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Friday, 8 October 2010

1952 July

July. Regatta, regatta crew and gents in Edwardian dress. Donald Heath's depression.  George Dunn leaves for Canada.
Thursday, July 1st
    Another really scorching day. Had a letter from Mary this morning; "I changed from pyjamas to one of my nighties, which are cooler, but the effect was disastrous and I was overcome by desire and woke up in a very excited state." Bless her heart!
    Announced Eric and Norman's marriage to natives, who received it with hoots of laughter. Miss H gave them a kitchen cabinet, so she can't be all that hard up.
     How the men manage to row in this heat I cannot think. Our crew are to row against Mrs C's crew, which is rather odd. Both think they have a good chance of winning.
Wednesday, July 2nd
    Went down to the Fawley side. We found the projecting cape which enables you to see a good way and when the Isis crew went by I gave a great roar, which caused one of the men to look up. They beat Mrs C's crew, Magdalene, Cambridge.
 Friday, July 4th
    This time we went on the towpath side. From the Bucks side you can examine the spectators through field glasses; on the Berks side you are among them
  - the scarlet blazers of Lady Margaret, strollers from the enclosures in white gloves and hats escorted by gentlemen in blazers, boaters or faded and shrunken caps, all in ties and many in white flannel trousers tight with age, the hangover from Edwardian England! Sitting on the edge or in punts are the moderns in shorts, off the shoulder swim suits, or half length French trousers, others with no ties or even shirts.
    Just beyond the enclosures are the fair men, who they are not allowed to play canned music during the races, together with bums selling chairs of varying degrees of decrepitude and cups of tea with "cow's milk". The coaches on rickety bicycles usually much too small for them, filthy trousers tucked into their Leander socks, form an intermediate class, related in appearance to the bums at one end of the social scale and to the inhabitants of the enclosures on the other!
    Our crew lost to Christ's, so they came in about 2 a.m. and did not get a very good night's rest.
Sunday, July 6th
    All very exhausted and weather stifling. Last of the men went off about 3 o'clock. Prices had gone up so we made no reduction for tent dwellers, as in past years. Nora had not explained this so they had not enough to pay and had to be let off £5 on the £68  we had presented. Certainly a crew of 10 - 12 people is a  big undertaking in bedding, feeding, washing up and general physical and mental wear and tear.
Friday, July 11th
    Joan not coming to Switzerland after all so can now at last go ahead with plans.
Saturday, July 12th
    Went to see film of The African  Queen in evening, very good, but did not enjoy it as much as Where No vultures Fly.
Friday, July 18th
    Exams over at last! Staff and children full of grouches and very inclined to come to me to complain of each other. The usual petty crookery at end of summer term.
    Had an S.O.S. from Donald's mother on Thursday. "Would I help her to understand what was happening to Donald?" Had her up for tea and let her talk.She seemed relieved when I reassured her that he was not going barmy, but would eventually be all right again.
Sunday, July 20th
    Spent morning writing to psychiatrist at York about Donald and to Donald. He feels it is rather bad to be a voluntary patient in a mental hospital and keeps insisting on the strictest secrecy. Can remember a little of him before he got into the sixth and that is very helpful.
    Another very warm day and had tea and supper on the lawn. Have promoted Smoky the Cat to Smoky Pasha.
Tuesday, July 22nd
    Swimming Sports yesterday morning, Periam service this morning; Old Rector avoided me both before and after the service, but don't know why. Curate preached a good sixth form sermon. House ties in the afternoon, but field parched and the heat almost unbearable. Staff v Prefects in evening at tennis [Photo shows prefects were Micheal Drown, head boy, Mollie Beeton, head girl, and Pauline Lord, Margaret Craigie, Christopher Smith and Ronald Cloke].
Thursday, July 24th
    Fortnights season of ballet at the Kenton Theatre, a company of six from Sadlers Wells. Tonight we went and it was admirable. Decor by Osbert Lancaster and John Piper.
Friday, July 25th
    Decided Mary would enjoy ballet, so asked if she would like to come this evening. She would. Mary was delighted and thoroughly enjoyed it. After the ballet drove over to Remenham Church and strolled down to the river. It was nearly dark and there was no sound except the plop of fish rising and of owls and water fowl. We walked interlaced and stood strained together, feeling young and gay as though we were boy and girl and this was our first love affair. For a time Mary sat on one of the gates and I put my head against her waist. We touched and parted to tough again. We seemed to possess the joys of discovery with the happiness of self surrender long achieved at one and the same time. It was a wonderful experience, which I have not the words to describe.
Saturday, July 26th
    Very hot indeed. Went down to Long Dene. Display Day. Hilary took part in two dances, a square dance and an Edwardian dance in boater, blazer and white flannels.
Monday, July 28th
    George Dunn to tea before he leaves for Canada. Nora utterly exhausted and went to bed and had to be given brandy later. Rather doubtful if we shall start tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 29th
    Nora better though still rather queer mentally and physically. Made a late start at 9.30 but got on well and arrived at Seaford [Cuckmere Haven] at 3.30. There had been many changes since 1946, about 80 caravans arranged in rows at regular intervals for the summer, an "office" and a "shop".Offered site behind sea wall, sheltered and fairly private. Charge 1/6 per person  per night.
Wednesday, July 30th
    Started with lavatory. Trouble as too hard to dig a hole. Nora waving tin jerry and saying "What am I to do with this?" Bought a bucket and [illegible] in Seaford and erected ritirata.
Thursday, July 31st
    Hot and steamy. After lunch on a Downland ride to Litlington, Alfriston, Lullington, and Wilmington.

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