Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Raymond Briggs

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Raymond Briggs

Article excerpt

Don't get old! Everything takes so long - it's an hour to get down to breakfast. And I'm not only slow, but confused as well. Sometimes I can't find a garment I took off the night before, or can locate only one sock (I usually have two). I've always been a bare-feet-and-sandals man; I have on my wall a quote by Einstein, 'I never wear socks, they are useless garments.' I do so agree with him, but Old Age strikes again. I now have to wear a toe spacer and this falls out if I have no socks on, so I'm locked into a cycle of sock dependency.

There's a great fashion for 'de-cluttering' these days, but what exactly is clutter? Stuff left lying about when it should be in the bin? I'm not guilty of that. My clutter is made up of the very things that I am always using -- pens, pencils, rulers and so on; I have far too many. Another Einstein quote I have cluttering my workroom wall is: 'If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?'

What a wonderful day yesterday was! Glorious sunshine all day. Me, moaning on about socks, and all this glory outside. Every morning I walk along to see dear old Pepper, the one-eyed collie at the organic farm nearby. I always take him a treat -- just one Markie. No more, as he is getting too fat. Our front garden is covered in primroses, packed in edge-to-edge like commuters; they even bloom all over the paths, thrusting up between the bricks. There is also a scattering of pale violets and a few really purple ones. Later on, I thought: 'This is such a lovely day that it's a pity to waste it; I must sit in the sun.' So I went over to a chair, still lying on its back from the recent gales, and stood it up next to the little stool where you can put your wine glass. Wine! Yes, to celebrate the return of the sun. Bit early for it, not even lunchtime... still, there's that half bottle near the back door I was chucking out, cheapo muck. I won't drink much of it, purely symbolic. So I got the discarded bottle of plonk and settled into the seat in the sunshine. Quite enjoyed it. 'The venue is as important as the vintage.' Who said that? Me, I think. It's heartening when your best intentions are swept away, but when they're swept away by something pleasant and sunny, it's even better. …

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