It is Sunday, which must mean that it is time for the first instalment of the Lundiary! Before we enter the Lundiary proper, today we have the prologue…
The Lundiary: The Prologue
In which we set out pertinent background information to allow the reader to understand the diary entries that follow. We will also seek, insofar as possible, to establish the state of mind of the protagonist before he sets out on the expedition.
The writings presented below are taken verbatim from a leather-bound diary discovered, by a member of the island’s maintenance staff, concealed in the cellar of one of the houses on Lundy. The document had clearly deteriorated with age and some text had been lost as a result of rodent damage: hungry shrews are the most likely culprit. The handwriting is generally of a poor quality. In some places, the Institute has attempted to interpolate missing or unclear letters or words. At least one page had been savagely torn from the document, the destruction apparently contemporary with its creation. Given what was allowed to survive, the crimes (or puns) that appeared on this page must have been of a truly shocking nature.
The reader must bear in mind that the document was written in November of 2019 and reflects the very different morals and social mores that existed in that far gone age. We should perhaps try and view the writer as a product of his pre-lapsarian time: he may appear monstrous today but may have been able to pass as normal in his own era.
Our research in the archives that survive from the time indicates that the expedition was not planned or organised by the writer but rather by the person referred to as “C” in the diary. In the end, seven travellers set out on the expedition – all of them known to the writer, but some clearly had closer acquaintance with the writer than others in advance of the events which unfold in the diary.
From his other writings, it is clear that the diarist was in two minds whether to join the expedition and only finally committed very late in the day. It is unclear whether the diarist himself truly understood his motivations. The following rationalisations for not going appear to have been in play right up to the fateful decision:
- A desire not to miss a range of interesting gigs in Southampton and the first weekend of the Cambridge Jazz Festival;
- Concerns about a sudden deterioration in the condition of one or both of his parents;
- A fear that he would be unable to conceal his true nature from his fellow travellers over the course of a long weekend, trapped on a small island. Would his monstrous nature – previously concealed by regularly admitting its existence – finally be revealed?
In the end, two lines of thought appear to have been key in his decision to travel:
- The fear of missing out on the adventures and narratives that would develop on the island; and
- The fabled nature of the isle itself, appearing as it did, for so many years, in the late-night litany of the Shipping Forecast.
We now present the re-constructed diary. It is written throughout in the first person and while some of the events described can be independently corroborated, the author should be viewed as an unreliable narrator.
The first instalment of the diary proper will be published next Sunday…