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Diarising

Solipsism alert. Those of you with little appetite for self-absorbed navel-gazing, look away now.

Coastalblog has been many things in its existence. It started because it seemed like a reasonable thing to do, turned into some frankly pretty unpleasant venting of spleen at people who probably didn't deserve quite the level of opprobrium I was dishing out and down the years has been variously points-scoring, score-settling and inchoate howling with, hopefully, one or two more thoughtful essays sprinkled into the mix.

What it has also always been, without my fully realising it, is, in part, a diary.

This is handy, as I thought I'd come late to the noble and gentle art of writing a diary, when I realised that my thirties were passing in the blink of an eye (I know this is ground I've covered here before, but it's Sunday morning, and I've got to print the menus out for the pub, there are a few short moments of peace before the family erupt from their various beds and I don't have time to search it out, soz, bear with me,there is a point to all this). Quite a lively decade, as I've covered here fairly exhaustively, but I could barely remember any of it, so I started writing it down.

It's a practice which, unlike so many of my bright ideas, I have actually followed through on, and it's become a matter of habit, each morning,to take a few minutes and try to put the events of the previous day into some sort of order. In the interests of full disclosure, I always hope it will develop into some sort of wider writing practice, I observe with envy the writers on Twitter with their #writinghour, who has an hour? Ever? In reality I run through the day, and if I've a moment a few ideas might peel off it which get jotted down into the folder marked "Will probably not get round to doing anything with this."

I've found it beneficial on a number of levels. It does generate ideas (even if they remain just that), it helps to bolster my somewhat precarious memory, it helps me to get my thoughts in order and,as a knock on effect from that has more than once saved my bacon when it's caused me to remember something I'd forgotten to do when crawling home the night before.

Case in point, I've just remembered that we sold out of the strawberry and mint Eton Mess last night. Need to go and find some more strawbs from somewhere in a bit.

Coastalblog, I've dimly come to realise, when I look at old posts, has been doing this job for me for longer than I knew, albeit in a more scatter-gun manner. The stats page shows me that occasionally people read old posts from ten, fifteen years ago, when they do, it's often something I don't recognise, so go back and have a look. It's a strange sensation, realising who I was and where I was at at that point. I'm grateful for it, it helps me make sense of things.

There are some similarities with my actual paid work here. Cooking is essentially imposing order on chaos. You take a great big tangle of messy ingredients and turn them into something that hopefully looks and tastes beautiful. You take the stacks of boxes of veg, cases of fish, and joints of meat that are piled high inn your store-rooms and fridges in the morning and,through the application of process, translate them into a goodnight out for a hundred odd people until there's nothing left, and then you do it again the next day.

Likewise, each morning, I turn and trammel the various misadventures,impulses, tracts of tedium and moments of grace of the previous day until I have a diary entry which,a few years later I look back at and recognise the day for what it was, an individual jewel. I feel it's a way of treating life with the respect it deserves.

And also, as with this post, it's a chance to marvel at how often what you started with the intention of it being one thing, turns out to be something else altogether. Have a lovely day.

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