Out on a dike

Out on a dike phr. [mid 19-C] (US) going out in one's best clothes. [DIKED DOWN] I'm out as a dyke, occasionally out with a dyke. What I do when I'm out on a dike can become your business once I write about it here.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Twelve Books of Christmas

There is something enjoyable about making lists at the year end, and particularly if the items on those lists have already happened. So I'm going to show you part of my last diary entry from 1986. It makes me feel I already knew myself pretty well back then.

December 30th 1986

So, how was my Christmas?

Not too bad, thankyou, although I did feel decidedly ill Christmas Day. I felt as if I was going to develop a bad case of flu - I was shaking and had thumping headaches all day - but in the end it came out in just a simple cold, so I haven't suffered too much since, apart from feeling slightly as if I'm to be sick every now and then - which is not, I must make clear, due to eating too much or anything like that, for I haven't indulged half so much as I usually do. Saying that, I have just eaten my way through a large bag of Marks & Spencer's spring onion flavour crisps - but that's hardly my fault - I didn't realise what I was doing sitting here, and, anyway, I've got rather a passion for them - even if everyone else complains they smell terrible. I hadn't noticed!

Altogether I had twelve books of different descriptions. I had asked specifically for books this Christmas.

Let's see - what did I have?
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Literature
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
  • Roget's Thesaurus
  • The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
  • Selected Poems Elizabeth Jennings
  • Persephone Jenny Joseph
  • Later Poems R.S. Thomas
  • Cagney and Lacey Serita Deborah Stevens
  • Wifey Judy Blume
  • Other Women Lisa Alther
  • The Swimming Pool Season Rose Tremain
  • and one Mum bought for herself,
    The Christmas Tree Jennifer Johnston,
    but gave to me because she was afraid to tell Dad she had been spending his money on herself instead of on Christmas presents!!

Hmm - that sums it up nicely, including the rather pointed comment about Mum spending Dad's money. Growing up, I did always have the sense that Dad felt he went out and earned the money, that it was his money, and the rest of us simply spent it. I'm glad to say he's far more relaxed about the way finances are shared now, and how they're spent.


As for the books I had for Christmas in 2006? Don't you want to know about those?
  • The Best of Smash Hits: The '80s
  • Robert Smith: The Cure & Wishful Thinking, an unofficial and unauthorised biography by Richard Carman
  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Alison Bechdel

Does that indicate I'm becoming less literary and more musical? Not really. I guess it just proves how nostalgic I am for the 1980s. Mind you, I do have a new musical companion. I call him Spike. He's an i-Cat. We'll be grooving together to our favourite music during 2007.

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