Introducing Harold…(and Dan)


Harold Cross is my next door neighbour. Between our properties there is a stonewall. Every other day I clamber over the stonewall to check on him. I knock on his front door and wait. Like mine, his house is a small cottage. Sometimes he doesn’t answer my knock - in which case I clamber back over the wall and go home. When he does answer my knock, he might invite me in, or he might speak to me through the letterbox.

Harold says he doesn’t mind that I am recording this journal - so long as he doesn’t have to do anything. I reassured him that this was the case.

I asked him when he started writing. ‘I’ve always scribbled,’ he said. ‘And doodled.’ This is true. His house is filled with sheets of paper covered in miniscule handwriting, diagrams and drawings. He also claims to have fourteen thousand books. He might be right. There is scarcely room to move in the cottage.

I type up Harold’s hand-written notes. Once typed, I give them back to him to reread. Nine times out of ten he throws the results in the fire. I have therefore started to type up two copies of everything. One to publish, and one for Harold to throw in the fire. This way we are both happy.