Lock and key...
...for Knots in the String.
I’ve read such excellent memoirs over the last 24 months. Inspiring enough for me to try to write my own journal. I thought my offspring might get something from whatever I chose to record – inspiration, a laugh. Probably a groan – ‘Oh Mum!’
I started well – almost-thoughts of (perhaps questionable) depth, big words.
But the gaps between entries became longer and I realised that while I was writing the umpteenth novel, writing for Substack, attending ballet class, stitching, gardening, walking, cooking – all the things that make my day complete – then it was highly unlikely that a journal would eventuate.
I gave up with good grace and gave myself a half-hearted pat on the back.
When I was young, I craved my own lockable journal complete with tiny keys. A friend had one and I pleaded with Mum and Dad for my own. My birthday passed and no journal, but at Christmas and nestled under the decorated Oyster Bay pine tree at the family-cottage-by-the-sea and amongst a pile of childrens’ novels (always my most favourite gift of all), there was my journal.
I remember the cover was pale pink faux leather and was a five year diary! It had a gold clasp that clicked satisfyingly shut. It had a gold key and the very act of slipping the key into the lock, turning it and hearing that click spoke of secrets!
I wonder if I wrote about crushes then? Or my love of horses and riding?
Did I talk about the raging fear as I stood on the block waiting for the starting gun in a swimming race?
How I was bullied?
How I wanted to be a vet?
Or even about my own fledgling writing?
I have no idea when I grew out of that little journal or where it went. I’d love to read it now, to see the way a child’s mind worked.
Then again, perhaps not.
Because that was then and this is now…
Planning. Summer’s a time to plan so that the cooler months are filled and fly swiftly into spring. Sailing on rivers, kayaking on lakes, bushwalking far south and snippity snap, winter is taken care of.
We enjoy our little island to its fullest extent – visiting locations that we’ve barely touched through our lives. It’s so easy to buy a plane ticket and head off the island, but pastures aren’t always greener these days with crowds, climate change, pandemics and politics, and this place – Tasmania – is such an isolated ark.
Best of all, my family and dog tether me – a bond I never struggle against.
And besides, everywhere my husband and I go in late autumn/winter is usually deserted. A journey into blissful silence. Just us and our souls…
But gaaah! Utter panic as I realised that I’d forgotten to order the (small) Lego Pirate Ship I promised my grandson the Easter Bunny would bring. Frantic online shopping and hoping to the stars that it’s delivered before Easter.
I wrote part of this in the city as I had my ballet class, to which I’m addicted. Much personal satisfaction as I’m slowly coming to grips with double frappes and pas de basques. Gave the right ankle a talking to as it twinged a couple of times – my tendons and I aren’t really on speaking terms.
And then I scooted back to the seashore and the garden where the zucchinis are getting the better of me. Where the potatoes are creamy, the leeks have a while to go, and the spring onions are almost done.
Where the raspberries and blackberries are lush. Where the tomatoes are sweet and where the pears and early apples are coming into their own and where cooking a pear and blackberry cake is an absolute must.
I’ve also been embroidering hearts (www.1000hearts.com.au) to be bagged up with a mini-chocolate egg for the childrens’ ward at our local public hospital. I’ve done mostly Tomtes in easter colours. The little beings are essentially a good luck totem and if anyone deserves good fortune, its children in hospital.
Survivor Australia Pointy end now. No holds barred.
Spooks Finished. Ten series of consummate spy drama, but it lost direction after Lucas North’s death at the end of Series 9. I thought the same on the first watch many years ago.
The Pyrenees Michael Portillo A vast chain of mountains that I’ve not had the joy of visiting. Thank you, Mr. Portillo.
Indian Matchmaking A clash of western entitlement and Indian culture. Interesting…
Clarkson’s Farm 2 The man is a paradox. Outspoken and arrogant, but we can see he does have a genuine desire to farm, and his livestock matters to him. But he needs hard reality checks and I don’t think Cheerful Charlie has the power!
Our family, along with many other farmers, knows the ups and downs and heartbreak of farming, the vital cashflow, debit and credit, the weather, stock ailments, excruciating hard work. And has known that for 6 generations. Most sad is the way that whilst farmers feed the nation, they get little to no recognition and support from the general public, let alone government.
What we like about Clarkson is the way he speaks of mindful regeneration of field and hedgerow, of meadows of wild flowers, beehives, cattle, sheep, birds and more. The way he argues for the protection of agriculture and farmers. He is perhaps the loudest voice world farmers could have. Trouble is, he does rather alienate so many people.
Maybe Kaleb then, that utter gem, representative of the world’s next farming generation…
An essay for Substack.
But most importantly, I’ve only got about 30,000 words left to write for the fantasy that has had 3 name changes (and still I can’t decide!). I hope it will be published in the northern spring. Fingers crossed.
Then it’s back to the historical fiction which is 1/3rd of the way through.
Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom Book One despite that I watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix. Cornwell’s words and Jonathan Keeble’s narration are a partnership hammered out on the best Viking anvil. Superb.
Spotify Coastal Grandmothers’ List, Don Burrows List and Ballet List.
Kindle only currently.
A Drop of Ink by Megan Chance. Geneva, 19th century. A house of creatives. Very unlikeable characters but I read on, wanting to see what happened. Just desserts but not the way I had hoped.
The Librarian of Crooked Lane by CJ Archer. Excellent mystery writer with a smidge of enchantment thrown in. Archer’s historical settings are so well-researched, and her plot is always unique. I’m quite a fan.
I’m also reading Substack essays, of course. Two new ones from my own island:
My favourite Substack essays are most often a perfect depiction of that writer’s life. They are by their nature, journals. Maybe that’s why my idea of writing a journal came to nothing – because I’m already journalling in the weekly essay.
I will confess to missing the perfectly bound blank journal – so enticing as one looks at it, fingering the pages that make shushing sounds as one flips through. There’s a shop I love in Melbourne – Il Papiro in Degraves Street. Its mother premises are in Florence – my dream would be an Il Papiro journal with a marbled cover perhaps and the rich fragrance of leather binding.
As a postscript, I do use a paper diary to plan my life. I zhuzhed this year’s up by placing one of the hearts I embroidered for 1000hearts on the cover.
But the diary did rather fail me, or I failed it, when I forgot to order the Lego. See above.
Anyway, I leave you with this:
You’ll see why when you play it. The opening lines are rather apposite.
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I found some diaries from my teenage years a few years ago. I have to be honest and say, I decided to get rid of them. There was something strange about meeting that confused, sometimes sad, trying-too-hard teenage me on the page. Time moves on. I wonder how I'll feel about my current diaries in another twenty years!!! (I envy that pale pink lockable diary, by the way!)
Like you, I had a locking diary during childhood that is long gone. Knowing me, its entries would have been inconsistent, so I suspect at some point I deemed it not worth saving. I've never been a daily journal writer, except when given the challenge to do so, as with The Artist's Way. When I was working as a market farmer, I was more dedicated for a while, so I have 3-4 years of those "volumes," but at some point, I gave that up as well. Pity. Thanks for calling all of these memories to mind, Prue!