Haikus from the Past – everyday life in September 2011

Facebook Memories recently reminded me about my #30daychallenge from 10 years ago. Back in September 2011, I accepted a challenge from my then line manager at work to do something different for the 30 days of September. I decided to write a short haiku for each day of the month, detailing the mundane, the everyday, the funny and the marvellous about London in 2011.

What did I write about? Do I remember any of these little tales and memos? How different is life in 2021 to 2011? Have a read and decide for yourself

What is a haiku, anyway?

A haiku, if you didn’t already know, is a type of three-line Japanese poem, where the first line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 syllables and the final line has 5 syllables again. They are short, snappy and a really good way to try and convey an idea, feeling, story or message in as few words as possible. For example:

Writing a haiki,

Is a great experience,

For budding writers.


A historical document (of sorts)

I took this haiku format and wrote a throwaway, little poem for each day of September 2011, not thinking much about it at the time. But looking back at this timeline of Facebook entries and tweets on Twitter with the hindsight of a decade, I realised how it’s a time capsule of my life back then. At the time, I was a content editor at PwC, the Big Four accounting firm, living in Crouch End, North London with my partner and not yet a parent, or a business owner. So, it’s interesting (for me, anyway) to look back at the 39 year-old me and see how I’ve changed.

I don’t drink anymore, and social drinking seems to feature highly in these haikus. I work remotely now and don’t commute into London anymore, and the tediousness of the train, tube or bus journey into Embankment Place is also mentioned. I’m now a dad with a happy 8 year-old daughter, but I’ve obviously already spotted how tired other new parents look back in 2011. We go to Yorkshire to see friends and spot a glider, we go on holiday to Port Vendres in Southern France for a holiday. And the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 takes place too. 

In the grand historical scheme of things, these haikus are not important. It’s just a 30-something man tweeting about the everyday things he does. But, to me, it’s like opening a door back to a previous time – especially given how incredibly tough, strange and emotional life has been over the past 18 months of the pandemic.

30 days, 30 haikus

So, if you feel like a little time hop, have a read of these 30 short haikus and jump back to London in 2011…you might even enjoy it!

“Dip into these 30 haikus from September 2011, to find out what life in London was like a decade ago.”

Thurs 1 Sep 2011:

Fading autumn sun. 

Distant sounds of police cars. 

Lunchtime in London.

Fri 2 Sep 2011:

I wake from slumber.

Shrill alarms sound in my ears.

Thank God it’s Friday!

Sat 3 Sep 2011:

Crouch End Saturday.

Buggies clamouring for space,

Searching for lattes.

Sun 4 Sep 2011:

Rain conspires to spoil,

Even the best laid of plans.

But umbrellas help.

Mon 5 Sep 2011:

Creamy risotto,

Bursting with succulent prawns.

My dinner of choice.

Tues 6 Sep 2011:

The City grows dark.

Foreboding clouds hug the sky.

Autumn has arrived.

Wed 7 Sep 2011:

Down to the station,

To brave the Underground swell.

Packed in like sardines.

Thurs 8 Sep 2011:

We thought she had said

“Hello, Daddy” on the phone.

But we had misheard.

Fri 9 Sep 2011:

The clinking of ice, 

In a tall gin and tonic.

Means Friday is here.

Sat 10 Sep 2011:

Parents fill the park,

Pushing their kids on the swing,

Praying for some sleep.

Sun 11 Sep 2011:

A decade has passed

Since the world changed forever.

Where were you that day?

Mon 12 Sep 2011:

Malevolent winds

Gust through the creaking branches,

As storm clouds roll in.

Tues 13 Sep 2011:

I watch the cup fall,

Spilling its coffee cargo,

All in slow motion.

Wed 14 Sep 2011:

The pub is calling,

With promises of fine ales.

But it’s a school night!

Thurs 15 Sep 2011:

The allure of sleep,

To a man so hungover,

Is hard to resist.

Fri 16 September 2011:

A fisherman’s pie

Slowly warms in the oven.

Thanks heavens for carbs!

Sat 17 September 2011:

Silently soaring,

The glider arcs through the sky,

Swooping down, bird-like.

Sun 18 September 2011:

Wheelbarrow racing

Is fun in the morning sun,

But tires out old men.

Mon 19 Sep 2011:

The bus rumbles on,

As hazy skies light the way, 

Back up to Crouch End.

Tues 20 Sep 2011:

A day of edits.

Words, arranged to fit the page,

Reveal their beauty.

Wed 21 Sep 2011:

The train pulls away,

Gliding towards London Bridge,

As commuters yawn.

Thurs 22 Sep 2011:

Light spills on the dome

Of Wren’s holy legacy.

Good morning, St Paul’s.

Fri 23 Sep 2011:

The last day at work,

Always proves to be tricky.

Yay for holidays!

Sat 24 Sep 2011:

The drip of water,

Causes alarm bells to ring.

Bath has sprung a leak!

Sun 25 Sep 2011:

The plane gathers speed,

As we say a silent prayer,

And fly up skywards.

Mon 26 Sep 2011:

Gallic sun streams in,

Waking us from our slumber,

But I have a cold!

Tues 27 Sep 2011:

Filled with flashes of silver,

Crystal clear water,

As fish flit past me.

Wed 28 Sep 2011:

Beer can save the day,

When scorching sun bakes your skin.

Desperado time!

Thurs 29 Sep 2011:

I enter the room,

To find an interloper.

Get out Mr Pigeon!

Fri 30 Sep 2011:

Last dip in the Med,

Before Old Blighty beckons.

Au revoir, poissons.

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