98. Grandad’s Diary Only

Grandad’s diaries that cover the period 1970 to 1974

Mum Did Not Keep a Diary During This Period

During this period, mum either did not keep a diary or, if she did, they have been lost over time. Her diaries gradually petered out from 1964 (see Chapters 74 and 87) and did not resume until 1975. I don’t know why she stopped writing her diary nor why she restarted.

Only Grandad’s Diaries Cover This Period

This means that during this period, the only diaries available to me were grandad’s. From 1969, grandad used a small ledger book as an improvised diary (see Chapter 87). He used this book until the end of 1972 and then used a similar book from 1973.

Diary Layout

Grandad laid  out this book in the same way he had for the earlier one. He ruled off a margin and wrote the date and day of the week in that. He wrote the year and dates covered at the top of each page. Because of this approach, he was able to vary the length of entries depending on what had happened and what he wanted to record. He numbered each page sequentially, 1-58 for 1973 and 59-106 for 1974. In this diary, as in the previous one, the years follow on from each other rather than having five years of a particular date on the same page as in a five-year diary.

Extract from grandad’s diary in 1973 showing the homemade layout. This example covers from 14 to 26 May 1973

Diary Index

n both these diaries, grandad used the page numbers to create what he called an “index”. This was organised by page number and summarised what was on each page. For example, the extract above includes the elements “put back the WM [windmill]”, “Ethel bought summer coat”, “Dolly came” and “started at the top of the garden slabbing”.  

 Index for grandad’s 1973 diary

Summary of Main Bills

Grandad used the back of these diaries to summarise their main bills including rates, water rates, gas and electricity (see Chapter 87). In the second book, there were details of rates and rent for  158 Victoria Road (see Chapter 24) in Kirkby and also notes of the bill for the telephone which was installed on 19 February 1973. Also, tucked in the second book were a gas bill for  October 1975 and details of gas tariffs from the same period.

Example of grandma and grandad’s gas bill October 1975 that was tucked inside grandad’s diary
Leaflet about Eastern Gas tariffs from October 1975 which was tucked inside grandad’s diary

Grandma Wrote Some of the Entries

For some of this period, grandad was not well and grandma completed his diary. This was particularly the case from 24 April to 28 August 1974. This is apparent because the handwriting is different. In addition, certain phrases are used more commonly by one or the other. Also, the things they chose to record in the diary varied. For example, when grandma was writing the diary, she often recorded doing washing on a Monday whereas grandad rarely, if ever, recorded this.

Grandma’s writing style was somewhat confusing as she sometimes referred to grandad in the first person, that is as “I”, but sometimes in the third person, that is as “Gordon” or “G”. She mostly referred to herself in the third person as “Ethel” or “E”.  In his diary entry for 28 August 1974, grandad acknowledged that grandma had completed some of the diary entries as he had been unable to write.

Grandad’s diary entry for 31 May to 9 June 1974. During this period, grandma was completing the diary. She sometimes referred to grandad as “Gordon” (see first red box) and sometimes as “I” (see second red box).
Grandad’s diary entry for 25 to 31 August 1974. On the 28th (second red box), grandad explains that grandma had been completing his diary as he had been unable to write. Immediately above that (first red box) is one of the few examples of grandma referring to herself in the first person, i.e. “my green dress”.