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12th May 2010 On 12th May 2010 the Mass Observation Archive repeated the 1937 call for people from all parts of the UK to record everything that they did on 12th May in a diary. 258 diaries were send to the Archive. Here are some extracts….
12th May 2010 Up at 6.40 to get ready for work. Left my husband, who is newly-redundant/retired, still sleeping. Put the electric kettle on to boil, switched on the computer, and went out into the garden to hang some washing on the line. My “tame” blackbird came down to the garden bench and waited patiently for me to throw a handful of seed for him. He was soon joined by a couple of doves and a wood pigeon, but was not in a mood to share. Read the BBC news web-site as I breakfasted. Such a shame about Gordon Brown. I liked him and think his leadership rather too harshly criticised. I can’t help wondering how the coalition will work, and whether we shall regret letting Mr Brown go. At 8 o’clock I set off to walk to school. On the way I posted a birthday card to a friend I’ve known all my life. Where have all the years gone? By a 55 year old female teacher
12th May 2010 I woke up at about the usual time this morning, probably at about 7.30. I had toast and tea for my breakfast, and Mum reminded me that I was going to have to be quick about getting ready because she had to wait in for a delivery. However, I managed to get dressed (in my green dress top, green tights, brown boots and a coat) and ready in time to get the bus. By a 18 year old female student from Nottinghamshire
12th May 2010 Given that the day can be said to start at 12 midnight, it started badly. Before going to bed I was watching all the political shenanigans (new Prime Minister and so on) on my computer, when my internet and telephone both disappeared together, on the stroke of 12. This was of some concern, since the day was not to be a normal go-to-work one - I am planning to work from home because a man is coming to service the heating boiler. My work involves improving the efficiency of websites, and so I can do nothing without the internet. Jenny, my wife, can’t stay at home - she’s a teacher of the deaf and spends much of the day visiting schools and families. By a 61 year old male from Hertfordshire
12th May 2010 6.30am. Breakfast. Chatted and read the daily papers. The Guardian, supposedly politically independent and local Argus.
Active Labour supporters. Not happy that Cameron is Prime Minister since yesterday evening after Conservative/Lib Dem pact. Not happy that our constituency elected the first Green Party MP to Parliament. Think the Con/Lib Dem Pact is the only outcome given the election results. Sad to see Brown go – a much maligned man mostly by the right wing press. He was a good chancellor. Surprised the Labour party held up so well although there was a big swing to the Conservatives. However I don’t think the majority of people in the country wanted or voted for a Tory government. They just wanted a change.
8.45. Washing out on line, another load in. Washing machine is in utility room. Scanned a few old photos into computer. By a 75 year old female from Brighton
12th May 2010 Woken at 3.30am by a text message from a friend. I think the message I sent her last night must have been significantly delayed and that I might have woken her up. Got up at 7.30am and had a family breakfast - some French toast for all of us and a cup of tea for me. Then we all walked up to school with Jed. Then, I had a capuccino in a cafe and prepared for a meeting with a client. Five minutes of preparation, then five minutes of reading the sports section of the newspaper. Just before my meeting I made a few phone calls on my mobile phone - one of which is in relation to trying to organise a street festival for my street. Trouble is my energy has gone into organising a local cricket festival, so maybe the street party will have to wait until next year. By a 39 year old male IT consultant from Bristol
12th May 2010 We don't live very near to the tube so I catch a bus to Tooting Broadway tube station and take the Northern Line to Euston. I have plenty of time at Euston to collect the tickets I'd ordered online last week before getting a latte coffee to take with me on the train. The journey takes about 2 hours so I'd booked a table and plug my laptop in to work for the journey. My place of work certifies organisation which have been able to demonstrate that they have reduced their carbon emissions. It's a fairly new company having launched in June 2008 and I am very pleased to have a 'green collar' job.
I usually spend my day on the phone or emailing customers about the details of their carbon footprint: whether they have enough data on their energy consumption and if they can show that their carbon emissions are reducing. Today my colleague will deliver a presentation about the reputational and financial benefits of the Standard to about 50 prospects at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. By a 37 male from London
12th May 2010 Got to work though with time to spare and time seemed to speed past whilst doing a full range of tedious to exciting jobs, well exciting for a dental clinic! A highlight of the morning was having our previous Hygienist and his wife come in for check ups, it wasn’t too busy so we managed to have a chat with them and his wife baked us a delicious looking sponge. Within half an hour, and the couple still being in the surgery, half the cake had been devoured, I must say more by the nurses and receptionists than dentists. It was as if not more delicious than it looked and gave me the energy I needed for the rest of the day. Round lunch time at the clinic it was very quite and I was able to slip across the road to pick up a prescription I needed to get for my eyes. By a 21 year old female receptionist from Tring
12th May 2010 Popped into Tesco on the way home to buy some milk and leeks. Got a text from the school's new messaging service to say no assembly on Friday - which means Sylvia and I get a break from organising refreshments for it, good. Remembered to take turkey and turkey stock (the last of the Christmas bird) out of the freezer. Put a load of washing on.
Wrote up minutes from the school governors' Finance Committee meeting last Wednesday and emailed them to the school's business manager (she got a promotion in September from being secretary).
Having done that I felt so virtuous that I allowed myself some time to catch up on all the internet sites I haven't been looking at while I've been ill. Not a good move. At 2.30 I made myself switch off, hung the washing on the indoor line and prepared the leeks, turkey and mushrooms ready for a pie. Drank a can of cola, which I only like when I'm ill or dehydrated. By a 40 year old mother from Durham
12th May 2010 14.38 Lunch was soup and cheese sandwiches and News at One (another depressingly extended edition). After that I took some rubbish down to the council skip. There was an argument going on between two of the workers; wonder how long their jobs will last. On the way back called in at the local DIY shop and bought some dowling. It’s turning out to be a cold day; will we be going down to the allotment? Perhaps.
15.12 The dowling is needed to hang a rug on the wall in the redecorated living room. We’d just been sorting this out when J received a Skype call from an old friend living in Australia. So I’m now overhearing her account of what we’ve been doing today: interesting to compare with this!
16.54 We’ve been trying out wall-hangings in our pristine front room. One is an Afghan rug we bought a few months ago when visiting a friend in Norwich. The other is a Maori painting which Mum brought back in 1968 and which we had framed a few years ago. They go very well, so we feel quite pleased. I’ve also been doing some sorting up here, discovering some old newspaper cuttings which I ought to ditch but which of course are so interesting ... We also had a phone call from a former colleague wanting to fix up a telephone meeting with J on Friday. She asked how I was enjoying retirement. ‘Steady progress’ I replied, on sorting things out. By a 68 year old male from Swansea
12th May 2010 Afternoon A break for lunch – a late one! Watching the joint press conference with David Cameron and Nick Clegg – I have had my reservations on how long this coalition will last, but all seems promising at the moment – both seem realistic in their aims and seem to have a good rapport – mind you, this could all just whiff of the ‘honeymoon period’! Over half the word count for my essay done now! I must admit I have procrastinated quite a bit this morning, but I have got quite a bit done, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself for it! Besides, it’s important to see what everyone is up to on Facebook, and texting friends is a must – I don’t want to seem totally unsociable holed up writing essays!!! By a 24 year old female student from Eastbourne
12th May 2010 In the afternoon I worked on another order and talked to my boss about a new feature in the database. It was all a bit dull, but enlivened by silly conversations with my colleagues, and the receptionists playing 80s pop videos on their TV. I phoned the Oyster helpline and ordered a new travelcard.
At 6.30 I finished work and caught the bus to Brixton, reading a book about 17th century scientists on the way. I met up with my friends Ewan and Steve in a very busy pub beforehand and had vegetable lasagne, a Diet Coke and a glass of red wine. Some people I know via the internet came and joined us, and we discussed old bands for a while. Then we walked up to Brixton Academy to go to a gig by Pavement. They were one of my favourite bands from my youth and were playing a reunion tour, so there was a large, enthusiastic crowd of similarly nostalgic people around my age. It was good to see Pavement again and they played a lot of songs I really like, though I flagged after two hours. By a 33 year old female from south west London
12th May 2010 I work until 15:00, serving and talking to customers, receiving deliveries, and so on. When the bar is quiet I attempt a newspaper cryptic crossword and read my book. In my ten minute lunch break I eat two-thirds of my lunch. At 15:00 I realise I’m scheduled to work from 17:00 to midnight, too. Apart from this mistake, my day has been typically pleasant!
I apologise by text message to my girlfriend and to the captain at my rowing club. Normally I would sit in my manager’s kitchen and read my book, but I’m disappointed about missing rowing and I want some time alone. I buy a pint of ale at another city pub and play quiz games on their games machine. I spend £4 on the machine and recoup £4 in winnings. Then I walk back to my manager’s kitchen, eat the remaining third of my lunch, make tea for everyone at the pub, and read my book. By a 25 year old barman from Wiltshire
12th May 2010 When I get home it is just after 19.00. I know that I have lots of work ahead but I am easily distracted by the Internet. Tomorrow after school I will be going straight to Brighton in order to attend a Funeral on Friday. I check the funeral details and write down the train times. I also find myself looking at the girl’s Facebook page and the comments that have been left. I sit at my desk for most of the evening and plan lessons. I only get up to go to the toilet, pour a drink or smoke a cigarette at the window. I am a slow worker because I am alone and I have developed odd sleep patterns. I have lots of work to do for tomorrow and I am anxious about the time and my tiredness. By a 27 year old female PGCE student from north London
12th May 2010 For supper I had salad with some coleslaw and the rest of the lemon cream, followed by the last piece of chocolate cake with more tea. It was 8 p.m. and I decided to settle down on the settee for Midsummer Murders which is filmed in Buckinghamshire around The Lee, Great & Little Missenden and Amersham an area I know well as I was born there. When it finished at 10 p.m. on went my washing-up machine and washing machine as I am on ECO 2020 cheap electricity at night and weekends. Took my pills for the bad knees, finished the diary, filled a hot water bottle and went up to bed10.30 p.m. Looked over my French as I have a lesson in the morning, went to sleep. By a 72 year female Genealogist from East Sussex
12th May 2010 I drift away just before 5pm. The journey home is the morning in reverse. I collect another free newspaper and wave again to the dry cleaner. We are still on our keeping alive regime and she decides we will go to the gym. Some uphill walking, listening to Tony Hancock, a bit of weights and many metres rowing- I wish they would use Imperial measurements. As we are so good, we treat ourselves to Thai food, sadly the restaurant does not have an alcohol licence. All in all, it was a fairly normal weekday, but more than average exercise. I make sure tomorrow’s suit is in and on the electric trouser press. Set the alarm for 6.28. To bed. Have to do it all over again tomorrow. By a 57 year old male banker from London
12th May 2010 Evening: Watch Europa Final –Athletico Madrid score against Fulham - lose interest. Go on computer, mess with holiday photographs – good one of street advert (Cadiz) and (surprising for me) one of flowers. ‘Wacked in’ lots of colour (too much saturation in my pics according to May and son). Text May again – maybe just awake in hotel? Get ready for bed – statin, brush teeth, back exercises, read little more (People of the Sierra). Now 11-45pm - difficult to sleep – think of personal training gym (go to another gym 3x a week). Am I doing enough ‘cardio’ exercises for heart? Treadmill running poor recently. Can’t sleep – think of photographs, how long Tories will be in again - Liberals have ‘returned’ to ‘true’ position (on economics same as Tories!)! At least porridge, rhubarb and ginger jam, pot of tea tomorrow. Think my ‘problem’ is ‘ageing’ – teasmaids and cars like cardboard boxes/Wendy houses inc. seem attractive! Birthday soon (July) – 60! Could be 65 before rid of ‘Tory Boys’. Another ‘wee’, then sleep (hopefully). By a 59 year old retired academic from Yorkshire
12th May 2010 I came upstairs to the computer to attempt to write a story for a competition. I made a second false start to it and abandoned the attempt when it was time to watch TV. We watched one of our recorded detective dramas there being nothing else on. While I was upstairs on the computer my husband was downstairs on the laptop!
At 10 ish we had a cup of tea and went to bed after the news. There we read. My husband is always asleep very quickly. I read for longer. Good-night everyone! By a retired female