Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Room 101

And my theme this time is... useless information in diaries.

The bane of my life this year is that my diary does not have a map of London Underground. Now I admit that this may partly be my fault. Perhaps, in view of my habit of waiting until the third week of January to choose my diary from the dump basket in front of the cut price stationers nearby, pausing only to make sure that the colour is something close to black, I might have a more rewarding diary experience if I chose a little more carefully. But what happens in the first three weeks of January? Not even Burn's Night.

But look at what your diary tells you:

Epiphany. OK, I suppose it's useful to be told that you're an utter slob if you leave your crimbo decorations up after this date, but if you haven't got fed up with the endlessly moulting tree that started shedding its needles the moment that you got it home by now, or you're still wondering whether those chocolate decorations aren't a little unhealthy after sitting next to your fire for a month, then you're probably beyond the help of a mere diary, and probably need those two dragons from How Clean Is Your House?

Septagesima. The third Sunday before Lent. Now, my Christian convictions were left at junior school, but I do wonder whether the needs of Christian diary users might just be served by telling them when Lent is.

Sexagesima. The second Sunday before Lent. See above

Quinquagesima. Now you're being silly...

The equinoxes. Now I understand that it's interesting to know that on certain dates the length of the hours of darkness and light are exactly the same, just as it is useful to know when the longest and shortest days are.

In fact, to all Wiccans and Pagans, or Druids, Blessed Be, on this Summer Solstice night. It's an important date. Let's face it, if you arrived at Stonehenge at 4.58am on June 23rd to chant/bang your bongos/float around in a white robe, you'd have a rather lonely, but strangely picturesque tiime. But it's not of immediate importance for most diary users.

And why do we always have a page on traditional wedding anniversary presents? I appreciate that after the twenty fifth it's nice to get silver; pearl; coral; ruby; sapphire; gold; emerald; and diamond, at five year intervals. But it's pretty crap before that, isn't it?

The first year is paper. Well, you could try money, or theatre tickets, I suppose. Then cotton; leather; flowers; wooden; candy; copper; bronze; pottery; and, for that wonderful tenth anniversary, tin. Well put out the flags. If I had been married for ten years and I got given something made of tin, I doubt it would last for eleven (steel). Although I suppose that if I could string it out for twelve I might get silk.

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