Following on from my seventh blog, here are some quotations from my diary for 2020. Sarah-Jane is the daughter of my sister Amanda. Lynn is the sister of Pam Roberts, who figures prominently in Happy Memories. I didn’t say much about Lynn in my book because I didn’t want to complicate the story of Pam, but now you can see photographs of both of them, and of Lynn’s daughter Elke, in my website. Go to ‘Scrapbook’, and then to ‘Photographs 1967 to 1990’. In 1990 I lost touch with Lynn; then, in 2017, she contacted me through my website.

Wednesday, 1st January – Created a new diary directory with the optimistic title of ‘2020-29’.

Saturday, 1st February – My selections from the film Golden Girl have now been viewed more than a thousand times.

Tuesday, 17th March – A man came to provide a satellite dish so that I can get more television stations. It cost £280.

Wednesday, 18th March – Discovered that it is impossible to record television programmes using a satellite dish. If I had known that I certainly wouldn’t have bought one.

Thursday, 19th March – Disposed of all my video tapes, which I have been using since 1984. I have not disposed of the contents of the tapes, however, because all the important items have been copied onto discs.

Wednesday, 22nd April – Saw a parhelion for the second time in my life.

Wednesday, 6th May – I am finding it increasingly difficult to remember what I’ve done and what I haven’t done.

[On 3rd June 2020 all the videos disappeared from my website. I didn’t mention this at the time because I thought that they would soon reappear.]

Monday 6th July – Met David Claxton on the summit of Orrest Head so that he could take my photograph in connection with the reissue of The Outlying Fells of Lakeland by the Wainwright Society. We got someone else to photograph the two of us together.

Friday, 10th July – Received an email from Bruce Stuart, whom I haven’t heard from for over sixty years.

Monday, 14th September – Received a copy of the Wainwright Society magazine including the paragraph that I wrote about the Outlying Fells and the photograph that was taken of me on Orrest Head.

Tuesday, 15th September – Watched a television programme in which it was said that there was evidence of living bacteria in the atmosphere of Venus.

Friday, 9th October – Went for a walk in Serpentine Woods with Chris and Priscilla. Chris found a place that Wainwright drew in 1944, and I was pleased to find that it hadn’t changed at all. When we got back I prepared some eggs and bacon for them. While I was doing this they watched my latest selections from television. This is the first time I have prepared a meal for anyone else since I came here.

Saturday, 10th October – Found the drawing we investigated yesterday in the internet with the corresponding modern photograph beneath it for comparison.

The man from Robinson’s called to enable me to record programmes using my satellite dish. I can now get 187 stations, twice as many as are listed in the Radio Times.

Tuesday, 20th October – Looked up my letter to the New Scientist in the internet and found that only the first sentence is quoted. This means that the whole point of the letter is missed.

Friday, 13th November – I have recently bought a new kettle that is much easier to plug in than the old one. All I have to do is to place the kettle on its pedestal, and it is automatically connected. It is unusual for new things to be better than old ones.

Wednesday, 2nd December, 2020 – Found the letter that I wrote about the four-colour problem but couldn’t find when I was writing my book.

Thursday, 10th December – Left some photographs at Wilkinsons so that I can send copies to Lynn.

Friday, 11th December – Collected the photographs. The copies are all rectangular, whether the originals were rectangular or square.

Saturday, 12th December – Disposed of all my photographic negatives because it is now more satisfactory to obtain prints from positives. Learned that I now have a great-neice and great-nephew Eleanor and Joseph Bradley, who are the children of Sarah-Jane.

Monday, 14th December – Received an email from Chris that enabled me to find his website and the link from it to my own.

Tuesday, 15th December – Sent Lynn seventeen photographs of Pam, Elke and herself.

Monday, 21st December – Wrote to the producer of the B.B.C. television series Britain’s Wild Weather suggesting that in future they feature scenes showing exceptionally good visibility. I hope that I have more luck than when I wrote to the B.B.C. about the four-colour problem.

According to The Sky at Night there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn today, when the two planets were closer in the sky than they had been since 1623, but I didn’t see it because the sky was cloudy in the morning and in the evening.

Tuesday, 22nd December – At two o’clock in the morning I could see Orion from my bedroom window. I went to the top of Kirkbarrow and most of the sky was clear, but I couldn’t find the conjunction. Then I walked along the river and found the two planets low in the north-east. They were so close together it was only just possible to tell that they were two objects.

Thursday, 24th December – At six o’clock in the morning I could see the conjunction from my sitting-room window. The two planets were still difficult to separate.

Chris and Priscilla came round. I gave them a copy of my Purbeck guide and lent them my copy of London’s Epping Forest. While I was signing some books I showed them the videos I made of my flats in Chapel Close and Beast Banks.

Sunday, 27th December – Walked round the town comparing various places with their illustrations in Kendal in the Nineteenth Century. Found what’s left of the unusual arrangement of steps at the foot of Fell Brow.

Thursday, 31st December – I obtained a satellite dish so that I could watch more films, but it has also enabled me to watch Aerial America, which is one of the best television series I have ever seen. I have also been watching the original (82-hour) version of my selections, much of which I had forgotten. I enjoy it so much I wonder why I ever bothered to shorten it.

More scrapbook pages

On 7th December, 2020 I added twenty-two pages from my scrapbooks to my website. On 26th December I discovered that I had missed two of my favourite pages, and these were uploaded a few days later. You can view them here.

The first of these two pages consists of an aerial photograph of Knole House near Sevenoaks, showing its vast extent. Like many stately homes the property is owned by the National Trust, but it is still the family home of the Sackvilles. There are said to be seven courtyards, including Green Court, Stone Court, Water Court and Pheasant Court, but some of those in the photograph are not included because they are not surrounded by buildings, and others are located at the back of the house and difficult to locate in the photograph. The whole house is built of Kentish Rag. I thought that Knole must surely be the largest house in Engand, but in 2018 I found a plan of Hampton Court in the internet which showed that it has at least twenty courtyards.

On the other page is a photograph of Amisfield Tower near Dumphries. This house covers only a small area, but makes up for it in height. The three lowest floors are simple, with just a solitary door or window. Above that the building bursts into life, with two-story turrets projecting from all the corners. Then, when you think that the architect couldn’t possibly cram in any more, you notice a small structure, complete with window and chimney, perched on top of the highest turret.