Thursday, Jan 2nd – Thaw, thank goodness. Cyril yesterday for Ministry of Transport inspection, 3 new tyres and licence up to £25 from £17 10s. Ruinous.
[See Index of names at end of this post]
Jan 3rd – Arrived at Francis Hotel, Bath, in afternoon, an excellent
three star Trust House, huge, bombed in war and rebuilt, beautifully
clean and décor plain and good. Had a room with a double bed opposite
bathroom at £17 10s inclusive per day.
Jan 5th – Matins in Abbey. A large congregation but nearly all elderly
ladies. Amused by antics of sidesman ushering in. Plate now contains
half crowns which have succeeded the silver threepenny bit of my
boyhood, x 10 !
Jan 11th – Have long wanted a Japanese maple. To-day got up the almond
which I have never liked and planted a dwarf red maple instead – always a
thrill to plant a new tree – like begetting a child !
Thursday, Jan 16th – Felt a bit off colour this evening, perhaps due to sleeping with Mary before breakfast !
Jan 25th – To Radcliffe at 9.30. Saw same young doctor. This time he
actually took my blood pressure and listened to heart. Said blood
pressure good for man of my age.
started up again after supper for an hour and a half but we don't get
anywhere. I had met Cherry after the Radcliffe in the Gothical splendour
of the Randolph for coffee. We sat and chatted from 11 – 12. and I
thoroughly enjoyed our meeting. I told Mary this but said she had
Feb 2nd – Wrote to Cherry, 'my small redeeming love'. The wind bitter,
but a brilliant sun. Stow church had a notice 'Come to church and hear
your bishop's important message', assumed bishop in peon but discovered
to-night an episcopal letter read in all churches. He said he gave a
tithe of his income after P.A.Y.E. Said to Mary the church would not
benefit much from a tithe of her income, poor girl. Saw rector
delivering bishop's letter to council houses.
Feb 12th – 69. Hilary sent a rather erotic poster in the Hindu style,
Mary copper anti-rheumatism bangle. Hilary rang in morning and Nicholas
spoke and Jacob bawled 'Hi Grandpa' successfully. Chicken for lunch with
Asti Spumante, pears and chocolate sauce. Slept till tea time, then to
Stratford to see Iolanthe, but found at last minute had been delayed by strike and programme changed to Ruddigore. Could not follow it very well.
Feb 15th – A disastrous day. Took Mary to Bay Tree and as soon as we
entered dining room battle axe said 'Two days running !' I knew Mary
would be furious. I had deceived her and broken agreement about seeing
Cherry fortnightly. Didn't consider I had as assumed that referred to
bed. In the evening we had the usual one-sided discussion which got
nowhere and solved nothing, directed mainly to getting me to give up C,
which I refused to do. To bed about 10 worn out and with headache. No
luck ! M intuitive, me a singularly unconvincing liar.
Feb 17th – Clanfield. On way met C for five minutes and told her what
had happened. Said she intended to take Mary to lunch near Cicester.
They got back about 6.30. Mary had actually smoked when with C. They
seem to have got on quite well and hope M will feel better.
Feb 22nd – More misunderstandings. Yesterday letter to M from C
containing a kind of ultimatum about extra meetings. More painful
discussion. Said I would write to C.
Sunday, Feb 23rd – Heard first of Kenneth Clarke's History of Civilization,
how western civilization survived through the dark ages by the skin of
its teeth. Kenneth Clarke's stuff the kind of thing I have often thought
I would like to do with the a W.E.A. class, but he has the B.B.C. behind him and could go anywhere, Iona, Paris, Aachen, Ravenna,
Byzantium, etc., etc . - all done in a very natty gents Bond Street
suiting. He used to be a good looking young man, now he is very puffy
round the eyes as though he over ate or over drank (aged 66). Clarke
believes civilization destroyed by fear, exhaustion – requires
confidence, confidence in society, belief in its laws and philosophy,
confidence in the powers of reason.
Feb 28th – With M to Shakespeare Hotel at Stratford. Found all central
heating off but hot air machine in bedroom. Bathroom too cold to have a
bath. A nice dinner with turkey, but extraordinary fat head waiter with a
suit of tails that reached within 12 inches of the floor. Very curious.
Staff in dining room English and very inferior to Spaniards at Francis
Hotel. Occupied double bed and had a marvellous fuck. Hotel for one
night £10 18s 4d !
March 1st – Our anniversary. After breakfast to Town Hall to see
portrait of Garrick and a good Hogarth conversation piece in Mayor's
Parlour. Drove to Arden to see farm house. Fearfully cold, interesting
to-night on radio for the first time the voice of our future king,
Prince Charles. He speaks in a very upper class highbrow academic way,
an intelligent chap, at ease with a sense of humour. He might be an
ordinary Oxford or Cambridge undergraduate.
March 6th – A sunny warm spring-like day - the first for a month,
yellow crocus out, able to walk in garden without a coat and sit in
supper M : would I tell C to to do this and that, why hadn't I ?
Suggested she should ring C up and tell her herself, which she did for
nearly an hour while I lay in bed with wireless on.
Sir Eustace Chesser says, 'Many instances in which adultery has not destroyed but saved a marriage' !!
March 8th - To tea with Roberts to sit with old Mrs R ans see all in
wrestling on I.T.V. She is an aficionado of the sport and sits glued to
the screen about 12 inches from her face. I was surprized at the
punching, slapping, twisting and squeezing, and sheer acrobatics, which
reminded me of Minoan bull fighters. Had my voice recorded on Cicely's
tape. I sounded rather plummy and clerical. Interesting to hear your own
voice for the first time.
March 15th – Jeanette Martin to lunch and tea. She was recovering from
flu but never drew breath and could hardly start her lunch for talking –
education, flying, Indians, the paper, ancestors, teaching, her future
career and so on and on. A nice child, very smart in leopard skin coat
and nylons and mascara. Kissed her heartily at Kingham on arrival and
Wednesday, March 19th – Over to Excelsior 5.30. C had already arrived and having tea.
Thursday, March 20th – Early morning tea at 5.30. C off 7.0. Self 7.30. Long View 8.20.
blew up (or as she puts it got 'frantic') this evening. C had told her I
had 'impoverished' myself by marrying her. Now I only gave her £1 a
week and could give her no more because I was spending £10 a month on C.
All over the same ground again till 11 o'clock at night. What a life.
March 21st – Decided to transfer £50 from holiday savings and give Mary
a rise to £2. She seemed pleased, but still wanted a holiday at Easter !
Told her all I was aiming at was some kind of tolerable life for the
three of us. Would try to get more work.
April 1st – More trouble. M's Webb sent a postcard to say she could not
come at the time over weekend suggested. This laid at my door because
of Cherry this week and tickets for Stratford next week. Soon M said she
would have no friends left and burst into tears. Said 'I can't stand
much more of this' and retired to bedroom, whereon she partly recovered.
To take her mind off this disappointment went to lunch at Charney
Basset Manor, then to see churches at foot of Downs. To White Horse and
tried to walk up to camp, but though the first really sunny day the wind
perishing cold and had to give up.
April 3rd – Excelsior last night. In the evening the usual row
developed. 'I was so insensitive to other people, that was why Molly
hated me'. What was I going to do next, etc. This went on to 10.30 when I
pleaded to be allowed to go to sleep and was told it was clear why I
was so sleepy.
April 9th – Bought a Philip's tape recorder for £22 15s 9d and got Cil
to demonstrate. Recorded some of Hemingway and Day Lewis Elegy. Very pleased with it. Sounded less 'parsonical'.
Thursday, April 10th – After 69 years have to-day completed the cycle of all Shakespeare's plays by seeing Pericles
from the front row of the balcony at Stratford. It was a lovely
production, all light and gold, silver and torches, white Greek dresses
and as Beerbohm Tree would have said 'More Navel than Millinery', hips
and thighs and bottoms. In the brothel scene it included a Herm with a
large erect penis on which the Governor hung his hat and which was
seized by Pompey, the Bawd, to carry the figure out. How far we have
moved in 40 years from the generation of Uncle Sam and Mother, and what
they would have said I cannot imagine.
April 13th – Phone at breakfast time. Florrie in trouble with cramp and
shortness of breath. Batted down to Bainton Road in 40 minutes flat.
Doctor called. Florrie down stairs in sitting room. Lunch with Florrie
then back to tea with Badger. Did some more recording, erotica, Donne
April 15th – Phone rang at 7 o'clock. Mary to say Florrie had died two
hours before. She called Mary about 4 as she was suffering from
shortness of breath. M called doctor and while he was there waiting for
ambulance to take her to hospital she died in 10 minutes about 5 a.m. A
good way to go for any old person.
got busy and arrived at Bainton Road about nine. About 11 doctor and
undertaker called. The Dr, Henderson, was a sweetie, Scots, fatherly and
consoling. The rest of the day was taken up with registration of death,
getting cremation forms completed, etc etc. At 9 returned to Westcote
April 18th – Over to Bainton Road by 10. Told to fetch flowers from
Lottie Southam two doors down so walked to call box in Woodstock Road
and told C to meet in Burford with her 'night bag'. To undertaker with
flowers. Very cold and much talk. Early lunch. 1.40 drive to crematorium
in Douglas' car. Parson reads service well. No hymns. Finally with some
difficulty got away at 4.45. Meet C at Sheep Street at 6.30.
April 25th – To Charney Basset Manor for weekend. Put in main building
with old Quaker lady and rather unpleasant flat-faced Russian from
Hampstead garden suburbs. In afternoon Mary clipped Grandpa at Hatford.
The grass which we had neglected was very rank and long.
May 3rd – Mary to Oxford by bus. At 3 to Oxford to fetch her back with
television set – my first ! Shall try to flog it for another that will
take B.B.C. 2.
May 7th – Visited Mother Superior to get permission to enter her sewer.
She seemed to think because diocese had put it in, it now belonged to
diocese. Said she would consult the dean and chapter and let me know.
More delay. Yesterday, Rector called to tell M she had been elected to
the Parochial Church Council. She refused to serve.
May 8th – Mary gong to Oxford with brother at six for night : met C in
Lechlade Motel, our first night together last year. It all worked well.
May 10th – It was however a mistake for it was M's week and she rumbled
it. A session which went on for hours and continued until May 11th at
11 a.m. When after ringing up C agreed to swap Friday for next Wednesday
on condition episode never mentioned again.
May 12th – Parish meeting. Well attended, over 30 ! Discovered later
audience hoped to witness row between Mesdames Blackwell and
Morse-Stephens about fencing in verges. This came to nothing. Meeting
wished to restore War Memorial cross.
Monday, May 14th- Convent replied. We can use their drain. Hurrah ! One step forward at last.
Saturday, May 17th – To Stratford to see Winter's Tale. Judy Dench good and production clever with flashing lights – stroboscopic !!!
May 20th – One step forward, two steps back ! To Gloucester to Diocesan
Secretary at Church House, a false very political Welshman who
absolutely refused leave to connect with convent drain because convent
has no money and might involve diocese in expense for repairing it. They
had already paid out £200 to put it right for new rectory. Only
constructive suggestion might make new septic tank for both rectory and
hall. No one knows who land belongs to.
May 22nd – Hall Committee meets to consider equipment. Scaramanga would
like to go above to Bishop. Doubt if it would work.
May 26th – Cyril and Kay to tea. God ! what a bore that woman has
become. Nothing will divert her. She just waits for a gap in the
conversation and then goes back to where she stopped (or was stopped) –
all about her beastly school and staff. Cyril seemed well, but is
getting very slow and old.
May 29th – 6 – 8.30 Mary on why can't I have a platonic relationship
with C. All our hardly won compromise seems to have dissolved again and
we are back at square one, M v C. C everything, M nothing but me.
June 7th – To Hatford to clip Grandpa (S. H. Atkins, died 5/2/1897).
Lunch in lane within sight of church and great cooling towers at Didcot
like distant cathedrals in the sun.
June 11th – Took Mary to Bainton Road then waited for C at hotel car
park. The day was lovely, brilliant sunshine but with a firm breeze. C
arrived soon after 12.30 with gay summer frock and sandals. Went out to
seats and umbrellas by swimming pool. Over lunch I began to tell C of
M's proposal for a platonic relationship. Her eyes became distraught and
horrified. 'This is the end then', she said. I said 'No it was not'.
And we sat for a long time over coffee discussing the pros and cons.
More discussion of the future later, sherry, bath and supper brought by
C. Consumed a whole bottle of Nuits St Georges and went to bed rather
tight. Another lovely morning, put on our bathing dresses and walked
over to swimming pool, but decided against a dip. Walking bare feet over
the turf in the morning sun with C a new and very thrilling experience.
Home to lunch. Told Mary platonic till after Denmark. She was not
co-operative. Replied that if she was put out of the way a description
of our liaison by a source I did not know would be produced.
lovely and remarkable 24 hours and the future though difficult for us
less opaque than before. If only I was young and had an undamaged heart !
June 15th – A rather odd Sunday. Breakfast on lawn but planes flying.
Said I should write to the Officer Commanding and sign myself President
of the Lord's Day Observance Society, Westcote Branch.
June 16th – To see Buckland Rectory near Broadway. Hit a most peculiar
parson. Large with red face, crew cut and side whiskers, very talkative
and full of himself, ?lecherous. House in neglected garden and been
given grant by Historic Buildings Council, and Hessells, including
Graham, had been employed for weeks. Parson, ex R.A.F. in non-clerical
clothes, had come out to play poker with the men, challenge them to
weight lifting and wrestling on mats. He had a peculiar eye.
June 19th – A bombshell from Cherry. We had been thinking of living
together in 1970 but she had now decided that she could never leave
Alfonso as long as he liked to stay. Rang her up and told her it did not
make any difference to my feelings for her. Still, I have always
enjoyed forward planning. Where shall we all be in a year's time ?
June 26th – To Gloucester to see Lord Bishop (in purple cassock with
leather pads at elbows) to try to get him to intervene in hall drains
question. He seemed sympathetic, said he did not keep dog and bark
himself or mix up in technical matters. 'J.D.' was a cunning operator,
the architect and I had both drawn blanks so might help, but he would
July 1st – To Roberts to see television investiture of Prince Charles
at Carnarvon Castle. Duke kept the thing going, Queen looked glum and
apprehensive, Princess Anne sulky, Uncle Tatty' (Snowdon) ridiculous in
green frock coat, Queen Mother animated but enormous, speeches and
prayers in English and Welsh. Gold crowns, sword, stick, ermine cloaks
etc etc. Suppose taxpayers like it and footing the bill - £315,000. Felt
personally that all this medieval stuff might well be dispensed with.
July 5th – Bad day ! Told Mary to meet C next Saturday when she thought
I had undertaken to go to a concert. Everything from A to Z for hours
at a time on both days.
sexual life is the great test. If we can survive it with charity to
those we love and with affection for those we have betrayed, we need not
worry too much about the bad and the good. But jealousy, distrust,
cruelty, revenge, recrimination.... then we fail. The wrong is that
failure even if we are the victims and not the executioners. Virtue is
no excuse.' Graham Greene
July 8th – To Marriage Guidance Council at Cheltenham. Mrs Stow said
the more she learnt the more complicated the situation became. Asked
what she had been able to do with M, replied that she had completely
failed. Suggested I should phone Dr King and tell him how worried I am
about her mental condition.
M came into my bed for a cuddle and we lay talking more amicably and sensibly till 1.30.
July 13th – More difficulties with M & C. A quarrel on telephone.
Prepared to leave at 2.45 but caught and physically prevented.
July 14th – Our first triangular meeting. Went off better than I
expected, though with some dangerous moments when tempers became frayed.
In the end M agreed to night meetings instead of day meetings only once
a fortnight and C and I promised not to go off together, which told M
in C's presence I had twice suggested.
July 20th – The first men in the moon !! Asked by Vi to go round and
see first moon landing. Could hear dialogue between between mission
control and astronauts but picture mainly a room full of men at desks in
white shirts. Came out and saw moon in first quarter hanging in sky
looking rather yellow in a slight haze. Vi waved to it ! However,
calculated that for 24 billion dollars for Apollo landing would
establish 10 new medical schools, 53 universities in underdeveloped
countries. We can defy gravity more easily than we can defeat poverty.
July 21st – 7 a.m. Wake up and turn on news. Astronauts got out of moon
craft and have walked on surface, collected specimens, etc etc. They
are now back in craft 'resting'. Wells published The First Man on the Moon'
in 1901. I remember reading it in 1910 or 1912. He died bitterly
disappointed with homo sapiens in 1946, 23 years before his story came
true. Must keep fingers crossed and hope take off and landing go without
Thursday, July 24th – To lunch with C at Excelsior. P.M. Blenheim by lake. Supper café. Bath and bed.
July 25th – Return home. Mary hostile and unwelcoming. Burford. Ring C.
She arrives in 30 minutes. To Stow, bank, travellers cheques and
kroner. Pick up passport and tickets at Cook's. Phone Mary, say will
meet her at Liverpool Street hotel Monday. C dispatched to Westcote with
£10 in envelope.
July 27th – A lovely day. Lunch in pub garden at Kidlington, salad and
crisp French bread, shandy, then to 'Steam Fair' at Rousham. See steam
engine parade, preceded by service by Bp of Dorchester. Walk round
gardens, church and tea by W.I.. C says 'Good to be English'. Very very
happy. Return Excelsior. Over to supper before 7, bar not open, no wine !
England all right !
July 28th – C drives me to Reading. To Marks & Spencer’s for clean
vest, pants and shirt. Train to Paddington with C. Taxi to Great Eastern
Hotel, Liverpool St. M arrives at 4. I have tea ready. C waiting at
barrier to see us off as otherwise would accompany me to Harwich.
Winston Churchill huge, lifts to decks, first class cabin. Dinner veal. Excellent . Sleep well. Ship absolutely steady.
Tuesday, July 29th – Spent morning on sun deck in chaise longue.
Everything convenient. Huge gangway lowered by crane to upper deck.
Moving band for luggage to customs and passports. Railway officials in
white nylon shirts. Off 1 p.m. Cross Great Belt Sound on train ferry.
Copenhagen 6. Hilary and Lise on platform. Nicholas stung by wasp has
arm in sling. Go to Webers Hotel. Room 3rd floor, double windows,
reminded me of Glasgow 1968 but cleaner. Decided to go to supper with
Hilary. Lise has to buy same. 29 Graesmarken, Gladsaxe. Half hour drive
through very heavy traffic and many traffic lights. Excellent dinner.
House red brick, black cement and red pantile roof. Large sitting room
full of colour, big book case, green swivel chair, dining space, small
kitchen, 3 bedrooms, below boiler room and garage, bedroom and study.
After supper Hilary drives us back to hotel, points out two
pornographers in street behind hotel. Goods set out on shelves for
inspection. Trade brisk and all ages of males while females look at film
strips in windows !
July 30th – With Hilary and Nicholas to Langelinie by Christian IV's
naval barracks, see yacht basin and Mermaid. Trip harbour by motor boat.
Hilary very knowledgeable, points out landmarks, but all much altered
since Nelson's day. Great heat. Sleep in cellar in p.m. Tea in garden.
Wasps ! Slip round to Joe's (Porno !).
July 31st – To Carlsberg Glyptotek. Fine collection of impressionists
and post-impressionists and moderns, a few rather dirty Italians. Good
statuary. To pedestrian shopping street and taken to Reuters office.
Shown Hilary's room, telex and tape machines, floor over is Danish news
agency. Siesta with M in cellar.
to Ordrupgaard collection in house in park, not far away. Then to
seaside. Danes sunbathing and swimming. Hilary and Nicholas bathe. I
paddle. Sea frozen in winter and people attempt to walk to Sweden.
Aug 1st – Heat wave. A big day. Elsinore. N & H with lunch. N
promised bathe. Find beach down many steps. H & N bathe. Castle of
Elsinore. Good site, moat and fine rooms. Gun casements, sentry watching
Sound. Sweden. Stone plaque to Shakespeare. Then to Frederiksborg.
Gigantic. Courtyard and fountain, park, water, origin of Keble.
Extraordinary chapel. Can only face one floor. Stagger out exhausted.
House about 5. To cellar sleep. Dinner pork, veg and fruit.
Aug 2nd – Headache. Alka Selzer. Hilary and little boys to zoo. Very
hot. Hilary buys tickets for dolphins. Circus ring with pool in middle
under plastic top. Poking heads out and squeaking. Jump through rings to
catch fish, put out burning bucket by flapping tails, play skittles
stew. Siesta. Party of boys for Jacob's birthday. Supper pâté, cheese
and glass of schnaps, more fiery than Cointreau. Home 9.30.
August 3rd – Take taxi Glyptotek. Modern paintings again, the Greeks
(good), Romans (masses of). Lunch lamb, very tender, mint sauce. Siesta.
Early tea. Friland museum, old houses and farms from different parts.
No horse and cart for Grandpa . Tell Hilary about 'the Great Drain
Controversy'. Advises go to local press.
Aug 4th – Roskilde by motorway. Cathedral. Lunch at café with picnic.
Viking ship museum by fjord, fearfully hot. Tea in garden. Siesta.
Aug 5th – To university library and garden. Lise and M go shopping. To
English bookshop for erotic literature, then Tivoli for drinks. Tell
Hilary story of my life, Con, Nora, Mary, Cherry. Not much comment*.
Says keeps social contact with women to minimum as beautiful wife.
*[Editor: Told me he and Cherry were thinking of running away together to live in Italy ; said I thought that a very bad idea.]
Aug 6th – 12.40 to station with Hilary and Lise carrying boys in good
time. Coffee and cocoa in refreshment room with N & J. Then start on
long hot journey with packed lunch to Esbjerg.
Aug 7th – Till Harwich sat in deck chairs on first class sun deck.
Customs improved. 'Green' walk through nothing to declare. Had permitted
whisky and brandy and two banned books, so pleased. Kingam 5.0, home by
taxi about 5.20 to find grass much greener than expected and border
full of colour and phlox and roses. Badger recognised us and purred
continuously. Rang Copenhagen and wished Nicholas Hubert a happy
Aug 16th – Gymkhana. Harry on table most of time, but took over from
time to time. Called 'Gaffer' by one youth ! All ran smoothly. A large
entry, more I thought than last year, and pleasant day..... Not as much
money made as I hoped.
Aug 23rd – A doubtful day but started out for Ascott Garden
(Rothschilds). Difficult to park at Ascott, had to use multi story car
park with automatic ticket machine (my first). Lunch at Bell Trust
House. Had a huge portion of pizza and felt blown out and uncomfortable.
Reached Ascott, explored garden. Huge well-kept lawn, flower beds,
fountains. The best Aphrodite in bronze drawn by sea horses spouting
water from mouths and nostrils on white shell. Then house. Concentrated
on pictures, mostly Dutch and not very interesting, but some good Stubbs
and house portraits. Home about 6.30 (110 miles) pretty tired.
Monday, Sept 1st – Told Mary at breakfast that meeting C to-morrow. This produced despondency.
Sept 2 – In to lunch with Nora in Cheltenham. M insisted on coming too.
Nora in very shouting and manic state. Had to bring M back to Westcote
before could get away. C waiting. Sherry and supper, then to Son et Lumière at Blenheim.
Sept 7th – Rang up Copenhagen at midday and wished Hilary a happy
birthday to-morrow. Told by M last week that Lise had written to
commiserate with her about C of whom Hilary had told her !
Sept 10th – A generous letter from Nora. It is a reward that we perhaps
have far from fully earned that from our unhappiness should have come
sturdy and responsible personality and two delightful grandsons. And I
feel rewarded that in setting you free to marry Mary you have had ten
years more of happiness !
Sept 13th – Started 9.10 for Stourhead. Arrived about 12.30 for lunch
in picnic area by hotel. Walked round lake and able to climb up to
Temple of Sun and see the view. Unluckily there was no sun. Went into
the Grotto. Had forgotten how delightful it was and adapted to making
love. In p.m. went over house, some fine rooms and good Chippendale
furniture but pictures badly hung. Started off for Castle and Bell,
Marlborough. Reached here about six. Odd to think it was 28 years since M
and I first slept here in 1941, but still fucked well.
Sept 20th – Off to Roel getting blackberries. Held up a Roel by a fat
woman who said her friend had found an abandoned cat. Would I take the
cat to Winchcombe where they had left their car to walk up ? Went off
all right but about halfway down Sudely Hill, 1 in 6 in third gear,
realized brakes were not holding car and out of control. Gradually
gained speed and could only hope met no obstructions. Reached the level
safely past Sudely gates still travelling fast. Here applied hand brake
which soon burnt and switched off engine when car came gradually to a
halt. At the steepest part the cat, evidently a tom, made water with a
powerful stink, but too preoccupied with saving my life to bother. Only
told woman what had happened when out of danger, congratulated on
courage and coolness, but think owe a debt to St Christopher whose medal
on dashboard. Went up hill all right and found Mary picking
blackberries and made a welcome cup of tea. This cat an unlucky cat as
cat holder went off with Mary's gloves, about which she was more
concerned than about my narrow escape from a violent death !
Oct 6th – To the East Leaches. The damp church lime wash has been
restored. Met parson – not impressed. Mary got her money for house,
nearly £5,000. Calculated this year we have spent £246 on holidays
(Denmark £113) and hotel weekends.
Oct 8th - Tea at Stanton Guild House. Shown over by Mary Osborne, 3
long-haired youths working, all stank, including Mary O. M.O. all for
Michael Bland, the dispossesed rector of Buckland, because he stood out
against his feudal lord who had the ear of the Bishop. Bland appealing
but case has already cost thousands in legal fees (£14,000 reported!).
Such is the way the church spends money. The Guild House very pleasant,
magnificent views, beamed roofs, elm floored, good doors, large common
Oct 11th – The meet in the big field across the road. The horses were
very frisky and excited. One man was thrown and Scarry was almost shot
off. As they were still cubbing there were no red coats of top hats.
and Mrs Baskerville in to sherry. He was just off to Bangkok and Hong
Kong to put to rights a measurement mistake in the dimension of car
registration signs. All our road signs are made in Hong Kong apparently.
I like him though he is solely concerned with figures and prices per
Oct 13th – After tea man arrived to erect television aerial for £4 10s ;
Mrs Pierce's television, a present from Douglas for £80, we 'liberated'
at time of her death and it works well. Rather a landmark in leisure.
Almost the last to have one in Westcote and will only get B.B.C 1 and
ITV, no B.B.C. 2 and no colour.
Wednesday, Oct 15th – Stratford. Last saw Henry VIII
when a schoolboy. This a good production. The King most life-like and
posture based on Holbein. Wolsey Brewster Mason with very fruity voice
good too. Katherine by Peggy Ashcroft, hardly a big enough part.
Oct 17th – Met C in Burford. Bought Cornish pastie and haddock pie at
Huffkins. To Roman Villa. Sat in sun which came out late after fog. Then
to Casey Compton where made fire and boiled kettle for tea. A 40 to
Excelsior. F..... while still damp after bath. After a bit in bed felt
bad pain in shoulder and aching along left lower jaw, old symptom of
heart trouble. Told C who wondered whether to call doctor. Tested
whether it was heart by taking brown ill, when symptoms disappeared.
Told C in future she would have to do most of the work !
Oct 27th – Met C in Burford. To Hidcote. Sat in gardens and embraced
against great beech on stage by lawn. Excelsior for supper. No symptoms
this time and all lovely.
Thursday, Oct 30th – Cut Dockers at Clanfield and spent morning with C. Home for lunch.
Oct 31st – To Bournemouth from Cheltenham by 11 o'clock bus. Cottonwood
Hotel over cliff. Our room looking over sea a long way away next Bar's
[cousin Barbara Cliffe]. Hers with private bathroom and own furniture.
Hotel most comfortable, attentive and pleasant staff. Full of old ladies
and a few elderly gents. Bridge, croquet and clock golf main
occupations ! Bar very friendly and charming. After dinner went over old
photos of Hayes, Laws and Atkinses.
Oct 4th – Tonight M guessed I had met C on Thursday. Can't think why.
Usual going over, finally would I have a bath when returning from C as
did not want contact with Alfonso !!! Listened as patiently as I could.
Refused however to trade last Thursday against next.
Monday, Nov 10th – M treated me to a room at the Falcon after seeing Pericles for the second time. Hotel £7 including breakfast.
Nov 12th – Cheltenham to hear Poet Laureate, C. Day Lewis, read in
little theatre. A charming and courtly old gent with Irish accent though
four years younger than I am. He read the Roman bit of Italian Visit.
Nov 18th – Took miscellaneous small objects in basket to Jane
Wynne-Willson for a discharged prisoner, a flat for whom the Cheltenham
Humanists were furnishing. Found a young married shiftless couple, man
got behind with rent and unable to give woman housekeeping money had
walked out of supermarket with goods and been arrested on pavement.
Nov 24th – Cicely on B.B.C. Came over well. Thinks God stores up
messages in aether and hands them out as necessary. She had heard eye
surgeon asking for prayers when waiting for operation and after she went
home had been told her sight was going, switched on and received Psalm
Dec 3rd – Hunt went by house to Tattles where put up three foxes, one
of which slunk cross the field at the back. Scarry said later it was not
much of a day, scent was poor and foxes would not run straight being
more used to dodging round village dustbins !
Dec 6th – Bitter cold, frost. Graham and Burdock trying to dig out old
stump and insert new teak cross but had to give up after an hour.
Graham has done it very nicely and carved the two dates of war 1 and 2
on the cross piece.
Dec 9th – Cheltenham. An hour with Mrs Stow. Said I should be more
imaginative and understanding. Feared C might become obsessed with Mary,
but M did not need psychiatric treatment. Did not hold with leaving
diaries and correspondence to Hilary. Replied 'See me as I am'.
Dec 12th – Last lesson with Damian. Mrs Dockar flatterous. Mary saw in
Oxford Times Cokethorpe School wanted junior geography teacher and rang
up at once and invited over on Tuesday .
Dec 17th – Mr and Mrs Baker (Gertie) to coffee. Gertie semi-paralysed
with an arthritic hip. Surgeon suggests operation on hip but she will
not agree. Old Baker can never leave her and he does not know what will
happen to her if he dies. Difficult to think much of a 'God' who
tortures and cripples his dear harmless Gertie. He was very deaf, but by
dint of much shouting kept the conversation afloat.
and Mrs Baker not the only interesting couple in the village. Mrs
Morse-Stephens and Miss Bould. Mrs M-S breeds horses and was kicked by
one and made hors de combat
but advertised 'comfortable bed sitting room and three good meals a
day.' This attracted Miss B who had lost all her money betting. She was
installed to muck out stables, etc., an elderly dirty old girl in jeans.
Now Mrs M-S has recovered, but Miss B stays on though every now and
then Mrs M-S gives her notice. There are a number of dogs who perform
about the house and Emily Simms goes to muck out them. Miss B wishes to
introduce her dog but is not allowed. Last Xmas Mrs M-S was left with no
Christmas dinner so descended on Miss Simmson of the council estate and
was taken in. Emily Simms, the largest woman in Westcote, works for Mrs
M-S and Vi , so we hear all the gossip. Emily's brother Walter,
conceived very late, shambles about dirty, unshaven and muttering. He
would pass for the village idiot but really too clever to do any work
and none of the Simms pay any income tax.
illegitimacy rate is high. Wendy Coombes at the pub has just been sent
to the nuns at Malvern to have a baby. This the village does not hold
with as they point out that her mother Audrey was a one for the men and
in all probability Wendy herself is not the daughter of Mr Coombes. She
is a blonde and all the rest of the family are dark.
Friday, Dec 19th – Excelsior. Had a lovely time.
Eve – In Stow rang up C to hear if she was back from Wales, but this
rumbled and made a cause of grievance and complaint.
Day – Woke late at 10.30 with very painful gumboil on roof of mouth so
could hardly eat and not use plate. Managed to open presents about
11.15. Hilary phoned. Lise in bed with flu, boys sledging outside.
Hilary sent rather handsome Swedish ornament with blue glass medallions.
Further complaints in morning. 'I must help,' but not revealed how.
chicken, sprouts, bread sauce, mashed potatoes. Strawberry jelly and
cream. No Queen's speech his year but royal family film during lunch
which rather distracting.
the whole one of my less happy Christmases and too much like some in
the 'twenties when we had to go to Uncle Sam's and then Uncle Howard's.
Day – M rather more cheerful but is developing cold. Graham next door
has flu. Sat up late to see a programme on the Windmill Theatre, 'If It
Moves It's Rude'. Nudes all very thin with mostly poor breasts, but some
good bottom waggling.
Dec 28th – Donald and mother to lunch and tea. Two years since I saw
him, four years Ma. She had aged, but he had got enormous ; his belly
hung over his trouser band, his jowls were full and his double chin
large, both smooth, pink and well-shaved. He resembled a porcelain
figure of a Chinese mandarin. His hair was longish at the back and hung
in curls. He does no post mortems now but spends most of his time on
committees administering vast sums of money for building. Says like
Montgomery he never fights unless he has superiority of five to one !
29th – Either Mary had flu or a bad cold. It was bitterly cold and
began to snow, so did chores outside, cat's box, ashes, etc., and got
dustbins round to front. It was too cold to go to post for me and I
could hardly bear to shift bins up side path. Very very quiet this
Christmas, no planes, no traffic on the roads and no pedestrians passing
along. Only the two grandfather clocks ticking in unison broke the
silence. Read James The Golden Bowl
in evening but it was so difficult and sentence construction so
involved that gave it up and turned to Jerome Coignard instead, which
Dec 30th – Mary's cough still bad. At night she suggested sleeping
together. I wouldn't. Did not want to catch her cold and an interesting
interview with President Johnson on. This brought on a nervous crisis
and much weeping. Cherry had told her last Christmas 'I was bored', 'We
were in a dreadful situation', 'We had always gone away for New Year'. I
told her we were hoping to go to Bath next week and I was doing what I
could to help. A nice new year in prospect !
Dec 31st – Got up and made tea. Got Mary's breakfast in bed. Took
temperature, 3 points below normal. Cough still bad. Vi Worgan appeared
so kissed her under the mistletoe as had done Cil Roberts.
1959 – 1969
decade starts with old Macmillan bumbling round, Krushchev bellowing
and buffoonery, and de Gaulle drawing out of Algeria. They have all
faded from the scene. Stalin has been removed from Red Square. It was a
decade of 'demo’s' – C.N.D. [Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament], and the
Aldermarston marches, trouble at the universities. Society became
steadily more licentious. Lady Chatterley, the Pill, James Bond with Fleming's mixture of sex and sadism, the Hippies' 'make love not war'. The two great causes celebres, Profumo and the spy Kim Philby. In the latter part Ted Heath, Douglas Home and Harold Wilson.. Soap operas – The Forsyte Saga.
Enoch Powell and the immigrants. The final abolition of hanging, Mary
Whitehouse and the campaign to clean up radio and tele. The Pope and
birth control. The struggle toward solvency, currency difficulties,
exports. The Cuban crisis and Kennedy. Funeral of Churchill. More cars,
more bingo, more colour supplements.
home marriage difficulties and strains. Retirement from Adlestrop, the
building and move to Long View. Deaths of Maud, Molly and Stephen Atkins
and Mr and Mrs Pierce.
Christmas cards 1969.
Birds, flowers, animals 16 ; Charitable 10, Topography 7 ; Candles, holly, snow 9 ; Religious 17 ; Misc 8 ; Total 67.
Baker, Mr & Mrs - Dec 17. Mr & Mrs Baskerville- Oct 11. Bishop of Gloucester – Feb 2, June 26. Bland, Michael, June 16, Oct 8. Charles, Prince - Mar 1, July 1. Clanfield – Feb 17, Oct 30, Dec 12. Cliffe, Barbara - Oct 31. Copenhagen - July 28 - Aug 7. Clarke, Kenneth - Feb 23, Clayden, Mary (Cherry) - almost every entry. Hatford - Apr 25, June 7. Heath, Donald - Dec 28. Hilary and family - Feb 12, July 29 - Aug 7, Sept 10, Dec 25. Humanists - Nov 18. Lewis, C. Day - Nov 12. Martin, Jeanette - Mar 15. Mary - almost every entry. Moon landing July 20, 21. Nora - Sep 2, 10. Osborne, Mary - Oct 8. Peach, Cyril & Kay - May 26. Pierce, Mrs (Florrie) - Apr 13, 15, 18. Roberts, Mrs, Cicely, Cil, Margaret, Mar 8, Apr 9, July 1, Nov 24. Shakespeare – Apr10. Stratford - Feb 15, 28, Mar 1, Apr 10, May 17, Aug 16, Oct 15, Sudely Hill - Sep 20. Westcote village – Feb 2, May 7, 12, 14, 20, 22, June 26, Oct 11, Dec 3, 6, 17. Worgan, Vi – July 20.