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20111205

Saturday December 11, 1976


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.

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Friday December 10, 1976



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.

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Thursday December 9, 1976


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.

Wednesday December 8, 1976


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.

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Tuesday December 7, 1976


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.

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Monday December 6, 1976




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.

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Sunday December 5, 1976


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.

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