Archive for the ‘Calendar & Diaries’ Category

Calendars, Diaries, Annuals

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

When you think about it, the whole of our lives are bound by the calendar, with the diary being a necessary part of our lives – whether we want it to be or not. We need a calendar or diary to record birthdays and anniversaries of family and friends and to plan our working week. In fact, without diaries, whether they are electronic or manual, we would be up the creek without a paddle! As the new millennium dawned, a firm of publishers based in Cambridge, England who published diaries and personal organisers arranged for Dr David Harper to write “A Brief History of the Calendar” documenting events over the last 1,000 years of history.

The World’s Calendars
In the West we know the calendar follows the format stated in the rhyme:

•30 days hath September
•April, June and November
•All the rest have 31 days excepting February alone
•Which has 28 days’ clear and 29 in each Leap Year
This adds up to 365 days in a year plus an extra one day during a Leap Year which occurs once every four years. The lunar month is 29.5305888531 days long. In a typical year, there are 12.36826639275 lunar months. This is fine in countries where the different seasons, such as Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, don’t need to be too closely calibrated. However, in countries that need to stay in step with the changing seasons, the lunar months were 10.8751234326 days short of a full year. The Greek, Meton, attempted to round up the lunar months so they fitted into a 19 year cycle: it was on this calendar that the early Christian church was based and the reason why the date for Easter alters year by year.

The story of the calendar makes absolutely fascinating reading and the Greek, Meton, is just the start of the story as far as our modern calendar is concerned. Of particular interest is the Islamic calendar which is solely based on the Moon’s different phases and follows a cycle that covers 33 years. Each subsequent year sees the seasons start approximately 10 days’ later: each new month begins only at the actual sighting of the new crescent Moon. Take a look at some of our calendar listings: you will see a variety of Islamic calendars produced in collaboration with the University of Malaysia’s International Islamic Calendar Program; the Organization of Islamic Conference [OIC]; Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation [COMSTECH]; and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

Diaries seem to have first appeared during the 17th century as a means of recording personal experiences: it is widely thought that Samuel Pepys was one of the very first diarists, keeping a record of everyday occurrences in London where he lived. However, the modern diary, as we know it, was first printed by John Letts who owned a stationery business in London. In direct response to the needs of his customers – businessmen who requested a reliable means of recording stock movements – John Letts produced the first Commercial Diary in 1812, evolving over the next few years to follow the more modern format we use today. Letts is still a major publisher of annual diaries of all shapes and sizes, producing more than 22 million diaries annually, retaining 40% of the UK market. Letts currently exports their diaries to more than 75 countries globally. If you take a look through our diary pages you will find a range of different modern diaries, from the Manchester United Pocket Diary to the A5 spiral bound Academic Diary.

Address Books
Despite the development in modern technology providing address book facilities on computers, Palmtops, and mobile phones, there is something particularly evocative about being given a lovely pristine address book – and those combined with a diary that are often given as presents – where all the pages hold the untold promises of the days, weeks and months ahead, just waiting to be filled. No amount of technology can alter that feeling of anticipation in that the future may bring.

You will find an excellent selection of diaries, notebooks, address books, journals, notecards and envelopes, photograph albums, scrapbooks and postcards in the relevant sections of our web pages. One of the notebooks we sell on our website is the ever popular Moleskine Pocket Squared Notebook which provides a new connotation on the ‘little black book’. The Moleskine Pocket Squared Notebook is small enough to fit neatly into your pocket. The cover of the notebook is quite sturdy – which, in this household, is just as well as it is likely to get hammered! The cover is slightly larger than the inside pages which is a pretty good idea and does a good job of protecting the pages within and, due to the sturdiness of the cover, it is quite difficult to bend the outside. As with all the best notebooks, an elastic band secures the covers and keeps all the pages together.

What kid doesn’t love annuals? I well remember the anticipation of the build-up towards Christmas to see if I had been given one of my particularly favourite annuals and how disappointed I was one year when it transpired the powers-that-be [the adults in my life] thought I was getting too old for my yearly annual. One particular old time favourite that I well remember with delight and nostalgia is the Rupert Annuals – the amount of joy they gave year after year is indescribable. What sheer satisfaction it gave me to be able to include a 1965 Facsimile copy of the Rupert Bear Annual – along with more recent copies – in our web pages. I hope many children will get as much pleasure as I did reading the antics of Rupert Bear and his cohorts, Bill Badger and Podgy Pig; Willie Mouse and the Rabbit Twins; Edward Trunk and the Fox brothers – all playing their part in magical Nutwood.

Opening the pages ready to become involved in the tales within is bound to capture each child’s imagination. It’s not just the fictional Rupert Bear, though. The RSPCA Animal Action Annual 2009 provides all sorts of information on the activities of the RSPCA within its 96 pages such as the ‘Creature Feature’ pages which are fact files about various animals, their feeding and breeding programs and all about their habitats.

Annuals are an excellent way to introduce your child to the magical world of books. Many young children have become entranced at a very young age by the bright and colourful annuals which have proved to provide them with a springboard into the world of books as they get older.