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Monday, 27 September 2010

1952 April

April. Mrs Moorat and her possible replacements. Hilary in Spain. Mr Attrill and Eric C to marry.

Tuesday, April 1st
    Hockey match, school versus staff. The school won as last year. Lucky to escape with only one casualty, Eric Cunnington.

Wednesday, April 2nd
Started off for Taplow to look at some caravans. Saw two possibles, both probably on the heavy side for our car [still at this point an Austin 7]

Saturday, April 5th
    Went over to Surbiton to see collapsible caravan. A good idea, but not collapsible except for storage. Saw a man like a dead codfish, the managing director. Said he sold the shell unpainted for £100, painted for £110; with beds, which I did not think much of, a footling perspex washbasin and a Calor gas stove it cost £175. Wondered if I should buy shell and fit it up myself.

Monday, April 7th
Went over to Taplow again and saw two more caravans but both too heavy. A fearful A.G.M. of W.E.A.. No one prepared to act as secretary. Came away cursing and swearing.

Tuesday, April 8th
    Found a mechanic, ex grammar schoolboy at Rolfe’s, a caravan fan, so decided to have tow bar fitted on his recommendation. Ordered wood at Messers to make frame for bunks, mattresses at Reading Bedding firm to cost £7 10s each. After all this realised I ought to see the collapsible caravan before concluding deal.

Thursday, April 10th
Over to Reading. Called at Nash, jewellers, and lent two table spoons which will do for Keble when engraved with name, dates and college arms.

Easter Sunday
    A lovely sunny day, a real spring resurrection day. The birds sang all the time and the air was full of bees and the scent of borders, but the trees still without their leaves reminded you of winter.
Easter Monday, April 14th
    Heard the cuckoo for the first time. Old Mrs Moorat wants to give up as my secretary. No lack now of new applicants, but some embarrassing, for instance Mrs Pritchard from Modern School, Mrs Hirons from Homelands, and then Eve Weisss; Nora thought she'd be so nice and was surprized when I said she would drive me into the asylum within a month! So she would with her high voltage!
Tuesday, April 15th
    A letter from Hilary at last. Posted at Tossa de Mar.. They were a week late. It starts, "This is one hell of a trip. We wasted a frightful lot of time doing nothing because there was absolutely no organization. Everyone is in every one's way. They have no idea of how to make a fire." He had been sleeping rough outside the lorry in his duffle coat and much warmer than most of the others. They nearly lost a wheel. Mentions Chateauroux, Limoges, Toulouse, Narbonne, Rosas, "the snowcapping Pyrenees and azure Mediterranean". "The is a jolly good trip. We had a Martini each to celebrate the crossing of the frontier. It was lovely stuff."
Wednesday, April 16th
    Mary took a day off and we spent it as we had planned visiting Hatchlands and Polesden Lacey..... Polesden Lacey is a great estate with a long terrace overlooking a wooded valley in the Downs -  very lovely - and extensive walks and lawns. There was a small crowd waiting to go round in parties of fifteen, so we came away and sat on a seat against a yew hedge overlooking the valley. I put my arm round Mary and when  she felt she need she put her head on my shoulder and we kissed. By 5.30 the crowds were having tea and we were shown over the rooms by a hairless pole-eyed old man with only two others. In its Edwardian way, it was as vulgar and ostentatious as West Wycombe. China, porcelain, carpets, furniture, pictures in profusion and personal presents with diamond monograms from King to his hostess. What a wealthy and luxurious society existed for those few years before 1914.
Friday, April 18th
       Wrote to Paladin Caravan Co saying I would take their Pixie shell for £162 10s. Hope I have not been rash but feel I must do something or the summer will be over. Mary in one of her moods, not a bit pleased about the caravan, said it would be Nora's not hers, so what should be source of joy enjoyment she turns into a grievance.
Saturday, April 19th
    Spent a good day making cupboards for the caravan.
Tuesday, April 22nd
    Met Hilary on 4.45 from Penshurst. His hair was thatch like and his ears full of dirt but he improved after a bath. They had reached Valencia by the coast road and returned via Saragossa and San Sebastian. He had not been sick on the crossing [in gale]. They had reached Long Dene about 1 o'clock and had done 2,600 miles.  He seemed very well, fit, and pleased to be home for four days.
    Reading a book called Conditions of Happiness  by Gordon R. Taylor. Had an interesting discussion with Nora last night on substitute activities, of which television is the newest and latest. She was inclined to think that affection and warmth in the home were more important than cultural values.
Wednesday, April 23rd
    An excellent day making the base of the bunks with Hilary's help. Worked from about 10 to six with lunch and tea intervals.
Sunday, April 27th
    Hilary went back for his last term at Long Dene. His short holiday here has been most successful and he is turning into a very nice person. He has a good cultural background, but I still feel doubtful if he will reach a university. Anyway the worst and most difficult phase of adolescence is over - speriamo. Going to Spain and having a dormitory to look after have done him a lot of good.  Wonder if he will finally decide to become a schoolmaster. Rather hope not as there is no money in it unless you become a head, and not much then!
 Monday, April 28th 
    The first day at school. New secretary turned up but wonder if she will do. Considerably older than I thought. Norman and Eric came into my room hand in hand an announced they are going to be married at Whitsun. She 38, he 36. She came in 1944, he in 1942. Hope it will be a success. A gifted pair anyway, but both a bit queer.

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