Wednesday 30 July 1986

…Going once again to London to stay a night [with an old friend of my mum].
Set off at 9.34am on a bus to the station.
Pouring with rain.
10.09am got on train.
Stopped raining.
12.40pm got off train at London St Pancras.
Got bus to Westminster.
Had lunch.
Bought a map.
Went to Harrods.
Went to the house.
Watched TV.
Had dinner, had bath.

Oh dear. I think this was an attempt at “genre” diary writing. A somewhat half-arsed one, admittedly, but an attempt none the less.

It’s a rip-off from, or rather a homage to, the entry in The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole for Tuesday 29 March 1983: the one where he runs away from home.


I remember being much taken by the idea of writing entries like an itinerary. Away with the need to construct proper sentences! Away with the fuss of having to come up with stuff for an introduction and a conclusion! These things write themselves!

The upshot in my case was tedious and charmless in the extreme, and I didn’t persist with this approach beyond the family trip to London. Which, as you’ll see, extended for precisely one more day.

Many years later I made a slight and knowing return to the concept of list-based diary entries, but that was when I knew a bit more about all the things I pretended to know about in 1986: genre, language, self-deprecation and, indeed, writing.

Meanwhile it’s interesting* to see it took two and a half hours to travel from Loughborough to London by train in 1986. The fastest service nowadays takes one hour and 20 minutes.


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