4th March 2013

How do you start a diary I wonder? I’ve never kept one before, not a serious journal at least. I’ve often thought about keeping one but I’d be mortified if Gary the Grump found it and read my innermost thoughts.

He thinks he knows everything about me just because we’ve been married for eighteen years, but in truth he knows very little and understands even less. Oh, he can find his way around the intimate parts of my body and he knows to keep well clear if I’m in one of my moods, but he doesn’t have a clue who the real me is. I hate the way he calls them, my moods, as though he’s always full of the joys of Spring. At least I have the excuse of an excruciating period or the beginnings of a migraine when I snap. He gets unbearably shitty if his precious football team loses, and God help us all if England aren’t doing very well at the cricket.

 He thinks he knows which TV shows I like, (the ones I get to see when there isn’t a conflict with the sports channel,) but he doesn’t have a clue what I Sky Plus and watch when he’s at the pub or nursing a Sunday morning hangover in bed. He has no idea what I dream about, what I think, or what I do all day.

He’s convinced that I vote Labour because he does, but I’ve never voted for them once. I actually voted for the Rubber Chicken party at one election and I’d have been quite happy had they got in.

Gary still hasn’t worked out that if I nod my head when he’s screaming at the TV during Question Time it doesn’t mean I agree with him. It’s actually far more likely to mean that I agree with the politician who almost caused him to have a seizure. Gary has always been arrogant like that. He assumes that he wears the trousers in our house but in actual fact the decision-making process is shared equally. He decides what we should do about Libya, oil prices and the EU and I make the everyday decisions, like, what we buy, where we buy it, how much we put away for a rainy day, who we buy our gas from, who’s offering the best mortgage deal … It works out perfectly really.

Now I’m rambling. I can see me doing a lot of that, so I’ll apologise up front.

I’m glad I found you, I’d never heard of on-line diaries until I discovered my fourteen-year-old daughter, (Lara) had one. She forgot to log off the laptop one night and The Grump read it. He got a bit of a shock I can tell you. Lara got an even bigger shock when she came back from the bathroom to find him standing arms crossed, tapping his foot, looking for all the world like he’d just eaten a Semtex sandwich and was about to explode.

‘Who’s Tommy Troppo?’ he asked.

‘Nobody,’ Lara replied.

‘He’s in your diary a lot for nobody.’

‘Have you been? … MUM he’s been reading my private diary.’

The Grump was unapologetic. ‘I have and I know what you get up to when you’re babysitting.’

‘I don’t get up to anythi…. MUM why didn’t you stop him?’

‘I didn’t know he was rea …’

The Grump cut me off in mid denial. ‘You’re grounded until further notice.’

‘WHY?’ Lara was astounded.

‘Because I caught you snogging Tommy Tosspot.’

‘Troppo,’ I interrupted.

‘Troppo Tosspot.’

‘You didn’t catch me snogging him,’ argued Lara.

‘What’s snogging?’ asked Toby, my eight-year-old.

‘You don’t want to know, Toby,’ I told him.

‘Can I have a snog, Dad?’ he asked.

Lara glared at him. ‘Shut up, monkey boy.’

The Grump pointed to the laptop. ‘I read about it. The evidence is all there.’

‘I could take you to court for this,’ threatened Lara. ‘I’m allowed a private life.’

‘You’re fourteen and you’re not allowed anything unless I say you can have it, and I’m telling you now, Lara, you’re not allowed to have Tripping Troppo.’

‘I never get any snogging,’ moaned Toby. ‘It’s not fair. Why should Lara have it all?’

‘Shush Toby,’ I told him. ‘Snogging means kissing.’

‘Yuk.’ Toby was disgusted.

Lara reverted to type and blamed me for everything. ‘This is your fault.’

‘My fault?’

‘You let him read it.’

‘You left it logged in, Lara. Anyway, I agree with your father. You’re too young to be snogging Tommy Tosser.’


‘Troppo,’ I agreed.

Lara’s lips curled back into a snarl. ‘Kylie’s parents wouldn’t read her private diary.’

The Grump wasn’t going to fall for that one. ‘Kylie’s parents don’t give a rat’s arse about Kylie. They’re always in the pub.’

‘Because they trust her,’ spat Lara.

‘They don’t trust her, Lara, they’re both raving alcoholics, they just don’t care about her.’

‘I could report you to Childline.’ Lara glared at me accusingly.

‘You’ll thank us when Kylie, Mariah and Madonna are all pregnant before they leave school,’ said Gary feelingly. ‘Their parents will be to blame. What sort of people name their kids after pop singers?’

‘God, you’re so … OLD!’ Lara stomped off. to her room.

‘You named Lara after the Tomb Raider woman,’ I reminded The Grump.

He blushed. ‘That’s different, Lara is a classy name.’

Toby wanted more information. ‘Why did Lara snog Tommy Tosspot?’

‘Never you mind young man, now off to bed, it’s school tomorrow.’

‘Can you come up and give me a goodnight snog?’ he asked.

I laughed, but The Grump didn’t. ‘You’ll get a goodnight clip round the ear if you’re not careful.’

‘You should read this diary,’ said The Grump, when peace had at last descended. ‘You could probably learn a thing or two. Have a look at the bit about wanting to drip honey all over his …’

‘Is it that bad?’ I was shocked.

‘Not really bad, she hasn’t actually done much. It’s what she fantasises about doing with young Tommy that worries me. I must have led a very sheltered life. Like I said though, have a read and we’ll have an early night.’ He winked suggestively.

‘I’ve got a headache after all that shouting.’ I picked up the laptop and carried it to the kitchen.

I’m off to the pub,’ he sulked.

When he had gone, I opened the laptop and stared at the page containing Lara’s diary. I pushed away the temptation to read it. If she had only gone as far as kissing then she really hadn’t done much. I’d already gone further than a snog when I was that age. By fourteen, I’d reached the groping stage, even though the boy concerned only got to feel my breasts through a thick jumper and a coat.

In the end I did the decent thing, clicked the log off button and went back to the home page. ‘SecureDiary.com I read. Your secrets are safe with us.’

Tell Lara that, I thought as I clicked on the new account button.