Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Day in the Life of Derek

Many thanks to the excellent Dabbler for giving a second outing to the wonderful Derek diaries. With his Pooteresque prose and disarmingly moving narrative, Derek has posthumously acquired the readership he yearned for and deserved.

I thought I'd come to the end of my Derek extracts, but during a tidy-up I found a loose page that contained this entry from Saturday, 8th March 1986. The typos are Derek's:

"An excellent day at home. At its start I decided to identify the various things I did throught the day, together with the times. It has been an interesting experiment. It runs: -

6.30 Rise; put dirty dishes in soak; dress


645--7.15 Read scriptures--Leviticus--; prayed

7.15-8.5 Clean out stove; saw and chop wood; commune with Brenda about prescriptions.

8.10 Family Prayers.

8.20-9.25 Cut Richard's finger and toenails; bath and shave him. Shave and wash self. Prepare breakfast for the two of us; cheese on toast. 

9.30-10.20 Prune hydrangeas and roses. Go over flower border in front garden.

10.30-11.5 Take Richard out shopping so he can get a card and book for Mother's Day. Stop on way back to say "Hello" to Eric the Barber; He shows Richard his new eye. Richard kisses him.

11.5-12.30 Tie up fruit bushes; dig over onion and bean plots.



12.30-1.30 Watch wrestling on television with Richard--Big Daddy wins again--; eat dinner: jacket potato, scrambled egg with cheese, baked beans, followed by stewed fruit and custard.


1.30-2.45 Check sewer system. Invent device for removing half a brick from main channel--12 feet down--; put tools away;  brush down path.


2.45-3.15 Play with Richard's computer. Still struggling to understand it.


3.15-5.0 - Fall asleep over book in library. Back ache from gardening. 


5.00-5.15 - Search DIY magazines for plan to make simple bookcase. Phone Mr Nisbet for information concerning his Modular system for building shelves. 


5.20-7.0 Watch the Muppet Show on television. Have tea: crusty bread with fish and beef paste, home-made scones with butter, and apple juice.


And here I am now, just after family prayers, typing in the events of the day. It has been good."

A good day for Derek and a positive note on which to end the year.

Best wishes for 2014.

22 comments:

Mrs Jones said...

How utterly fabulous to hear once more from Derek. Sadly, I have to report that his life seems to have been far more exciting than mine. Damn him.

Happy New Year to the Steerforths.

Judith said...

Happy New Year! Great to read All About Derek again, on a par with Mrs Miniver.

Debra said...

Lol, Mrs Jones...
A very good day for Derek. Thanks for sharing.
Happy New Year to the Steerforths from Debbie.
Cheers.

Steerforth said...

Mrs Jones - I agree. No wonder he needed a kip in the afternoon. I hope you have a good 2014.

Judith - There may be more Derek in the pipeline, if I can ever crawl into my loft with needing help. Happy New Year to you too!

Debbie - All the best for the year ahead. I hope that it brings you health and happiness.

Martin Hodges said...

What a wonderfully positive note to end 2013 on. Happy New Year to you and yours, Steerforth!

Steerforth said...

And to you Martin. I hope you have a wonderful 2014.

Canadian Chickadee said...

Happy New Year, Steeforth. Peace and blessings to you and your family in 2014. xoxo

Steerforth said...

Thank you Carol, and as the Welsh would say, Blwyddyn newydd dda a chi!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Pedestrian but strangely compelling and moving. I wonder what became of Derek, Brenda and Richard.

MikeP said...

I see you're heading towards a million page views! That'll be a milestone worth celebrating...

A very Happy New Year to you, and may you find many diamonds in the rough.

Canadian Chickadee said...

I'll have to take your word for it, Steerforth! :)

xox Carol

Steerforth said...

Laura - I'd love to know, but that would involve contacting Derek's daughters and admitting that I'd kept the diaries they thought they'd thrown out.

MikeP - Nearly a million? Most of them probably for the wrong reasons, if the list of search terms that lead people to my blog is anything to go by. An old post about the sexual innuendos in Captain Pugwash attracts the highest number of visitors!

I hope you have a good 2014.

joan.kyler said...

I've only recently discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it very much.

Poor Derek, posthumously famous. I sometimes wonder what will become of the diaries I've kept for the last fifty years. One of my old friends asked for them, but he'll most likely die before I do and I'm not sure what his interest would be since he actually knows me quite well. Maybe a note in my will to require that they be burnt without being read would be the best. There were those rather graphic entries from the 1970s and 1980s ....

Steerforth said...

Joan - I burned one of my old diaries a couple of years ago and felt curiously elated. I keep meaning to do the same to the others, but can't quite bring myself to do it.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Steerforth from a (usually) silent appreciator. I threw away some teenage poetry recently and felt great too, Natalie

Little Nell said...

Welcome back to Derek, and who knows, there may be aother loose page yet to be discovered. We can always hope.

Canadian Chickadee said...

Speaking of burning diaries (and bridges!) this week I put one of my journals through the paper shredder. It covered a period of time which I never want to revisit or even think about again, so I decided the weight of having it here, and worrying that I might die in the night and someone might find it and read it was just too big a risk to take! Curiously liberating and freeing!

Steerforth said...

Little Nell - There's more to come, but the diaries are stored in a tiny loft annex. Last time I tried to get in there I got stuck and had to phone my wife for help.

Carol - I suppose I acted on the assumption that one day I'd find these diaries amusing, as I sat in the leather chair of my study, puffing on my pipe. But that isn't the case. When I read about unhappy times, nothing good comes of it. I've never had second thoughts about burning a diary. I don't think you'll ever regret shredding yours.

Nicole said...

So glad to have an update from Derek -- it's too bad Brenda didn't keep a diary herself.

Debra said...

I spent mucho tiempo, and mucho dinero on psychoanalysis a few years ago.
I don't really regret it.
Several years ago, I pulled out my college papers on Shakespeare and literary criticism, and read them again to see if they were worth keeping, and was happy to remark that they are indeed worth keeping.
I've got boxes of my family's memorabilia downstairs that I organize sometimes into books for my children, and daughter in law.
So that they can have some idea of where they come from, as they definitely will need that someway down the road. Sure, the stories are important, but the written word has its... uses, why else would people still be buying books, and we hope they will continue to buy books, right ?...
This weekend I am going to handwrite cards to a few people who I want to keep in touch with in the mother country.
From somebody who only has to throw something out in order to figure out a use for it the next day...

Lucy R. Fisher said...

It was almost worth writing five appalling novels to feel the weight lifting as I destroyed all copies. (Five? Some were very short.) The teenage poetry has gone too. But keep the diaries! The best books are based on diaries: Jilly Cooper's The Common Years, Betty Macdonald's The Plague and I, Joan Rivers' Enter Talking...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Derek's daughters might be delighted to hear from you if they have thrown their father's stuff out by mistake. While they might not have wanted his diaries per se, I cannot imagine they wanted to chuck out precious family photographs as well.