Yesterday I wrote an entry in my writer’s journal. It contains short entries about things that have happened and some commonplace-book-style quotations from authors I like. The journal itself was a present from a friend who had visited Florence. It has a beautiful tooled Italian leather cover and many pages – though I note with shame that the first entry was made in June 2006 and the last in August this year, so I have hardly been prolific. I think that it was Barbara Pym who said that the trouble with keeping a diary is that when you have time to write nothing is happening and when something happens there is no time to write about it. Looking at the most recent entry, I see that it describes the two stout sisters who owned the holiday gite where I was staying embroiled in a ferocious argument at dusk, while the bats flitted where swallows had twittered a little earlier and the scent of roses filled the garden. Several of their fourteen cats were standing sentry nearby and one, the most sociable, lay snoozing on the garden cushion beside me, completely at ease with the altercation… Would I have remembered this if I hadn’t written about it?