Tuesday, March 22, 1983


I lay in bed in the early hours and started thinking about all the narrow scrapes I’ve had since I was a baby, flirtations with fate which, had my luck been different, could have easily seen me dead. If like cats we humans have the proverbial nine lives, then I’ve used up six of mine already. At this rate my luck should finally run out by the time I’m 24!
  • I nearly copped it as soon as I was born, emerging into the world a “blue baby” with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. 
  • While still a baby, my pram ran away and bounced down the stone front steps at Wintersett Crescent, ending up upside down with me inside, dangling from my straps. 
  • A toddler now, I rode my tricycle down next door’s drive and into the path of an on-coming car which screeched to a halt just inches from me, much to the fury of the woman driver. 
  • At three I was in a car accident in the Reliant 3-wheeler, and remember climbing out through the broken windscreen in tears, clutching a (now broken) toy trumpet that Mum and Dad had bought me earlier in the day. For a long time afterwards that toy trumpet evoked up the nightmarish contrast between the mundane pleasure of the day out and my tumbling crumpling fear as the car rolled down an embankment. 
  • Later, still at Wintersett, Dad was chopping trees in the garden and lopped off a big overhanging branch, shouted “Look out!,” I stepped back, and felt the branch graze my head and hit my shoulder as it came crashing down. 
  • My most recent brush with possible injury and death happened a year last November when coming back from Athletic's game at Cross End with Robert in the car.
I don’t know why I’ve written all this down. Just for interest I suppose, but also for the enjoyment of writing. At University this journal is used to deal with difficult things; perhaps this is why, since I’ve been home for Easter, my entries have swollen to twice their normal length. The comfort, ease and numbed peace of mind I have here means I can write to my heart’s content about the peripherals I’d otherwise ignore or overlook.

I didn’t get up today until one this afternoon. I got a letter from Claire. She seems happy enough, although her house deal has fallen through. She might come see me next week.

Another day wasted, another day fatally unable to pin myself down to any one thing, while outside the wind blows and the sky is grey and wet. This afternoon Dad took up his memoir-writing again after a lay off of nearly two weeks. He’s now reached page 2245.

I want to read Frazer’s The Golden Bough. I find pagan religions fascinating. I’m still reading Booker T. Washington: someone has scrawled “white man’s arse licker” on the title-page of my copy. True enough. Washington preaches moderation above all else and at all costs. About the KKK he writes: “Today [1900] there are no such organizations in the South, and the fact that such ever existed is almost forgotten by both races. There are few places in the South now where public sentiment would permit such organizations to exist.” To which my anonymous annotator adds a justifiable “SHIT.”

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