Saturday 21 June 1986

…Went to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
Adventure playgrounds, fountains, pretty gardens and nice shops added to the fun.
France beat Brazil 5-4 in the World Cup. Amazing…

I didn’t end it all, then.

I know I was distraught at how badly yesterday had gone. Yet I didn’t mention it in today’s diary entry. Not a thing.


Just in case it isn’t clear, I cut things out of the entries I put on this blog. The stuff that appears here are mere snippets; filleted highlights, if that’s not too bold a claim, of the original text.

In most instances this is to spare you and me the embarrassment and boredom of reading personal things about myself and my family.

This expurgation will also extend, should this blog still be running in a couple of years or so, to the ghastly whining and pompous confessions of adolescence.

But I also leave out stuff that I feel just sounds, frankly, daft.

By way of an example, I’ve made an exception in today’s blog. The sentence about Chatsworth House sounds like something no sane person would ever say out loud.

I certainly can’t imagine the 10-year-old me turning to my parents and declaring: “Thanks for taking us to Chatsworth House. Those nice shops added to the fun!”

It took me some time to learn to write my diaries the way I spoke – indeed, to move beyond mere reportage and begin to include statements of feeling.

If I’m honest, too many of these early entries take refuge in cliches and turns-of-phrase. I’m not particularly proud of this. It’s as if I’m penning a journal of public record or a dry school assignment rather than a personal diary.

Hence the fact that even when writing up things that must have been quite traumatic (such as yesterday) I opt for descriptions rather than impressions. And when I do venture an opinion (today’s “amazing” World Cup game), it just comes over as rather trite.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on the 10-year-old me. But then perhaps he deserves it. After all, returning to yesterday’s debacle, who’d have thought puppets and a piano recital would have gone down well in front of an audience of peers?

So I’m guessing today’s trip to Chatsworth was my parents’ idea of a pick-me-up. That’s assuming I even told them quite how badly the assembly had gone.

I think I probably bottled it all up. Isn’t that what everyone does at that age?

Yet I don’t think I had really recovered. And reliving all this now, 25 years on, I’m still not sure I have.

NOTE: To return, as requested, to the specifics of yesterday, my piano piece was The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, the sketch involved me operating a Kermit the Frog puppet my mum had made for me, and Andrew was another pupil who I vaguely knew but who also played the piano. Poorly, as it turned out.

4 thoughts on “Saturday 21 June 1986

  1. “Tomorrow” will be the day Diego Maradona turns “like a little eel” and single-handedly does England over, then.

    France beat Brazil 5-4 on penalties, of course. The actual game ended 1-1.

    I’m still getting over the thought that you were only ten years old in the summer of 1986…!

    • Curiously I make no reference whatsoever in my diary to England being knocked out of the World Cup. Yet more proof of how much of a fickle fan I was. I was sure to record the result on my Radio Times/Grandstand Wallchart, though.

  2. Yes, that Brazil-France game was a belter. I seem to remember one of the penalties (can’t remember for which side), hit the post and went in off the goalkeeper, leaving a disgusted John Helm to say “What a ridiculous goal”. Ah, 1986…the days when John Helm would get a gig that prestigious on ITV.

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