It's 11.45pm and I'm sat here on the end of my bed watching blood ooze out of my right big toenail. Oh God I'm going to be a cripple by Christmas! However, discussing my personal injuries isn't going to get me into print and so I'll move on to more spectacular, seasonal events:
Mrs Johnson received the news of Mr Brotherwood's intended attendance next Wednesday with mixed emotions. At first she said she wouldn't be worried by his presence and in the next breath she said it may be a traumatic meeting. By 4.30 she was saying it wouldn't hurt if he did join us but her expression was far from ecstatic. I shall have to tell Tony it might be wiser if he boycotted the gathering.
Sarah and Eileen said today that Mrs J is beginning to take a fancy to me after all these years. I've always said that Carol must think I'm queer or something because every other male employee of the YP - possibly with the exception of me and the Hon Chris Monckton- have been seduced by Mrs Johnson. Am I now moving close to becoming a conquest?
The business of next Wednesday is worrying but I should ignore it and let them fight it out amongst themselves.
Saw June on the 33 bus again. She is great and I must still be greatly intrigued by her because for the first time in months I didn't fall to sleep on the journey and my eyes were rivetted to her throughout.
Just Susan, Peter and myself in until Papa and Mama come back from John & Maria's at 10 o'clock. See 'Carry On Loving' - rude, corny and poor but I laugh all the same. Up to bed after seeing a declining Earl Mountbatten of Burma present Danny La Rue with the BBC Sportsman of the Year Award. The 76 year-old Earl told a story of how a polo pony he was riding [in India in 1922] had a polo ball lodged up its anus. It went down very well.
King George VI is celebrating quietly somewhere today - his 81st birthday. Prince Albert died 115 years ago, and Coun Norman Anthony Gadsby was born this day in 1935 ...
Write letters tonight to Helen Malin in Gloucester and send cards to Glenn and Dave G telling them of Peter's change of heart. I knew all along that Mr Mather wouldn't let the summer of next year go by without seeing Ibiza and all those women.
Tony rings and we arrange to go to the Hare with Stuart at 8.15. I then contact Martyn and he says he's going with his girlfriend Carla to a new wine bar in Ilkley so I don't think we'll see him tonight. Later: Tony comes at 8.15 and we go to a Christmas-decorated Hare & Hounds and meet Stuart Walker, Esq, and Susan and Peter. After a couple of drinks we join Martyn and his lady at Ilkley and we polish off two bottles of wine before going on to the Rose & Crown. Quite a liquid evening. All back to W.H. Smith's for a coffee and Tony discovers he has a flat tyre which takes us through until 12.15am. Home in a fog and we discuss Thursday night. Hit the sack at 1.05am.
Nothing much to say today. I am always lazy at Yuletide. Couldn't even be bothered to contemplate the TV tonight and for a large part of the evening I sat glaring at my in-growing toe-nail. Why? Well, if you had paid £18 for a pair of shoes would you expect to get a deformed foot in return? I certainly didn't expect it, pal.
Lynne came up at 8.30 and we had a drink at the Commercial before she pissed off to Roundhay. We discussed the Yuletide arrangements. Seeing her on Christmas Eve and then there's a gap until Dec 28 when we go to John & Maria's. I've got Wednesday to spend with her and after that it's New Year's Eve. Why do we bother going out at all? I sometimes wonder. Of course I'd loathe it even more if she lived on my doorstep so what am I moaning about? I'm just a misery guts when it all boils down to it. Bed at 11.30pm. Goodnight.
3rd in Advent. Do bugger all day. Oh look! It's the third Sunday in Advent! How exciting! How thrilling! How fantastic! Piss off, the lot of you.
What has befallen Miss CB? What has befallen Miss Akroyd?, and Miss Fountain for that matter? Have I lost my sex appeal or something?
Dr Kissinger, we sure will miss yer,
It'll hurt to see you go
Mr Carter must be a farter,
and when I see him I'll let him know.
President Ford I'll be so bored,
when you're gone and far away,
I'll cry and cry - Oh God, I'll die,
on Carter's inauguration day.
MLR, 1976 [c]
Up at 1.20pm - the phone is ringing like something not right. I lay listening to it expecting one of the servants to answer, but no. After it had ceased I investigate further to find I am the only living soul in residence. 'Breakfast' alone with the record player. Mum comes in at 2 with Maria and baby John. He's grown since I last saw him three weeks ago. A Macdonald too - no Rhodes visible in him at all. Facial appearances of babies change like the weather, don't they? Maria and John stay all day and I arrange to meet them in the Hare tonight.
I go down to the Hare with Sue & Peter. Andy, Linda, Chris, Pete, John, Maria, Elizabeth Macdonald, Molly, Jim, Vasilly [a Greek friend of Libby's] and his wife, &c. Have a good time and it's back to Ridgeway at closing time. Look on in horror as Peter drinks gallons of Jim's whisky. Back at 2am. Mum has been baby-sitting for JPH. Straight to bed.
Alison [Dixon] and John [Pinder] came up from the depths of Winchester last night to stay for a couple of days. Don't see Lynne today and she goes home taking Jean with her. Peter M rings to say he's on his tod [sloan] this evening because Chris has gone off with a mucky woman to Askham Bryan. I must be the last resort. He comes at 8.15 and we go to the Hare with Sue, Pete N, Lynn and Dave [the latter pair move on to a function at the Dragonara in Leeds]. Martyn and his popsy [Carla] are in, and Mum & Dad. Peter M and I return at 10.45 to watch a programme on the Abdication Crisis narrated by James Cameron. Very good indeed and it would have been much better if Peter hadn't insisted on fidgeting and complaining throughout about the time and how late we'd be at Oakwood Hall. Mum, Dad, Sue, Pete, John and Alison come back at 11.15 and when the programme finishes Peter drives us to Oakwood Hall. I feel bloody miserable all night. At 2am Peter M throws me the keys to the van and we go sit outside while he walks his new found 'lady friend' back to Bingley College. TWO HOURS LATER HE RETURNS buttoning his shirt and combing his hair with a vague story about listening to Perry Como records. I realise that fans of this ageing American baritone are probably grossly perverted, but never did I imagine that the ritual of listening to his dulcet tones involved stripping off ones clothes and sitting in the nude. Home by 4.30am and Mum makes us all dance and sing until dawn. Dad was flaked out in bed - pissed I fear.
A weird day. Dad and I go down the lane at 7.30 in freezing circumstances expecting to get a lift with Jim. I have to tell you now that no lift arrived. By 8o'clock we were poised at the bus stop ready for action and to make matters worse, no bus arrived either. Frozen solid we were by 8.30 when a ruddy cart eventually turned up to take us to Leeds. Black ice and 45 minutes later I was at the YP. One and a half hours on the road!
Had lunch at the Central with Dad [he's on a course] and a work colleague of his called John. Good laugh.
Meanwhile: That night: Lynne comes up for a meal at 6.30, early for her, and we're both in jovial mood. After 'Top of the Pops' we decide to attend the cinema. Go to Headingley and see Margaux Hemingway in 'Lipstick', a tale of rape and vengeance. Very good it was too. However, the highlight of the night came afterwards in the carpark. Whilst negotiating a reverse in treacherous conditions Lynne had the misfortune to collide with another vehicle. It was doubly unfortunate that the incumbent of the bereaved motor car happened to be of Oriental origin - a Jap to be precise. The gentleman couldn't speak a word of the Queen's English. The usual exchange of names and addresses took place - written on a crumpled cinema ticket, and we parted ways and disappeared into the night. I have only just forgiven them for Pearl Harbour. I laughed all the way home. Lynne saw the lighter side after a while.
Christmas lunch at the Yorkshire Post. Sarah, Eileen, Carol and I represented the library at this meal leaving Kathleen seething amongst her torn news cuttings. In fact she was in an abominable mood all day. Over to the Central at 1 o'clock and spend half an hour with Anthony Ronald Brotherwood, Esq. He looks completely knackered and shagged out. I leave him in the knowledge that he is going home to spend the afternoon in bed. Lucky swine.
I see in the Press that Gerald John Ward, the Berkshire landowning relative of Freda Dudley Ward, is divorcing his 31 year-old wife, Rosalind Elizabeth. It just so happens that the Prince of Wales - if gossip columns are to be believed - is a very close friend of Mrs Ward, a niece of Lord Beauchamp. Is it not a coincidence that Freda Dudley Ward, Gerald's cousin, was mistress to King Edward VIII for many years prior to his meeting with Mrs Simpson? What would the reaction be today if the Prince of Wales announced his intention to marry a woman with a husband already living? Would the events of 1936 set a precedent and would the prince be compelled to renounce his rights to the throne? I'm not too sure. Anyway, why should I dedicate a whole page of my journal to Mrs Ward? She'll undoubtedly pass into obscurity long before you, dear reader, discover this priceless masterpiece.
Lunch at the Central with Tony at 1 o'clock. He was tired and shagged out after a wild night in Sheffield. He saw Denise on Thursday and he's seeing her tonight. No comment.
Saw June Bottomley on the 33 bus at 4.30 today. We had a chat when we disembarked at Guiseley. Still the same June. Engaged since last Christmas too.
Bed at 11.30 after seeing an interesting programme on haemophilia.
Not as cold today, everyone. Leave Thornton-le-Dale at 7.30 but don't get to Leeds until 10 o'clock. The car is knackered and we have to drive without the radio and heat, and a terrible noise came from the engine. A silent, pondering journey gazing out at the bleak North Yorkshire countryside - my thoughts turn to Edward Heath and his devolution speech and the more serious matter of my festering in-growing right toe-nail. Lynne sits, tightly wrapped, in a rain-coat looking straight ahead whilst these important issues pass before my eyes. My thoughts also turn to another weird dream I had last night. It was about Miss C.P. I become quite depressed just thinking about it.
Don't get to the YP until 10. A quiet, miserable day. Sarah is off of course, and Mrs Johnson tells me tales of wild activities over the weekend with several of her 'clients'. God only knows what she's trying to prove. Get a bus in pouring rain to Sarah's at 4.30. [It] takes about an hour to travel six miles, or however far it is these days from Leeds to Horsforth. 'Aunt' Delia is in high spirits and she presents me with a couple of [flower] arrangements for Mama and one for Lynne's mum. £3.50 each.
Delia shows me some photos of her with Lord & Lady Bath and other great aristocrats. Keith Michell too. Stay until about 6.30 when Sarah drives me home. I'm sure Sarah fancies me. I'm not one to fantasize am I?
Lynne comes over at 8.30. She stays 210.6 seconds. Not seeing her again until Thursday. Can't say I'm going to die of a broken heart before that wondrous meeting. See Woody Allen in the film 'Bananas' which is great and then retire to bed contemplating my rotting toe. Dad doesn't panic when he sees it and he advises me to bathe it. This I do.
2nd in Advent. Have a nightmare and wake up having committed a murder! Don't know who the victim was and what were the motives, but I distinctly remember dropping a body from a bridge into the sea. Weird.
Climb out of bed at some ghastly hour and Lynne attempts to clean her car in freezing temperatures. You can imagine what happened. The whole bloody machine iced up and the sight of Lynne trying to remove frozen soap suds from the windscreen was amazing. She is so bloody willful though - I couldn't persuade her not to attempt this ridiculous exercise in the first place. To thaw out we go off to Pickering and have rum and oranges in the Royal Oak. Two or three drinks and Lynne is in Never Land. Incredible! Back to Ty-Onnen where she proceeds to clown around on the carpet like an imbecile. Mr Mather thought she had gone quite mad and he kept muttering, almost to himself, that he could not understand how I had put up with her for so long. He's a tremendous laugh and frequently says: 'Well, you're still sticking with her, Michael.'
Mr & Mrs Mather, Peter, Karl, Lynne and I watch TV all evening. 'Rising Damp' and then a Paul Newman epic based on the life of a ridiculous American boxer, Rocky Graziano. A name that sounds as though it belongs on a menu in a Italian restaurant. Drink a few whiskies and we all boil and sweat with the ridiculously hot central heating. Bed at 1.30.
Wake up at 10.30 to what must be one of the coldest days I've yet experienced. And you know how I rarely moan about the weather. Bloody freezing! Hangover.
Lynne is harping on about going to Leeds which doesn't instill much excitement in one at all really, and the radio announcing a further drop in the pound due to the death of Benjamin Britten only makes matters worse. Almost as if by an act of God we find her car is incapacitated. I, being the only other resident in the house can of course do nothing to assist and so we have to await the return of Papa from the Cash and Carry at 12.40. He diagnoses battery bother and I suggest we go straight to Thornton-le-Dale without a moment's hesitation. This we do harrassed by snow storms as we passed through York. The journey proved uneventful other than a slight encounter nay skirmish with revolting peasants in Malton, which was soon quelled.
Nothing astounding to report at the Mather residence. Lynne and I go to Pickering for a few drinks and return at 11. Endure one of Michael Parkinson's revolting interviews. The man is obsessed about sex. He doesn't even draw the line at human copulation either. Apes, plankton, they all come under his perverted scrutiny. Bed at 12.30 - 1am after enduring 'Pomp & Circumstance' with Peter and Sir Edward Elgar. He is awfully sarcastic about ___________________ and insists he wants to venture to 'better places than Ibiza' next year. I'm going to San Antonio whether they're interested or not. Martyn must be made to see my point of view.
Miss Carol Smith's birthday at the Barge, Skipton. Earlier I purchased a new jacket for £28 in Mates. Then to Miss Smith's party. Travelled, of course, by coach and those lucky enough to be included in the party were:-
Miss Lynne Mather
Miss Christine Dibb
Miss Linda Smith
Mrs Maria Rhodes
Miss Christine White
Miss Carla [Martyn's bit of stuff]
Mr John Rhodes
Mr Peter Mather
Mr Christopher Ratcliffe
Mr Andrew Graham
Mr Graham Airey [lover of Miss Dibb]
Mr Stewart Newton, &c.
Home at about 3.30am. A perishing cold night. Too buggered to say more. Lynne wasn't too enthralling. What more can I say?
Today was horribly boring. However, December 2 has not always had a reputation for being so mundane. For it was on this day in 1936 - 40 years ago - that the revolting Yorkshire Post gave prominent notice to the fact that Dr Blunt, Bishop of Bradford, was far from satisfied with the performance of then incumbent of the Throne, Edward VIII. Yes, forty years ago this day the British public received it's first inkling of the Abdication Crisis. The poor old Duchess of Windsor is far from well these days. A much maligned lady if ever there was one. Queen Wallis in all but name.
Mr Ratcliffe rings to see if I'm going tomorrow night to Carol Smith's 20th birthday effort. When I say yes he chirps back 'Oh, I thought you'd be out with Tony'. Sarcastic little git.
Mum & Dad go to see Auntie Mabel, Marlene & Frank and come home with a tale that Uncle Peter ___________________. I find this hard to believe. Uncle Peter just doesn't seem to be the type - but who is the type? ______________.I, for one, don't think I could. But who knows what the future holds for us? If Jim Callaghan stays in office much longer I can't see myself being able to carry on. Oh God give me release from this torment!! Send for Margaret Hilda Thatcher to give us salvation -- Arrgghh!!
OK, say I'm like Greta Garbo if you like. I don't care. Is it some sort of passion which is clouding and confusing my mind? I finished with Carole on May 3 after we'd been through a bad patch. OK that's a fact, but why have I felt so insecure since? ___________________. Understand me now when I say I am a thorough swine for doing what I did to her. Do you realise the agony? Is it agony? Pride is what I think it is. I would have gone back out with her months ago if it hadn't have been for what people might have said. Admittedly, in Apr-May she was becoming too serious - but did I really have to be so drastic? My life is in torment now and I'm just too bewildered to know how to get out of it._____. Carole is going out with [Peter] Fogarty and I'm 'going out' with Lynne and everything is stale. It is the fact that I am even doubting my own mind that worries me. I always felt good with Carole and as I've often said before Lynne ___________. I'm saying no more on the subject now. I just feel sad and lonely and can only blame myself for the state of things.
|Sue & Lynn at Pine Tops|
[Come off it, Michael. Is this the seven month itch?]
Meanwhile, back to reality. A freezing day. The coldest since last winter, I think. Kathleen is off with her pnuemonia & so I have a good day at the YP. Kathleen is such a fuss. I always get things done much quicker when she is incapacitated.
Home at 6 o'clock. Late because I worked until 5 due to Mrs Johnson's appointment with her doctor. Idle gossips are muttering things about ____________________.
Mum and Dad go to John & Maria's at 8.30 ad I sit alone watching 'I, Claudius' on BBC2. An excellent serial indeed, as I've said before. Retire to bed at 12.30 still feeling decidedly odd on the matter of Miss Phillips. For some terrible reason I was on the verge of telephoning her at work today in order to secure her person for a drink or two and chat by way of a belated birthday present. Why do I want to do this after seven months? _____________.
Lynne came up last night at 9 o'clock, stayed 10 minutes and refused to take off her coat. Cold and efficient to be sure. [She] goes off saying she won't be seeing me until Friday night because she's going out for a meal with a girlfriend tonight, going home tomorrow, and going to an office furniture exhibition on Thursday. Mum says we must be 'cooling off' but I can't see why she thinks that way. However, I'm not going to complain. Nobody loves freedom more than me. I wonder what Paulette is doing now? Does she go out midweek? God, you're only young once, Michael. A bit of lechery won't go amiss.
Decide whilst travelling to work that I would like a half-day. Kathleen arrives in a hell of a state [pnuemonia], but I don't let that deter me from leaving early. Sarah isn't in. Upset stomach or something. A bloody cold day. March into town and see an eye-catching pair of trousers which may be mine shortly. Otherwise see nothing of interest. Christmas trees are protruding over Commercial Street as though it's an alpine forest, no doubt to make Santa Claus in Lewis's feel more at home.
Arrive home at 2 o'clock and spend a boring afternoon doing absolutely sweet sod all. Marita rings at 5.15 to see if I want to go to the Red Lion at Shadwell with her, MM, Chris and Denny. I say no because I'm going out with Tony. She says: 'Can't you put him off and come with us?' She was startled when I declined her generous offer. I'm afraid not, Marita. It's first come, first served. She asked me not to mention to Tony that Denise would be at the Red Lion tonight. I will bide with Miss Fountain's wishes on this matter. __________________________. The Battle of the Somme must have been a tea party in comparison.
Telephone Miss Mather and learn nothing much to my advantage. She's dining out tonight of course. Mum thinks she's got another man. Good for Lynne!
Help Papa put the freezer in place in the garage. Tony arrives at 8.30. We spend the whole evening at the Hare & Hounds. Horribly sad really but I get a lot 'off my chest'. Talk about Carole mainly. He goes out of his way to say what a different girl she is since I went out with her. He, being in a similar position to Miss C, sticks up for her through thick and thin. When he saw her last week he says she just went on and on about me not sending her a birthday card. Oh God. I'm so mixed up about everything. I'm like a child. One thing is certain. I cannot go out with Lynne much longer. I think I just want to be alone.
Give Denise a ring to see how the travel business is going. She says that bookings for next year are going quite well and that we should decide whether we're going as soon as possible.
If you think that this diary has been getting boring lately just hang on a minute because I have a nice surprise for you all. I have decided that on Mondays I'll write a poem or ode [call it what you will] dealing with some event currently taking place. How's that for excitement? Today's ode is as follows:
Lines on the Earthquake in Turkey
Poor Turkey, what a danmed shame,
your land has crumbled in all but name,
Your people starve, and your women weep,
But Michael Rhodes hasn't lost any sleep.
Will the Turkish people accept my apologies for the tasteless filth I've just had the audacity to churn out? I don't really mean it.
Home for tea and await the arrival of Miss Mather, who spoke to me on the telephone this morning. She's going [horse] riding on Sunday and wants to know if I want to accompany her. I say like Hell I will. However, we will be going to Thornton-le-Dale after Miss Carol Smith's 'do' at Skipton. No doubt we'll be going straight to work on Monday. Miserable existence really. Sometimes I don't know why the Hell I bother with this journal. Perhaps I should extend my poetic scribblings to Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. That's how Keats started.
Tony rings at 8 to arrange a booze-up for tomorrow night. He says Stuart has got the Paris job. Great eh? No more weekends in Ilkley. It'll be: 'Oh, I'm nipping over to Paris, Mum.' Smashin'.
Advent Sunday. Up at 12 o'clock and devour a piece of toast. The lads seem quite fresh except Martyn who still looks smashed. At 12.30 we go down to the Commercial and show the lads where 'Emmerdale Farm' is filmed. Dave and Glen really are a great couple of mates. Decide over a pint of Stella that I'm going to Ibiza next year whether Pete M or Chris want to or not. Back home for lunch at 2pm with a bottle of red wine. Afterwards we collapse in the lounge for a couple of hours. My head is terrible. The drink is taking it's toll. The lads leave [for Stockport] at about 6pm and we've decided top get more recruits for Ibiza and then they will bring over deposit money and we'll all book together.
Bed at midnight after squabbling with Mum. Since Martyn and Alison split up ________.The Poor lad's done nothing wrong, but she's pulling him to pieces. Nobody criticises my friends without a mouthful from me. It is one of my sore points I'm afraid.