Joys of written records . . .

The online record of Allendale Diary continues to repay interest

Every few days, it seems, I trawl back through my adventures in daily diarising to retrieve some tidbit of information about this particular patch in the North Pennines. Although I know the diary inside and out, it’s useful to have some tangible pointer for illustration, when I’m relating this or that bit of relevant factoid.

For example, our neighbour, Robert Philipson, gave a talk about his farming life one evening here in the High Forest, during the diary’s year-long odyssey, so of course that event featured in an entry. When he did another talk yesterday, I could point to the account of his previous effort, which was comprehensively detailed, in case anyone had missed the experience. I knew, while I was writing the diary, that I was laying down what could be valuable social history, one day, but I hadn’t appreciated that the value would be evident quite so soon.

By the end of the year, with an entry for every day, and one additional day like that extra egg in a baker’s dozen, it was time to print the ‘book of the blog’ and so it happened. It’s definitely a different experience to hold that book, about the size of the old Telephone Directories (remember them?) and to page through it, than it is to interrogate the online version. I suspect that the real paper model will long outlast the electronic archive, but for now it’s lovely to have access to both.

And for me, sitting back and remembering that effort, the result is kind of its own reward. Something valuable to have experienced, and a good stimulus to keep my fingers dancing over the keys.

I’m very much looking forward to some further fruition, some part-way fulfillment of a particular project, whether it’s a collection of my creative writing prose, a family edition of my poetic attempts, a comprehensive package of these joyful blogs, a new edition of my science fiction novels, or a new book of historical fiction . . . whatever it is, I want to do it, finish it, get it out and about.

For now, the perseverance is what actually matters, because any end result depends absolutely on my commitment to keep going. The joy, mostly it seems, is actually in the carrying on.

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