my writing services. This would mean expenses in terms of trips and staying in Brussels. Would I want a full-time job in Brussels - if it paid well it might be worth it, I concluded. Write to agencies in London with a c.v. - not sure how worthwhile this would be. And then I asked myself this question: would I accept any job (such as with Newzeye, editing EC Inform-Energy, for example? And I wrote: I suppose I’d have to if I couldn’t find anything else to do with my time.

2) As for writing a new book, at first I ended a sequence of notes with this: I’ve been hanging around long enough, I need to get on with something else. This may be true, but later I came back to the same page - after looking at the ten highlights of my life during last 10 years - and concluded that writing books is now such a major part of my life that I’m never going to stop, it’s always going to be a case of what’s the next one going to be about, and when should I start. I noted the following: Thus, it would be useful to find a kind of book I can write and which makes some money.

3) I headed the page about studying something significant: retraining. And I wrote quite a lot. I concluded that it wouldn’t work to retrain into some profession, for all kinds of reasons, but that I should investigate the possibility of doing a TEFL course, as a way of finding out if I like/am suited to teaching, and this would allow the possibility of living abroad, and/or pave the way to learning to teach maths.

4 & 5) I considered going to live abroad and buying a business and rejected both options completely. But I also considered more carefully the idea of selling RH soon, and rejected it too. I wrote: ‘Suppose I did this, I’d just be sitting in a flat somewhere, once everything about the move/storage was finally sorted out, getting out my pens and paper to do this same exercise all over again.’

But then I went back to thinking about it, reviewing the idea that I’d had earlier in the year, to buy a flat, maybe, in Brighton that Adam could use after his first year in halls. And I wrote: ‘I thought I had rejected this plan, but it keeps coming back to my consciousness.’ And I decided to get RH valued, and to look into the possibility of buying a flat in Brighton.

My top ten experiences of the last 10 years, written down in no particular order and without much thought were: Kip Fenn; Diary Junction; London Cross; Cora; trips to Sri Lanka and Egypt; bringing Adam up especially our pre-teen holidays together; being an EC energy expert; Russet House and garden; diary writing; volleyball. I wrote: ‘This seemed a good idea but how can I put Adam in just one category, or my business for that matter, or leave Barbara out. And what about my solitary holidays to Madeira, Corfu and walking in Britain.

The point of the exercise, though, was to try and work out what it is I’d like to be experiencing in the next 10 years. I also wrote a page about ‘Time’, and another page about ‘Getting older’, in an effort to bring perspective to my position now, and in the future. I’ve been caught trying to sit on too many stools, and fallen to the ground. I’ve been trapped between floors trying to operate on too many levels. I’ve come to a full stop after trying to spin too fast in too many directions.

Metaphors aside, the thing is that because I’ve lived in a free way, and I’m now not tied down, bound in to any responsibilities, I have the privilege and burden of facing up to the fact that this life I’m living is the only one there is for me. Moreover, it’s not as if it’s going to end tomorrow. The chances are I’ve got another 25 years of healthy active living (and I still won’t be as old as my mother, who’s still working) and I need to fill them with pleasurable rewarding fulfilling experiences.

September 2005

Paul K Lyons


Copyright © PiKLe PuBLiSHiNG

1974 1975

1976 1977

1978 1979

1980 1981

1982 1983

1984 1985

1986 1987

1988 1989

1990 1991

1992 1993

1994 1995

1996 1997

1998 1999

2000 2001

2002 2003

2004 2005

INTRO to diaries