As you might have gathered from the previous entries in this series, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in my 11-year-old life. 

There were ponies. There was swimming. And then, one day, there was a new three-piece suite…

28/1/88

Not too bad a day. School wasn’t too bad but we couldn’t go swimming because Laurie’s ill with a cold. I mean a cold! He probably thinks he’s really ill because he always takes a day off when he has a cold. I thinks its plain silly but knowone bothers what I think. [LOL!  Guess someone was a bit pissed about not getting to go swimming, huh?] We’ve placed an add in the paper too sell our 3 piece suite. Julie’s getting a new one and we’re getting her old one. Hope we can sell it.

Amber

29/1/88

School was OK. I wont go into my day in detail because I know how boring it would be if I went on about school all the time. [Going on about ponies all the time is totes fine, though, just FYI.] Had music. I really like my music teacher Mr C. he’s a great laugh, and is interested in History, like me. Anyway, got home to find that mum had 2 people coming to see the suite. Julie came over to help her sell it. I, wanting to make the right impression, went upstairs and put on all my make up. [I was still 11 here, so ‘all my makeup’ would’ve consisted of lip gloss and… that’s pretty much it. And I wasn’t really allowed to wear the lip gloss, either…] I was going to try too observe the people closely so that I could write down their descriptions and use them in my new book (which I’m getting along great with) but I forgot to. We sold the suite to the first woman who came. I am off a sentimental temperement and will probably cry when it goes. I got a catalogue in from Julip Model Horses today and I have fallen in love with a dunn Arab mare which is in it. Hope I can buy it. Julip model horses are model horses [No!] with bendy legs.

Amber Louise McNaught

30/1/88

New suite arrived today. It’s made of leather and really fab. Heres a plan of how weve got it set out.

a plan of my livingroom by me, age 11We went to a carpet place to pick a new carpet. It was the shops 11th birthday and Steve Hamilton (a famouse DJ who goes on TV) was there. I got his autograph [Steve Hamilton was so ‘famouse’ I had never heard of him, and didn’t really know why I was getting his autograph, but I kept it in my jewellery box for the next 10 years or so, anyway…]  We also got a free bottle of champagne as they were handing one out every hour because of their birthday.

  *    *   *

Present-day Amber:

So, yeah, I was REALLY into that whole ‘3 piece suite’ thing, wasn’t I? I mean, talk about the event of the century! This whole episode is actually a pretty good indication of what I was like as a child. Super-intense about everything. Always worrying about what random strangers would think of me – gotta make “the right impression” after all! (Because I guess I thought the people who came to look at our old couch would’ve gone home and said to their partners, “Well, the couch was OK, but there was this 11-year-old girl there, and she did NOT make the right impression, seriously…”) Constantly on the lookout for new material for that book I was sure I was going to write one day, filled with thinly-disguised characters from my real life, and… er, this blog, basically. I didn’t know it at the time, but I guess I was already in training for the day, far in the future, when I’d make a living from my “sentimental temperament” and awesome observational skills (“I just forgot to do it…”).

I wonder what my younger self would’ve said if she’d known? Or if the unknown purchaser of the 3-piece suite realises how close she came to being immortalised in a fictional account of a girl called Elaine Shaw, and her pony called Carmen?

About the Secret Diary

This post is an extract from my “secret” childhood diaries: click here to read more about the project, or enter your email below to get notifications by email:

3 Comments
  1. This reminds me of when I was an English language examiner for GCSE and whenever I see the term “three piece suite” I see “3 pee sweet” which one candidate wrote about in their paper.

  2. I was came across your blog when searching for ‘the best foundation for pale skin’. I am a fellow redhead (although my hair nowhere near as beautiful as yours having died it blonde since being 14). I then started reading your blog and now I am hooked! I am reading your diary extracts. I have to say your school experiences were very similar to mine, there are parts that make me reflect and other parts remind me of events I had long forgotten. A 2 minute ‘google’ has turned into 40 mins reading your blog. It is beautiful and well written, the perfect read on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.