Sunday 1st August 1993

Today we did nothing much. Me, Nina and Adam played a game with the dolls.  We pretended to live in Miami, and we all put our swimming cossies on.  Then Nina went out with Claire and Emma.  Adam went out with Damon.  I was left on my own to watch EastEnders.  During EastEnders I had the idea of making a thertre.  I found a box and sorted out some card.  I got a book to write the plays in, and then Nina, Claire and Emma came in the back garden.  I went out and Adam tied me to the swing.  I came in for a bath.  Then after the story we wrapped my dads presents.

I think I may have had too high expectations for the summer holiday as I did a lot of complaining about the lack of anything to do.  My imagination obviously knew no bounds though – I’ve never been to Miami and I can’t swim but in my fantasy world all things were possible!  However, my favourite bit of this diary entry has to be the illustration of the swing and ropes I was tied up with.  Adam was briefly in the Boy’s Brigade but his knot skills can’t have been up to much as I evidently escaped without any help as my Mum doesn’t remember this.

Ever one for a bit of amateur dramatics I mentioned ‘I was left on my own’ and then proceeded to make a theatre although I’m not entirely sure what I achieved.  It can’t have been a full size replica of Walford, or even Albert Square, as it was only a crisp box and some bits of cardboard.  Blue Peter had a lot to answer for making it look so easy but I don’t think you could build a whole set from some loo rolls and sticky-back plastic.

Toy_Theater_2

Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of what I actually created but it probably looked a lot like the photo above.  Probably.

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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!

Saturday 24th July 1993

Today it rained so we stayed in most of the time my mum went shopping and got me a couple of books from the library.  Then Adam went out while Nina and I read.  Then I had the idea of having a magazine so I started on it.  Chole and Jamie and Ben are going away so it will be nice and peaceful.

So I decided to check if it really did rain all day and luckily for me someone taped the weather and 19 years later thought to upload it on YouTube – the wonders of the internet!  The sound doesn’t really work but you can see from the big arrows and slashing rain that it was pretty horrible:

The weather wasn’t all bad though as it encouraged a bit of impromptu creativity and I created a masterpiece I modestly titled ‘Brilliant Bevans!’  I have no idea what the content was as unfortunately the copy didn’t survive.  I’m not sure what magazines I read as a 10-year-old, I know at some point I was a fan of Smash Hits but as I hated Take That I doubt this issue from July 1993 caught my eye. 

Reading my diary back I remember how ambitious I was as a child and also how ‘go-getting’ I could be.  I had an idea to make a magazine so I just got on with it.  No questioning whether I was capable of it or whether it would be sustainable.  I miss being a child.

I don’t miss our old next door neighbours though – Chloe (it is a difficult name to spell), Jamie and Ben were horrible kids – spiteful, mean and noisy – hence the comment.  If only they’d had ASBOs in the 90s!

 

Friday 23rd July 1993

Today we had to wait for the gas man.  When he went we went to Asda.  First we had dinner because everyone was so hungry.  Then we went to the library.  They have moved everything about in the library, so I didn’t know where I was looking.  I got two more books out on top of the other five I’ve already got.  We went shopping and met Mrs Rees my brothers old nursery teacher from my old school Park South. We came back and watched the news, more bad news.

I couldn’t remember what the bad news was so I had to investigate.  I’m still not clear what particular story would have affected me on that day and prompted me to note this in my diary.  However, there were several news stories in 1993 which changed the way I viewed the world.

The biggest news story of 1993, in my mind, was the murder of Jamie Bulger in February.  Killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were only 5 months older than me.  I can clearly remember trying to imagine boys in the class above me at school killing a child younger than my little sister and it really disturbed me.  Adults doing bad things I could comprehend and I was well aware of ‘stranger danger’ but children killing each other plunged me into a new scary world.

I also remember talking about violence and racism with my parents following the murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993.  Initial arrests were made in May but the CPS dropped the case in July and the killers went free.  I couldn’t understand how anyone could kill someone just for being black and then the police let them get away with it.  It took until 3 January 2012 for David Norris and Gary Dobson to be found guilty of his murder and some form of justice delivered. BBC story.

The IRA were very active in 1993, in March two bombs in Warrington, Cheshire killed two children and injured 56 other people and in April a bomb in London killed one person and injured more than 40.   I felt quite safe in Swindon and very far away from the bombs but remember being upset about the Troubles.  I think there was a programme on CBBC called ‘The Lowdown’, a kind of junior Panorama, which did a programme specifically about the situation in Northern Ireland.

On 25th July the BBC reported that the latest UN ceasefire in Bosnia had been broken with shelling from both sides in Sarajevo.  This was two days before the peace conference due to take place in Geneva.  Continued bombardment had caused talks to be postponed twice as Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovich refused to participate until there was a break in the fighting and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said he would only attend if the president did.  Ratko Mladic has featured in the news this year during his trial at the Hague for genocide and other crimes against humanity in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ which took place during the Bosnian Conflict. Guardian story

In 1995 I would read Zlata’s Diary, a book written by a 10 year old living in Sarajevo from 1991-1993.  I don’t think my diary from 1993 could have differed more.

Thursday 22nd July 1993

Today it was Ninas birthday we gave her a game that makes you do silly things.  And a teddy.  We went in the park behind Dillons for five minutes I went on the mushrooms, That’s what Emily calls them.  I call it the ‘Bouncy thing’.  At Nina’s party was Kathy, Katrina, Emma and Roxanne who wouldn’t leave the party bags alone.  Everyone was quiet and boring, just when they got going it was time to go home.  After the party I played out with Crystal in the alley for a bit, then came in and watched telly, then went to bed.

I have no idea what the game was although it sounds slightly sinister!  Luckily my artistic skills are such that I can identify the teddy fairly easily (although it obviously wasn’t to scale).  As my parents never throw anything away I was able to find it this evening and take a photo – I’ve added today’s paper to prove that it is a new photo, like a ransom demand!  

I think I was slightly harsh with my comment about the boring party – they were only six years old, I would have been more worried if it had been a cocaine-fuelled orgy!  I don’t remember anything about the day and couldn’t find any photos when I looked last weekend.  A few years ago I helpfully started replacing all the family photo albums but the new albums were rubbish and the photos kept sliding about, I ended up putting the rest of the photos in a big envelope and accidentally mislaying them somewhere at my parent’s house…  

I can’t find the actual name of the mushroom/bouncy things either.  They were basically round wooden platforms on big springs, I think there were three or four spaced equally apart and you were supposed to jump between them.  Ringing any bells anyone? 

Wednesday 21st July 1993

Today we went to Dillons and played in the park then we played tennis in partners.  Me and Adam againest Mummy and Nina.  Then me and Mummy againest Adam.  We spent the rest of the day tidying up.

Dillon wasn’t a person but a chain of corner shops which I don’t think exist any more – I can’t find any evidence of them in the UK from a quick google although it appears they might still be around in the US.  Quite why a trip to the shop was worthy of a diary mention I don’t know.  I was either very aware of how interesting the minutiae of everyday life would be to future historians or the summer of 1993 was really boring!

Shaw Village Centre is now in the middle of a busy and built-up suburb of West Swindon.  It includes a church, pub, kebab shop, chiropractor, dentist, hairdresser, chemist, vet, estate agents and shop.  At various points the shop has been a JCR, Dillons, One Stop and now Tesco Express.  The park has also long since gone.

I think that we were probably playing tennis as a result of my Mum watching Wimbledon, we certainly didn’t have any other experience of it.  At primary school the only sports I remember playing were rounders, netball, football and benchball.  I don’t think I played tennis properly until secondary school but I doubt I ever won a point in any game, my hand-eye co-ordination has always been appalling.  In 1993 Pete Sampras beat Jim Courier in his first Wimbledon win and second Grand Slam title – I don’t remember this but I do remember him dominating for years afterwards and my Mum shouting at subsequent matches “break his serve” at his opponent.  I can’t find a decent video with an English commentary but here are highlights from the last few games of the match from an American channel:

I assume from the picture which illustrates this entry that I had to tidy my bedroom, it was very small so I can’t see how it took the rest of the day.  I guess I was being dramatic as I hated, and still hate, any kind of housework.  I shared a room with my sister until I went to Uni and it was always a mess.  I blamed it on the fact that we didn’t have much space and there were two of us.  I now live on my own and the place always looks like a bomb has hit it.  I guess I’m just exceptionally untidy!

 

The Way We Were

Working on the basis that it’s always nice to put a face to a name here are some photos from around the time I was writing my diary.  Frustratingly I can’t seem to find photos that are definitely from 1993.

 

School photo from June 1992

 

Me and my younger sister Nina, we think this was early 1993 as I got my ears pierced for my 9th birthday and started growing my fringe during the summer of 1992.

 

Me, Adam and Nina with Dad and our dog Jett. He was a rescue dog who didn’t really like children and we had to give him away as he was a bit wild and bitey! This was taken in Lydiard Park and we think it was spring 1993.

 

Down in Milford Haven with a selection of our cousins, we often used to go down for family holidays in the summer but according to my diary we didn’t go in 1993. That might be because we went down in December for my grandparents wedding anniversary.  In which case this photo might be from summer 1992.

 

This is either summer 1993 or 1994 – we’re not sure but it’s close enough. Me, Adam and Nina in our back garden.

 

School photo from June 1994