Knox Box of Miscellany

Dawn Knox – A rearranger of words into something hopefully meaningful…

Diarist or Dairy Maid? #MuseItUp #DaffodilAndTheThinPlace

dairyI’m definitely more at home with a diary than a dairy. I only mention this as the app I downloaded for my iPhone, called ‘My Day Journal’, doesn’t seem too sure of the difference (just in case the screenshot on the left is too small to read, it says ‘My Dairy’!)

But back to diaries.

Do you keep a diary? If so, how long have you kept one? Why do you keep it?

When I was in hospital, following the birth of my son, one of the nurses suggested I ought to keep a diary of the events while I was in hospital and during the next few weeks. She said that although most people thought the birth and early days of their child’s life would be imprinted on their memory, they would actually forget. I was one of those who thought I would remember every detail but I decided to take her advice anyway. And I’m glad I did as twenty-six years later, I don’t remember a lot but not every little thing. One day, my son may be interested to see what I wrote about the start of his life.

I also decided to keep a diary whenever we went on holiday, so I would remember people and places. During dark evenings, I can relive sunny days in exotic places, which I might otherwise have forgotten.

Since my husband and I retired, I keep a note of things we’ve done each day. Sometimes, it’s little more than a list but the purpose is to keep me on my toes! I want to check that I’m not wasting a precious moment of my life.

So, I’ve kept diaries to inform my son of his beginnings, remind me of lovely family times and to help me make the most of the time I have left.

As an example of how easy it is to forget things that have happened in my life, I don’t remember keeping a diary before my son was born but during our recent tidy up, I found two diaries. One was written by me when I was ten, in Swanage, Dorset on a school trip. It prompted me to remember that after dinner in the evening, we had to write an entry in our diaries recording the day’s events. The ten year-old me didn’t enjoy writing – and that’s an understatement! It’s obvious from what I wrote that I had to fill a page with words and make it look like I’d written something meaningful about the day. Well, I’d barely filled each page but as for meaningful…! The details were sketchy and non specific, which is a shame as I had a fabulous time in Swanage.

The second diary was written by me, age seventeen, while I was on a school trip in Russia – but more of that tomorrow…

Back to Swanage. Finding the diary made me try to remember where we went and what we did. Here are a few of my memories:

My first memory had nothing to do with Swanage and took place on the coach journey from Ilford, Essex to Swanage. On the way, we stopped at a service station at Chichester. One of the boys decided to buy a chocolate bar from a vending machine and was most exasperated when he inserted the correct money but it didn’t dispense a chocolate bar. In fact, he was so frustrated, he thumped the machine. Thankfully, the machine responded by dispensing his chocolate bar… and then another… and then another. Chocolate bar after chocolate bar shot out of the slot and there was soon a crowd around the machine, taking advantage of the free booty. I don’t remember taking one but it stuck in my mind anyway.

Further along the road from the hotel we were staying, was a footpath which led to an enormous limestone globe and the Tilly Whim caves. Why did I remember this? Well, probably because of the size of the globe which to a small ten year-old was enormous, and the name ‘Tilly Whim’, which to a silly ten year-old was a rather absurd and amusing name.

Another strange memory was having a bath in the hotel. There appeared to be one bathroom available to the girls and we were warned to make sure we didn’t use much water. I expect the teacher was trying to stop us filling the bath and using all the hot water but I took the warning literally and when it was my time to have a bath (we were allowed one during the week!), I ran such a small volume of water, most of it was absorbed by my flannel when I dipped it in. Exactly how I managed to clean myself in such a small volume of water, I really can’t imagine. I must have emerged from the bath merely damp.

But I do remember that there were lots of wonderful places we visited, such as Durdle Door, Old Sarum, Salisbury Cathedral and one place that I really loved was Corfe Castle.  There is thought to have been a wooden castle on the site going back to 979AD and it was rebuilt in stone by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, so it is steeped in history. The stark, grey ruins are perched high on the hill overlooking the Dorset countryside and although at the time, I didn’t like writing, I had an active imagination and I appreciated the history and romance.

More diary thoughts tomorrow…

Another building which may have originally been a wooden building but was later rebuilt in stone, although a century later than Corfe Castle, is St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton. This beautiful church perches on top of a hill and is the setting for my ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’. If you’d like to support our attempt to renovate and maintain the ancient building, please buy a copy of ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ from the Muse It Up Publishing website, here #MuseItUp #DaffodilAndTheThinPlace