I have always been quite specific about my requirement in a diary. A week to view with 4 days on one side of the page, three on the other (every day has the same amount of space) and the last section for notes. Slim enough to go in a handbag but big enough to be able to get several appointments in per day. It’s not necessarily that I have lots of appointments every day, but that it’s so easy to forget details. My mother, for example, regularly used to say something like “Have I told you what I’m supposed to be doing on Thursday darling, because I’ve got EL, Norwich, 10.30 and I have no idea what it’s about.” So whole names and specific places and a reminder of what I had to take or do, which takes a fair bit of space.
This wasn’t necessarily that difficult to find, but it wasn’t the only requirement. I plan ahead, sometimes by several months. So a diary that started in January and ended in December was useless, I needed overlap. Ideally, a diary should include the whole of December, so that I could do the changeover early, and finish at the end of January or later, because I’d have quite a bit to write in by then. I’ve got engagements on 19 days in January so far, for example, and 12 in February, and I’m not as busy as people with a proper job. I never managed to find a diary that gave that much scope, though.
It wasn’t bad when my mother had an account with Coutts. They had jolly good diaries, and actually she had two accounts so received two diaries and gave the spare to me. It came as close as I ever found to my requirements and was the right size and thickness. But it all became too expensive in the end, it’s a sad day when you can’t afford your banker any more – and it wasn’t the same when they’d been taken over by Nat West, in any case.
So I used to spend ages leafing through all the diaries in the shop and what I bought was always a compromise.
Buying an iPhone and discovering the diary was a happy day. Not only could I set it up to repeat regular events so that I didn’t have to write them all in individually, but it all backed up on to the computer so that, in the event that my handbag was stolen (this happened once about 20 years ago: fortunately in October so that my year wasn’t a complete bewilderment, only a couple of months of it), I didn’t lose a single appointment. To a belt, braces and bailer twine woman like me, this was immensely reassuring.
For the first year, I carried a paper diary too, because I have to acknowledge that it’s quicker to jot something down than type it in, on a phone’s keypad at any rate. But I couldn’t be bothered to fill it in very often, so it was never up to date, and I haven’t bought one since. Life is so much simpler now.