A wet, unpleasant day. Work was quite busy and I was glad to make good my escape at 4.30. The girls are not in when I get home, and I'm told that Lynn and Dave have gone off with the Baker family to Whitby for the weekend. Grief, they aren't home for two minutes before they're off again.
John came home from work rarther early and is propping up the tea table and looking far from well. I am dumbfounded to hear he isn't going out tonight, and am even more stunned to see him stagger upstairs to bed at about 6.30. John ill isn't natural at all. He was never designed to be bed-ridden. I loathe it when he's off colour.
I go to Carole's at 8 and sit watching the television with her horrid 11-year old brother until 8.20. (Dave L dropped me off at C's incidentally). Chat with Mrs P and I like her a lot. Now I know where Carole gets her character.
To the Hare and Hounds. Quiet really, and only Dave L, Keith and Helen, CD, and C. Smith are present. At 9.30 we all go to the New Inn. My first view of what could be my future home, and I'm quite surprised really. Cosy with great prospects and I'm warmed within to think it's not a rough hole in the ground. Back to the Hare for a final drink before going to Wikis which is incredibly dead. Everyone leaves at 1am except for Carole, CD, and me, and I suffer the horror of walking up, or rarther scaling Thorpe Lane in torrential rain. Frogs and toads were leaping around everywhere, and I felt far from jovial.
Pleasant day at work. At about 4 o'clock I decided to do a bit of research into the whole business of the State Opening of Parliament lark. Getting out the files for this event from 1952 I attempt to draw up a list of them all, and several interesting facts arose. 1952 to 1974 means 22 state openings, or so one would think. However, only 20 state openings have taken place in the Queen's reign. In 1959 Her Majesty didn't open Parliament at all due to the fact that she was expecting the birth of Prince Andrew, and instead the Lord Chancellor the Earl of Kilmuir read her speech from the steps of the throne in the House of Lords. The other occasion when a state opening did not take place was March 12, 1974. You may well remember that Uncle Harold had just been returned to No 10, and the Queen had to fly from Australia to let him kiss her hands. Because of the suddeness in the rise of Uncle Harold's fortune, the necessary arrangements for the regalia to be cleaned and polished could not be reached on time, and so it came to pass that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II went to Parliament wearing her best Sunday dress and sitting in her Rolls-Royce, to read little Harold's prepared speech. These spectacular splashes normally take place normally take place in the chilly days of late October or early November, and once she opened Parliament on November 5 - Gunpowder, Treason and Plot and all that, &c. However, the eratic ways of our beloved Prime Ministers over the years have deemed it necessary for HM to ride to Westminster once in April, on her 40th birthday in 1966; once in June, once in July, and as I've already said, once in March. Aren't I a clever lad? Being able to fill a whole page with such a distant, uncontroversial topic. And what is more, I could go on for more pages in a similar way. For instance, did you know in 1956 Princess Margaret made history by being the first sister of a reigning Sovereign to accompany the monarch to the State Opening of Parliament? And did you know that the State Opening..... (Cont page 94)