I was pretending again on Friday, but there’s a lot to be learned through playing make-believe. On the most practical level, I pretended to be at the coffee shop, lapping up the ambient noise, with my laptop and my cereal bar and my Espresso House coffee flask providing those Scandinavian coffee chain vibes. It wasn’t really a coffee shop, it was my daughter’s dining table and the ambient noise was my grandson busy with his virtual schooling (learning about one of my favourite female characters – Eleanor of Aquitaine). Yet this was more than a trip out of the flat, it was a chance to carry out some experiments to test whether I really know where I’m heading.

The experiment I intended to carry out was to draw comparisons between my A5 Filofax and the Personal-sized version. I’m not at all unhappy with my A5 setup, but will I want to lug it around in a tote bag when I’m more frequently out and about? I’ve been haunted by the idea of doing a “one book July” type of exercise in my Personal-sized Filofax to see if it has merits, but there’s no need for that – one day was enough. I will admit the smaller option did fit nicely into a medium sized shoulder bag, but choosing that bag meant I had to carry my enormous, heavy laptop in the crook of my arm which felt too much of a burden. I hardly got to the end of my road before accepting that it is far more practical to simply bung the A5 Original and laptop into a big bag along with the hats and masks and sanitisers and apples and lipstick and all the other things I like to have near me at all times.

When I reached my destination, I did a quick test of how practical the smaller format paper is, which led me to be pleasantly surprised. I quite easily wrote on one side of the lined sheet and then spun the binder round and wrote upside-down on the reverse, keeping the rings to my left at all times. I found I was able to write comfortably and I could imagine taking brief notes in a meeting, for exmple, using this setup. For me, though, the Personal sized paper isn’t quite up to writing journal entries. It could be done, but I’d inevitably run onto a second sheet of paper each day and then the smaller ring size would start to make an impact. I think it would be okay for a brief period of time such as a holiday (remember them?).

So, lesson duly noted: the Personal sized Filofax is not my happy place and I don’t need to think about it any more. If you are concerned, my own Personal binder will go back to serving as a password holder, a job it does admirably. I’ve even saved myself the cost of buying a diary insert for it, which was on the cards if I needed to be in it for a month.

This descision made, I moved on to other home truths, some of which I’m happy to share. Such as the fact that I hate wearing a collared jumper under a collared coat. Or, indeed, a collared shirt under a collared jacket or coat. Then I reminded myself about the whole scarf thing. I keep being seduced by the idea of knitting a scarf, or buying some of those square headscarves which look so silkily seductive with their pretty patterns and which are in abundant supply in charity and vintage clothing stores. But I have scarves, scarves of many types, and I don’t wear them because I hate wearing scarves; it doesn’t matter what you do with them, you can never stop them having annoying ends! I’d wear either of the 1973 outfits below without hesitation, but I’d have to ditch the neckwear!

I think there’s a lot to be said for looking at the obverse of the things we like to use. Things can be theoretically attractive, but turn out to have practical disadvantages. I know it often seems that older people like myself are stuck in our ways, but that can simply be evidence that we’ve tried out the options and the things we do are the ones that have worked best for us. Of course, when a new fad comes along, it’s often fun to try it on for size, but I guess that we get better at quickly sorting the wheat from the chaff as we progress in years.

So next time I mention that I’m thinking about knitting a scarf, just gently remind me that I’m not to do it.