By Gadd... the diary of four million words

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”.

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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.