One member’s 12th of May diary

On 12 May 2016, anyone in the UK could record their diary and send it to the Mass Observation Archive, which is housed at The Keep in Brighton. The Mass Observation Archive specialises in material about everyday life in Britain and our members were asked to send their diaries in, not only to The Mass Observation Archive, but to NWR as well so that we could get a glimpse into a day in the life of our members.

archival books 1246285 640


Only one member sent in her diary. This was her day…

Thursday 12 May 2016


Woke up and got up. Not a bad night, about seven hours sleep.

Fed the cat who was waiting in the kitchen.

Checked emails and messages, discovered a text I sent last evening had never actually been delivered so swore and then resent it.

Breakfast of microwaved porridge covered in blueberries and runny honey.

Watched BBC Breakfast News.


The correspondence magazine had arrived the day before so took a cup of tea to the dining room and continued making notes on the letters. The letters come around monthly and we have to take notes and send on after 24 hours to next person on the rota. Sometimes a bit of a rush to get it done.


Bathed and then dressed.


Checked emails and phone. Texted message reply about meeting tomorrow. Spent time making notes for meeting this morning, printed off agenda and checked back through emails for relevant points that needed to be taken to meeting.


Rang friend about meeting tomorrow to hand over the correspondence magazine. Another friend rang to query advisability of an NWR meeting scheduled for next Tuesday as she feels it might clash with the local National Trust AGM. Discussed and told her I will consult with others and ring back at lunchtime. 


Made a coffee, and read the Guardian. Checked the crossword answers for day before as we had not finished it.


Left the house on foot to walk to meeting, called at the bank and paid in a cheque en route.


Meeting with seven other members of local history group to organise Heritage Open Day for September. After 2 hours meeting wound up and I walked home.


Rang friend back to confirm that decision is for Tuesday’s NWR meeting to go ahead as planned. Made cheese sandwiches for husband and myself. Watched BBC one o’clock news while eating cheese sandwich, apple, tomatoes and a few grapes. Water to drink. Afterwards took cup of tea outside to sit in the sun and do quick crossword in the Guardian. Chatted to my husband about how busy this week has been, we were away last week and it seems as if this week has been much busier than usual to make up for having a week off! I get very stressed if I know I have lots to do, I worry about not getting everything done.

Crossword puzzle


Tidied out the inside of my car. I have to give someone a lift tomorrow and am ashamed of the state of my car. Decided to take it to be washed.


Took car and left it at car wash for a ‘mini valet’, very friendly man there, had a joke with him and then walked along to factory shop nearby to get birthday present for friend. Present purchased I had time to spare so popped into Sainsbury’s for a cappuccino and a read of the local paper.


Back to pick up car now shining and smelling all clean inside too. Drove to chemist to collect prescription I had ordered online. First time I had done it this way so was very relieved it had worked and my medication was waiting for me.

Called at farm shop to enquire about a local cheese I was hoping to buy to take to party on Saturday, still none in stock so felt rather frustrated and disappointed by this.


Home again. Prepared notes for book group this evening when we were to discuss My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Had numerous newspaper cuttings I had saved, looked up reviews on Amazon and made notes to aid discussion.

Newspaper clippings

Checked emails and replied to those about a meeting next week about setting up a new Read and Connect group aimed at Stroke victims. Diary getting full again, do not want to get too stressed if I feel I have too much on but also do not want to let people down.

Fed the cat.


Said goodbye to my husband who went out for the evening.


Daily relaxation time in front of BBC watching Pointless on BBC One. Really enjoy this programme and try not to miss it. Today it was won by young couple called Emilia and Tom but they did not win the jackpot.


Reheated some chicken and vegetables to eat for my meal. Tried to finish the crossword, even cheated by using Crossword Solver website but still couldn’t do it.


Cleared up and put the dishwasher on. Checked emails.


Walked down the road to meet two friends and go with them to book group.

7.30 – 9.30pm

NWR Book group meeting. Met with eleven others to discuss My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I had not enjoyed this book, found it tedious with far too much unnecessary detail. Of the twelve present nine agreed with me, some had not finished the book and only three said they would read the sequel. Strange that we should be so different to many readers who rave about this book! There was a new person there who had been brought by an existing member, she joined in the discussion and seemed to enjoy the meeting. Talk about the book lasted for about an hour and then we chatted over tea, coffee and biscuits.

Lift home again, got in by 9.40pm just in time to watch the end of the TV programme about Gareth Malone’s choir for the Invictus Games. Very moving, I know the programme has been edited to pull at the heartstrings but it is impossible not to feel something for these people who have all suffered while serving in the armed forces and seem to gain so much from being part of this choir.


Watched BBC News headlines. Checked emails and Facebook for any new items. Ate two Weetabix during which my husband arrived home. We compared notes on our respective evenings and then went upstairs to bed.

Read a new short story and then put out the light about 11pm.

A fairly typical day but it is unusual to have two meetings in one day.


– NWR member since 1972

Start a conversation by leaving a comment below, letting us know how your day compared to this member’s day!