Monday, Jan 4th - To Stow and Bourton. One of the finest hoar frosts I have ever seen. Trees encased in rime from top to bottom. Afternoon sun made no impression on it.
Wednesday, Jan 6th - Frost and fog continue with another slight fall of snow. A disappointing letter from Dr Barton. With capital my income amounts to £1?700 p. a. (including earnings at Cokethorpe and Mary’s capital). Ought with this income to have more cash. Ought to try to economise, but how?
Tuesday, Jan 12th - Clanfield. Luckily Jeremy is going on this term so shall not have the unspeakable ‘Tosh’ by herself. Mrs D. explained she does not want to be taught, which explained a good deal. However got money for last term.
Nora, just back from Copenhagen, rings up; reported Hilary and Lise are looking at farms and may buy one. Nicholas is learning to read, but Danish rather than English.
Thursday, Jan 14th - Clanfield then Excelsior for lunch, siesta, tea; Read ‘Islands in the Stream’ but we both wept! There is such tremendous tension in the prose and the dialogue.
Saturday, Jan 16th - After tea Mary started up about C and her birthday. She seemed to be annoyed because we had arranged not to meet for three weeks without first consulting her. You can’t win.
Sunday, Jan 17th - The government knowing how unpopular the electricity workers’ strike was reckons the strike at the Post Office will just as unpopular and the union will cave in for want of strike funds, so they are following a policy of inactivity. In Singapore, Heath, who seems to me as ignorant, obstinate and cocksure as Neville Chamberlain, is engaged in dissolving the Commonwealth over the sale of arms to S. Africa.
Thought for the day: ‘The British Raj was of so short duration that those in remote parts had never heard of its existence by the time it ended!!’
Monday, Jan 18th - I have lost my fourth successive penknife and although it may turn up I bought another. I could not get one with rings to open. It had been on order for months, but ‘as it was made in England not Japan it has never arrived’ the salesman remarked with gloom.
Wednesday, Jan 20th - Up 6.30 with alarm clock and off to London. Arrived Paddington 10.0. District Line to Tower Hill. Flagged taxi, a foreigner, presented him with prepared list of six churches, knew none of them and refuse fare. Went to taxi rank, found driver who was doubtful because he said they were in narrow and congested lanes but he was willing to try and had a map. Took us first to St Olave’s, Hart St, Samuel Pepys’ church.... next to St Stephens’, Walbrook, which the taxi man knew … Then to St Vedast, Foster Lane, burnt in 1940, now restored....to All Hallows’ London Wall, very elegant....and to St Mary’s, Woolnoth, sumptuous, Hannah More and Wilberforce worshipped there.
By now felt several warning pains in chest, so took heart pill and drove to National Gallery for lunch. Taxi charged 40/- and gave him 10/- which pleased him. He was typical humorous Cockney and though he did not enter any of them he was pleased when we described them and said how good they were.
After lunch went to see a Pepys exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, a good collection of restoration portraits and pictures and a mock up of his bedroom.... A tape recording of his song ‘Beauty retire’ and a flute recital were being performed which was pleasant, and after all there was Nellie bare to the navel and well nippled to look at!
Sunday, Jan 24th - Had to go over to the Miss Leopold’s to see her photographs of a trip to ski in Austria. A very boring and egotistical talker who is short of listeners and has fastened on Mary. This disastrous commonwealth conference has ended. Saw Heath on the telly. He was very subdued and had obviously taken an awful beating, but like Neville Chamberlain he was determined nothing could make him change his mind or modify his plans. The Africans felt that their best hope was Douglas Home, whose attitude is much less arrogant and offensive than Heath’s.
Tuesday, Jan 26th - Clanfield. Back to lunch. After tea off to White Hart Hotel, Buckingham. Dinner sole a la bonne femme. To bed and a long .... Wednesday: Pouring rain but off to Dunstable and Whipsnade. Advised to take car in there had place practically to ourselves. Saw lions, tigers, bears, wolves and very smelly baby hippo. Minute steak for supper and second successful .... on M’s birthday - 61. Thursday: A better day and off to Waterways Museum on the Grand Union Canal. Home to tea and found house had got very cold. Hotel B & B £4 - 8s, total £15 - 5s - 4d.
Saturday, Jan 30 - Woke up to find it snowing. Did not go out all day. Reading Corelli Barnet on Jutland in The Swordbearers - the decadence of post-1870 Victorian Britain reflected in the decadence of the Royal Navy, the ‘Nelson tradition’, the quelling of all initiative in the name of ‘discipline’, recruitment from a limited rural class, inferior technology, which produced the failures on the Dogger Bank and Jutland. Fascinating but depressing reading.
Friday, Feb 5th - Arrive Excelsior 1.20; C arrives 3.30 looking very smart in new black and white skirt and black polo sweater. Says she loves teaching at this private school in Kensington, small classes, upper crust young ladies. Pleasant staff who wish to confide in her life stories. We had not met for three weeks and had plenty to talk about.
Wednesday, Feb 10th - Oxford. Bus to Iffley Road for appointment at Cowley Fathers with Father T. Manson at 2.30. Put in guest room and soon Toby appeared. Quite talkative, but rather deaf. Produced Keble jubilee photograph, a great success, spent a long time identifying people. Was then shown church again (Last there for High Mass in 1917 or 19) and then invited into refectory for tea. Told if anyone came in we could not talk, but no one did so we did! Toby no doubt very holy and an ace ‘retreat’ talker, but so unworldly that he’s not much interested in anything you’ve got to say though, he goes through the motions like so many parsons. Knew the Roberts, mother, father and bishop, and been to Westcote. The Cowley Fathers once owned St John’s Cottage.
Sunday, Feb 14 - The Post Office negotiating with unions at last so perhaps will stop strike. We have had no letters for a month.
Monday, Feb 15th - Decimal day. Went into bank in Cheltenham and got a handful of the small bright new minted copper coins, much smaller and neater than old penny and halfpenny. Geraldine’s for lunch, gave the waitress 3p for a tip - much mirth.
Wednesday, Feb 17th - Paddington 11.30. Met Con outside National Gallery. Took her to National Portrait Gallery, had lunch in cafeteria. I thought she had aged a lot in the last year, but she was still as amusing as ever. Brought me a sprig of rosemary, to which I replied ‘Message received.’ Had been chatted up and plied with Benedictine by a Frenchman in Holland. Had told him, ‘J’ai soixante dix ans,’ to which had had replied, ‘Mais vous êtes dynamique.’ Sat in Italian part of Gallery and occasionally burst into peels of laughter. Told me woman head of comprehensive school in Braintree told boys in Assembly, ‘You must not play with your balls where the girls can see you’ and could not understand why they laughed. Embraced outside the Gallery. Has a lodger in her basement. On going down to say goodnight remarked, ‘Of course, dear, hands and faces only now!’
Friday, Feb 19th - To Excelsior, C arrived about 4.0. Public relations woman wanted to infiltrate when we were drinking sherry to find out why we use hotel!! Refuse to be interviewed and ring reception to complain.
Wednesday, Feb 24 - Fine weather continues. Glass high, night frost. Set out for Faringdon and Coxwell Great Barn, spectacular C13th erection. Barn is in use, but main door open. When roof was restored in 1961 had to strip sides in equal patches in case building keeled over!
Sunday, Feb 28th - Set off to Francis Hotel, Bath, which reached in 1 hour 40 minutes for lunch. Spanish waiters we remembered from 1969 still there. About four went out to Fortes to get tea. Being Sunday it was closed. To Pump Room, packed. Got a table but service awful, waited 30 minutes or more. What a country! Returned to hotel for bath a deux.
Monday, March 1st - A dull sleety day and very cold. Stourhead as planned no good so set off for Wells. Returned for another bath and dinner, steak and Beaujolais. I had bought a bunch of snowdrops to commemorate St David’s Day, 1940. The room was nice and warm and dimly. We went to bed naked and slept well.
Saturday, March 6th - A scarifying north easter with snow flurries. Reading all day ‘The Chamberlain Cabinet’, Ian Colvin. Those fatuous old men and Chamberlain, ignorant and conceited and prejudiced, in effect a dictator who made his own decisions and told his cabinet of them afterwards.
Sunday, March 7th - Had to devise means of getting to phone box. Decided to call on Mr Baker. Thus ‘unusual’ enough to be rumbled. Admitted this, but told it violated ‘our’ weekend. This was news to me. The customary inquest. C compared to spider lurking under a stone ready to dart out at any time.
Went to see Mr Hale in Stow. It looks as if Rector has always had the right to put effluent into drain anyway, so all this correspondence like so much else in connection with the hall has been a waste of time.
Wednesday, March 10th - Am getting worried about h cost of living. With the resumption of he post yesterday the bills are coming in and tough I paid in £70 yesterday I do not know how I shall balance my account.
Friday, March 12th - Much to my surprise to-night Graham came in and said on Monday night ready to erect war memorial. They have had to smash up concrete base so will have to cast a new one. It has been going on for two years.
Saturday, March 13th - Mary came in with the Times and said that Sir Llewellyn Woodward had died on Thursday in the Radcliffe. I was sad for he was the only survivor of the dons I had known from my undergraduate days. At Christmas he wrote to say that we would forgather at The Lamb, Burford, when the weather was warmer. Now it seems we shall forgather at the Styx.
Sunday, March 14th - Asked Clive Carpenter to tea and went to fetch him. A polymath on anything connected with the church, geography or local government. Told how Farrer, warden of Keble, used to forget his place in service in chapel. Organist played chant for creed, nothing happened, played it again, nothing, so at last server prompted warden: ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, Warden!’ ‘Do you indeed,’ said Farrer, ‘How surprizing. So do I!’
Monday, March 15th - Raising of war memorial cross by Messrs Kitchin and Burdock after two years in Graham’s garage. Mike Coombes attended and Rector, but also a gaggle of bawling children including two red haired boys who seemed to pay no attention to anyone and I strongly suspect they may interfere with the concrete base before it has had time to set. I put a new 2d piece in the concrete.
Tuesday, March 16th - A poem from Con, by Elizabeth Jennings:
Such love I cannot analyse;
It does not rest in lips or eyes,
neither in kisses nor caress.
Partly, I know, it's gentleness.
And understanding in one word
or in brief letters. It's preserved
by trust and by respect and awe.
These are the words I'm feeling for.
Two people, yes, two lasting friends.
The giving comes, the taking ends.
There is no measure for such things.
For this all nature slows and sings.
Tuesday, March 23rd - Tenders for hall arrived, about £4,000, which leaves us with £400 to get. Scarry gloomy.
Tuesday, March 30th - More trouble, charged with meeting C “in our week” and pestered when trying to have a siesta. M thinks going to Venice to meet C and told me Dr King had advised her to leave me. Reckon I should leave Dr King! The inquest went on 8 - 10 pm but as usual got nowhere. Ventured to try to indicate that matrimony need not necessarily end independence, but told I had chosen an isolated patch with no buses and so entirely dependent on me for transport.
Friday, April 2 - Hamilton & Oakes tender accepted for Hall.
Wednesday, April 7th - A funny day. Visited Mrs Baker after parish meeting on Monday to ask her to clear footpath across the field and got a counterblast. When she put up her milking parlour one lot complained, then later there were complaints because the milk lorry went over the verges, and now the footpath ‘by a lot of old biddies who had nothing better to do!’ In evening saw Rector and Scarry about getting guarantees for hall. £20 suggested and Scarry says letters should go to working class, not just ‘nobility and gentry’, but we shall see what they cough up. Not much I guess.
Easter Monday, April 12th - At tea raised ‘Venice problem’. M gave doubtful assent to visit. C had told her would not go to Venice with Paul and Lyn, but might have to go with PIlatus. Of course I was left to screw all this down with Cherry. So looks as if after all this unnecessary ‘blood and tears’ we may go after all.
Saturday, April 17th - Sowed row of runner beans and French beans - probably too early and on the cold side, but we shall see. Need as many veg as possible when the Danes come.; Gill and Jan to tea. Jane left emergency Italian with Mary in case I had a heart attack.
Venice, Monday, April 26th to Monday, May 10th - Alarm 6.0; ff with Cil 7.20. Train 7.48. Plane a little late but off 12.30. Circle Venice and see the island and the Grand Canal like an inverted S. To Piazzale Roma, where put in launch for Ala. By side canal to backdoor, found ourselves in palatial hall. Given small dark room with beds behind one another. Complain. Given room with 3 single beds and a bidet screened by a curtain. Settle for this. Tuesday, Apr 27th - To Fenice and got two seats for Carmen in 3rd gallery. Unfortunately side place and could only see corner of stage. Lush production, but what with craning to see and people standing at back breathing in your hair, I got very tired and was glad to leave after Act II and return to hotel. Wednesday, Apr 28th - Academia, wonderful gallery, “Too much ecstasy!” Book Gondola Serenade. Thursday - Shaved by barber at St Zaccaria but very expensive; can’t afford it again. After dinner found hotel where I stayed with the Crab in 1922, found with some difficulty found point of departure and off. Up Grand Canal. An accordion and male singer; gondoliers also joined in and made a good row. Comments by spectators from upstairs windows. Back by ten. Friday - Woken by loud hailer and shouting. A strike procession past hotel to Gritti. Strikers return with whistles, drums, banners, placards and two policemen. Walk to Giovanni & Paola. Light a candle for Crab and see pictures. Saturday, May 1st - Public transport closed. Crowds everywhere. To San Marco along Riva and to San Giovanni in Bragora to see visitors off two big liners. Tried what I thought was fried fish but in fact squids! Like sponge rubber. Drinks at Campo Morisini. Rounds of whisky sour. Sunday - High Mass in San Marco. Dull preacher, read manuscript in Italian. Later to Ca d’Oro to Madonna del Orto. Lovely, lovely tourist free area. Charming Gothic church. Tomb by Tintoretto. Tablet on wall recording English help from Florence flood relief to church. Proud that I subscribed! Monday - Wake up to pouring rain. Snack bar. Roast chicken. Siesta. After tea penetrate to Italia Nostra but woman speaks no English. Tuesday - Sunshine. To Ca d’Oro and to Geoniti, pass city of cats where the live on Fondamento where they occupy empty house. Church, then Madonna ‘for ever upholding my small redeeming love’!! Wednesday, May 5th - Decide to go to Padua by bus. Get off at Eremitani. Bombed and burnt out but restored and a trace of Mantegna frescoes. Town traffic bad and full of young men and women carrying books and good bookshops. Bus to Venice. Home to tea. Tried Campari but tasted like cough mixture. Thursday - Vicenza 10.36 from station. Taxi to Villa Val Marama ai Nani standing on a ridge with lovely yellowy green landscape from windows and first rate wall paintings by Tiepolo. Taxi took us back to square. As we walked across it all the Italian males appeared to be looking in our direction, but it was really a personable wench in very short black ‘hot pants’ that was the attraction. Church with lovely Bellini baptism you could illuminate. 5.17 to Venice. Friday - Burano. Look for sandolo. Speak to young rather crippled man, who conducts us about half a mile to cottage from which he produces oars and a rather dirty rug for the floor. We get in starts across the lagoon as polished and still as glass to the distant island of San Francesco del Resato. Our young man works hard and presently we lands us at a kind of jetty with a walk along a wall full of lizards to the Friary. Shut till three so lie down under a cypress and have a sleep. Lunch. We ring and are shown round y a friendly friar. Pope John XXIII when patriarch used to come here for retreats we are told. The Friary has a telephone saw Mary with relief for she was afraid we would be marooned. However, punctually at 3.40 the sandolo arrived. We embarked, assisted by an aged winkle picker who appeared from nowhere and held the boat, then held round his capacious hat! Very exhausted. Could hardly make the Strada Nuova but revived by a Martini. Saturday - Across lagoon to Fusina. The famous view of Venice astern is hid in mist. We come suddenly rounding a bend and almost hidden by weeping willows like the palace of the Sleeping Beauty on the Villa Malcontenta. We pass many other villas on the bank but none as beautiful as this. Enjoyment somewhat impaired by refuse of bottles, plastic containers, paper and general kitchen waste through which we plough our way. Lunch at canal side restaurant - grilled trout after pasta, wine and coffee. Off again to Stra. This an enormous villa on he other side of the road that runs along the canal. Here first meeting between Mussolini and Hitler. Punctually we reach Padua where bus is waiting to take a coach which we board for Venice. Reach hotel soon after eight. Sunday - To San Marco to be photographed and to buy sandals. Back to Academia, free and not overcrowded. What a marvellous gallery. Then to find Locanta Manthon. Very pleasant garden. Restaurant gradually filled with Venetian families with prams and children out for a Sunday meal. As the waiters got busier the service got worse and worse so that in the end we cut our meal short and left. After siesta and tea took gondola from Gritti to San Giovannni e Paolo to attend the Patriarch 6.30 p.m. mass. The Patriarch bustled in at a good round trot preceded chaps in coat and pant, his cardinals skull cap well over one ear. The music was not as good as San Marco and the ‘short discourse’ on S. Catherine of Sienna was a bit too long, but he made the congregation with a good many religions laugh. Monday, May 10th - Called at 5.30. Strike so no coffee. Take off for Milan 8.5. An hour in the airport lounge and off at 10.15. Touch down 12.15. Catch 1.48 for Kingham and home soon after 3 for tea.
The Bill! £232 transport and demi-pension hotel 14 days, say £312 in all approx. Good value. Also second suit not necessary for opera and too many underclothes. Next time shall travel light!
Wednesday, May 19th - Oxford Society dinner in Cheltenham. Good dinner and pleasant company. Don from St Peter’s College said land in Oxford 1m an acre. Told us we may have lost an empire, but we lead the world in sculpture, painting, music and drama.
Friday, May 21st - Motor mower trouble. Grass too long and M as usual very pessimistic but got it down pretty well. Looks as if Common Market in the bag. Hear Heath speaks French with a quite grotesque accent, worse than Churchill’s!! ‘Prenez garde! Je vais parler français’ he used to say.
Thursday, May 27th - Clanfield. Called in at Alvescott. The Colonel and Rev. Gamble doing well. John Milton Tilley a two-page spread in the Oxford Times. The Trout by 12.45, where C waiting after five weeks. To Oxford Motel. Siesta, tea, share bath.
Wednesday, June 3rd - To Chippenham to see the Wilk in her new bungalow. Neat red brick and tiny back garden. Two years since we had seen her. Older, greyer, more lined and thinner, but, we both felt, less nervous and pernickety and more relaxed. Met her two friends Cassie and Wendy who lived a few yards away. Wendy a most beautiful woman with a lovely face but had let her body go so bulged everywhere. Fell for her! Marjorie had done wonders with the garden. Got back at 6.0 after 97 miles;
Thursday, June 3rd - To Stow where managed to get a ‘gewgaw’ broach of a shamrock for C and posted for our 3rd anniversary of June 6th 1968.
This afternoon went to visit Cotswold Farm Park Rare Breed Survival Centre near Guiting. Most interesting pre C19 breeds - longhorn cattle, nearest direct descendant of wild cattle, Soay sheep (neolithic goat like) White Chillingham cattle, etc etc.
Llewellyn’s will in Times. Left £82,000 but death duties took £64,000.
Tuesday, June 15th - To Church Mission Festival to commemorate jubilee of Rector Leadbetter’s ordination. Church packed though hardly any from Westcote, and all the trimmings and capers - incense, damatic, candles, etc etc. A portly colonel acted as thurifer and we had an efficient ceremoniarius. Ten or more local clergy, one at organ. Hymns hearty. We then went to Icombe village hall for coffee and buns. Talked to the devildodgery.
Wednesday, June 23rd - After supper suggested on Friday should go to Keble Dinner and stay in Oxford. This refused. Again would I give her up? Was sleeping with Mary a bore? Did I only do it out of duty? Went on in the bedroom to 12.30 when Mary retired having threatened suicide! M says cannot ask people to house as will see her unhappiness.
Monday, June 28th - Stow. Learnt a civic society is mooted there, sponsored by King, Cox Howman and the Rector - medical, legal, clerical! In afternoon to Widford, Swinbrook, Astall - the Windrush Valley Festival. Widford newly decorated and tea in a barn at Manor House trhere which has a pleasant garden. All green, remote and pleasant.
Wednesday, June 30th - 7.46 for Paddington, arrive 9.30. Wallace Collection. 1.15 ‘Death in Venice’, a haunting film, Leicester Square. Mary did not realise it was a study in homosexuality and could not understand why a ‘girl’ of 14 not developed in chest though when in bathing dress clearly developed elsewhere! Off at 3.30 for Fulham Palace. Driver a jolly Londoner hadn’t a clue and thought it was Lambeth and Southwark. Eventually arrived to find Mearas assembled, went hastily in to tea marquee but very inferior to Lambeth Palace, though gardens better. Caught 8.15 and home about 10.
Saturday, July 3rd - Yesterday and to-day very hot. London four degrees warmer than Venice. Black currants have lost leaves through grey blight and i suspect fruit will be no good. Strawberries fine and we have had a number. Kitchen garden - lettuce, beans, peas, carrots, spinach, French beans, runners, potatoes.
Sunday, July 4th - To Tewkesbury to hear Charles-Edwards, ex Bp of Worcs, No 5 in Keble VIII I coxed in 1922, preach sermon. C-E processed in mitre, preached quite a good sermon relating it to history of Abbey, and after mass went out blessing people and stood at West door. Here went up to him, but he had become very ‘wuffy’ and was obviously an athlete gone to seed, he'd let his hair grow long with white side whiskers. He was bonhomous in the rather insincere way the clergy have to be. I did not learn much except that he is living in Ludlow.
Monday, July 5th - Yetseday’s heat too much for Maurice Bowra who died of a heart attack in Wadham. So he and Woodward both is same year. All my contemporaries going one after the other.
Tuesday, July 13th - Phone call from Hilary at Aylesbury. Had got on well and would be here for supper. When they arrived we heard there had been a long queue at at the car ferry and they had almost missed the boat. Jacob and Lise in spare room, Nicholas and Hilary in tent on back lawn. Friday, July 16th - Yesterday to Chedworth Roman Villa. Picnic and fire. To-day shopping in morning, Cotswold Park Farm in p.m.
Saturday, July 17th - Morning consulting Mr Dupre about bottle stall, counting and lifting up to Millais’ Manor House. Had got bottles. Sat (or stood) there 3 - 5 and made £23.70 - the highest of any stall, the next produce, £20.34. The village men went for the hard stuff, whisky and rum, and the women got a mild gambling fever. Generally the men got the deodorants and the women the after shave lotions. The Millias’ garden with its Italian lead statuary delightful. There was bowling for a ham, pony rides, a coconut shy - the nuts were bad! and teas. I enjoyed it rather more than I had anticipated for my partner Mr Dupre was a charming man and got back soon after 5 o’clock very pleased if tired with standing. Sunday, July 18th - To get and divide £130 from Rectory brother in law. Hall had £100, guides £30 for their Swiss trip. Old Bitchie (Mrs Blackwell) has started a feud with the new rector who has, she alleges, got the architect to alter the plan for the hall to his advantage, but don’t want to get involved in the quarrels of this village beldame! Scarry thought £100 poor though his Gymkhana only bought in £60 - 70. To celebration lunch for Hilary and Lise’s 10th anniversary at Manor House, Moreton. Drank two bottles of Asti Spumante, 5 adults and two children, cost £13!
Monday, July 19th - Wildlife Park for tea. Planes flying at night. Tuesday, July 20th - Nora taken by Hilary etc to Jenny Tydeman at Higham. Back for supper. Wednesday, July 21st - To Ragley. 28 miles. Walked with Nicholas to lake. Friday, July 23rd - Fishing ticket and maggots for Nicholas from Moreton. fishing in lake at Adlestrop, very weedy, no catch. Made tea and fire and back about 7 p.m. Saturday, July 24th - To Much Ado with Hilary in my car. Sunday, July 25th - Were to go on to Tewkesbury but Lise did not feel up to it so they went to the ‘Family Service’ at Bourton, which Hilary described as ‘a hard sell.’ Chicken and Sauterne and black currant pudding. Then rather reluctantly out to Windrush valley. Went down to river and Nicholas and Jacob floated bottles down stream and paddled. Sat against a bank in sound of water and watched the sun on the water and felt content. Monday, July 26th - After tea took Hilary, Jacob and Nicholas to see Butters. Jacob was shy and silent (for once), Nicholas very sweet and took Cecily’s hand and C and Hilary discussed Christian Socialism in the 1900s. Tuesday, July 27th - Danes up early, taking down tent and loading car. Jacob misbehaved at breakfast and was sent out howling but shortly Lise goes out and coddle and comfort him when what he really needs is damned good shaking and slapping. About 11 they left for Nora’s, I gave Nicholas my little rubber cat to remind him of Mr Badger who for the last fortnight has contracted out and settled for his hide-out in the field across the road. Sad to see them go.
Wednesday, July 28 - To-day exhaustion hit us! Felt utterly shagged out. Weather, too, muggy and humid did not help.
Sunday, Aug 1st - Lilies out at last in porch but signs of autumn - swallows on telegraph wires, butterflies on budleia, runner beans. Oh dear! Oh dear! If autumn comes winter is not far behind!
5.30 watched tele pictures of men taking samples of rocks on moon. Saw the lunar mountain ranges. The men moved with kind of hopping motion we used in brine baths in Droitwich.
Monday, Aug 2nd - Inspected Hall. Looks much better with ceiling in. Bitchie came to complain of rector altering plans.
Wednesday, Aug 4th - This day should be kept a day of mourning, the day we entered the futile war of 1914 - 18 and handed over a generation to be massacred by those fools of generals in 1916 and 1917.
Thursday, Aug 5th - Editors of Oz given prison sentence for obscenities in school number, their hair cut. Hippy and wierdy protests outside law court and judge burned in effigy. Sentence clearly a deterrent against permissive fringe. Do not approve!
Saturday, Aug 7th - Yesterday a call from M’s cousin Sally in Canada, a friend was staying in Eynsham. Would we like to make his acquaintance. A Mr Archibald from British Colombia. Rang him up and as he seemed quiet asked him to lunch. Met in in Burford. A tall grave white haired man working at Oxford on (?]Armadanus Marcellino, a fourth century Latin writer. Had two sons in Canada and worked at University of British Columbia. A nice man but a bit heavy going.
Saturday, Aug 14th - Gymkhana. On gate 9.30 - 12 and 2.30 - 3.30. The county young and the villagers boozing beer in the tent with swarms of children. Took £26 at the gate. A comic football match between youths and girls and an interesting driving event for dog carts and wagonettes.
Thursday, Aug 9th - To see Duchess of Malfi at Stratford. Last saw a day before the end of the European war in 1945 with Nora.
Saturday, Aug 21st - To Stratford to see Merchant of Venice, a good production. Shylock very good indeed, better than Eric Portman in 1965 - Portia, Judy Dench, perhaps not so good.
Monday, Aug 30th - Bank Holiday. Down to Oddington Church to see flower festival but quickly came out. The church silent and deserted has great atmosphere; this was destroyed by crowds of people and the bawling vicar bombinating on the wall painting - a dreadful man.
Thursday Sept 9 - C picked me up on the main road and we drove in her car to BlenheIm and parked outside the palace and then went down to the shade of the beeches beside the lake. It was sunny yet the wind was cool. ‘The poetry of earth is never dead’ as Keats wrote. We had our lunch and drank a bottle of Graves. Not many people came down to the lake, but there were a young couple not far from us on the grass. After lunch C remarked ‘Copulation is about to begin’. M’sier was lying on top of M’selle, but no! They both took their clothes off and completely naked climbed the fence and went and paddled in the lake. I thought it was rather charming. The lady soon resumed her clothes, but for some time the boy ran about and vaulted over the fence; ‘I shall write to His Grace,’ I said. After that we went back to Excelsior and made tea.
Chichester, Monday, Sept 13th to 20th - Start 9.15. Park Winchester and walk to Cathedral. Walk round. Lovely but tiring. Arrive Chichester about 4.30. Bedford Hotel in South Street. Delightful room with big window framing an almond tree. Dark dining room painted in Bursar’s blood. Tuesday - Fishbourne Roman Palace; huge, nothing else like it in England. Labelled and explained in best museum style by Southampton University. The Cathedral dirty but impressive. New John Piper tapestry at East End. Tottered out exhausted and failed to find good tea place. Wednesday - Boxgrove Priory, Norman and Early English. Bignor Villa. New museum opened by D of Norfolk. Fine pavements. Then Hardham, small church with wall paintings, and Parham. Elizabethan. Fine Great Hall with excellent portraits of Queen, Leicester, Surrey and Essex. The great chamber with reputed bed of Queen of Scots with beautifully embroidered canopy. Most impressive of all the Long Gallery. A first class cream tea with strawberry jam and hot scones. Chichester 5.30. Thursday - Off to Arundel 11.30. Picnic lunch. Up to castle. Out exhausted at 2.30. Norman and Eric Attrill arrive for dinner. Strike me as good sort of people - prison visiting etc. Norman much more confident and sure of himself. Friday - Train to Brighton. Taxi Pavilion. Had forgotten colour and fantasy. Walk to English fish restaurant, white wine and lobster mayonnaise. Nearly £5 but worth it. Pier. Deck chairs till 3.30, tea, taxi to St Bartholomew’s, last visited in 1915. Saturday - Bosham, Harold’s church. Village given up to yachtsmen. Petworth. House not crowded. See ‘the Beauty Room’. Into park to see deer. Home by West Dean. In evening walk round floodlit Cathedral. Sunday - Room very full at breakfast. Cathedral 10. Mattins followed by mass. Lunch hotel. Uppark. House shabby but lovely. Monday, Sept 20th - Hotel bill £43.50 plus 10% - £47.80. Called at Hatford. Grandpa’s grave thick with white cyclamen. Home for tea.
Sunday, Sept 29th - Michael Collard to lunch. Filled out. Acting as concierge for strange ?maladjusted psychologist who cannot manage house. Said how incompetent young teachers are. Remembered ‘the boneless wonder’ at Henley whom I managed to persuade to resign. One man was made permanent instead of temporary owing to a mistake at the office and is practically unemployable, so is drawing a salary for doing nothing.
Thursday, Oct 7th - Yesterday Wm Waller and Marjorie came to tea from Blockley. Wm is such a bore that did not look forward to his appearance but when left alone with him kept off politics and got him on to his journey east-west across Africa from Nairobi to Kano. Heard how backward the Belgian Congo and how bloody minded and hostile the French.
A wit said in the nineteenth century the question about a woman was ‘will she or won’t she’, to-day it is ‘can she or can’t she’.
Thursday, Oct 14th - Much looking forward to Othello at Stratford to-day and was not disappointed as with Robeson and Gielgud. Brewster Mason as the Moor a fine figure of a man, brown not black, was magnificent, and Iago, acted as a Nazi type N.C.O. by Emlyn Williams, good too. Desdemona (Liza Harrow) and Beatrice (Elizabeth Spriggs) excellent. Iago a compulsive cigar smoker. A lovely touch the bugle call and the lowering of the flag on the fortress at night so the play ended with the call, the flag and the firing of a volley, and the coming of the night. I confess I was so moved I wept.
Friday, Oct 15th - Said in Radio Times today that Rev. Gamble’s school has had to close down, riddled with drugs. He has been living in the building without any services but has sold the story to Tuesday’s Documentary. Shall not be able to see it as going to Tewkesbury with Father Littledale.
Saturday, Oct 16th - This afternoon we saw a historical pageant of Persian history deployed before a number of heads of state among the ruins of Persepolis, including Princess Ann and the Duke. Commentators pointed out that the great square Assyrian beards were not false but had taken six months to grow. The Gulf sheiks, a villainous looking lot, were clearly bowled over by a goose stepping body of Persian WAACS.
Anyway an attempt to put Persia on the map as a middle ranking power and wipe out the humiliation they suffered when the present Shah’s father was removed by G.B and the Russians in 1941.
Sunday, Oct 24th - To Tewkesbury to dedication Festival of Abbey, 1121 - 1971, sermon by Dr Sopford, Bp of London, who had done his prep and spoke on Benedictine rule etc. Had all dedication hymns that moved me so much at St Michael’s, Walthamsow - ‘Blessed City, Heavenly Salem’, ‘Of the Father’s Love Begotten’, ‘Alleluia Sing to Jesus’. The Bp of London has such protruding lips that Mary was convinced he had a moustache but on closer examination in procession agreed he didn’t.
Wednesday, Oct 27th - Common Market vote tomorrow evening. Government pretty sure of satisfactory majority. Spectator carried cartoon and seemed to think distinctive British way of life threatened. This is listed as Civil Service, an unarmed police, civil control of army. We were well ordered, law abiding, tolerant, proud of our history and compared favourably in all these respects with the Six! Our Church listed as a further consideration. Wonder tourists think it safe to go out of these islands! Thursday, Oct 28th - At 10.10 heard we are in Europe. Labour rebels voting with feet gave them a majority of 112 for entry. Am fed up with Wilson making capital out of a great turning in our national history.
Monday, Nov 1st - A lovely summer morning. Did some digging with Mary’s help. In p.m. took hickories to eccentric Olive Blackham at her barn at Roel. Gave us tea as usual, but a tiring woman as she repeatedly bursts into peels of laughter without much cause, but definitely life enhancing.
Sunday, Nov 7th - A great day. Len and Mrs Hayes brought over by Raymond and his wife. Mrs H when she got out of the car purple with cold but all dolled up in a nice suit, pearl necklace, etc. Len much older (76) rather stooping, bowlegged and pot bellied, but just the same mentally, amusing and full of Shakespearian cracks and jokes. Mary gave them a very nice lunch with shandy and we sat and chatted till four thirty, when Raymond returned for tea. Len described his childhood as a helper to his father, the Sexton at Holy Trinity, digging graves and ‘ringing for King Ted’ for an hour by himself while his father went to the pub! and delivering newspapers before school and getting breakfast on the way from a friendly cook. His old dad lived to 92 ‘so we’ve got a long way to go.’
Saturday, Nov 13th - 8.39 to Paddington. Met Con at National Portrait Gallery. Lunch. By taxi to Westminster Abbey. Sat in north transept. Evensong with full choir. Back to National Gallery for tea and wander round gallery to 5.30. Con full of good stories, especially friend on Dartmoor who turned into a goat! A goat? Yes. Hair sprouting on cheeks, teeth worn down to stumps and sleeps in goat house.
Tuesday, Nov 16th - Listening to journalists and economists on unemployment. One wonders if any of them really know what they are doing or can forecast with any degree of accuracy what the effect of any action will be or how long it will take.
Monday, Nov 22nd - Bitterly cold with n.e. gale but no snow yet. See disagreeable Mrs R. Coombes, secretary of Hall committee, getting a quorum hard work as always. Ring Miss Walker at Gloucester. Usual civil service bullshit about forms which makes me swear. To doctor to get flu jab. Very keen to get them, but only 80% protection.
Sunday, Nov 28th - Man at door to housewife: ‘Are you converted?’ Housewife: ‘No. I am a practising member of the C of E.’ Man: ‘I’m from the Gas Board.’
Fat old Lord Goodman, a solicitor, and Douglas Home have done a deal with Ian Smith. Most of the press welcome it, but not The Observer. This is a deal between whites, like the Czechs at Munich the Africans have not been consulted. Their leaders are still in prison. Can Smith be trusted? No. Will the settlement be rejected by the extremists behind Smith? Quite likely. Is it a sell out? Very probably.
Went round to see Vi Worgan about caretaker for the hall. Her school were doing a nativity play. One day the the attendant on one of the wise men remarked to King: “If you don’t move faster I’ll shove my toe up your arse!”
Sunday, Dec 5th - The first Xmas card arrived today, from Margaret Sheehan in Calgary, Canada. Sent off book about Nelson to Hazel in Zurich.
Wednesday, Dec 8th - On going off to meet C, Mary asked if I would not have lunch with C on December 20th as she did not want her Christmas sabotaged.
Saturday, Dec 11th- Told M not having lunch with C in Christmas week but instead of being pleased began to cross question me. Had I been meeting C at Clanfield? Were we sleeping together. Saw no end to interrogation which seemed very unjustified so went out to car and despite expostulations set off. To Wild Life Park where saw puma cats, then to Witney where in dense crowds bought soap, razor, face towel, paper and envelopes and sent M a telegram. Ducklington sandwiches and shandy. Abingdon, Sutton Courtney, hotels no good, returned to Clifton Hampden where saw ‘Riverside Hotel’. Booked room. It was ghastly roadhouse, brassy pub. The lights were all red, fell down stairs but fortunately unhurt. No tie, all goods in paper bag labelled Boots. Managed to ring C and record address on Ansaphone. About 6 she got in from Cambridge and rang my room. Was I glad to hear her voice! Had an indifferent dinner by which time the bar and hotel overflowing with drinkers, then payed for dinner (they did not charge for room) and followed C to 76 Reading Road. Slept very little that night.
Sunday, Dec 123th - Posted letter from G.P.O., Reading, cancelling engagements and asking for pills. Monday - Rang Westcote hourly 10 - 2.00. No answer. No answer. Worried. Learnt later M to carol service with Cil. Wednesday - Ansaphone from M. Will I ring. Spend an hour arguing on phone to no purpose. Thursday - No 2 letter posted. Friday - M rang up. Long talk. Read my letter as not arrived. Posts awful. Seem to be making progress. Read Newby and send C to sleep! Sunday, Dec 19th - Rang up M but got bogged down in qualifications and got nowhere. Monday - Letter from M. Wednesday - No letter. Thursday, Dec 23rd - No letter, rang up, though a point of interpretation raised, as I feared it might be, thought it better to skip it and return to Long View. Got home about 2.30. Then siesta. After tea tackled mail and Christmas cards.
Christmas Day - Very mild but dull. After breakfast opened presents. Two ties, one Keble from Mary. Gave her a book of Oxford photos and marrons glacé. Hilary £5. Cecily book token and Cil purse. Chicken and Asti Spumante which went off with a good pop, Christmas pudding, then siesta.
Sunday, Dec 26th - Off to Tewkesbury 9.45. Mass well conducted and found hymns I knew so well as child. Beat it home by 1.30 as cafés shut.
Boxing Day, Dec 27th - Roberts in to sherry. Got on well. Found them more friendly and less superior in attitude. Won 5d from Mary who betted Mary R would not come. In the evening Betty Leopold in, bleating away till I asked her how she kept her trousers up!
Thursday, Dec 30th - Cheltenham though blizzard threatened. Managed to ring C who has been very worried as thought I must be ill (or dead!).
Friday, Dec 31st - Stow in morning. Lechlade to tea but failed to find Christmas roses of a year ago. Christmas making model of monastery. Went to bed about 11 and this time remembered to switch on the radio. Heard first a service of hymns and prayers from Ulster, then Big Ben and round up of the morning papers.
The year 1971! We have at last, late though it is, entered Europe and, after years in Coventry, China in the United Nations. We now have three superpowers each very suspicious of what the other two are up to. The President of the U.S. will shortly visit Peking. The wars of 1970 continued, Israel and Egypt, U.S. and Vietnam, two new added in Ulster against British army and Pakistan and India.
This year I have been very conscious of ageing - reluctance to stoop or kneel, stiffness in hip joints, trouble with loose teeth. I always imagined I would die at 72. We shall see!
Christmas cards 1971. Religious 4, Topographical 1, Charitable 23, Social (letters) 31, Total 59.