In the new and relatively elliptical world of accessible technology, there prevails the credibility that what is written in or attached to my blogs, web site and other internet compositions (about 8 in all) may one day be diverting even purposeful. Since my introduction around 1984 to computers and the internet I have gloated over and profited by technology. Initially the focus was strictly business oriented though I learned to adapt rudimentary features to less commercial enterprise. The continuing and underlying theme of my written expression is the diary, a vehicle which I initiated in handwriting at age 14 years and which I have maintained in typewritten text and on the Internet almost daily since then.
Below is a copy of an email from a long-standing friend. The text is both entertaining and historic. I feel obliged to keep it as a record.
Fiona St. Clair
April 11, 2023
As you can imagine, my level of anxiety around this morning’s medical procedure was pretty high but while I waited for my turn with the human equivalent of a video-driven, roto-rooter, ha, ha…I had with me the perfect anodyne, one of my mother’s hand-written, travel diaries. This current decluttering process continues to offer up the joy of unearthing some absolute treasures, like the picture of you and me dancing, and this diary is another of them.
My mother was a great travel-diarist and had a particularly gifted way of describing the world as she explored it with my father and then after his death, with me. She was a traveller not a tourist and had been taught to appreciate the value of seeing the world through the eyes of locals by my father who travelled extensively throughout his life. His first solo voyage at the age of 13, was a month-long one from Kenya to England when he travelled by ship from Mombassa to Marseille, then by train across France to Calais to board the ferry to Dover and then finally, a train to his boarding school in Oxfordshire. When he showed up on its doorstep, the headmaster was most surprised at his unannounced arrival and demanded to know how he’d managed to get from the train station to the school unaccompanied. To which my father replied: “Sir, I’ve just come all the way from Africa by myself, so I didn’t consider the last 5 miles of my journey much of a problem.” My mother had never stepped foot outside of England until she met my father, who promptly whisked her off to Spain for their honeymoon in June of 1946. You can imagine what travelling across a war-shattered France must have been like and then to enter Franco’s Spain – quite an eye-opener and a dramatic start to a life-time of travel.
Anyway, I digress. So back to her diary of a 3-week jaunt through India’s Rajasthan which I had taken her on as a present for her 86th birthday. At the end of each adventure-filled day, no matter how tired she was, she would spend at least 1/2 an hour writing in her diary (I had gotten into the habit of buying her one to take on each of our trips together), jotting down her thoughts and impressions. I was always amazed at the amount of detail she absorbed from our private guides and how accurately she recorded them – nothing wrong with her neurons at that age! After she died in 2014, I found and kept her diaries of our 7 trips in those later years of her life: South Africa, Thailand & Burma, Egypt, a driving holiday to Virginia, Argentina & Chile and a cruise down the Dnieper River through Ukraine, including the Crimea before doing India). What made this morning’s re-read more than just a trip down memory lane and enjoying the rich descriptions and observations as well as the often witty details of her wonderful writing, was testing my ability to read her almost hieroglyphic-like hand writing. The only way to approach deciphering it, as my father had taught me before I went off to boarding school and in anticipation of receiving her weekly letters, was to “take a run at it, and keep doing so until you got the jist of what she was writing”.
A wonderful way to pass the time today and nice to share it with you.