I think he’s in lurve – 25th-28th December 1998

[Merry Christmas 1998, everyone!]

Friday 25th Yeah, Christmas Day. I didn’t sleep until about 2:00am and I got woken up pretty early by Tom jumping on me. I got lots of pressies but that was over too soon.

[I look full of Christmas cheer.]

[I look full of Christmas cheer.]

All the family  have been here at some point. Most have gone now and there’s only Uncle J and my big cousin Ifan that are left. I don’t think they’ll be going very far either coz they’re totally pissed. Ifan keeps staggering into doors and stuff and he’s been on the phone to his girlfriend about 3 times. I think he’s in lurve and everyone keeps teasing him.

Then we locked him outside. It was funny. He went for a fag and Rhian, Abby and I locked the door. We let him in eventually but couldn’t stop giggling coz we’d had a bit too much to drink by then.

He kept eating chocolate mousses. He then phoned his girlfriend back – again!


Saturday 26th Ifan and Uncle J have gone. I dunno when I’m going to see Ifan again coz he’s travelling round the world on his year out of university where he’s wanting to be an architect.

We’ve got to go home tomorrow so I’d better pack.


Sunday 27th I’m back in Dunkeld. I don’t really want to be. I’d rather be back in Wick. This week’s gone so fast and going home means getting back into the normal routine and I’m going to have to do revision and homework.

I’m really missing my cousins and Grandma L. I hate saying goodbye to them coz I don’t know how long it’ll be until I see them next.

I’ve also go the New Year’s Eve decision to make at some point coz I’m still not sure.


Monday 28th I’m at home now. I’ve spoken to Emma and Hayley and they said I haven’t missed much. The only think I am missing are my people in Wick but there’s not much I can do about it now, is there?


He was a haddock! – 25th-28th December 1997

Thursday 25th

December 1997 - Xmas Day

Hello and Merry Christmas! I woke up at 8:00 this morning and I had to wake up Rhian and Abby too so we all sneaked downstairs. Everybody was already up anyway and turkey was already int oven. All the presents were opened but it all went too quickly. I got choccies, clothes, a lizard (toy of course!) and other stuff. We played games and stuff all day then.

Sorry this hasn’t been a long entry but it’s late now.


Sunday 28th I’m back at home now.

Boxing Day we all just mooched around the house watching TV and trying out presents. There was this one game of Rhian’s called ‘Articulate!’ which was good. You had to get into teams and, as you moved around the board, each team took turns in describing a word which 1 person had to do to their own team. You could use actions, words or both as long as you didn’t say the word.

Tom was mithering us to let him have a go so after the game we gave him the pack of cards and let him choose one to do to the whole family. There was one where he was walking up and down being some sort of fish so we were all guessing things like shark, whale and goldfish. When we eventually gave up he told us he was a haddock! My mum was in fits of laughter and so was everyone else. You had to be there really. He’s only 7 and it was so cute! Later on he had a cod, a flying fish and a catfish. You can probably imagine what they were like. [Exactly the same as haddock.]

Yesterday was awful, you know, saying goodbye and all. I hate that part. Before we got onto the A9 out of Wick, Abby wanted to get some dolls changed in this shop. It was shut so we decided to go back and give them to Rhian so she could sort it and send ‘em down. You should have seen Tom’s face when the car came back up the road. Complete shock!

We stayed at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel again last night coz it was good on the way up.

I’m home now. As soon as I got in, I phoned Emma to see if I’d missed anything. She said she’d kissed Charlie Wilson, Dougie [NONONONONO!!!!] and Gethin Turner under the mistletoe on Friday and she’d been bowling with Zoe and Poppy.

Then she said that we could go ice skating tomorrow with Ralph, Dougie and Freddie if he’s back. She was meant to phone me about it at 9:00pm and its 11:10pm now so I’m off to bed in a minute.

[Look away now if you can’t cope with sick.]

On the way home, the dog puked in the car and it was all yellow and watery (which was cheese, water and a yellow doggy chew according to Dad!) and she stood in it all then walked all over my lap. YUK!

Also, it was funny when Abby was proving to me that she could touch her nose with her tongue and this Jeep with a couple of lads in the back overtook us and I turned round and saw ‘em all laughing at her! I couldn’t stop then either.


P.S. I’m really missing everyone in Wick. A week there’s not long enough.

Maybe they’ll make her look a bit different – 1st November 1997

Saturday 1st I’m back home now. I think another day of walking round shops could have been even more boring so I’m not too bothered.

We walked round Camden Market all morning and some of the afternoon. It was good coz it was all unusual little crafty stalls and a bit different but after an hour I got fed up and felt sick after the huge chocolate doughnut I’d eaten.

We did buy a few things. Mum got a handmade paper book and a cool mobile with little people on it all made out of banana leaves which the man said came from Tanzania.

November 1997 - Mobile

[We’re a family of hoarders.]

Abby and I both got a necklace done with a pendant containing a grain of rice with our names written on. The woman did it when we were there with a very fine pen and a really steady hand.

October 1997 - Rice

I also go Emma a pair of frog earrings. I hope she likes them. Maybe they’ll make her look a bit different to me considering the clothes she wears are getting a bit too similar to mine for my liking.

We ended up getting an earlier train home and got seats together which was better.

I tried to phone Emma this evening to see if I’d missed anything but I couldn’t coz she’d gone to sleep at Zoe’s or summit.


P.S. Man Utd 6 – Southampton 1   YES!

I had a lasagne. It was nice. – 31st October 1997

Friday 31st

October 1997 - Ticket 2

I can’t believe it. They’ve found Louise Woodward guilty of murdering Matthew Eappen. How? I don’t understand it. The two lie detector tests say she was telling the truth and the doctors say something happened to the baby 2 or 3 weeks before he died. So many people are angry about it, especially her family and people who knew her in Cheshire. It’s unbelievable. I hope they sort it out.

Today was ok. Mum took me and Abby to the shops coz Auntie G had to work. On her birthday too! I got a new watch strap coz Abby broke it last night and we went in Harrods and got a cake. Mum booked the BBC tour and we ate our lunch in some park with the pigeons and squirrels.

October 1997 - London

We wandered about for ages until it was time for our tour. It was so boring. It was more radio than TV and they showed us boring films. It’s crap compared to the Granada one.

October 1997 - BBC tour

We met Auntie G and went for an Italian in Covent Garden. I had a lasagne. It was nice.

I’m knackered now after walking round all day.


P.S. I bought a weird keyring in Monsoon.

October 1997 - Receipt

There was no point in asking Davis. Phew! – 30th October 1997

Thursday 30th

October 1997 - Ticket 1
Boring this morning just waiting to leave for London. Freda phoned too asking if I wanted to go to The Cliff. [Manchester United’s training ground at the time.] I said I couldn’t coz I had to catch a train so she said she’d try and get some autographs from the players for me.

Emma phoned too to say that Lizzie couldn’t come skating so there was no point in asking Davis. Phew! We still don’t know if Dougie’s going to be away or not. So far it’s just Emma, me, Freddie and Ralph.

I spent most of this afternoon watching the Louise Woodward trail on Sky TV. I don’t think she killed the baby. Most of the evidence proves that. The jury still haven’t reached a verdict.

Dad took us to the station and we arrived in London at about 6:00 pm. I want to go to bed now so…


I went really hot and red – 16th October 1997

Thursday 16th


Dougie just phoned me and Dad answered!

I’ll tell you why he phoned.

Once upon a time in Geography this morning, Dougie told me he was going to get Emma back by the prank phone call he had planned and I had to keep it quiet. [Something I usually struggled with.] He told me he was going to pretend to be the Scottish bloke from Key 103 off the radio and say she’d won a competition to go to a Boyzone concert at the Nynex Arena. I kept telling him she wouldn’t fall for it but he said he’d try anyway.

So, at about 8:00 pm, Emma phoned me up and said he’d done it. She said her sister had answered and couldn’t tell who it was so Emma took it off her and said there was someone on the other end doing a really crap Scottish accent! She guessed who it was but didn’t say she knew.

Then he changed and said he was Adam the receptionist who also went by the name John in a really camp voice. Emma said she wasn’t sure if it was him or not.

I don’t know how it ended but she said she gave him my number then said she hadn’t really. I said bye and hung up and went and told Mum that someone had played a prank on Emma but she didn’t know who it was. I don’t know what made me tell Mum that.

[Our phones looked like this. via All Mod Cons]

[I was about to go as red as this telephone which is just like the one I was using in 1997.
via All Mod Cons]

Anyway, about 15 minutes later, the phone rang again. For a split second, I thought it could be Dougie as I have done every time the phone rang this evening. Then I decided it was probably Emma or for Dad so I left it for somebody else to answer.

Mum came in the front room and said, “It’s someone called James for Tess.” If I could have chosen a moment for a plane to crash into our house, it could well have been then!!! [Jesus. Bit extreme just for a phone call from a boy. And one I lurved at that!] I was so embarrassed I went really hot and red and my stomach was doing somersaults as I walked past Mum. [Exactly how you make something totally innocent seem like something well dodge.]

I picked up the phone and yelled, “I’ve got it!” to Dad. The conversation went summit like this:-

(T = me / D = Dougie)

T: Hello (shaking like mad!)
D: Hi, it’s me. Er… I phoned her.
T: I know, she just phoned and told me.
D: She didn’t fall for it except the Adam bit.
T: Oh right. (Laugh)
D: You told her I was going to.
T: I didn’t.
D: She said you did.
T: No. I told her you’d got her number.
D: Oh right. She told me to do it back to you but I didn’t think there was much point seeing as you were in on it.
T: Yeh, I s’pose.
(Long silence) [Awks!]
D: Well… er… see ya.
T: Yeh. Bye.

I put the phone down and prepared myself for the questioning I was bound to get when I went back to Mum. I could hear her asking Abby who James was. I went in and this is how it went:-

(T = me / M = Mum)

M: Who was it? (Very suspiciously.)
T: James Douglas.
M:Is he a friend from school then? (I could tell by what she said that she meant BOYfriend!)
T: Er… no not really. He just sits behind me in Geography. (I suddenly thought how to explain it and said…) It was him who did the prank phone call on Emma. (I was so glad I mentioned that!)
M: Hmmm. I suppose he was feeling guilty then.
T: Yeh probably. He wants me to tell Emma but I’ll tell her tomorrow. (I know I made the last bit up but who cares?!)

I slumped down on the sofa so Mum couldn’t see my face and tried to go back to a normal colour but the more I thought about it, the more I kept smiling. I had to go upstairs and shove my head in my pillow to stop myself from laughing.

Why did he phone me? There was no reason. He could have just told me in school.

That is the 1st time a lad has ever phoned me and it was Dougie. YES!

Not long after, the phone rang again. I panicked for a minute until I was told it was Emma. I told her everything. She said she hadn’t told him to do the prank on me but she had given him my number. She had actually phoned about French homework but that was not talked about for long.

The rest of today has not been so good. (Neither was that actually. Very embarrassing!)

In the Music rooms at lunch, Josie ‘Bitch’ Nichol told Dougie that a girl from orchestra called Amy fancied him. Olivia fancies him too and she asked him which one out of us lot did he like most and he said none. That’s probably true but it put me in a bad mood all afternoon. The phone call has put me on a high now though.

Oh yeh, the other bad thing is that Davis is coming bowling. Damn it! It’s going to be awful now!


P.S. I still can’t believe he phoned!

A pessimist is a well-informed optimist

Greetings from 2015!

I’m having a change of scene from my teenage diary today. I only do this on special occasions e.g. when I unearth a piece of spectacularly bad poetry. This time, I have uncovered solid evidence that I always have been (and probably always will be) a massive pessimist.

I have found my ‘Fire Escape Routes’ diagram.


After digging out my Man Utd shirt from 1997 the other week, I decided it was probably time to thin out my hoard. At the back of a drawer, I found a box of crap. Crap to the level that it included a lump of candle wax I had moulded into a ball about 24 years ago. There were a couple of gems in there though, one of which was ‘The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook’.


It’s full of handy hints and tips like how to deal with a charging bull, escape from a sinking car, and perform a tracheostomy; all situations I have genuinely worried about encountering. Mum knew this and bought me the book as a birthday present in my early 20s. I was pleased to find it and her little note in the front.


The A4 sheet detailing ‘Fire Escape Routes’ fell out of one of the pages. I did it when I was 10 or 11 following a visit to school from Cheshire Fire & Rescue and the doom-laden Welephant. It didn’t take much to make me worry so when Welephant told me I should make a Fire Escape Plan, I blooming well went home and made a Fire Escape Plan. In ridiculous detail. Down to the pillows on the beds and the taps on the sinks.


Don’t understand it? FEAR NOT! I wrote a key on the back.


This pessimist liked to make sure everyone in her optimistic family was well-informed so the plan was pinned up by the fridge for all to see for years. Thankfully, it’s not yet been put into action but I’m going to stick it back on the wall JUST IN CASE.

Should I be worried about how much I worry or do other people do things like this?!

On that note, I’m off the test the smoke alarm batteries.