Despite being a Filofax user of five years standing and despite the cutesy hearts and funky birds that come plastered over organisers nowadays, for me Filofaxes will always be associated with 1980’s yuppies and the fast-paced lifestyle of international businessmen. There is one infill more than any that perpetuates this association for me – the International Information.
Every year without fail, I separate those pages from my new diary infills and diligently put them in the last section of my binder, where I file the maps and other general information. And every year, without fail, the only time I looked at those pages was to imagine the lifestyle of a globetrotting businessman – sitting in an anonymous hotel room, a long way from home, consulting his very professional looking Filofax (a black Guildford usually). He’ll be checking it’s not a public holiday in Tokyo, before he makes that all important phone call; or consulting the clothing conversion charts before buying a new shirt as he’s going to have to stay an extra day to clinch that deal. His is a lonely existence, his only companion a trusted, soft leather folder.
This year, however, something happened that changed everything. No, I didn’t ditch the not-for-profit sector for a live fast, die young position in mergers and acquisitions, I got on a train at St Pancras station, London and got off at Baltika Station, St Petersburg. A trip that involved a not inconsiderable amount of planning, and the international Information section, suddenly, unexpectedly (it almost passed me by that it might be useful at all), came into its own. We knew our second day in Germany was going to be a public holiday, likewise for the day we were due to leave Russia. We knew the average temperature in Warsaw in May. We knew the currency of Lithuania was the Lita and in Latvia it was the Lat.
No longer do I wonder who makes use of those pages. No longer shall I consider chucking them straight in the recycling when I buy my new diary infill, for now my travels have been opened up, thanks to those brief, concise pages, and I know, with absolute confidence that glove sizes are the same in all countries.
Thank you Helen... Part 2 tomorrow.