Pocket journalling

Friday January 14, 2005

Stickford Jan 14,'04
Pocket journalling

Annual car service day, this time performed by the main Ford dealer in Boston. They are very good, friendly, helpful and there’s a warm, comfortable customer lounge corner complete with a decent coffee machine and TV. It was a four hour job, though, so I wandered off into Boston.

Oh, boy, but it was cold! Not Siberian cold, of course, nor yet Canadian or New England cold. Decidedly nippy, though, and not the kind of weather I’d choose for wandering about a town, any town. The only free, warm place I could find apart from the shops was the public library. Can’t recommend that; it’s dark, cramped, and very, very smelly. So I had a breakfast, an extended coffee, and lunch, all in different, warm places. Eating for warmth, I suppose you could call it.

Not a wonderful day, then, and expensive.

Except. I do try always to find an except. While waiting for my breakfast to be cooked, I pulled out my PDA, tapped open the Pocket Word program, and started practising my hand-writing for the first time in public.

A strange experience. Almost immediately I had the thought of writing journal. Not this journal. Not my private paper journal, but a new kind of journal. A ‘pocket journal’. So, my breakfast consumed, I pushed the plate to one side and started again in earnest. I wrote it in three or four different places over the course of the morning and early afternoon, and found a new style emerging, sort of a textual shorthand, disjointed and note-like. Here’s the result, just to show what I mean:


Fri Jan 14, 2005

10:14 Sitting in “Georgies”, in Boston, having enjoyed a full ‘English’ breakfast as part of the annual ritual of passing time while the car is being serviced and MOT’d. When I’ve sat here as long as I dare I shall take a stroll. Such fun!

11:30 It seems (see ‘Guardian’) that an albatross can circumnavigate the globe in 46 days. And that some of them do so, repeatedly. I feel there must be something deeply significant in that; a simple “well I never” is not enough. Surely, after sufficient thought, a major breakthrough ought to emerge, perhaps to be known as the “Coleridge Principle”.

12:56 From thence I went for a stroll around the back alleys and quiet little courtyards hidden behind the main shopping streets. I get the feeling that Boston is one of those towns that are going to go somewhere, sometime, if only it can decide where, and when.

I stumbled across an Internet ‘cafe’ and decided to go in to the warm. Dark, not very warm, that peculiar zit-cream and tostesterone-laden atmosphere, and the only ‘cafe’ was a candy-bar vending machine alongside a Coke machine, both of which have seen better days. Much better days. The PCs were on a fast link, however, which made up in part for the distinctly sticky state of the keyboard and mouse.

From thence to Oldrids, where I received a call from the garage, listing all the non-standard things they’d found wrong and asking for the go-ahead to fix them. I said yes, of course. I don’t really have an alternative but, if we were not going to be disposing of the car when we move to London, I think I’d have to take this as advance warning that we’re going to need a new vehicle this year.

So, on to Costa Coffee for espresso and a nice long sit in the warm.

Off for another stroll, ending with lunch at “Church’s” — roast pork, very, very good — and then it was time to trot back to the garage to sit in the warm and wait for the car to be ready.

13:50 And the bill? ¬£285! There are people who’d think that to be rather a lot to pay for a used car!

Ah well. Home, James. And take it easy with the horses!


It didn’t occur to me until I got home that I could quite easily have been making little PDA sketches in-line with the journal entry (Pocket Word has that facility)… I can see this developing into a new form altogether when I’m out and about…



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