I’ve started transferring next year’s appointments from the back of my diary to the new one. I considered taking them both on holiday and doing it one night when I’d gone back to my bedroom but decided the discipline (I have to choose to be relaxed, do you? It doesn’t come of its own accord) of being diary-free for ten days was too good for me to forego. It’s terribly boring, this transcription, so I’m glad I didn’t take them. Last year I couldn’t be bothered to write in regular things so I kept being taken by surprise for the first couple of months, by when I’d learnt the error of my ways and did the job properly.
Oh. That reminds me, I mustn’t forget to do next year’s Meals on Wheels rota.
I dislike the tyranny of a diary as much as I rely on it. I’ve tried using a desktop diary or an online one, but I have to have a paper diary with me too. I do know people who are careful not to carry one, so that they can’t be pushed into making a commitment they don’t want to, but you only have to make notes on a bit of paper and phone up to confirm afterwards, so I can’t be bothered with that. In the event of it being something I really didn’t want to do, I could always extricate myself by saying that the Sage has arranged something for us both without telling me. Not that I’d lie about it or anything, oh no, as if. Anyway, the home-based diary was meant to be for both of us to fill in, so that we’d know what was going on, but in practice it was only me who wrote in it, and I had to check with the Sage and write his appointments too, so that didn’t last longer than a year. The most useful thing about the one on the computer was that it would fill in the regular events automatically. I make notes against appointments – another thing I learned from my mother’s imprecision – she was always saying to me – “who’s *JL* and why would I be meeting him or her in Norwich next Tuesday. And where in Norwich?” One always thinks one will remember.
It’s the same with the garden. You think you’ll remember where you planted bulbs and what variety of bean is which, but it’s not so easy once they’ve grown*. One year, I’d not had enough labels (no, BW, I don’t buy them, I cut up yoghurt pots and suchlike) and devised a method to remember which tomato plants were which, and then Al kindly potted them on and wasn’t quite sure of my method. We rather took pot luck that year with some varieties. We had an awful lot of tomatoes too, as Al could only sell the labelled ones. We probably made as many soups and sauces as Dave.
That reminds me, I must clear out the plants from the greenhouses. And start on the list of seeds for next year. I’ve got a couple of weeks to go for that – the gardening club gets a sizeable discount so it’s worth my while. I can’t remember if I told you, I’m going to have a new asparagus bed next year. Mine has been there over 20 years and is well past its best. It’s also full of perennial weeds which can’t be dug out. I think I’ll chuck carpet on top and leave it for a year to kill off the lot.
We went out for lunch with friends today. D and her brother F, who was up for the day. The Sage and his siblings grew up with them. Theirs is an extremely posh family, and when the Sage’s sister was asked at tea if she would like butter or jam and she innocently asked for both, it went down quite badly. In those days, the posher the family, the simpler food the children lived on. We didn’t have bread and jam at teatime, with or without butter, so I don’t know how posh we were. We had a cup of Earl Grey without milk.
By happy coincidence, the Sage has just brought me a cup of tea. He is eating a jam sandwich. I wonder if it’s buttered.
*I observe belatedly that this makes no sense. I mean, of course, that I don’t remember the bulbs the next autumn when they’re not visible or the beans when they’re sprouted but not yet fruited. As you realised and kindly didn’t mention. Lucky Dave is away. Though not for any other reason, don’t we miss him terribly?