Rummaging around in old files, I came across a letter I received from The Mayor of Havering, Councillor Harry Webb (Borough office 1999, Essex, UK) regarding the designing of A BOOK OF HOURS to commemorate the imminent arrival of a new century. (Interested and chosen writers had already been instructed to keep a diary of a week in their life to feature – 52 in all). Illustrators and Calligraphers, plus a professional book binder had already been selected too.
The following is the first entry – which I was honoured to write – the premise of which had to include mention of members of your family/friends, a brief history of something relevant and present//future plans, or anything noteworthy. As a later contributor dropped out, I also wrote for another week in April, which was a gift as it included St. George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. The photograph is of an enlarged copy of the final entry, beautifully illustrated by an artist.
1st January, 1999
Being a keen diarist, I felt a strange sense of awe as the realisation dawned that it was the first day of the LAST YEAR OF THE CENTURY!
Memories linger of our first Christmas abroad with close family near Lake Garda, and of fascinating Verona, and a foggy, mysterious Venice.
Cherished recollections of less indulged childhood Christmases surface: of Dad’s Air Force blue socks bulging at the foot of our beds with fewer goodies, and a pillow case containing modest toys. But oh the excitement! There’s our beloved mother hiding sixpenny pieces in the pudding and icing the cake… Love was never in short supply.
The sun shone and several Happy New Year phone calls punctuated the housework. Husband Eric cooked a delicious meal of chicken in a piquant sauce before a televised football match claimed him.
Midnight witnessed the birth of the Euro (worth approximately 70p) introduced and accepted by eleven European countries, excluding Great Britain.
Sorting out bills etc., while listening to Classic FM , came across some scribblings about evacuation to Wales during the last war. It is hard to imagine that flour only cost 3 pence per lb. and cheese 11 pence in 1940, whereas today flour is 20-40 pence and cheese around £3 per lb!
Eldest son, Jason, an artist, rang re the Aubrey Beardsley Exhibition at The Victoria & Albert (coming over Saturday to look at my computer – it may have caught a virus!)
Worked on the third Odes for Joy Poetry Club Newsletter. Must type a piece on Louise Finer – who has M.E and writes poetry fit for a philosopher’s eyes!
Son Robert’s desired ’holiday in space” could become a reality in his life-time (an unmanned space-ship yesterday left for MARS.) An amazing concept!
Wednesday: shopping. Pondered on how much Romford’s 752 year-old market has changed… Can still conjure up the sights and smells… of pigs and cattle in pens as I shopped there as a child in the 1930s.
Will 1999 see son Damon again the proud owner of the Snooker or Pool Post Office trophy?
And will Eric and I ever hear the patter of miniature Dr, Martens?!
Thursday- Yoga – my salvation!
You can imagine the amount of work involved as illustrators and calligraphers got cracking and produced some brilliant work. And, as the pages were large, the result was most impressive. When complete, the book was put on display for the public to see and enjoy. Sadly, because of some complicated reason, I never did get to see the finished product as husband and I moved to Spain in the year 2000.
THE BOOK OF HOURS was a religious book, originally written and illustrated by Monks in Monasteries in the Middle Ages, but over the years was sometimes diluted as more of a general diary of people’s daily lives, where religion was pertinent, or not, so the emphasis on religion was optional. Ours was a mix of the two.
© Copyright Joy Lennick 2021
What a lovely testament to the people. Simple diaries are more complicated than we think and more important. They show an insight into the lives of an individual. What a beautiful idea. That year I made myself a calendar in which each month I had a photograph of a tail. Elephants, zebras, cats, birds. I called it the Tail End of the Century. Nobody got it.
Hi Pamela, I love your idea – I got it!! Although I saw the book as it grew – we had regular meetings and some of the art-work was brilliant…I still can’t quite comprehend how I didn’t see the end product, Although honoured and excited, I think that moving to Spain eclipsed all else for a while and I was frantically busy in several directions. ..
How wonderful!! I love this idea. Were the books for sale or was only one created?
Thanks Darlene. It was very exciting but the book itself was HUGE.There was only the one. No copies made. I watched its growth in fascination, but didn’t see the finished product as we moved to Spain, and on visits – for one odd reason or another – I never did get to see it. Next time I return to the UK, I must make the effort.
What a privilege to be in such a book; I wonder if any of your followers have seen it? The space ship made it to Mars! How long ago it seems and yet the 21st century used to be far in the future!
Thank you Tidalscribe. That year was special in more ways than one. I met so many interesting and talented, ‘arty’ people people! It was great fun.
It is a great idea, and it is a shame that you didn’t get to see the end result (although we all know about circumstances and changes). It looks beautiful, and I’m sure many people will enjoy it still. To many more wonderful projects in the future, Joy.
Thank you for your kind words. Here’s to many good times, surprises and rewards in your life too. Hugs. xx
Joy, you are and always have been an active person. As always, I’ve enjoyed reading about your life. See ya! Neil
Thank you kindly Neil. There’s nothing quite like being a busy bee…(despite flagging energy levels…) and I’m so lucky with my husband, bless him. Happy walking! Cheers. xx
What a great project to have participated in! I do hope you get to see the book some day. What I remember about 1999 was waiting for the Y2K computer Armageddon that never happened.
Many thanks, it was an exciting time and a delight to see so much artistic talent! Hugs xx
You’re welcome, Joy!
Hi Joy, thank you for sharing this fascinating article. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about 1999. I was quite young then and for me, it was just another year early in my career.
Thanks Roberta, Your life is proving to be a fascinating one… You are certainly a very busy bee! All power to you. Hugs xx
What an interesting project and beautiful work, Joy. Wow. Your page and diary/glimpse of family is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this. I’m impressed!
Thank you for reading, and for your kind words, Diana. Best wishes to you. Keep well. Hugs xxx
This is beautiful, Joy!
Thank you for your kind comment and reading Becky! Hugs xx
How delightful to be part of this book. The work involved must have been a magnanimous undertaking. Such beautiful art. I do hope you get to see it one day.
Thanks Jennie. It gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure! Cheers! xx
Wow, look at you famous girl. Fascinating story. What an honor to become part of this book Joy. ❤
Thanks, Debs. It was indeed an honour and great fun to do. Keep busy and take good care. Hugs & love Joy xxx.
It must have been a huge undertaking and your piece is amazing Joy. Hard to believe we are 21 years into the new millennium and it only seems like yesterday we were wondering what this new age would bring us…A great many advancements but in some areas a few steps back..I will share in the Blogger Daily this evening.. hugs ♥
Yet more thanks, Sally! Hugs xx
What a wonderful tradition, and great idea. Thank you for sharing, Joy! Have a beautiful weekend! Michael
Thank you for reading and kind comments, Michael. Cheers! x.
A awesome tradition..Romford market holds many memories for me …I miss the old style markets they lost theri charm for me in the last years we lived in the UK…I think that is why I love the markets here as they have many similarities 🙂 x
H Carol, Where did you live in the UK? I was born in Rush Green but hubby and I have moved around the world a bit – like you! How long have you been in Thailand? One of my nephews married a lovely Thai woman last year but is now stuck in the UK because of the virus and she has a bedridden mother so can’t leave Thailand either…Keep up with your great recipes. My other half loves making Thai sauces…Can imagine how colourful the markets are there!! Keep well. Hugs xx
A lovely idea beautifully rendered. This is something that will be preserved in all its glory and I’m sure you’ll have an opportunity to see it again sometime.
Thank you for reading and your kind comments Alex.
Such a pity you never saw the finished project! Amazing to think how long ago the Euro was introduced, and what it was worth. My mom’s sister did a lot of work on that project.