Unreliable Aides Memoire

It’s 09.28 on Friday 3rd November. Sitting at the dining room table of my East Leeds domicile, I’m snacking on the remnants of Haribo gummy sweets from Halloween, washed down by chilled West Yorkshire tap water.

On the red armchair to my right, lolling unceremoniously adjacent to a cream cushion emblazoned with words ‘happiness’, is my laptop bag. In front of me is a small hardback notebook bearing a drawing of an old style typewriter, along with the title words ‘Gary’s Mad Ideas’. A quirky bespoke gift from my kids a few Christmases back.

I utilise this note book to journal the epiphanies which manifest themselves in my neurological corridors while bereft of a computer device. These ideas jotted down to jolt my memory of the aforementioned idea, ready for input into a narrative sometime henceforth.

This process isn’t as fool proof as I’d like. For it to work properly I’d have to have the ideas pad with me at all time, after all you can’t legislate for when the ‘light bulb moment’ will strike. The logistics of this aren’t always conducive to immediately jotting down random literary thoughts.

For example, when I’m in the shower, if I have an idea for a gag or a storyline I have to try and retain it mentally until I’ve dried off several minutes later. Not that I’ve attempted it, but I suspect paper and ink aren’t natural bedfellows to water being blasted from a power shower. Even if they were, I wouldn’t have anywhere to put the book or pen…… Well maybe there is for the pen, but not one I’m prepared to countenance!

For obvious reasons, I can’t/won’t input ideas into the book while driving my car, grating cheese or when I’m engaged in my sometime role as a fire-eater. The mobile fire-eater role is particularly popular as the winter draws in, especially with people looking for a frugal method of heating the living room.

Even when I do manage to jot down the idea, another conundrum I have is that on occasion I can’t recall what the bullet point reminder staring back at me means.


For instance, I have the above page open in the book ‘Gary’s Mad Ideas’ as I write this. Within these thoughts are the following unreliable reminders:-

  • First records – I haven’t a clue what epiphany that’s alluding to.
  • Amish not Hamish – Likewise
  • Sensor on seat – God only knows what yarn was going to materialise from that!
  • Full ashtrays – I’m unable to recollect whatever idea I had when I penned the bullet point.
  • To Do List – That could be bloody anything!

So the lesson for Gary Strachan from the failure of those aides memoire is to ensure the wording gives more specifics about the idea I’ve just had.

Some of the reminders, although not overly helpful, do jog the memory, for example I do recall the ideas behind the following notes:-

  • Lets over any Tom, Dick or Harry – I recollect this was when running my daughter to work and was delayed a while because the Lollipop Lady was letting any Tom, Dick or Harry cross the road. From memory the gag I thought of was “Thank god he didn’t let the kids with alternative names also cross or we’d have been there all bloody day!”……. Not a brilliant joke, but on the plus side at least this bullet point proved some use.
  • Surprise birthday party – If memory serves me correct, this quip followed the lines of “I was at a friends surprise birthday party last night. The party wasn’t the surprise, it was the fact my friend didn’t know it was his birthday!”

Right I best make tracks. I intend to spend some reflective time where I can mull over what the chuff I was thinking about when I added the idea reminder of ‘Curtains to replace teeth – Cost of Dentistry’.

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