secret diary part one

The First Diary: Part One

This  is the first post in the Secret Diary project I wrote about here – so if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, you might want to go and read that post first. It’s OK, I’ll wait here for you.

A couple of things before we get into all the angst:

01. Because the entries in this diary are pretty short, I’m going to be lumping some of them together, rather than giving each one a separate post.

02. As these are real diaries, I mention tons of people, whose names I’ve changed to protect the innocent – or the guilty, as the case may be.

03. Commentary from older me will appear in [square brackets] – don’t be confused, I’m not talking to myself. Well, I kind of AM, but… you know what I mean.

04. For accuracy’s sake, spelling and grammar is as in the originals – so it ain’t great, in other words. Please don’t send me comments telling me my writing sucks: my 11-year-old self was doing her best…

OK, that was 4 things: sorry. Here we go…

My secret diary from age 11

My secret diary from age 11
My secret diary from age 11

“This is the secret diary of I, Amber Louise McNaught, age 11 years. It is being kept here, in the hope that someday my ancestors will find it and be able to read all about me and my friends and family.


Amber Louise McNaught

7/8/87 – Friday

Played with Laurie all day today and done some modern art with watercolours. Laurie thinks that we will make millions of pounds selling them but I don’t think so. Laurie had lunch with us and we spent most of the day painting. I have started writing a book called Jumping for Joy. It is about a girl called Elaine Shaw and a pony called Carmen. I’m going pony trecking at [riding school] on Thursday. Can’t wait.

8/8/87 – Saturday

Went to Stirling today to get a new school skirt for me and after that went to the docks. [Amber’s note: WHY?!] We went over to Julie’s tonight and stayed until 12:53 o’clock. [I liked to be very exact about times, apparently.] Laurie and I thought up pranks to play on the parents and then read the history books. Riding tomorrow. Can’t wait.

9/8/87 – Sunday

Sunday at last! Thought mum and dad were never going to get up. I was just racking my brains for some way to get them up when eventually mum got up (at half eleven!) Eventually got to [riding school] and got up on Blondie. Told Melony all about Regina telling me that she was galloping on a horse called Pegasus. Melony said that there was a horse Pegasus there but it wasn’t a race horse. Melony told all the other helpers and they were killing themselves laughing. Anyway, lesson started and I was lead file. Done this thing where I turned up the 3/4 line and halted and little Sarah (riding Sparki) took up the lead. We done this with everybody 4 times and then went outside for a canter up the hill then dismounted. Blondie is absolutely lovely . Wish he was mine.

I have given up writing my book.

10/9/87 – Monday

Played with Laurie all day. There are two boys staying [with a neighbour] and they were getting up to mischief so Laurie and I turned Detective and tryed to find out what they are up too. I have written all about it in my notebook. [Oh, how I wish THAT book had been preserved!] We are opening up Laurie’s shed as an art museum [LOL! Yeah you are!] with all our modern art and also some decorated stones. It is called The Wee Art Shop. Jenny arrives tomorrow.

[You don’t get to hear about Jenny, though, because…


I used to backdate these ‘NOT WRITING’ messages, so it would look like I planned not to write anything, as opposed to just forgetting. Then I admitted it in the very next entry, which WASN’T actually on Wednesday 20th, but…]

4/10/87 – Sunday

Forgot to write in Diary so I am starting again now. A lot has happened. I have changed my riding lesson to Tuesdays now and I ride Bandit. I fell out with Tanya and Regina. Regina went on holiday, so I fell in with Tanya. [Because I wouldn’t want Tanya to be inconvenienced by Regina’s absence, would I?] Regina will be back on Monday. Don’t know whether to fall in or not. I am taking riders test two on Sunday (next). Had my pre-test yesterday. It was brilliant. I had to mount, dismount, check my stirrups and girth from the ground, Adjust them from the saddle, answer questions on riding in traffic and finally show that I knew how to untack and answer questions on unsaddling. I was on Blondie. Laurie took the pre-test for test 1 on Merry. I have also started going swimming with Laurie on Mondays and Thursdays. I am going to start wearing my horse head necklace all the time to see if it brings me luck. I have bought and schooled a mare called Wildfire (pretend) and I ride her everywhere. I tried to paint my dolls house but it didn’t work so I gave it up and watched Madonna on TV.

[Don’t you just love the way I segue effortlessly from things that actually happened to talking about pretend horses as if they were real? SO. WEIRD. I do, however, still have the horse head necklace:

horse head necklace

As for whether it brought me much luck, though… well, you’ll have to wait and see.]

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

I also write books
  • LOVE this! And also the email that came out notifying me that the post was up. So well thought out. Can’t wait to read more instalments! x

    May 11, 2016
  • I’ve read this on my lunch break in work and it was so interesting! I can’t wait for the second part to come out 🙂 I love how you still have the necklace as well – that’s really nice for you to have something sentimental to keep xo

    Char |

    May 11, 2016
  • Chiarina


    I did read this, together with the “supporting information” on the people mentioned, and I did not find it boring. I am looking forward to reading more! Thank you for sharing…

    May 11, 2016
  • Thanks for sharing; not boring at all!

    I’m guessing “fall out/in” means hanging out with/not hanging out with? Or something like that? And thanks for putting together a cast list, very helpful 🙂

    May 12, 2016
  • Melanie


    These diary entries are delightful! I look forward to reading more.

    May 12, 2016
  • Love this! Wish I still had my old diaries! Must be fascinating reading your own words from so long ago, love how you get to see what seemed most blogworthy to you back then – you’ve gone into such detail about the riding lesson and casually glossed over why you’d fallen out with Regina and Tanya! Is it weird that I’m actually really curious about what you fell out over?! Look forward to the next installment! x

    May 12, 2016
  • Ingrid


    This is amazing!! I especially love the drama of the introduction. Awesome

    May 12, 2016
  • Ghalia


    This is too funny. Absolutely love it. Couldn’t stop giggling at “Laurie and I thought up pranks to play on the parents and then read the history books.” and “I have given up writing my book.”. So glad you decided to do this!

    May 13, 2016
  • Maru


    Love love this! I found your blog very recently, and like you I like to go back to see how the person was before all the hustle. Love your stories and the way you write 🙂

    February 24, 2017