This is your (pencil) life

We tell the story of our lives in many different forms. Some people keep a diary or a scrapbook. Others post to their Instagram feed. A handful may publish a book. Or (and this really ages me) Eamonn Andrews or Michael Aspel pounces on them with a big red book and a studio full of guests. Sometimes the story takes on a less orthodox form: pencils, say.

Allow me to explain. We had a quiet morning at home last weekend and I found myself sharpening pencils. This is the kind of random thing I do when I’m trying to avoid doing something else.

Pencils are one of those things you buy as a keepsake and throw away into a drawer for evermore. So when you suddenly bring them all out as I did, you trace a haphazard path back through your life.

In this case, they dated back over more than two decades, bringing back forgotten memories.

The first one was from a posh hotel and spa outside Stratford-upon-Avon, which I took Heather to for our first anniversary. I remember parking our little Citroen Saxo among all the Mercedes and Aston Martins and thinking that maybe I’d over-pitched slightly.

There were a couple relating to our kids’ interests. A London Underground pencil – one of the boys’ great passions. And a Paddington Bear one, bought from the store on the station’s concourse at the end of a memorable boys’ day out.

Two were from Reading’s Madejski Stadium. One came from a work-related event I used to regularly attend. The other was from the first time I ever took Isaac to a live game, for a friend’s birthday.

Another, bearing the name of Surrey County Cricket Club, was from another friend’s birthday bash at the Oval. There we were given a tour of the ground and met Andrew Flintoff in person. That meant nothing to the children but the adults were rather more impressed!

And finally, most eye-catchingly of all, was a fluorescent yellow pencil from Hotel Football, home of my favourite blogging conference, BlogOn.

Those seven pencils alone provided a fairly representative cross-section of my life dating back to 1998. As a result, they brought back some happy memories too.

No matter where you look, there are stories to be found everywhere. I wonder what else I might discover if I were to find all the other pencils we have lying around the house?


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