I’ve kept a detailed diary for over fifty years, in an attempt to preserve a record in the life of an ‘ordinary person’. It has proved invaluable in settling many arguments about where or when an event occurred in our lives, often giving us a surprise as memory detail fades with time.
Unfortunately, I know of no such diaries kept by my grandparents, on either side. This leaves me with an amazing lack of information about my forebears. I had obviously many, many chances to ask questions, but never did. Such questions would not have been about great philosophical ideas or earth-shattering revelations, simple day-to-day enquiries about their life.
- Their parents were farmers, and lived in the country, so how did they get to school?
- What games did they play?
- What toys did they have?
- What was their favourite food?
- What did they do for holidays?
- Did they have to wear hand-me-downs?
- How well did they do at school?
- How did they meet their eventual spouse?
- What was their wedding like?
- How could they afford the relatively-large families?
- Did they read a lot?
- How did they get to a doctor…and how could they afford it?
- How did they keep warm without central heating and double glazing?
………….Just a few of the questions which shall be forever un-answered. None is of great importance, but put together and with a bit of imagination we might be able to piece together ‘a day in the life of’ for people just over 100 years ago.
Are there any questions you wish you had asked your parents or grandparents…but never did?
And do your children ask you questions about your youth?
“Forty Days and forty nights……….”
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation…”
“Life begins at forty….”
“When forty winters shall beseige thy brow…..”
“Forty years on, when afar and asunder, parted are those who are singing today” (From the Harrow School Song)…….
Writers seem to feel that something special attaches to the number forty. Any dictionary of quotations will give many references if you care to look them up.
This weekend, the Lady of the House, and I celebrated forty years of marriage, and it doesn’t seem as long as that. Actually I have no real idea what 40 years is like! The passage of such a large amount of time can only be assessed in retrospect, but as the time goes on, you do not have any great sensation of such a time approaching.
Only when such an event comes does it actually hit you that this is a milestone which you will not pass again. You may have acquired more acquaintences but you basic friends stay the same. It has been great fun and as long as health is preserved then we hope to see 50 years…..so here’s to the next ten !!
So here we go again, with the season slowly changing, we go through the twice-yearly stupid ritual of preparing and executing the clock changes…..
- do we change them just before bedtime?
- do we change them slightly earlier to get used to the new time?
- did we remember to change them all?
- what about the microwave, and the cooker?
- and the mobile phone alert?
- and the video?
- and the spare room clock?
- and the heating and light timers?
- what time should the kids be home (old time or new time)?
- does anyone actually get up at 2am to make the changes?
At least we can forget the computer clock….it changes automatically, and everywhere across the civilised world, people will be turning on theirs on Sunday morning, to the reassurance that they are on GMT, and that they got most of the clocks right!
So don’t forget on Saturday night to put your clocks BACK…..(or is it forward?)