May. Theatrical embarrassment. Raymond Cooper's record 100 yards. Pauline Dyer. Leighton Park.
Saturday, May 3rd
Got up at 6 a.m. and started for Luton at 7.15. Drove up the lovely Stonor valley to Watlington, Chinnor and Dunstable. Missed the caravan company offices, however when I did find it the caravan was waiting for me. It was hitched up and with some trepidation I drove off for Henley. I found it bounced the car a good deal, which was rather sick making, but when I got on to the country roads it towed well. Did 110 miles there and back.
Sunday, May 4th
Worked hard all day putting in the berths and fitting one with lockers. I never ceased pouring with rain all day.
Tuesday, May 6th
To see T. S. Eliot's play The Cocktail Party with Vernon Mills. A powerful play, kept you in a constant state of mental activity, but as it was not over to 11 it was very exhausting. Various levels of meaning from a society comedy downwards (or upwards!). A general essay I thought on human inadequacy with some occasionally striking lines coming across to hit you between wind and water. Nora much struck by it and said she was like Edward.
Wednesday, May 7th
Mary came over to see the caravan and then we went via Stonor valley and Swyncombe to long grasses getting cowslips. Unfortunately we ran into Nora on drive with Pamela and Geoff Makins, who "raised eyebrows", or so Nora thought.
Saturday, May 10th
Mary wanted to go to see Cocktail Party. Had suggested it on Friday, but "would cause comment" as Eve and Roberto Weiss going. Nora went Friday, but E & R not there, so thought we were safe. Mary came over and we had supper at cinema café. Nora was going with Wilk. Had a presentiment we should run into her in Bell Street, but worse than that! R & E sat in same row, though separated by gangway! Discovered next day Wilk ill, Nora came into theatre late, saw us and went out. Her original suggestion: to avoid comment we should all three go together and sit through a play dealing with husbands, wives and lovers. No thank you, I said, there are limits to human endurance - and then by singular perversity of affairs, and probability, which I always rely on, playing me false, this happened!!
Monday, May 12th
Reading Aneuran Bevan In Place of War, a powerful effort by a very able but self-educated man. Thinks Russia not aggressive to the point of starting war and therefore war unlikely unless the Americans go off with a bang.
Much excitement this week by publication in French press of alleged report by an American admiral saying Western Europe could not last three days and England soon knocked out by atom bombing and parachutists. Hence real American efforts to be made not in west but in Balkans and Near East. This denied, and looks as if a communist plant to shake up French and give grist to "neutrals" in that country.
Tuesday, May 13th
Letter from Bursar of Keble thanking me for the spoons. "Your extremely generous gift..... and if I may say so just the sort of thing we want and we are most grateful."
Sports heats yesterday and today. Track suits the great idea for the young now, so wore my white blazer to keep own end up; 32 years old. Clem said how wonderful to be able to wear it. Didn't tell him it had been let out.
Wednesday, May 14th
Governors! A great success.as Tom Luker and Mr Cook between them put across a change in the holiday dates, so that we shall come back in mid September and not at the beginning of the month. However, always a fly in the ointment! Rector upset because in my school report did not mention "rugger".
Mary and I took out our first supper picnic, drove out to Dairy Lane, Hambleden, and walked out across the fields to see the azaleas in flower at the head of a little valley leading up among the beechwoods. They were in full flower, cream and red, yellow and pink in various shades and backed by lilac, an enchanting walk. We had just unlinked arms when we came across Miss Dyer [Pauline Dyer, sports mistress] and her fiancée!
Saturday, May 17th
Phyllis, James and Minette and baby John came down at 12.30, stayed to 5.30. James had as little to say as usual. A brilliant day and sun shone very strongly. Sold Phyllis 14lb of honey, but she beat me down to 2/- lb, becoming very avaricious and keen on L.S.D, I thought! Minette shortly returning to Besançon and taking young James with her for a holiday. Fortunately Minette did no become pregnant in February, to everyone's great relief.
Sunday May 18th
To Long Dene. A fearfully hot day, 82 deg.. Hilary was well and cheerful. We saw the film of the Spanish journey in the afternoon. It included shots of some girls holding a jerry they had discovered and of a gent relieving himself. It was well received! Hilary is now chairman of the school meeting. He referred to his dormitory as "bastards, I regret to say."
Nora said she would miss the journey to Penshurst. Having done it in frost, snow, rain, flood and heatwave, I don't think I shall.
Wednesday, May 21st
Sports Day. A marvellous day with cool wind and brilliant sunshine, never known a better day, some excellent races, a close finish to the mile, a brilliant 100 yards in 10.3 by Raymond Cooper. Everyone very pleased. Wore my old Keble blazer and dark glasses. Old Alderman Hamilton ran in the Old Boys' race and won it easily with his handicap, then came and was presented with his cup by the Mayoress. The Mayor and Mayoress came to tea with the staff, and old Hamilton and Mrs H, but they stayed to 6 o'clock. The sports began at 1.30.
My new secretary is the fly in the ointment - can't stop talking. Soon, I said to Mrs C, I shall either be in Littlemore or Broadmoor! Had to tell her to be quiet this morning.
Friday, March 23rd
Set off at 5 o'clock for Ashridge for a weekend course on local history. Shown up to room under eaves and below bell tower. Very hot and at half hourly intervals bell tolls. Found senior mistress from Bicester, Miss Dannatt, there - a good old war horse but a very nice woman. The Principal, Admiral Sir Denis Boyd, with a quarter deck voice, gave us talk after dinner - punctuality essential, and set an example, waiting to say grace not at 7.29 or 7.31 but at 7.30.Went to bed but could not sleep, very thin walls, damned clock, strange bed, heat and light from corridor etc. Wondered why I had come. Woke up with headache.
Saturday, May 24th
Divided into syndicates, but got in with a bore. Heard at 11 that senior course much better, so decided to join that with Miss Dannat; here documents in Latin and Norman French. Spent part of a hot afternoon working out most difficult fine [medieval property document] with Miss D.
Sunday, May 25th
Prayers in chapel each morning taken by admiral. "Family prayers, take 'em myself; everyone comes." A lovely day - tried to get Miss D to come to Whipsnade, but she resisted my seductions and we sat in the garden all morning struggling with fine. At 5.15 took our prep for correction. Mr Hector, the expert from the Record Office, a lovely man, courteous, considerate and helpful in spite of his immense erudition. A most enjoyable weekend in lovely surroundings. Home about 11.
Monday, May 26th
To Leighton Park in p.m. to see Reckitt House with Mr Fawcett, a progressive housemaster with a beard. Did not see him. Nora impressed.
Friday, May 30th
Worked away at caravan, getting it ready for next week when intend to take it to Goring with Mary. Hilary arrived home.