Friday, May 20, 2011

Another book nearly finished...

The final page in the book I began on 9th October 2006 will soon be writ. It will be the ninth book that I’ve written.

I began writing in 1966. That was 45 years ago, so on average, I’ve managed to complete one book every five years. That’s an indication of my character; if nothing else, I’m a painstakingly methodical researcher and writer.

1966 was the year of my first marriage, to a childhood sweetheart whom I’d known since I was twelve years old. Gosh, that was a happy year. Both families were ecstatic that we’d decided to tie the knot. And there was a mood of joy and elation in the general population, although that might have been more to do with England winning the World Cup.

It was my marriage, that hugely important step forward in adult life, which prompted me to begin writing. I was acutely aware of my lack of worldly experience – I’d been in my first proper job for less than a year since leaving university - and I desperately wanted to prove myself.

Most young writers that I knew at the time (remember, this was the height of the Swinging Sixties) were writing about sex, feminism, the Vietnam War, or something called “New Wave” culture. I wanted to do something radically different. After careful thought, I decided to write a journal that reflected life as it really was for a young married couple.

So I began. And the book was a huge success, because it covered the realities, the detailed minutia of everyday life. And the book became truly great because it helped predict the future.

I’ve got a photograph of my current book, which you can see below.

Each entry in the book shows a date, a shop name or an item purchased, the cash paid, and a running balance of the cash I have in hand to last me for the rest of the month. You can see some recent entries below (a bit out of focus - sorry!).

And guess what? I've never gone into the red!


Expat said...

You absolutely had me going on this! Copy was long enough so that I couldn't see the punch line (or punch picture). Great job!!

Canary Islander said...

You just made my day, Expat. Thanks!

I'm not aware of anyone else who keeps cash expenses under daily control in this way. I wish they'd teach kids at school about it...

JW10 said...

I also was wondering where you were going with this, CI. and eagerly awaited the twist in the tale. The ingoing and outgoing picture was a funny suprise.

Full marks for originality.

P.S. I like the way you have carried over from the previous page the current balance.

Expat said...

Since you proclaim yourself a writer, though, I have to brandish my editor's blue pencil and take you to task over 'minutia.' Minutae, surely?

Canary Islander said...

Hi JW - my most common error is in carrying forward an amount from the bottom of one page to the top of other. For reasons unknown, the two amounts do not often agree. Kathy blames dementia.

I'm less concerned, because I'll find any mistake if the current balance in the book differs from my actual cash in hand. And I always check that!

And at the end of day, I divide my cash in hand by the number of days to go till the end of the month. That gives me my daily cash spending allowance going forward.

Great fun, this high finance! Is that job at the IMF still up for grabs...?

Canary Islander said...

I think you are wrong, Expat!

I've checked my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, and it lists the two alternative spellings "Minutiae" or "Minutia".

Your "Minutae" is not listed, and my "Minutia" comes directly from the Latin root.

Is this yet another case of two great nations separated by a common language?

Expat said...

"is this yet another case..."

No. It's just a case of me being a rotten typist.

(Serves me right, though, for being a smarty-pants.)

Canary Islander said...

Yes, it's strange how the brain works with the typed word.

My most common typing mistake is typing the same word twice in succession.

Over the years, I have become quite manically obsessed with eliminating this particular mistake from my writings, with dramatic consequences when I read the words that other people have typed.

Recently I read a slighty mistyped sentence that began as follows:

"He was the the rapist...".

- which I interpreted as:

"He was the rapist...".

It made no sense to me in the context of the story, and it took me ages to realise that what the author had intended to type was:

"He was the therapist...".


JW10 said...

Only one thing bothers me about these figures, CI, that could possibly rule you out of the IMF job.

It seems that not everything adds up to 69.


Canary Islander said...

Indeed, JW - there is no clarity in figures that are out of focus.

But there is a 45-year history here.

And we know that 4,5 is followed by 6.
And 4 + 5 = 9.

The answer is always 69...

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello - just landed on your excellent best-seller, CI. Until I got to the bottom, I thought the first pic was a Dalek Beacon!

Your records are Hugely impressive. My dad used to do the same, resolutely recording money movings from marriage to his departure.

Sadly I never took up the habbit, just got in a mess collecting array of favourite-shop credit cards up to the limit. Had I but known your Golden 69 Rule...

Expat said...

CI, I had you pegged as a bit of a free spirit, but this blog would indicate otherwise. I now have a vision of you on a high stool, sitting at your tall desk and, quill in hand, calculating your worth by light of a candle stub.

Something is bothering me greatly. With such a tightly controlled budget, what happens if you have to unexpectedly spend a penny?

Canary Islander said...

The habbit to tabbit can land you in the doo-doo!
Here’s a wise rule of 69:
One’s number is up when number one is in number two.

Canary Islander said...

I just splash out.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Ho heetely very ho, CI!! And let your Wise Rule be a lesson to us all...
(Now that I've worked it out). As a Dope, I spent some goodly moments thinking you meant tens & units columns... Junior School traumas rearing their heads, I suppose

Canary Islander said...

Here's a big smile, Dolores!