Friday 30th July 1993

Today Adam went ice skating.  Our plan was to go ice skating then while Adam was skating I was supposed to go in the library.  But are plans were mixed up and we had a chippie in the park.  But I still got to go in the library.  When Adam went ice skating it was a disco.  I had a drink.

A non-alcoholic drink I hastened to add.  Possibly Orangina.  I loved that when I was a kid but it was pretty expensive.  I had some recently for a special occasion – it was horrible.  I think it was around this time that my Mum decided to ban my brother from drinking coke.  I don’t know if it was the sugar or the cocktail of E numbers but he used to get really horrible when he’d had coke and Mum got sick of the arguments.  (If I ever become famous I’m going to re-write that sentence to remove the reference to drinking coke and make it sound like he had a drug habit at 8, otherwise this diary is not going to cut it alongside other celebrity memoirs.) 

I quite liked it when the ice-skating was a disco, for a start they turned the lights down and put the coloured spotlights on, that made it more difficult for people to see me falling over!

Someone there had their finger on the musical pulse if my drawing accurately reflects one of the song choices – who doesn’t like Billy Ray Cyrus?!  


Thursday 29th July 1993

Today we went in to town to buy my dads birthday presents we brought him a watch which was really nice.  We spent ages in the Body Shop looking for something else.  Adventually we brought an orange flannel an orange soap and fuzzy peach bath lotion.  We had dinner in Macdonalds we ate in the blondie park and there were some men who scared me.  We went to Queens Park and saw lots of fishes.  We did some shopping and came home.

I don’t know if my Dad particularly wanted to smell like a fuzzy peach – it hardly strikes me as a masculine scent.  This might be one of those cases where I bought something that I secretly wanted myself.  Maybe I had my eye on the watch too?  No, that’s not likely, I couldn’t tell the time at 10, I still struggle now!

Once again I’m complaining about being scared of something.  I don’t remember spending my childhood in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear, I think maybe I was trying to add some drama and tension to my life story.  The Blondini Park was what we sometimes called the rocks which were outside McDonalds in Swindon Town Centre – an area where the drunks used to congregate and obviously scare small children. 

You can see a photo of the Blondini statue being unveiled in 1987 on the excellent flickr site from the Swindon Collection at Central Library:

I only ever remember it looking bashed about and covered in graffiti and this is probably closer to what it looked like in 1993:

The Link Magazine explains how the statue came to be there in first place:

In 2005 the rocks and Blondini statue were removed, a giant television screen stuck on the side of the car park and the drunks moved around the corner to Fleming Way.  Swindon Borough Council proudly declared the area revamped and named it Wharf Green (there’s no wharf/quay/docks/shipyards/water – and people say the Council doesn’t have a sense of humour).

Wednesday 28th July 1993

Today we went to the park behind Dillons where I met Fiona and Donna.  Fiona and Donna found a hedgehog and called it Fido, Fiona Fi and Donna Do.  It was trapped in the park and I had to get someone to get it out.  And Fiona and Donna were in a right mood.  Then I started to make a grass house, I did the two bedrooms and the tolit and the landing.  Then Kim came and interrupted and we left the house alone.

I give up!  Any attempt to make myself sound even vaguely cool will always fail because my diary outs me as a strange little geek with an amazing ability to wind people up! 

Goodness knows why I felt I had to get someone to rescue the hedgehog and ruin everyone’s fun.  I don’t even know who I went to get – a random passer-by?  That must have been an odd conversation.  I hope the hedgehog appreciated the sacrifices I made for it and went on to live a long and happy life. 

After I ruined their morning I then proceeded to make a grass house – did I learn nothing from the tale of the three little pigs?  Maybe I was aiming for something like this but my ambition outstripped my ability.


Tuesday 27th July 1993

We went ice skating today.  My mum met her friend there.  I liked the look of Dawn (my mums friends daughter) but she didn’t seem to want to know me.  I came off the rink half way through.  Because the teenagers kept wizzing in front of me and I didn’t like it.  We had dinner in the Red Baloon restaurant.  It was O.K.

I really do paint myself as a bit of a Billy No Mates in my diary which I don’t think is completely accurate.  Oh, ok, maybe it is!  I spent the summer either reading or writing in my diary so it’s no surprise no-one wanted to play with me.  I bet Samuel Pepys was exactly the same.  Anyway, I don’t even remember Dawn now so to quote Alan Partridge ‘needless to say I had the last laugh’. 

My brother loved ice-skating and hated reading so I think we went skating after the library as compensation.  I was hopeless as I have very little sense of balance, I still manage to fall out of bed on occasion.  My fear of slipping over on the ice-rink has now turned into a general fear of slipping over on the ice during winter.  This is a very serious fear, I even asked me Dad to look in the back of the Sunday papers for those adverts for those spikey things to put over your shoes – like this:

Sometimes I think my parents must despair of me!

Monday 26th July 1993

Today we went to Lydiard Park.  We had to go through the subway and it looks quite nice.  It’s not finished yet but most is done.  When we arrived we had a picnic under a tree. Then we played tennis.  We went in the park it was packed.  I didn’t play at first when we got to the Tarzan Trail I brightened up.  I can go over the monkey bars now.  There were some girls on the slide, who got right up my nose.  They kept putting sand on the slide.  We went in the shop and me and Adam brought an eyeball (an eyeball is chewing gum).  Nina brought a sweet necklace and broke it.  So she brought a packet of sweets.  Me and Adam got a green thing that tasted like fizzy lime.  My mum said ‘yuck’.  We started to walk home and I sketched a gate with trees around it.  Then I had a quick game of tennis with Adam.  We got home put the telly on and then my dad came home.

Another informative diary entry from ten-year-old me.  I was worried future generations would not understand some of my cultural references so explained that an eyeball was chewing gum lest anyone think that in the early 90s children had cannibalistic tendencies.  I had a peculiar turn of phrase for someone so young as ‘I brightened up’ and some girls ‘got right up my nose’.  I think I was born middle aged and in my pre-teens had more in common with pensioners than my peers.

I didn’t feel the need to explain the subway comment as I obviously thought it would speak for itself, turns out I was wrong.  My primary school, Salt Way (since closed) had an artist in residence for a term and her task was to work with the children to design and paint a mural for the underpass/subway.  My Mum remembered that the artist’s name was Marie Brett which I had forgotten although I can clearly picture her.  Unfortunately we can’t find any photos of the finished artwork and just over a year after it was completed it was vandalised and damaged before being removed and painted over in a lovely shade of battleship grey.  Now you’d never know there had been anything there.  The Tarzan Trail, an obstacle course of playground equipment, has also gone as the park was demolished and a new one built nearer to the visitors Centre.

Now I feel really old, that’s my school, my childhood artwork and my playground all disappeared in the past 19 years. 

I’m not a Madonna fan but I remember seeing the film ‘A League of Their Own’ and this was one of the songs on the soundtrack, it was released in 1992 but I think we saw it the following year, seems kind of apt!