My friend and fellow author, Mark Turner alias Ruby Barnes, in his handy little guide, The New Author,, comments that blogs that take the form of diaries can expect the same number of readers as any other diary: namely one. Fair point, and one wonders why one bothers.

As it happens, I’m an inveterate diary keeper, an old lag of more than 30 years. In my student days it was a Journal of the Soul (Byron with spots), but in recent decades it’s been a better guide to what I had for breakfast. The absence of Great Thoughts and Great Agonies is striking – probably because I’ve been spared both. But if I’d applied myself I could usefully have done more on my Great Cockups and thereby spared my wife and me a few rows – and possibly have had a more successful, if not happier career.

My blogs, insofar as they are autobiographical, differ from my diary in supplying a small element of reflection missing from the latter. I tend to focus on the more whimsical side of things, the oddities of life, and something of its colour and texture. Even to me it isn’t clear what I expect from this. I suppose I hope that, if by chance there is another reader out there, something in what I write may resonate with him or her and grant a small moment of pleasure. We validate our own experience through these instances of mutual recognition. If someone else understands from their own life a point that we are making, it’s an indication that we haven’t gone too far off the reservation. So, if any of this rings a bell with you, thanks.

This last week the missus and I went for a short break in Keswick in the Lakes. We spent our days browsing the shops and walking. In the evenings we went to the Theatre by the Lake or Fellini’s jazz club and pizzeria in Ambleside. The weather was kind and the walking good in the sunshine. I have an amateur interest in wild flowers and noticed here and there a carpet of bistort and the usual speedwell and tormentil. The Welsh poppies are particularly good this year, but there are few cuckoo flowers, which did well in 2011. The theatre was showing Dry Rot, a broad farce from 1954 which to me seemed very dated and feeble, but the actors gurned their way through it with gusto (including the comic lead in a loud check suit, bowtie, brown bowler and faux cockney accent like a music hall comedian) and the audience enjoyed it well enough. Fellini’s is always excellent. This time the band was Gobble De Gook, a seven-piece ensemble led by a zany Frenchman in striped culottes and a black pork pie hat, who danced his way through a repertoire of his own music, a lively nod at Latin American and African originals. Recently, when I’ve had days like these (small experiences that are as near as damnit perfect), I’ve taken to thanking my wife out aloud for giving them to me. It serves as a reminder that I can’t do this alone.

And to come back to my subject: even if no one else reads my blogs, they compel me to think about my life and where all its elements have come from. Especially the joys, which are the things I prefer to write about.