To some extent this Blog acts like a diary. It’s not a diary that’s updated every day, but the date of each post is relevant. Sometimes I “back-fill” pieces days, or even months, after the event. I am doing it now, posting this piece for Christmas Day 2022 several weeks into 2023.
I do the same with my actual diary, an A5 one-day-per-page blue hardback book. I write at least two things in it every day by hand, using different coloured inks. At the foot of each page, for example, I note how much booze I have drunk on any given day. I do this with a green biro, which I do not use for any other purpose. Looking back over 2022 I see that there are far more entries that say “0” than anything else. Other entries include “1 pint Pride”, “7 pints Pride”, “3 x Corona”, “8 pints Guinness 1 x Paddy’s”.
At least 90% of the entries in my diary are written after the event. Less than 10% of it is to remind me of future plans. As a rule I know when school parents’ evenings and planned family gatherings are happening. We get multiple notifications of the former (text and email) and I get multiple verbal reminders of the latter, although many of them in recent years have been cancelled at short notice. I would guess that over half of the planned visits to see my mother-in-law this year have been cancelled less than 24 hours before they were due to happen.
Most of our weeks follow a well-established pattern, no need for reminders there: my son’s dance class on a Monday, his Youth Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays (the same evenings that my daughter trains at her athletics club), and I have been playing football most Wednesdays and Fridays since April, and even the odd Monday. And on the first Wednesday of the month I am back to playing music with a bunch of friends at a pub in Hammersmith. My diary records, after the fact, what happened at these weekly (or monthly) events: what the score was, or what songs were played, or whether they were cancelled.
And speaking of things being cancelled, that is the reason I was unable to Blog anything on Christmas Day 2022 itself. Just like the previous year I tested positive for Coronavirus a few days before the big day and was self-isolating throughout the Festive Season. Last year I only knew I had Covid because of my positive tests. I felt fine. This year I felt lousy, and slept throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, awake for long enough to see the “Top of the Pops” Review of the Year (broadcast on Christmas Eve for the first time that I can remember), “My Fair Lady” on Channel 5 (interrupted) and the “Detectorists” festive episode.
We had made vague plans in the early weeks of December to book Christmas lunch in a nearby pub. We did that in 2019 and had a great time. This year the lunch offerings were significantly more expensive, and the rest of the family didn’t really fancy it. I also figured that at least one of us would probably get sick. I didn’t think that it would be me, again.
Many other families that we know had to cancel their Christmas plans too. There was a particularly nasty bout of flu going round which knocked people out for a week at a time. Looking back, all these weeks later, I am happy to report that we’re all over our seasonal illnesses now. I haven’t yet written anything in my diary about this, other than the dates of my first positive Covid test (23 December) and my first negative tests (29 December). That is also the date when I had my first beer for a week, in a local pub, with family visiting from Ireland and Spain. After several days where my diary reads “0” at the foot of each page, in green biro, this date reads “6 pints Pride”. And not much else.