Diaries

THIRTY YEARS ON, MONTH BY MONTH, SELECTED PAGES FROM MY DIARIES > About

July 1991

Thursday July 4, Paris           After class at the bank, I went to Smith’s in the rue de Rivoli to buy my holiday reading with a clear idea that I would only get what I would be itching to pick up from my bedside table. I briefly scanned the new novels section with its piles ofContinue reading “July 1991”

June 1991

Sunday June 2, Paris           Now here’s something of a coincidence: although born in England, Elizabeth Pepys had a French father who was born in Anjou – just like my father-in-law. And not so very far away, as it turns out. Every French person knows that the Anjou region has two boasts: the douceur, or mildness of itsContinue reading “June 1991”

May 1991

Wednesday May 1, Paris             Miserable bloody day again; a north wind, a grey sky and rain threatening.             A distant relative has sent me some documents about the family – or rather, about people with the family name. He’s not fussy about the spelling either – which multiplies the numbers. He writes that he has consultedContinue reading “May 1991”

April 1991

Friday April 5, Paris             Seven and a half hours teaching non-stop today. I start with l’ENA* where all I had to do was enthuse about London and suggest some not-so-obvious excursions to two civil servants who are going to spend three weeks there. Then raced to the bank and got one of my executives talkingContinue reading “April 1991”

March 1991

Sunday March 3, Paris           Just been through Amiens on the train going to the hovercraft. It looks like a fine place. There are lakes near it with tall, straight trees, their new buds glistening in the sunshine. My head feels like it’s had too much smoke, making me recall the unpleasant side of my oldContinue reading “March 1991”

February 1991

Friday February 1, Paris           I’m writing this with Emma sitting on my knee arranging her Duplo people around the keyboard. I refer to the notes made this morning in the café La Nouvelle France in the rue La Fayette: it’s sixty-five years since André Breton sat at this same terrace bewitched by Nadja. If he’dContinue reading “February 1991”

January 1991

Tuesday January 8, Paris           There are at last ‘talks’ tomorrow in Geneva between the Americans and the Iraqis but nobody is expecting them to last very long and war looks inevitable. When there is a refusal to talk things over the only outcome can be confrontation. And this is what we are sliding towards withoutContinue reading “January 1991”

December 1990

Monday December 10, Paris           I feel dreadful this morning; have a headache, feel weak and have almost lost my voice. It’s freezing cold and, by the time I get into the classroom, it has started snowing. It snows all day and, by evening, it’s thick on the ground and the cars. It doesn’t excite meContinue reading “December 1990”

November 1990

Friday November 2, Paris           I took the TGV-Atlantique for the first time from Montparnasse: one and a half hours to Angers instead of two and a half. For the first time also, I made my reservation and ordered my ticket via Minitel, then withdrew it from the automatic ticket machine. The transformations to the stationContinue reading “November 1990”

October 1990

Saturday October 13, Paris           How matter-of-fact a diarist can be about the most extraordinary events. Pepys goes to Charing Cross and sees Major-General Harrison, who had been convicted of regicide, hanged, drawn and quartered.* Momentous enough. But that he, at sixteen, should have also witnessed the execution of Charles I, for which the Major wasContinue reading “October 1990”

September 1990

Saturday September 1, Canterbury           I’m in the University library, experiencing once again my love/hate feelings for these places. On arrival, I got myself into an aggressive mood and failed at first to find the book I need, Lucina Gabbard’s The Dream Structures of Pinter’s Plays. Here I sit between the rows of books, the neon humming,Continue reading “September 1990”

August 1990

Saturday August 5, Siorac-de-Ribérac, Dordogne           Walked around the ‘backstreets’ of Ribérac. There are many houses for sale. The drains stink. There’s a nice old, grey-stone theatre but it doesn’t look as if it’s been used as such for a long while. There are notices on the door about dance and judo lessons. In a toyContinue reading “August 1990”


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