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