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Monday September 13, 1976

Harry takes me to the bus stop at 8.15 and I bid him farewell until we next meet. Sure has been a good weekend. Feel something like how Richard Burton must feel like after he's been on the bottle for three or four days on end. I shall have to go to some sort of hydro to dry out my pickled liver, or kidneys [indeed which ever organs succumb to pickling after the consumption of vast quantities of alcohol].

Ring Lynne at lunchtime but her boss reminds me she's on a course this week in Bradford. Also ring home: still no developments from Maria. My nephew is four days late now.

Back at home: ring Lynne at Auntie Lilian's at 8.30 but she isn't in. Start watching a Dirk Bogarde film and it's midnight before I think of phoning again. Aunt Lil would probably have a coronary at this time of night.

Continue reading 'The Beatles' by Hunter Davies. Feeling shagged out still.

The Davina Mary Sheffield saga gathers momentum. We [Joe public] should read nothing into this until Buckingham Palace issues a denial. They only issue denials to cover up the truth. I approve of her anyway, even if one reader writing in the EP thinks 'Queen Davina' sounds odd.


Sunday September 12, 1976

13th after Trinity. Awakened at 12.45pm by the survivors of last night's knees-up. Just time to leap into some clothes and it's back to the Commercial once again for a liquid luncheon. The cast of 'Emmerdale Farm' are still in the carpark and Frazer Hines and the YTV wardrobe man are in the bar. Pissed on stella artois. Talk to Lynn and Sam. Sam is certainly taken with Lynn and he keeps telling me so. Marita & MM come in with a girl but stand at the other end of the pub. Marita comes over and asks about Maria. Joined also by Raymond [Bond] again. He and Carol are going to Rhyll next week and Dad proceeds to give them a run down of the bad points of Welsh life and of the of the Welsh peasants. Since Carnarvon in July 1969 father has harboured a massive loathing for the Welsh people and all they stand for. Home at 2.30. I am sick. All that lager proved too much for me.

Sit chatting about family history with Harry, Sam & Dad. Goings on in the family 50 years ago seem like something from a different world now.

The Sunday papers have decided that Davina Sheffield will be the bride of the Prince of Wales. I'm still in the air about this. No point in discussing it until an engagement is announced. After tea of salad, trifle and cakes we all watch the film 'The Go Between' which isn't particularly a good film. The house is full of drink but I just couldn't touch alcohol at all. Unbelievable I know, but true.


Saturday September 11, 1976

Go with Harry, Sam, Mum and Dad, Lynn, Sue & Pete to 69 Silverdale Drive. Somewhat chaotic though because John is laying a floor of woodden blocks in his lounge, and poor Uncle H found himself glued to the floor. He was seconds away from becoming a permanent fixture in his nephew's home. Introduce Sam to Maria. He doesn't believe us when we say she's only 18.

Sue and Peter go off somewhere like a pair of love birds and the rest of us trip off down to the Conmmercial in a deluge. The great dramatic actor Frazer Hines is sitting in the bar surrounded by followers, make-up artists and piss artists. Later we see them filming in the carpark. A dour, old local chap in the tap room says 'somebody should bloody well blow up Emmerdale Farm and have done'. Hear, hear. Joined by Anne, Carol [Americans] and Raymond [Bond]. devour beef sandwiches and knock back lager. A chap [telly producer type]chats with Lynn but nothing comes of it.

John and Maria come up at 5.30 for an evening meal. Beautiful food. Down to the Hare at 9. Joined by Tony. CB goes off to Ilkley to meet Martyn. At 10.45 Tony goes up to Horsforth for Mrs Johnson and they go on to Ilkley too. Family comes back to Pine Tops for a continuation of last night's booze-up. Drink until 3am. Uncle H is one of the most humorous men I have ever encountered.


Friday September 10, 1976

A wet and blustery day. Go into town at 1.30 and take my latest film into the chemist for developing. Very exciting.

See in the Daily Mail [and later in the EP] that Prince Charles and Davina Sheffield will probably marry next year - according to their friends. Who needs friends with people like that around? Or even who needs enemies with friends like that? [Keep trying the different friends angle and you'll eventually get it right, Michael.] Mum asks if Davina is 'suitable Queen material'. I say yes.

Go to the Hare with Lynne and Susan in Peter's car [Peter N's that is] after 8 o'clock and meet Christine White and a bearded Stuart, who come in to investigate Maria's forthcoming confinement. They leave shortly afterwards. Lynn and Dave come down with cousin Sam [Rhodes] who I haven't seen since 1970-71 or so. He is alright but somewhat withdrawn. Mum and Dad come in with Harry. Back home in pouring rain at 11.30 or so after seeing Carole and Naomi.

Give Lynne a pile of old copies of 'Private Eye' and a packet of tea for Mrs Mather as repayment for all the supplies I consumed last weekend. She goes off in a rainstorm at midnight for Thornton-le-Dale and the rest of us have a drink [a serious one]. Bed at 3.30am.... intoxicated.


Thursday September 9, 1976

The day that could have been the most eventful day of the year went by without any news from Maria. Dad saw her this lunchtime and he says she had visited the doctor and he's now arranged to see her on Tuesday. Oh God I can't stand all this waiting. Anyone would think it was my baby she is having [don't even think about it].

Stagger to work with what might be termed a 'hangover'. Feel bloody awful. Tell Kathleen my decision to pack in at noon and she offers up no opposition. I get a bus at 12 o'clock and get home for lunch at 12.45. Mum is on edge about Maria. It must be a terrible experience becoming a grandparent at 41. Blimey, in 20 years time I could be 'grandad' material!

By late afternoon I've recovered and by the time Lynne gets here at 7pm I'm in good shape. We go to the Red Lion at Burley [in Whafredale] with Sue & Pete where we see Naomi, Carole and another girl. On to the Rose & Crown in Ilkley and meet Tony and Stuart. At 10 o'clock the four of us go on to Oakwood Hall for a couple of hours. It resembles a scene from the new Hitchcock epic 'Carry On Up the Black Hole of Calcutta'. Ghastly. Tempers were frayed. Home at 12.30 and to bed with Hunter Davies's The Beatles'.


Wednesday September 8, 1976

Go to Oakwood Hall with Tony. Only a handful of people in the place. Get pissed up and dance with every woman in the building. A Gayle Hunnicutt type caught my eye. Aren't I a naughty lad? Home at 2.30am in a state of intoxication. Nothing more to report other than say Maria's confinement is due tomorrow. In 24 hours time I may well be 'Uncle Michael'.


Tuesday September 7, 1976

Do you realise that Queen Elizabeth the First is celebrating her birthday quietly somewhere today? The old girl is 443 years old. A grand old age, eh?

Lynne comes up for tea. With Susan & Peter we go to 69 Silverdale Drive to see Maria and John and the progress of the house. Papa is up to his eye-balls in emulsion paint and John is doing something technical with a kitchen cabinbet. Poor Maria Looks enormous. Even bigger than before. Is this thing inside her a monster? Will Otley hospital be the scene of some ghoulish trauma? Only time will tell.

At 8 o'clock Lynne, Sue, Pete and self go up to the Emmotts!! See dear old Ivy Fitton who remembers me and asks after John. I tell her he will be a father in a couple of days and she cannot believe it. She also mentions June, as she always does, and says that her fiance is called Brooks. The place is like Benton Park's Old Commrades Association annual general meeting. Sheila Woodhead and Carol [who sat 'A' level history with me] are sat quite near but they don't recognise me. It's Lynne's first visit to the place and after an hour or so we move, inevitably, to the Hare & Hounds. Had a spot of trouble persuading Lynne to go to our favourite ale-house, but we all enjoyed it when we finally arrived.

To Harry Ramsden's at 10.30 and we devour them [fish and chips] in Lynne's car. Peter N didn't want his Dad's machine filling with the aroma of rotting fish and fried potatoes.


Monday September 6, 1976

Up at approx. 6.45am and have breakfast with Lynne, Peter, Jane, Karl & David. I had forgotten how childish 15 year-olds are. Not having been associated with that group for some six and a half years I seem to have got out of the hang of it. We leave T-le-D at 7.25 for Leeds - the journey takes 90 minutes. Lynne is a good driver really. A pleasant but quiet trip into boring Leeds and all in all we counted 17 dead rabbits flattened on the homeward road. The recording of the number of our dead 'furry friends' may seem a somewhat sombre excercise, but anything to take the mind off the obnoxious silence of Miss Jane ____, and her bilious brother, David, in the back seat. Do all thirteen year-olds have trouble with wind, or is it me?

Work uneventful. Ring Tony, Lynne and mother [in that order. It's not an order of preference either]. To meet Lynne tomorrow; Tony on Wednesday, and will see Mummy at tea time.

New items: The Earl of Leicester is dead, and so too is the 300 year-old wife of former YP chairman Colin Forbes Adam. Peter N passes his driving test.

Nice to see the family again. Mum says Maria is showing no sign of delivering her son into the world. Have a bath and smoke a cigar in front of a Dirk Bogarde film. Lynne nips up with the luggage then drives off in a great haste.


Sunday September 5, 1976

12th after Trinity. Out of bed at midday for a cooked breakfast with the Mather family [except Donald, who is decorating]. Horror of Horrors! I smashed a rare Meissen plate when I dropped a half-ton butter dish onto it. Mrs M laughs it off but I feel terrible. I never break anything at home. I also accidentally knocked Peter's electric razor off a dresser, showering particles & bristles all over the kitchen.

Lynne and I then creep away to the Cayley Arms. Talk about things. We don't like Jane, and neither does Donald & Vera. I say how much I like her parents - which isn't crawling - but quite sincere. Only us in the pub, which isn't very nice, and so we go for a drive round for an hour or so. Bright sun. We laugh at the sight of a massive 18 stone woman astride a tiny, pathetic, crippled pony, which seems to be dying beneath the weight. Lynne wants to contact the NSPCC or something. Isn't that for cats?

Back to Ty-Onnen for hilarious lunch and then settle down to watch 'Cromwell' starring Richard Harris and with Alec Guinness as the martyred monarch. Retire to bed at midnight after cuccumber sandwiches and Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' on the record player. Listening to Lynne and her father discussing work over supper I realise how terribly ambitious she is. I don't like ambition one bit. I tend to think people become eaten away by it and finish up like Hitler.