David Bouchier

What's In A Name?

Jan 26, 2015

In the year I was born David must have been the most popular given name in Britain, and possibly in the western world. As a result most of my male schoolmates were called David, and when we are all drafted at the age of eighteen we entered an army of Davids. For a couple of years I had to use another name so I could remember who I was.

A World Of Secrets

Jan 19, 2015

The world has never been a very private place. For most of human history we have lived huddled together for protection in caves and villages, towns and cities. Only the very rich could afford the luxury of being alone. So we are by habit a gregarious, curious species, and we like to know our neighbors' business. The more we know about the people around us the more comfortable we feel – so long as what we know is fairly harmless. Feeling at home in a village or a city is largely a matter of learning something about our neighbors, but not too much.

Darkness at Dawn

Jan 12, 2015

Two hundred years ago the essayist Leigh Hunt wrote a piece that was destined to become famous, called "On Getting Up on Cold Mornings," about the extreme difficulty of persuading oneself to get out of bed in winter. This appealed strongly to about half the population. Then as now the world was divided into Morning People and Night People. Morning People are energetic, immature and rash. They get up in what is more or less the middle of the night and rush cheerfully off to work in the freezing dawn. Night People are more mature, more thoughtful, and less impulsive.

I like this turning point of the year when I can hang up a fresh calendar and begin a new diary. It's not a diary, strictly speaking, because it records the future not the past. Some people call them Appointment Books or Agenda Books, but I have very few appointments and no agenda at all. Whatever it is this little book serves some of the functions of a diary, so that's what I call it. For reasons not yet diagnosed by a competent psychiatrist I keep all my old diaries.

Democratic Weather

Dec 29, 2014

Part of our eternal fascination with the weather is that we can do nothing about it, least of all predict it. The arbitrariness of the weather led our ancestors to assume that it was sent by capricious gods to annoy or punish mere mortals, or perhaps just for entertainment. This theory has persisted for thousands of years, and it makes sense to me. Weather forecasting, in spite of satellites and computers and sophisticated modeling techniques, remains almost as fallible as stock market forecasting.