Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Signs of the season

Some people will mark the end of summer and the arrival of autumn by noticing the leaves changing colour or a new slight chill in the morning air. I mark it by the arrival in the CUP bookshop of the Cambridge Pocket Diary for the new academic year. They're perfectly sized, now in a more forgiving hardback, and have all sort of useful information indispensable for the academic about town. Where else will you find a diary that tells you when the Faculty Board of History and Philosophy of Science will meet?

Every year I spend an evening transferring useful phone numbers for the old diary to the new one, and -- though I might be alone in this -- writing the week number in the top right corner for all the weeks of term, just so when I arrange a supervision I can be more or less sure about when it's going to happen in relation to lectures and the like. It's a nice way to get thinking about the new year. The crisp pages soon crinkle but that's quite endearing too. I also promise myself each year that I'll write more neatly inside and try not to have it end up with scrawled notes to myself and endless crossings out. But that's just a piece of self-deception and I know it.

The only problem is that nearly everyone has one. And they all look the same, at least from the outside. I might try a custom job on mine. We are a two-Cambridge-diary home, so there's always the risk I go to work with my wife's diary.


stc said...

You could back it -- like we all used to have to do with schoolbooks. (Do kids still have to back books? I bet they don't.) Now, that's the ultimate reminder of that rentrée feeling -- the yearly ritual of backing one's new exercise books in bits of old wrapping paper, or even sometimes sticky-backed plastic....

Juliet said...

You aren't alone with the week numbering thing - I couldn't do without that. But I did give up on the Cambridge diaries in the end because they are so tiny that you can't fit everything in them. However, I now have a habit of turning up to events embarassingly un-scarleted.