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Sunday June 1, 1975

1st after Trinity. It was nearly 5am on June 1 before we were all allocated places of sleep at the Ratcliffe abode. John, crippled with his ankle, and scarred for life thanks to the dog, was passed out next to me in a sleeping bag on the lounge floor, and Peter was placed on a camp bed in Chris's room after undergoing harsh recouperation treatment in the garden. The poor boy was hysterical and didn't quite know who he was, or who anyone else was for that matter.

Awoke at 11.30. Mrs Ratcliffe made me a cup of tea, and I went out into the garden to mock Peter, who didn't look at all healthy propping up a lilac tree. Mrs R bandaged J's foot and she didn't bat an eye lid when he explained just how he had received his injuries.

At 12 we went to the Fleece for a couple of drinks before lunch. All the gang, except the Grahams and Smiths, came in and we sat near the fruit machine laughing about last night. Peter was in high spirits considering.

Chris leaves at 5.15 this afternoon for his new post at Hayes, Middlesex. No one really wanted him to go, but he seemed in cheery form. Peter brought me and John home for lunch at 1pm.

Dave is messing about with John's car and they spend the afternoon dismantling it.

Out with Christine to the Hare at 8.30. However, at 8.15 John learned from his employers that his services will no longer be required after next week, due to lack of incoming work. We're all astounded. Poor John - redundant.


Saturday May 31, 1975

John and I go into Otley in afternoon for a lark around, but with the main intention of finding a decent tool shop for my younger brother and eventual heir. I say heir because the title will of course go to him and his children after I'm gone, because unless CB marries me, I will not produce any offspring. Christine Braithwaite is the only person whom I'd consider making my duchess.

Home at 5.30 to find Mum and Dad looking sun-tanned after a week in Scotland laden with relics and souvenirs of Balmoral and Inveraray. They tell us the tale and explain how they managed to motor 1300 miles in seven days. Glad to see them home safely.

To the Fleece with Dave, Lynn and John. I tore a hole in my trousers climbing into Mr Baker's sports car, but otherwise received no other injuries, well other than verbal ones that is. At the off-licence in Guiseley we were asked our age! Twenty years old, and people still think I'm 15.

All the mob gather in the Fleece and we move on to Laura's at 9.30. A drunken evening follows. Laura's parents are nice folk. Much nicer than I ever imagined. Her eighty-six year-old granny was a right case too. Chris, Pete M, John, Raymond and his mate, and me walked back down Town Street at 2am and we left chaos and devastation in our path. John fell off the causeway and sprained his ankle, and was then bitten by Dandy, the Ratcliffe hound, on our arrival at 21, Victoria Drive. Poor Pete had never been drunk before. And WAS he drunk!


Friday May 30, 1975

Friday again. Feeling miserable because Christine doesn't love me, and no doubt I ruined a perfect friendship by telling her I'm besotted with her. However, I'm not dwelling on that any more today.

At 8 o'clock we went to the Hare & Hounds and I was roused from my dreary state by Marian and Maura, who were sitting in a corner debating the idea of going for a meal in the Hare restaurant. Embarassment followed when I explained to Marian that I'd gone into Woolworth's, where she told me she worked, in order to have a chat, and she dissolved in a heap of hysterics beneath the table. She explained that at Gillian Barker's party she'd been too drunk to say she was a cartographer, evidently someone who draws maps, and amidst the giggles coming from her and Maura, she told me she'd never worked in Woolworth's, especially never on the sweet counter. The girl is horribly mad.

Saw poor Christine for about ten minutes. Mr Braithwaite was taken into hospital this afternoon, and her Mum didn't specify in the note she'd left as to which hospital he'd been taken. Gary took her off at about 9 o'clock.

John, Sue, Pete and me go to Wikis which is quiet really. Have a good dance. The DJ is playing a lot of James Brown. Meet a little girl from Hill Way - Shirley - who delights me. My dreams are shattered when she says she is only 15. All the same, there is no denying she is a nice looking bird. Of course, I won't see her again.

Thursday May 29, 1975

The Press is still full of the Prince of Wales's beard. Certain annals of the newspaper industry have gone so far as to say that HRH was breaking naval rules by parading himself with his moustache before his mother, the Lord High Admiral. In the Royal Navy you either have to have a 'full-set' i.e. moustache and beard, or nothing at all, and when His Royal Highness was installed as Grand Master of the Order of the Bath - brandishing a ginger moustache - he was breaking the law. Anyway, he left to join his ship, the Hermes, later on today clean shaven. And that is the end of that.

Saw 'Top of the Pops' on TV and do little else. At least it is pay day today, and £6 is going into the bank for the holiday. Bye Bye.


Wednesday May 28, 1975

A right Royal Day today. I arrived at work to find a photo of the bearded Prince of Wales on my desk, and I was startled to see how much he looked like a young King George V. Without further ado I delved into the picture archives and emerged with a photo of George V, suitably bearded of course. The resemblance is remarkable and I realised immediately that this would be a good idea for a story. 'People' the YP diary is an obvious place for such an article. However, my labours are in vain, and every time I attempt to pass on my ideas they are shouted down and ridiculed. By lunchtime I have given up hope. However, at 3 I was approached by Chris Dawson with a request for pictures of ALL the bearded monarchs of England. 'Hell', I thought, 'how many Kings of England have been bearded. Let's solve this by a process of elimination.' George VI and Edward VIII were clean shaven, and so was Queen Victoria. King Edward VII and King George V were proud beard owners, and none of the first four Georges had one. Queen Anne didn't have one, and William and Mary couldn't grow a beard between them. So, in one way or another the throne of Great Britain was beardless between 1649 and 1901. Henry VIII and poor Charles I were reasonably endowed with facial hair, but that's about all.

But alas, and alack, no sooner had I suppled Chris Dawson with images of bearded kings that I receive news of horrific consequence. Carol is shouting something like: 'He's shaved it off! He's shaved it off!' Indeed, the prince has succumbed to the razor. Carol was laughing hysterically. 'He's got a moustache now'.

The thought of searching for moustachioed monarchs didn't please me all that much. Poor Dawson returned to his desk, head bowed at the thought of losing a good story.

On my arriving home I look in at the 6 o'clock news and see the Prince of Wales endowed with a moustache dressed in robes of Grand Master of the Order of the Bath, and looking remarkably like the Prince Consort. However, I have made up my mind never to notice resemblances amongst members of the Royal Family again.

Home at 5.30 for tea and prepare to see Leeds United in the European Cup. Dave Baker joins us and we indulge in a few glasses of lager, ale, &c.


Tuesday May 27, 1975

Don't feel like compiling any events for today. In fact I feel like putting an end to this miserable diary once and for all. OK, I'm depressed and I don't know what I'm saying, but you've got yo admit, it isn't very exciting, is it?

First day back at the YP. No astounding news in the press, and 'Edward VII' wasn't on TV tonight because of the industrial dispute with the technicians.

Dave, Lynn, John and I go to the Hare & Hounds for yet another drink. This makes the total of boozy consecutive days to six. Last Wednesday at the Hare, Thursday with Gillian, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Grassington, Monday back at the Hare of course and then today. However, it was Edward VII's fault tonight.

Home at 10 o'clock to hear on the news that a bus accident occurred near Grassington this afternoon killing 31 women and the driver. It is Britain's worst ever road accident. To think that yesterday afternoon we were driving around on the self same autobahn.


Monday May 26, 1975

Holiday in England, N. Ireland & Wales. The last Day: Awake coughing and sneezing because of the feathers in my sleeping bag. Emerged from the tent looking like a Pantomime Duck, or something. After dangling my head in the river and taking in the air I clear up a bit, but it'll be weeks before my sinuses clear properly. This allergy of mine is a tiresome hinderance. The same thing happened when I went with CB to Sheffield. All Dave Baker's sleeping bags are full of little feathers, and I never fail to succumb to the horrors of them.

After breakfast (another fried one) we go into Grassington for one final boozing session. The town is full of Morris Dancers, and when they came in the pub we couldn't hear ourselves speak for the jingling of bells and other clattering noises associated with this hideous village pastime.

After spending an hour in the pub we made our way home, via Appletreewick and other scenic places.

On our arrival at the Devonshire Arms we find a note pinned to John's car from Mum and Dad, who'll now be in Scotland. He managed to get the car going, and we were home for 5 o'clock.

After tea we go to the Hare & Hounds (just for a change) and I spend the whole time chatting with Christine, who passed a miserable weekend quite alone. Gary was away pot-holing - creep that he is.


Sunday May 25, 1975

Trinity Sunday. Day Three at Grassington: Nice day. Beautiful weather, though probably just a bit windy. After waking up at the same hideous, and unusual time as yesterday we once again partook of a fried breakfast, which isn't agreeing with John at all.

We intended going off to Malham, but because of the time we changed our minds and decided to go swimming at Skipton Baths. Spend a good afternoon in Skipton, and feel greatly rejuvenated after my first splash around in a pool for what seems like decades.

Back at the tent we lounge around in deckchairs listening to the Top 20 on Radio One. Well, Pete and myself did this. John and Chris were busy frying tea.

After the traditional fried meal we bung a few stones in the river and collect wood for another camp fire and generally prepare ourselves for the coming onslaught of alcohol.

To Linton and Grassington drinking. John is back on form again and we manage to deplete the beer stocks of several Yorkshire pubs.

The second camp fire proved successful again, but we are all melancholy because it's our last night. Chris was acting daft when he saw the full moon, complaining that he believed in the likes of Dracula and other creations of Hammer Horror Inc. & Warner Brothers. It was impossible to make him see reason. We ate baked potatoes on the fire, and argued whether Princess Anne had done the right thing by marrying Mark Phillips.

Bed at 2.30.


Saturday May 24, 1975

Day Two at Grassington: Don't awake until about 11am which is quite remarkable. I always imagined the campers would have to crawl out the sack at the crack of dawn because of the rumpus created by cocks, and other various poultry, or because of acute cold, and lumpy ground, &c. But strangely enough, the night was tranquil and I slept like a log throughout.

After a greasy breakfast and a splash in the river we drove into Grassington for a general potter about. Nothing of great consequence, so we motored around aimlessly and fell upon Kettlewell. The sky was very dull, and the air bracing, and so we nipped into the nearest warm haven for a few hours. As it happened it turned out to be a pub, a most congenial experience. We came out feeling a good deal more good humoured then when we went in , and so our tripwasn't in vain.

Aysgarth was the next port of call and we were unimpressed by the falls therein. Not a particularly stunning sight.

Back to Grassington's ale houses in the evening, and John ended up drinking tomato joices because of a stomach disorder. He blames all the fried nosh, but I can't help thinking it has something to do with the alcoholic intake of yesterday.

Back to the tent for a camp fire until after 1am. We're all getting on better than I imagined we would. Peter isn't the swine I always imagined he'd be to camp with.


Friday May 23, 1975

Day one of the Open Event at Grassington. At 6.30 John and I go to the Hare in order that I can pick up my jacket which I accidentally left under the juke box on Wednesday. We stay for a few drinks. Peter and Chris come in. They're laden with the precious tent and various other camping odds and ends.

Mum and Dad go to Scotland tomorrow. In the new car too. They haven't been off, quite alone, for any length of time before (not since the famous honeymoon anyway) so it should be quite a fantastic break.

Back to the Camping Trip: Horror of Horrors! John's car broke down near the Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, and we had to dump the car in the pub car park. The four of us piled into Pete's van and we bombed into the Dales, weighed down with tons of camping gear and miscellaneous rubbish.

After to failing to get on a camp site we deposit ourselves in a field, next to the Wharfe, about ten minutes out of Grassington. The tent was erected before 9.30 and we made the pub in Grassington shortly after. Although the pubs close legally at 11pm, the Forester's Arms in Grassington was open to customers at 11.30, which amused John no end, though Peter did seem a little edgy. ________.


Thursday May 22, 1975

Gillian and I go see 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', a full-length feature film, at the ABC Cinema in Bradford. Really hilarious. We both sat snorting like pigs throughout, and ached with the strain of laughing all the way home on the bus.

We called in on Naomi for ten minutes or so, and I walked Gillian home.

Home at about 11pm to see the new CAR!! A Toyota Corona or something. A beautiful shade of red, and quite the joy of Papa, who vows he's never seen anything like it. He never imagined that the day would dawn when he was the owner of a car free from rust!