Where do you stand on calendars? Are you a copious, even reckless buyer? A minimalist one? A stingy one who waits until the end of January and its 80% off sale? One that only uses the computer's soulless raft of dates? Do you peek ahead at images and quotations? Are you a desk calendar person or a wall one or both or neither? I mean, all of these questions had never occurred to me before yesterday, when I was browsing stacks of them in the big Waterstone's in Piccadilly, moved by a subtle sense of thrill of the new mixed with dark anguish at the passing of time. In short, and I promise I'll leave it at that, I just do not believe that it'll be twenty-bloody-fourteen next week. I remember 1999 so clearly and it was only... well, yesterday.
My mum loves calendars, so much so that the only room in the house that does not sport one is the bathroom. My dad is pretty much the same. In fact, he's got this weird, weird habit of, wait for it, recycling his calendars by cutting the pics he likes, creating new ones from last year's and such like. I can't even formulate my dismay at all of this; I'm merely wondering what freakish habits I may develop in my middle age, if indeed they do run in the family... will I start using hairpins as earrings? Will I recycle q-tips or used matches? Let's stop here. Back to dad, just to be on the safe side of 2014, I've sent him three. Same theme, different formats (ask no questions on this one).
I'm always excited by the prospect of a new calendar and I tend to agonise over it for many weeks, nay months. The first 12-month ones appear in July or so, while the so-called mid-year calendars that stretch for 18 months and start in July normally rear their heads in April. I'll be brutally honest on these ones: they make my hairs stand on end. That's not because I take exception to a mid-year calendar or diary but because they're yet another example of marketing projecting us into the distant future. In mid-November, I saw the first Valentine's Day display (at Peter Jones in Chelsea, if you're wondering, shame on you Peter Jones) and felt a bit revolted by it all. I'd love to live in the moment, but this frenetic consumerism makes it very difficult.
Back to the calendar, yes, I agonise over it for weeks, as if its place in my life were more significant than it really is. Here's the thing: I don't even know what pic I've got in the one that is hanging downstairs. I probably remember only one or two for this past entire year. So why the indecisiveness, I wonder? I think it's probably routed in my fear to plan in stone. I learnt a long time ago that plans are all fine and fair, so long as we retain a certain flexibility of thought and deed that allows us to adapt to change. Deciding today what these pages on my wall will display all to the end of next year is something that I do, but reluctantly, because it is at odds with my ability to embrace change without batting an eyelid.
So I picked up a wonderful Martha Stewart one on sale at Fortnum's while I am still considering a beautiful desk one for the office and perhaps a little one for the inside of my utility cupboard (I really don't know why it seems such a good place dear reader, it just does, so there). But how about you? How about the lovely The Reading Woman calendar? I see these every year and I like them a lot.
I also love the Classic Book Covers calendar.
Apart from online, loads of shops are currently filled to the rafters. The aforementioned Waterstone's, all the Daunt Books, Hatchard's, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, the Taschen store in Chelsea, and so on stock anything from desk calendars to slimline wall ones (a particular favourite of mine). But what about diaries dear reader? Oh joy of the stationery world! oh be still my beating heart! I'll tell you about this year's choice tomorrow.