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Saturday March 6, 1976

Lynn's 'Coming of Age' party at the Yorkshire Rose.

Carole and I spent the whole afternoon buying Lynn's present and finding something suitable for John & Maria. The strain imposed on us by this harrowing shopping nightmare did nothing to make either of us better natured, and by 3 o'clock - after 3 solid hours walking around Leeds - we were near to blows.

We bought John and Maria a dinner service for £13.50 and I was compelled to haul the whole lot around numerous boutiques and ladies fashion boudoirs. My arms were just about paralised by 4.30. Home we came on a 33 bus and we parted company on icy, cold terms. I rang Dad from the call box on Fieldhead Road and he drove me home.

Everyone is busy at home. Jackie is the first guest to arrive at about 5.30. Met Carole - who looks adorable - at 6.20 off a bus at the bottom of the lane, and we have a few drinks at home before leaving for the Yorkshire Rose at 7.30.

The party is a success. Jackie is stunned to see the bruises on Carole's arm that had been done by her revolting father. We had to tell Jackie who'd done it because she was looking straight at me as though I'd been battering her about.

Lynn made a nice little speech from a table top amidst the remnants of half eaten cheese sandwiches and sausage rolls.

I've no idea what time the family returned home, but I do know it was after 2am when Uncle Harry found himself locked in the cellar of the Yorkshire Rose. We all had a tremendous piss-up at our place and were still grooving away at 4am.

Cousin Jackie and I were in hysterics when Uncle Harry accidentally set fire to his trousers, and I just about choked.


Friday March 5, 1976

The day before Lynn's birthday.

Thursday March 4, 1976

Pay day. I take £10 and immediately conceal it in my bank book because if I don't make a start saving I am not going to be able to go to Ibiza at all, and that just wouldn't do.

Carole comes up to our place at 8.20 and we watch TV together. That is with Mum, Lynn and Susan. Watched 'The Good Old Days' from Leeds City Varieties and see Linda and Andy in the audience. Just about had a fit at the sight of them laughing along at Ken Dodd, and other old timers from yesteryear.

Walk Carole to the bus stop at about 11 and bid our fond farewells until tomorrow night.


Wednesday March 3, 1976

Ash Wednesday. Mum and Dad went to Kirby Malzeard yesterday and offered the owner £28,000 for the place. He's had an offer of £32,000 from a York family and £30,000 from an unknown person or persons. Despite all this Dad is still confident that we might get the Henry Jenkins.

I have done nothing about John's stag party which is set for March 11. No doubt we'll end up at Cinderella's, but the mini bus wants booking, &c.

It will be weird when John is no longer at home and a bedroom all to myself for the first time in twenty years will take some getting used to.

Home at 5 o'clock. A letter from Denise awaits my attention. She has confirmed the cancellation of John and Chris's booking for the holiday and has put quite a funny letter together. The thought of having to pay up for the holiday at the end of next month is horrifying. I have saved up £10 so far which, if nothing else, is a beginning. Lynn rings Denise at about 8 o'clock and I also have a quick word with her. She's coming to Lynn's party on Saturday & is thrilled at the prospect of meeting Uncle Harry once again. She hasn't seen him since September '74 in Windsor.

Carole rings. She's having more bother with Mrs Phillips. Evidently, the old cow went visiting a neighbour who is sick and offered to do all her washing and ironing. The saintly Lady Phillips returned home weighed down with fiflthy underwear and other sundry items of a laundry nature, but instead of doing it herself she dumped the lot on Carole's bed and made her wash and iron it before giving her any tea. Carole says, quite rightly, that she doesn't mind washing her own knickers, but she cannot see the fun in laundering old Mrs McCaffrey's - especially on an empty stomach.

See the Barry Humphries Show on BBC2 at 9.10 which is hilarious. Come to bed at 10.30 or so in order to avoid the 1976 US Presidential Election campaign on the BBC. It seems likely that Jean Harlow and Shirley Temple will be running for the Democratic nomination and the late Walt Disney is becoming a worry for President Ford.


Tuesday March 2, 1976

Shrove Tuesday again. I say 'again' because Mum, in her ignorance, made millions of pancakes last Tuesday and passed the word round to the other inhabitants of Hawksworth Lane, who took her information as the truth, and followed blindly with the misguided pancake tossing.

Busy day at work. CB rang at 12.30 and is is cut off after two or three minutes by one of our ridiculous telephone operators. CB didn't bother ringing back. I hope she doesn't think I hung up on her.

Carole is sick of the pair of ignorant sods - her parents, and she says she's going to leave home when I move to Ripon because she can no longer stand being under the same roof with them.

I devour countless numbers of pancakes and Mum and Dad leave at 6.30 for Kirby Malzeard to offer the Henry Jenkins owner £30,000 for the lot.

Carole comes up at 6.30 straight from work. I make her several pancakes. C cannot remember the last time she had any. (Pancakes, of course. Behave yourselves.) Old Mrs Phillips has a lot to answer for because that poor girl has been subject to a near non-existant diet. The Phillips family eat nothing but chips. It wouldn't surprise me to discover that they in fact belong to a rare religious sect who idolise and worship the Frying Pan.

Have a quiet night in front of the TV with Carole, Lynn and David. He buys a bottle of apricot wine after we hap a whip round for the necessary cash. Saw a programme on BBC2 about John Bentley, the lecherous, ruthless financial wizard, who made £2m out of wrecking companies, and Carole says I look just like him! Pity my wallet isn't like his.


Monday March 1, 1976

St David's Day. Quite a busy day at work without Kathleen or Carol J. Arrange with Sarah for Mum to visit Delia tonight to discuss floral arrangements for the wedding.

See in 'The Times' that Georgiana Russell, an old girlfriend of the Prince of Wales is joining the ranks of the betrothed. The prince really should start thinking about finding a wife because all the elegible young ladies are falling. The likes of Rosie Clifton and Lady Henrietta FitzRoy and many more. Jane Wellesley won't do at all, and Angela Nevill is just about the only dish on the hot-plate.

Home at 5. Dad shows me a report from his accountant about the Henry Jenkins pub. He's been advised to offer £30,000 for it. They're going over tomorrow to sort things out and I wish them all the luck.

Go to the Yorkshire Rose with Mum & Dad and they book Lynn's party for Saturday for definate. We then go up to West End Lane to Sarah's and Mum does some arranging with Delia whilst Lucy the dog mauls me and Dad. Leave at about 8.30 - 9 o'clock.

Back at home Carole rings. We arrange to meet for tea at our place tomorrow. I see a clapped out old film on the BBC and watch the late night news before going off to bed at about midnight.

Well, March is upon us once more and I would never have imagined that this month could hold so many events of historic consequence.


Sunday February 29, 1976

Quinquagesima. It's the first time that February 29 has fallen on a Sunday since 1948, and it won't fall again on the Sabbath until 2004. Aren't I a walking encyclopaedia then? If you think I'm going to divulge just where I found this item of information you'll have one Hell of a wait because I'm not going to tell you until 2004. See you all then.

A nice day and John and I go for a drive in the spitfire with the roof off to Burley-in-Wharfedale. We get Mum a plant from a garden centre and heading home for lunch we see Carole at the bus stop waiting for the bus to come up to ours. John goes down to pick her up whilst I have lunch and she sits in the dining room with great expectations of going for a walk afterwards. Maria comes round with Prinny (spaniel) and she chats with Mum about the flowers. I can't believe my eyes when I look at Maria. She's getting enormous, and the heir to the Rhodes Empire isn't due until September.

Carole and I walk round Tranmere and call on Molly. She talks for hours and we don't get out until after 4 when it starts to rain.

Dad and John are decorating Maria's bedroom and I almost feel sorry for them both as they peep at us from the Georgian-style windows of 14, Ridgeway.


Saturday February 28, 1976

Chris, Christine, Carole and I go up to the Yorkshire Dales for a drink tonight. He takes me to Carole's at 8pm and I wait with Lord & Lady Phillips while she gets ready. We are all off and in the direction of Grassington by 8.30 and we certainly make a funny foursome. Christine and I laugh at the usual crude things much to Chris's embarrassment. Carole never notices the vulgar trend in the conversation and she shuts herself away in that lonely little world of hers. I am stunned when she tells me she's never been to Grassington before. Oh, when she saw the old fashioned hand-pumps in the Devonshire (Arms) she thought they were a new invention! Benenden must have become a really slack school since Princess Anne left. Lord Phillips should perhaps have sent little Caroline to a state school where she might have had more experience of beer dispensing equipment. We have scampi and chips at the Devonshire and leave at about 11 o'clock for home. Carole feels sick on the way. She isn't a good traveller really. She should have reminded me of this malady because we needn't have ventured so far into the hills.

We have a serious chat in the car coming home, the four of us that is, and the usual topical things were discussed, i.e. euthenasia and abortion, &c. Chris and I are always on the verge of coming to blows and long painful silences inevitably follow. He tells me that he's seen in tonight's EP that Princess Anne is pregnant. I do not believe it. My old Olympic theory will be correct and she will not be pregnant before September at least.

Home at 12.30.


Friday February 27, 1976

A night at the Hare & Hounds. Carole does her hair curly again - like it was last summer - and the sight of her peeping over the top of her lemonade glass, with ringlets and sparkling eyes, gives her a Shirley Temple quality which is very rare these days. _______. A depressed, hysterical old bag is now a happy, skipping, bubbling wench again. O the beauty that is innocence!

Maria and John came down and so too did Peter M, who is reassured that I still want to go on holiday. I say all is fine, except for the money, and he offers to lend me some. A good lad is Peter.

John almost got into a fight with a little swine who upset Maria. She'd never even laid eyes on him before and he went on and on about her being pregnant. John asked him to aplogise but he wouldn't, and so J stormed away leaving the little bugger staring at him, flexing his muscles.

I see Daryl Wills, the EP reporter, and sort something out about getting John & Maria's wedding on the front page.

Carole and I walk home and once again we're up until 4am playing at Romeo & Juliet.


Thursday February 26, 1976

It's finally made it to the Press here in Britain about Princess Margaret and her 'courtier' friend Roderick (sic) Llewellyn. The newspapers say this morning that the Queen held a family meeting at Windsor on Sunday to discuss her sister's affair. It is understood that Lord Snowdon wants a divorce. The Queen is reported to be not in favour of divorce, but that she thinks the couple should seperate. The Duke of Edinburgh is reported to favour divorce, but I can't see anything coming of this. The princess has always led a wayward life.

Carole and I go to the Hare & Hounds and sit in the tap room for an hour or so. At about 10 the barmaid says that someone is asking for me in the lounge and we go through to find Mum & Dad having a drink. We join them for half an hour and I then get a lift home. Mum and Carole were chatting about wedding outfits again and I could see Dad looking sheepishly at me through the bottom of his beer glass. He'll be relieved when the wedding is over because anything that creates such excitement just isn't good for him.


Wednesday February 25, 1976

I'm in no writing mood today so I'll bid you all adieu for the time being.


Tuesday February 24, 1976

Home at about 5 o'clock to find Uncle Peter and family swilling tea with Mum & Dad. The reason for the visit is to return John's wedding invitation which they have gladly accepted of course. Uncle Peter is always an asset at a wedding because he's the life & soul of the party. He was near the hysterics about Mum thinking it was Shrove Tuesday. I was forced to eat pancakes - out of season - but managed to devour 15 or 16 at least. Yes, I am a pig if that's what you're wondering.


Monday February 23, 1976

To Leeds with Jim Rawnsley and we have to endure the boring procrastinations of Donald Best, Esq, the local magistrate & do-gooder. With him in the car it's always a pleasure to get out after the 25 minute journey.

See in the Sunday People, or News of the World - I can't remember which - that Princess Margaret is holidaying in Mustique with Roddy Llewellyn, who can, I think, now be regarded as her lover. I found the article disturbing, especially because it was illustrated by seductive pictures of HRH on a sun scorched beach with her arms clasped firmly round the 27 year-old waist of Mr Llewellyn, the 'ear-ringed' fair-haired son of Colonel Harry Llewellyn, the showjumper. This romance may well develop into something big and if (Lord) Snowdon doesn't watch out he could find himself without a studio at Kensington Palace and a bed for that matter because the princess does appear to be enraptured with Roddy. Could the nation tolerate the monarch's sister in the divorce courts? Watch this space.

A busy day without Kathleen who never works Mondays, and Carol J who has the 'flu. The painter L.S. Lowry died today, and so too did Angela Baddeley, the actress. Other items in the news include several government resignations over the Chancellor's public expenditure cuts, and it looks as though Harold's second anniversary in No. 10 is going to be a stormy one. Will Margaret Thatcher be Prime Minister? Are we going to see a Tory government this year? Will Rod Stewart marry Britt Ekland? Oh, the excitement of it all is too much.

John and Maria go see Delia Collis tonight about the flowers for the wedding. I watched TV with Mum, Dad, Lynn, Sue & Peter. Carole didn't ring because I rang her this morning to tell her that one of the 'Supremes' (an ancient band of Negro singers), has died at the grand old age of 32. Other than this, I can report little else until tomorrow and so it leaves me only to say 'Goodnight'.


Sunday February 22, 1976

Sex(agesima). Sit on the settee with Carole until after 4 o'clock this morning. The sun was creeping over Otley Chevin by the time I hit the sack, and I didn't feel at all tired. Carole is a darling. She maybe backward and dull-witted, but gorgeous all the same. Our only problem is one of communication really. Sometimes we get on like a barn on fire, but on other occasions I feel as though I'm banging my head against a barn wall because she just doesn't understand a word I say. I had the same feelings of frustration last year in Majorca when a German girl couldn't understand that I wanted to dance with her. However, I hasten to add, I am not serious in any way and I could never make her my wife or 'constant companion'. I'll be battling on in a single capacity when Carole is the proud grandmother of scores of children.

Up at lunchtime and the two of us go for a bracing walk down through Esholt Woods and round to Silverdale to see John & Maria's house again. (PS - I went to look at the house yesterday afternoon with Lynn & Dave, and we had a coffee with Bessie Little and Stuart.) Carole was startled by the smallness of the place and likened it to Paul's rabbit hutch. Modern houses do look small when compared with Pine Tops Palace.

Back to our place at 3 o'clock and Mum, Lynn and Sue depart for the Macdonald residence where they remain until evening.

Just Carole and I left and we watch a bit of TV. Arthur Negus in 'Going For A Song' -and then played records until 7 o'clock.

Had tea with Dad - just the three of us. He is baffled by her ignorance. I've come to the conclusion that nobody can hold a conversation with her.