17 July 2011

Looking Back In Time

Do you ever look back in time to see what you were doing a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago etc? 

I used to be quite a prolific diary writer(for me) a few years ago, but less so these days. I'm sure it's a factor of getting older, the weeks go by quicker, when you look back trying to remember what year something was, it's always longer ago than you first thought.

When ever I mention Filofax and my son is around, he always as a little chuckle to himself, but to be fair he does use a Moleskine notebook and uses it quite extensively.

I silenced him one day though when I was able to produce my diary pages for the year of his birth (1987). He sat and quietly read them for a good hour... and with a gracious 'Thank you' he passed them back to me. 

So here is an extract from 'that diary' It's not the week Philip was born, I will save his blushes! It's a week I was working away from home down in the West Country with a radio measurement team. We were taking radio field strength measurements of an MF radio transmitter in Barnstaple, Devon to help prove a computer prediction model. I had sent this team of guys all around the country on this project, so it seemed only fair to join them for one of the trips!

Nothing terribly exciting, but it I didn't realise until I read it again that I had been to see Crocodile Dundee in Plymouth! Some of you might recognise some of the place names!

Here's another from 1988, notice how dark cotton cream paper turns with age!

We were having a holiday in Spain. I was between jobs, just finished working in London and when we got back to UK I went to work in Surrey... there until 2004!  Again nothing terribly exciting in my writing I will admit, but enough to stir a few memories of that holiday some 23 years ago! Philip was about 18 months old at the time.

Just found in an entry after Christmas 1988 that 'Alison organised her Filofax' ah so now we know....  I went over to a week per page in 1989, but my diary notes fade out, which is a shame, but that's life I suppose.


  1. That was a very sweet post, Steve. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Thanks for your very interesting post Steve - it's good of you to share this. I find it fascinating to look back over my fathers diaries. These range from holidays in Rome in May 1939 - just months before the outbreak of World War II - to my own early years in the 1960s.

    I got my first Filofax in 1986, and I was ahead of you in seeing Crocodile Dundee in December 1986, so it seems to have had a long run. While you were in Dartmoor on 15th June 1987, I was on holiday in Kerry, after graduating from architecture school on 12th June.

    By July 1987 I was working in London and drooling over the stock in "Just Facts" on Broadwick St., Soho - reputedly the only shop in the world to stock the entire Filofax range. Does anyone else remember that shop?

  3. What a great post! I really wish I had kept a journal or diary years ago, but I never did. I wonder now if it's worth it - although as you point out it can be interesting to look back on!

    One thing I did up until digital photography was to keep a small photo album for each holiday. I wish now I'd completed a journal to marry it to, or even just written and files in the album. These holidays were our more 'special' ones abroad, but I also have a binder full of our holidays we took with friends when we water ski'd - we generally went in this country and had so much fun! Oh such good memories!

  4. Excellent post Steve. I love the link to your son’s site.

    I too keep all my old year’s diary with much the same information as you keep in yours. If I ever read back it immediately triggers the memory to the day’s events.

    I am surprised at how dark the cotton cream is but the white only shows yellowing around the edges.

  5. Lovely post, Steve. Thanks for sharing with us here. I regret not writing more of the mundane down when my kids were smaller. In the moment you truly think, "I won't forget this stuff. I do it everyday." But you do. I have a childcare template I typed up (!) when I left #1, 2, and 3 with someone for a long weekend. Very sweet reminder for me!

    I do log my kids' funny things they say. I know if I don't, those sweet tidbits will be gone forever.

    I do have some journal pages from the summer before university that I stumbled upon in a box my mother gave me. What times!

    Alison--picture organizing is on my future projects list. You are smart to do a small album per holiday with 35MM pics . Digital is another story! I bet I have 7,000 (maybe more?!) pictures on the external hard drive that I need to sift through little by little.

  6. oh man that's awesome. i wish i was able to write (or draw) when i was pregnant. i had high hopes but i was too freaked out (the WHOLE time) and couldn't do ANYTHING not even read. i was able to flip through magazines tho. cooking light was my favourite.

    i also wish my writings were in a neat consistent size and shape like this. they are all over the place. i LOVE how the cotton cream ages. beautiful. it's great how even if you do one line loggings, you remember exactly what you felt at the time so cin-cin to the diary!

    For some reason I assumed that Cotton Cream was acid free archival quality paper.

  8. It might be now, my pages are quite old, so it's highly likely that they have changed since then. May be ask Filofax this question on their website.


  9. From what I understand, none of the Filofax paper is acid free or archival quality. Unless that has changed very recently.

    Steve thank you for this glimpse into your diary pages! My old diaries and planners are some of my most precious possessions. What a wonderful record of my life.

  10. I have been inspired to journal again... Thank you for sharing this! Now I'm just wondering which Filofax I should buy to be my daily journal :)

  11. Wonderful to see these. Thanks for sharing. I have saved my diary pages from when I had IVF (clinic appointments, drug regimes etc) and added them to their baby boxes.... so many memories on those Filofax pages.

    Didn't think how the paper would deteriorate over the passage of time. Think I may scan copies of the more important pages as a permanent electronic record.

  12. I find it very interesting to be able to "go back in time". I recently found a box of my old planners. They are mostly from my teen period and provided quite an interesting read.
    Man, I am glad I am not a teenager again and I must say that "getting more mature" has its benefits. ;-)

  13. This was a great read!

    I've been journaling since junior high and keep all my old journals in a steamer trunk. I don't know how many books I've got in there (I don't go back and read them very often--too cringe-inducing. And one reading prompted me to destroy all journals from ages 12 - 23. A move I regret now.) But I kept a separate pregnancy journal (separate from the whine and angst, that is my personal journal) and after my daughter was born in 2008, kept a journal for her--just a record of things we did as a family or things she said. I used a bunch of different notebooks for her journals: Moleskines, spiral notebooks, fancy bound journals--anything I could get my sleep-deprived hands on. I do love to go back and read those old journals. She's three and I'm already nostalgic!

  14. I know this is an old post but i LOVE the look of the cotton cream paper after it's aged, i use the cotton cream lined paper as a work record and fully intend to keep it so i can remember what i've worked on and what i did on each job!

  15. Sorry if this is a question you have already answered and I missed it - but....how do you keep your archives? It looks like you are using red yarn and that the pages were more accessible than when they are in the filofax archive books. Thanks!