Sunday, November 13, 2016

Calendar world

Wall calendars are harder to find these days, but I still like a big new picture every month, and lots of  space to write reminders in. A calendar featuring scenes from England was the best I could do for 2017. 

This is what I'm looking at this month from my 2016 calendar. It was the last one to be had  at the Vancouver Art Gallery when I bought it last year.  Fortunately, it features Raphael's paintings.

Is it still okay to buy wall calendars? Those 12-month jobbies with a different picture every month, with open squares around the dates where you can scrawl "lunch with Linda" or "library book due"? I ask because the world is changing so fast that I don't know anymore what you have to be sneaky about and what you can still do in broad daylight.

The big hint that this particular aspect of my old-fashioned life was collapsing was the failure of Oscar's Art Books, a fabulous emporium of discount art books and racks and tables of calendars. You could find anything that anybody could make a calendar of there -- particular breeds of dogs, for example, or cars, or movie stars or exotic places you'd never heard of. I found one about farm animals there for mom, and one on foreign countries for her friend Gerry that was the hit gift of that year's Christmas.

Mom was the main reason I paid attention to calendars -- she liked to give them as Christmas gifts, and I was her shopper. Since 2014 -- when she died and Oscar's closed -- calendars have been on my backburner. But I got a shock last year when I looked for calendars at the Vancouver Art Gallery after Christmas and found exactly one (1)!

I decided to shape up this year and shop early, but let's just say there's no equivalent of Oscar's anymore. Shuffling through the meagre display, vastly reduced from previous years, at a card store (yes) that I frequent, I thought back to Oscar's brimming smorgasbord and wondered how much longer these will be on offer at all.

A BBC News magazine piece from 2011 (the latest I could find on the topic) was somewhat reassuring, saying that in the U.K. anyway, wall calendars' "ubiquity within the home appears remarkably impervious to the digital age." People still like something hands-on, decorative, and reflecting their personal interests -- apparently meerkats are big. But in the U.S., wall calendar sales were down 28 per cent from 2005 to 2009, the story said. Since that was 2011, who knows what's happened since?

I can almost hear Peggy Duncan snort in answer to that question. According to her entry on ("Improve productivity with technology," so you know where this is going), she researched calendars when someone gave her a paper one and she wondered who used the things. Her conclusion?

"If you're not in the business world and never go anywhere, a paper calendar could work for you. Otherwise, come into this century and go electronic."

Harsh. She gave the calendar to her technologically inept handyman. Under cover of darkness, I suspect.

This is what I'll be looking at in February, 2017. It's taken from the grounds of Bodiam Castle, East Sussex.

A great big rock for  March: Avebury stone circle, Wiltshire.

A pastoral scene, but a tongue-twister of a location for April, 2017: Middle Duntisbourne, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

For June, rocks and water in what always sounds like a romantic part of the U.K.: Land's End, Cornwall.

For December, 2017, a fancy bridge in the Quarry park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Oh so England!


  1. I guess my post disappeared. I like a wall type calendar I can write on to keep track of appointments, engagements, etc. I usually keep this in a drawer and usually get a free one from somewhere. That seems out of fashion now so we bought one for 2017 at Big Lots for $2 of Tropical Beaches. Needless to say Old Blighty wasn't on offer but with the popularity of The Crown, it just may be next year!

  2. Love the English one. They usually have a calendar kiosk at Oakridge for Christmas. Huge.