Denise: I’ve been sorting through old family documents, photos and momentos that have come to me through my Mum, Betty. Through these I can reach back more than a hundred years. Though my own kin, they and their lives are very detached from my own, and what connects us is more a matter for the head than the heart. But then I come across something that telescopes the years into something more immediate, and hits me in the heart. I was handling some rather dry papers concerning the purchase by my paternal grandparents, Olive and Archie Gregory, when something fell to the floor – clearly of different ilk entirely. Lying on the floor, it was clearly one of the end papers from a pocket diary, with the conventional map of London Underground. That being so familiar today, it’s apparent modernity was to say the least incongruous (though a closer examination reveals major differences with the modern underground network). However it was when I turned the leaf over that it really hit me. Read for yourself.
Olive was throughout her life an avid scribbler, writing notes about her daily life, things she was interested in, places she’d been. If it had all been in kept in a consistent format, it would have been referred to as a Journal. But as diverse fragments, often just scraps of paper, very little has survived, but this one from 75 years ago, in the midst of the Sheffield Blitz, has survived almost by accident.