A letter from Mary. « I did enjoy seeing the countryside yesterday, the tidy ploughland and the Downs. It was lovely to have a day away from Reading. I keep you in my heart and think of what we had between us . »
I spent the morning digging and did a clear up at the school in the afternoon, where I found Cherry had put forsythia in my room and a copy, in Latin and English, of the Easter Eve ceremonies, Paschal Candle, Holy Fire etc. Please would I read it. I did. It seemed inordinately long !
In the afternoon the two boys, Phyllis and the help came up to tea. After tea Johnnie asked to see a picture of the crucifixion. Phyllis told him I had some. After some hesitation I chose Raphael. He looked at it for a long time, then said he wanted to see a picture of the people who crucified him. I could not supply this. « It was very cruel, wasn’t it ? » he said.
The boys are different in temperament. Johnnie must be with people all the time. He cannot bear to be alone. Johnnie is much more solitary and perhaps more imaginative ; he is quite happy working out his own fantasies.
Tuesday, April 3rd
Nora and I took our lunch out to the Ewelme Down. The wind, which had gone round to the west, was blowing hard and bringing cloud, but no rain so far. The whole hillside round "The Lonely Barn" and the Long Grasses had been sown and rolled. It looked magnificent, Constable at his best, every shade of brown from milk with a dash through café au lait to sepia, as the chalk lay on the surface or the top soil was richer and deeper, and behind the slow curves of the horizon the sky of April. Lovely Oxfordshire!
Mr Malenkov and 13 cars drove from Brighton to Canterbury on Easter Sunday to have lunch and tea with the Dean. Unfortunately while he was showing them round the cathedral they ran into the Archbishop, who was leaving the choir walking behind a bedesman carrying a cross. As they passed, the Dean bowed, disappointing those to whom it appeared he was about to introduce to his friends. "But", says the M/G, "such processions are never interrupted." Bad show, chaps!
Wednesday, April 4th
Bad news on the home front. Aunt writes to say Cousin Cyril is about to sail for England and encloses a letter from him. He should be here by May. Nora says he may have a stroke in the Red Sea. Point out he will not be coming that way. He says in the letter he has a new deaf aid. Aunt and he will bawl at each other across the goat rug. He does not realize what he's coming to - Aunt, Rusby, the masturbating dachshund, and the dimwit lodger! Suggest he goes for a coach trip to Scotland and/or Switzerland, if he has the money.
Thursday, April 5th
Had a letter from the God-directed woman following one I received on Good Friday from her husband asking to have her form next term. Replied to both in same terms and told her I did not wish to continue correspondence. Discovered this evening she had rung up her successor to try to get her to refuse job. Successor said No and hung up. Good for her!
Went out to lunch at The Lamb at Wallingford with Cherry. She was in a tizzy because I had said I would ring her up on Saturday and had forgotten. On my part I replied that I wanted an affectionate friendship and this did not seem to be her idea; I thought she was still trying to go back on it, and (selfishly I suppose) I had troubles enough on my hands, that Nora was putting the pressure on me to leave and so on, and that I could not do anything that would be a betrayal of Mary.
I went to Reading and discovered Mary having tea in Jose's. the Manager of the T. B. C. had been down. The branch made a £12 profit last year. However he said they don't generally close them till they have made a loss for three! and this small profit was before the new subscription schemes which involves buying less books for the branches.
When I got home I found Cherry had sent back all my letters since August and asked me to burn them, or rather she had said she couldn't burn them, but did not want to have to read them, so did not want to have them by her. I burnt them, after Nora had gone to bed, in the kitchen boiler. I did read them through again. They were mostly accounts of what I was doing; they did not make me feel ashamed; they were sincere at the time they were written, but, poor woman, in the bleakness and loneliness of her life she had read more into them than perhaps there was.
Saturday, April 7th
Telephone rang at 9.30. Mary's mother ill in bed and Father left with no food in the house! She was planning to spend the night there, and we were going to Kew tomorrow, so that's all knocked on the head. Nora went off to London on the one o'clock bus and will be away til Monday at 5.45, so I shall see how I get on by myself with Smoky the Cat.
Con sent N a post card from the south of France but not to me. I am afraid Con is very definitely not batting on my side now. As Nora has gone to spend the weekend with Rita, I wonder if the she will tell her and Ken about the project for building up a job in Cambridge and leaving me here. That'll be a surprize!
Had a letter from Hilary. He gave an amusing account of a conversation he had had with an English major, who assumed he was a subaltern, in the early hours of the morning at a German café when he ought to have been in barracks. (Editor: in a bar which was out of bound to "other ranks").
Monday, April 9th
Went over to lunch with Mary. Now that she has only one assistant she has only 45 minutes for lunch. Her mother seems to have collapsed on Wednesday after burning herself out looking after her father. The doctor however does not think there is anything radically wrong with her except exhaustion.
Nora came back at 4.45 and phoned me from the Market Place, and pretty cross because I was not there.
Wednesday, April 11th
Bryanston School rowing master is enquiring about house for eights week, but he wants an evening meal as well as breakfast. Lily, the Irish help, will oblige, so now Nora thinks she will do an evening meal. Only hope she does not burn herself out.
Mary not going home, so decided to go to Clivedon, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thursday, April 12th
Molly came out to greet me, looking very old, thin and grey, the skin on her neck sagging badly and her eyes tired. I gave her my presents, a hayfork (which Ruth immediately appropriated), a leg of lamb, two jars of honey, and a big clump of snowdrops. The last was hardly a bone fide gift for I wanted, if I left Henley, to keep some snowdrop plants to give to Mary in January and March, the flowers which are the symbol of our love. I was able to plant them in the corner of the wall on the left as you enter the front garden. I hope they will do in the colder and harsher world of Gloucestershire.
The water situation was acute. Gravitation was providing none; it had to be hauled from the parish well on the main road or pumped in the yard well. The latter was 60ft deep and had 25ft of water in it, but was unconnected with the house; we could neither bath, wash nor flush!
Friday, April 13th
Molly and Ruth went in to Gloucester to see the specialist. I was not invited! I stayed behind and wrote to Mary and Cherry. They arrived back very late for lunch. Apparently "farmer's lung" is a new disease. The doctor had taken the plates to a conference, but those present were by no means agreed on the diagnosis. The view was that time would show whether on exposure to hay it recurred; if it did, he suggested it might be best to give up farming - poor Molly, how disappointing. At present it is on the mend. One lung has cleared up, but there is still trouble in the other one.
After lunch Ruth went in to Cheltenham to her mother and sister in the nursing home. Molly and I sat on either side of the fire - Molly very solemn, not to say gloomy. I told her about my plans for leaving Henley in 1957, Nora's idea of going to Cambridge and the problem of Hilary's university career. It was a difficult conversation but I thought it went off fairly well. Molly is now so grim and middle aged that it is difficult to know whether she is simply sad in herself, or disapproving on moral and religious grounds.
Saturday, April 14th
It was now raining steadily, cold and grey. However as it seemed the only opportunity of getting to Hay-on-Wye, which I wished to prospect as a possible holiday centre for the Black Mountains, I started off. At Clyro I inspected the hideous Victorian church. It contained a badly lettered granite slab to say that R. F. Kilvert, "the diarist", had been curate there. Hay was a grim little stone town, made less inviting by the cold and rain. Bredwardine Church, where Kilvert was rector and where he was buried, is good after Clyro. It is built of the local red sandstone and had a stone seat under an ancient yew in the church yard looking down an avenue gay with daffodils and bearing the inscription "In memory of Francis Kilvert". I took two white violets from near his grave. What pleasure his Diary has given me!
Wednesday, April 18th
Found a letter from the N.U.T. about the batty Mrs Eastland. They wanted to come and see me that Wednesday. She had apparently been up at the school on Tuesday morning to see me. Just as well I was away.
Gave a talk on National Trust to Cockpole Green Women's Institute. The talk was, I hope, all right, but the local colonel had brought up his magic lantern to show the slides, which were barely perceptible. The colonel was a know-all who contradicted me in front of the ladies, which was ill mannered. He was also wrong. Not a very profitable afternoon.
Redeemed however by a tea at home where I met the new psychiatirst, Dr Thompson, a delightful white haired leonine man of about 60, who told tales of Hitler's and Himmler's astrologers. Himmler's was considered better as he had a degree - and decided whether the auspices were favourable by measuring the growth of onions. In 1940 the onions were definitely against invasion! As he was leaving he remarked that he had been at the Nuremberg Trial.
Thursday, April 19th
The G. D. woman made a scene with Miss Owen in front of the children as Miss O had been given her children. Just before school started, she sent up a note by the secretary to say I had no doubt had second thoughts and decided to give her back her form. I hadn't, and sent for her and told her so very plainly indeed. I thought she was going for me, but she didn't in the end!
In the midst of all this fracas, the curate turned up to say he had skidded in the holidays, landed upside down in the ditch and smashed up his car. Cars more trouble for Cherry, had had a crash as well and broken her passenger's ribs and put paid to her Austin 12.
Friday, April 20th
The G. D. woman now says she proposed to ask for a transfer. Told her she could if she liked, though when rang up the office found this was impossible in Oxfordshire. Kept Tom Luker, the chairman of governors, informed.
Saturday, April 21st
Got a shock today! Went over to Aunt with Nora and found her in bed with all the curtains drawn and Cousin Cyril, yesterday landed from Southampton, sitting on the bed. He was rather wizened and very deaf in spite of an aid. He appeared to have two main interests, food (4 kinds of marmalade and numerous cheeses on Union Castle Line) and money - he asked the price of everything, and of course I did not know!
Aunt was like something out of Voltaire or Dickens, a pre-tomb or mausoleum like state of existence. We suggested that if the two sets of curtains were drawn and the sun allowed to penetrate, it might conceivably bring warmth, but Aunt replied that if she had the sun it might get too hot!
Sunday, April 22nd
A man rang up and said his little girl in 1d had been interfered with by a boy in the Fifth who had invited her up to his bedroom in Peppard to see his stamps. Said it was primarily a matter between parents, but was informed that on Friday the boy had been describing his exploits to the 5th form girls, who had teased the 1st former. More trouble for Monday.
Monday, April 23rd, St George's Day, Shakespeare's birthday
Had "the Queen, O God, to thee her heart upraiseth" and the National Anthem. Then Mrs C interviewed the girl. The boy had put his arm around her waist and tried to kiss her. Saw the boy, he hastened to inform me that his intentions were not immoral, and I don't think they were. A
silly ass. Told him next time to choose some one as old as himself and be careful he did not get his face smacked!
The G.D.W. did not put in an appearance. The staff room was all carefree and jolly today and no sense of strain at the beginning of term.
The Wilk informed that she missed Bulganin and Krusch. as they drove through Henley on Saturday en route for Oxford past her very door. When they got to Oxford a crowd of undergraduates chanted "Poor old Joe" and let off a monster firework.
Wednesday, April 25th
Miss Loader told me the Modern School governors called for interview a Miss Smith from Kingston. They were a little bit taken aback when in walked a Negress from Jamaica!
Mary had felt too ill to collect her groceries from the pleasant Mrs T on Castle Hill so I called for them. Mrs T enquired how she was; "She's such a sweet girl and I am so fond of her"; I could have said "So am I", but thought silence more discreet.
B & K were invited to a dinner by the parliamentary Labour Party. They were asked what had happened to the imprisoned social democrats in Russia and the satellites. Kruscheff got very angry. So did some of his audience when he began to state that Russia fought Hitler unaided!
Saturday, April 28th
Cyril arrives with importable suitcase, barely portable grip, panama hat and various parcels, including two books for me - "You like books?" - and grapes for Nora. He calls her Mona, for this has not registered. We have tea and sit, have supper and sit. He makes various statements of which i disapprove strongly, but he can't hear what I say anyway. He also has the semi-educated approach to facts. Why argue about facts and waste time when you can look them up in 30 secs in a reference book.
Sunday, April 29th
Feel low and very fed up with Cyril and all colonials who come home and plant themselves on you when you have nothing in common with them and have not seen them for 40 years and don't mind you haven't. He smokes almost continuously and likes the drawing room heated with oil. However Nora come to the rescue and takes his case history most of morning - Gussie and Aunt Beattie, early poverty, strict upbringing, etc, including treatment of younger brother in mental hospital. Take him for a drive after lunch. Shillingford Bridge Hotel for tea. Lawns and river very pleasant, have to pretend it is not my first visit. He has an alarming habit of going round the corner of buildings to pee, as he does in hotel, and also a rather peculiar custom of apologizing for audible farts and belches - an ancient colonial custom perhaps.
Monday, April 30th
Cyril goes off by early train for Gloucester. Should have washed up up, but diverted by group of boys on bank below house obviously looking at something contraband. When staff come by they break up but continue down on cricket field. Send for one boy and ask "Nudes or jokes?" Says they are pin-up girls he found in bus. Ask to see them. They are, some in (?) belts, some showing breasts. Say I don't want them in school or shown to juniors or girls. Find these boys really rather disarming.
Tuesday, May 1st
A warm May day. Cold responding to treatment. In p.m., interview four candidates, 2 men and 2 women, for English job. One man, a jumpy, spotty individual, ex-Kings Cambridge via Middlesborough, quite impossible, second man a powerful smooth type, too high-voltage for Mary C, committee liked him, I didn't much - then the women, a difficult choice; played for safety and chose a plain Jane, abominably dressed, from Lancashire, slight accent, but pleasant voice, instead of small woman from L.M.H., clever, more cultured, but a poor report from H.M.
Wednesday, May 2nd
Nora went off to Cambridge. Drove her to the station at 7.30. Then on going to school locked myself out of the house. I was just climbing in through the scullery window when the postman arrived! In the afternoon I went down to the sports heats. I was standing watching the long jump when I saw Mary come out on the terrace. I waved to her - all in the public view! After tea we went to bed where we stayed to about seven. Drove her to the flat for supper. Mary extremely amused by Cousin Cyril's lack of training.
Tuesday, May 3rd
Got at last four men short-listed from the numerous art applications. Some funny things among the letters - "I have specialized in thumb pots, slips and small thrown objects." Ink bombs?! "I have taught pottery to adults" - and had been most useful at the old people's club. Nora said she heard this as "adultery to pots." The Vicar wrote a testimonial for one man in the middle of which he said that his wife was a trained chiropodist
Rang up Dorrell (at Oxford Education Office). He had seen G.D.W. on Tuesday and advised her to apologize and come back to work, but of course she won't. Meanwhile I can't make another appointment. It is now a fortnight she has been on strike.
Sunday, May 6th
A busy day and almost over by the time I sit down to write my diary. In garden in morning cutting grass and doing bees. In afternoon washing up, reading and studying newspaper. After tea allotment. Nora says I have not invited any of my friends, but when have I had time without giving up my weekends, which are fully taken up with things I'd much rather do. Visits involve so much sitting and talking and doing nothing while the grass grows.
Reading life of Victor Hugo. He had a lot of trouble with women in his life. He had a wife, a permanent mistress and a vast host of semi-permaments and purely temporary. He wrote these marvellous poems and letters to his mistress, but got her on the cheap as secretarial help, made her account for every penny she spent and took her for a holiday once a year. How French, say I. He also kept a diary!
Prayer written by Hugo for Juliette Drouet:
O God, let us live together for ever. May she be fulfilled in me and I in her. So order it that she shall never be absent from any day of my life, or from one single moment of my eternity. Grant that I may be always beloved and useful: useful to my beloved and loved by her. Save us, transfigure us, and make us one.
When old she wrote:
The scene has changed, and I have put on the disguise of old age but my heart and soul have both stayed young and now adore you, as they did the day when, for the first time, I gave myself to you.
She said: "Shall I keep my shift?"
I said: "Never can woman make a lovelier gift than utter nakedness."
O short-lived days of spring!
That start in laughter and end with pondering.
Joy! Ashtaroth unmasked: ecstasy, Isis bare.
Have you at times looked at a rising star?
O lovely spectacle! "Well, here am I" said she.
And thus did Venus stand for Adonis to see.
Wednesday, May 9th
Sports Day, one of the worst for a number of years. It started to rain at 3, the spectators either sat in their cars or retreated under the trees. The staff in the centre of the track were soaked and chilled. It dragged on beyond time, competitors grew slack, the old boys present did not turn up for their race, and we were not going to wait for them, so it was cancelled; fortunately Councillor Hamilton was not present. At the last minute Mrs Lambert could not come, so I had to ask Mrs Griggs to distribute medals and cups. I improved the shining hour by asking Annette [Griggs] to thank her. We had the usual tea at School House, though I did something unusual by giving Wally and Clem a whisky! Wally typically put his foot in it by suddenly calling out all the girl prizewinners as surnames only. You really can't keep up with him.
This morning at last got a letter from G.D.W. to say she was not coming back. She had a job in Reading. I also have found a very old Oxford graduate, 50, mother of a family, who seems willing to come for this term.
Thursday, May 10th
Started by holding a parade of boys in playground and getting chairs back from the gym. Then had an Ascension Day service, as little preparation as possible! Then I engaged "the old lady", who said she was like a medlar, but past the change of life! This took till lunch time, after which I endeavoured to compose a report on Mrs E's departure from the fairly large dossier which I now have.
In the evening did the garden and then wrote a poem for Mary, the first for two years, suggested by that lovely picture of Tintoretto's from the Doge's Palace, Bacchus and Ariadne.
Saturday, May 12th
Started off at 5 o'clock and met Mary outside Heelas when she came out at 5.30. About 6 we were off and had dinner at The Bear at Wantage. We got to Lechlade before dark and went to see Inglesham. Then to the New Inn. We had what appeared to be a very nice big bedroom in the front with twin beds and a gas fire. I gave Mary a small posy of pheasanteyes. I told her I wanted to show her something, Tintoretto's Bacchus and Ariadne, but she said she wanted to get into bed first, then of course we forgot about the Tintoretto. However afterwards I lay on the outside of the bed and showed her the photograph and read he the poem. We were both very moved.
We seemed all set for a quiet night, but no, not a bit of it. As usual the awful snaggery of hotels raised its ugly head. A man (with a dog? and possibly a wife?) went in next door. He flings his boots off, I presumed drunk, and got into bed. It was then about midnight. For the next couple of hours he coughed, retched, groaned and called aloud. The more I listened to his heavings, the more wide awake I became and the more I became convinced I was sick myself! Then at times I became angry and thought why should Mary and I be condemned to this horror when we ought to have a house of our own! I took two aspirins, very cautiously not to wake Mary, if indeed she was asleep. Nothing happened, then I realized she was not a sleep, so I got into her bed and we lay together. Finally about 3 we got some peace and managed to go to sleep; O God! Oh English hotels!
It was a brilliant May morning, warm sun but a wind to keep it from getting too hot. We drove in leisurely fashion from Lechlade to Hatherop and Coln St Aldwyn, stopping on the way to pick buttonholes of cowslips and list to the nightingales still singing as they once did in the wood below Beacon Hill. It was "Bridal and Earth Sky", the fields were yellow with buttercups and the beeches in green and tender leaf. At Bibury we went into the garden of The Swan and saw the lovely green, cool and bubbling spring, looked over the bridge at the speckled trout and wandered arm in arm up to the mill. Then we sat on the wall by the river till it was time to start for Cirencester.
Molly's car was drawn up in the market place and we found her in the church porch. I introduced her to Mary and we looked into the church for a minute, nearly getting locked in and having to be let out by an obscure side door - a curious English custom on Sundays. We went round the back of the church and found a seat, then I produced a half bottle of sherry and opened it with a satisfying plop with which we drank healths. We then repaired to the Fleet Trust House where we had a very nice lunch. Afterwards we sat on the seat in front of the porch until it was time at 3.0 for Molly to start back for milking. Molly was reserved but friendly and Mary liked her and felt that they could get on well if they knew one another better, for she was direct and unpretentious. Good! I was very pleased and that Mary and I have had one of our rare, very rare social occasions.
Wednesday, May 16th
To Aldworth via Bradfield. We spotted some young plovers on a rolled field. They rose, so we walked up to them and picked them up in our hands and they made no effort to move and when we put them down they froze as before.
Thursday, May 17th
News item in Daily Mail. Suicide by taking Seconal sleeping tablets of "Barbara" in James McBurnie's flat. Coroner thought she was drunk and it was an accident - lucky for James. "She was", he said, "the guest of her accountant." Had been for three weeks! "His sons," James told reporters, "were at his country residence." That man's a marvel!
Nora weighed in by saying Jimmie and Johnnie should stay with us instead of going to his flat. This caused a row and when I got back from taking Cherry to Clivedon, cables were flying backwards and forwards from Zagreb between Phyllis and Nora. James meanwhile phoned Danish nannies to say Nora on no account to be allowed to see boys!
Wednesday, May 23rd
I Picked up Mary on the Marlow road at 3.30 and we took our tea to Cliveden. The tulips were at their best in the Long Garden and our little house was leafed, so we could go in and embrace. Nora had gone to Cambridge, so we came back to a cold supper.
Thursday, May 24th
We had to get up at 7 o'clock for Mary had to leave the house at 7.45. Went over to tea with Cyril and Kay, but had not cleared up the breakfast things. Nora was early and passed me in the market place, just in time to put away two of everything!
Friday, May 25th
Governors! Before hand we had to go to old Turton-Green's funeral and as a relative Tom Luker had to go on to the crematorium, so he could not take the chair and we were left with old Hamilton. The case of the G.D.W. went off all right, also religious instruction, and they took a lenient view of Wally's use of electricity in the cadet hut for changing, but all these were quite tricky topics.
Saturday, May 26th
Showed Sir Felix Brunner, funny little lizard-like man, round the school in the morning. he wanted to see the building problems, which at least showed willing.
Sunday, May 27th
Yesterday a letter arrived from Molly in which she said she like Mary very much and hoped things would sort out all right for us both, which was very nice of her.
Hilary wrote last week. He was living a life of ease in a garrison at Hohne learning Latin and even getting some cricket. It was near the Belsen concentration camp, which was eerie enough.
Tuesday, May 29th
A letter from Mary, "Our life together is such a joy and comfort, and something I can retreat into when pushed about in the library."
Ioan came over after tea and made a charcoal sketch of me as a study for an oil painting. He tells me he has applied for an English job at a modern school in Sussex.
Thursday, May 31st
Gave my justly dreaded talk on relations between men and women to the Fifth boys. They were a bit stunned I think and asked no questions.
Read Harry Truman's Vol II about the Berlin blockade and the Korean war. The book is heavy reading, but my opinion of him goes up steadily. He always tried to do the decent and honest thing.
Wednesday, June 6th
Lady Helen came in to hear the strange story of Mrs Eastland. She was much smarter than usual and nicely made up with a silk scarf from Rome. I said because she had been to see the Girl's Technical; Nora said to see me!
Thursday, June 7th
Took Cherry to Cliveden. Came back to her house for supper as her parents away and had some Yugoslav Riesling with our chicken, which made C rather abandoned, but retired intact.
Friday, June 8th
A lovely long and affectionate letter from Mary. Went over to see a Dr Anderson, a heart specialist in the Bath Road, Reading, a rather coarse faced Scotsman. He asked the usual questions about how long I had this choking when I climbed a hill. He said it was due to cramp in the heart muscle.... the [best] thing to do was to find out what activity brought it on, call that x and then live at x - I. Anyway, no more walking in the Alps.
Mary said she was changing at Reading for Oxford at 6.23. The car was in dock, but I knew Mary would hope to be met, so went in by bus. She looked very well as she came off the train, brown and burnt by the wind. It was lovely to see her and she was so pleased that I came; just caught the 6.50 home to supper.
A long and interesting letter from Hilary about the scientists he had met at the new camp. He has found they are far less widely read than he is and says by the time they have finished at university the gap will be still wider. "It is not a matter of intelligence, unfortunately.... but perhaps the education I received was liberal in more than one sense."
Sunday, June 10th
Today The Observer used more than half its paper printing verbatim Kruschev's speech attacking Stalin. Waded through it, though hard going. It shows what a primitive, barbaric country Russia is.
Monday, June 11th
After this I netted the peas and planted 30 antirhinums. Of course, after last Friday, everything I do I think I can feel my heart giving out.
Wednesday, June 13th
Told Mary about my interview with Dr Anderson on Friday and said that after all we should have to live in a bungalow. Her views agreed with mine. She had met him in the library and found him a bad-mannered tough, but said he has a great reputation as a doctor. Speriamo!
Saturday, June 16th
Ioan came up at 10 and finished portrait. I thought it better before he put in the reflection of the lenses of the spectacles.
Took Cherry out to tea at Theale. Miss Owen, with whom she is rather friendly, said, "You don't often get a headmaster like Mr Barnes!" Very pleased by this.
Sunday, June 17th
Margaret Burton came to lunch. many years since we had asked her. The policy of not asking people because you think you ought to makes it very difficult when you finally want to! I thought she had mellowed though.
She told the story of a man and his wife taking auntie for a trip in Spain when auntie died suddenly in the back of the car near frontier. Husband decided to lay her down in the back seat covered in rugs and drive across the frontier to France before reporting her death to the French authorities. They drove to the nearest French town and went into café for a drink, when they came out the car had vanished. Weeks later the car was found abandoned, but so sign of either luggage or auntie. Very awkward, very awkward!
Thursday, June 21st
This afternoon went to see Dr Hartley. he said I had this cramp of the heart muscle and it was angina, as I thought. He was not committing himself to any forecast or whether it could be checked, but he pointed out that many people lived long without taking any exercise whatsoever. He proposed to try two drugs, one for long term, one for short term if I anticipated strain. I must not get fat.
Friday, June 22nd
Keble Dinner. Put on my Moss Bros dinner jacket and drove to the college. Not many of my contemporaries there. I liked the new warden, Dr Abbot, from Cambridge via Kings College, London. He was not pompous or forbidding. I told him who I was and explained that Hilary would be coming up in 1957.
Monday, June 26th
Took the Sixth to the Festival Hall to hear a Beethoven concert, Egmont, Emperor, Eroica. Few had heard a symphony and only one I think had been to the South Bank. We had seats facing the conductor, which I discovered on arrival had no backs, but they were excellent from the children's point of view for they could easily follow the various sections of the orchestra and see the conductor bringing them in. I came our rapt to journey home with the adolescents chattering and drinking pop as usual.
Saturday, June 30th
Felt very cross that Nora had persuaded me to have an eight, which I didn't want, just because Phyllis had one. The summer term is bad enough and exhausting enough without all this upheaval. Then in addition the maid who was coming fails, and on Thursday Nora slips in Reading and cracks a bone in her elbow and has to have her arm in a sling. Nothing goes right at all.