By Gadd... the diary of four million words

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It is far bigger than War And Peace and weighs half a tonne but is the pride and joy of retired business consultant John Gadd.

The 83-year-old, who lives near Shaftesbury, Dorset, has penned four million words over the last 38 years keeping a daily diary, which he calls his “omnium gatherum”.

Mr Gadd’s jottings have filled 21,000 pages in 151 volumes and include 33,000 images, many of which are photographs he has taken during a career that took him to dozens of different countries, or food wrappers and invoices.

The pensioner, who describes himself as a “typically English eccentric”, started keeping a diary in 1975 and takes time each day to jot down his thoughts.

Each Christmas Mr Gadd sets aside two weeks to meticulously index that year’s journals – proudly claiming he can find anything within three minutes.