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Sunday January 1, 1978

_.1st after Christmas - New Year's Day. Yes, at midnight I was in Edith's garden with a solitary Persian cat. Alone with just my thoughts of 1977. They didn't come to much really. Minutes later I was inside being kissed, fondled and embraced.

Edith & Ernest: not like OAPs.
From here we made a convoy to Pine Tops where the family had finally arrived. Mum, a bit sozzled, is with Christine and Len ( a couple of her buddies). The party got under way nicely but I detected a more reserved atmosphere this year and a falling of of the numbers attending. But I enjoyed it all immensely.

I won't bore you with the party details because when you've read about one you've read about them all, don't you think? I got to my bed at some time after 6:00am. _____________.

Woke up at 12 or so. Jacqui and I went to Edith & Ernest's at 2 and stayed until after 5. She thinks Ern is really interesting. I thought she would. The Blackwells aren't like OAPs at all. He reminds me of Uncle Albert. Back home for a nosh and then watched the film 'Nicholas & Alexandra'. Jacqui was bored by it.


Saturday December 31, 1977

_.Jacqui and I went down to Guiseley and bought a birthday card for Mum and Dad. I chose a nice one without a revolting, soppy rhyme in it. I'm very particular about my choice of greeting cards. We then went to the Yorkshire Rose for a couple of hours. ____. It began to rain on leaving the pub and so I took her to John's for refuge only to find the house deserted. _____.

Pine Tops, Hawksworth Lane.
The party started tonight at the Hare & Hounds. Martyn and his girlfriend joined us. In came Christine Dibb and Graham, Maria, Libby, Jimmy, John, Sue, Peter N, Chris, Steve Hudson, Lynn, Dave B, Dave L, George and Jane, Nason's pals, MM and Marita, &c. Lynn was dressed in dungarees and wearing specs, one of my shirts and a tie! They all got on very well with Jacqui. _____. Libby Macdonald looked ghastly. No sign of CB or Carole. At 11:45pm a break away party, led by me, returned to Pine Tops where, to my horror, I discovered my key was locked in the house and I was locked outside. Where was Mum and Dad? They were at the Commercial drinking Southern Comfort and making merry. It was very embarrassing for me. But in a flash I knew what to do. Edith and Ernest's of course.  Armed with sherry and other obscene drinks about ten of us 'dropped in' on the dear couple. We all toasted the New Year with them as the clocks were striking 12 and I was locked outside, as is the custom, with Dmitri the Persian cat. Through the window I could see Marita and Ernest locked in a tight embrace and a host of jovial faces drinking David's cheap sherry. Oh dear, it's 1978 now.


Friday December 30, 1977

_.Met Jacqui at 4:30pm and, coincidentally, we spotted David and Mr Lawson conveniently parked at traffic lights on Wellington Street. Ferried home right to the door. Dave says he isn't going out tonight but he'll be on the scene tomorrow.

Jacqui looked very well. She has a new hairstyle. We do get on extremely well. At home we laughed over the photos of her last visit. Candle lit dinner with Mum, Dad and Susan.

From the sumptuous dining table we escaped with Sue, Pete, Janet (Simon) and Chippy to the Fox & Hounds. Joined by Martyn, Pete M and Chris.  __________________.

We came home and watched TV.


Thursday December 29, 1977

_.I have applied for a job in the reference library at YTV. Yes, I put a letter together and sealed the envelope and have every intention of leaving the YP if I'm accepted. Four years is long enough in a dead end job. It's about time I joined the 'rat race' and earned lots of money. In 15 years time when I'm an OBE and making regular appearances on the Morecambe & Wise Show I bet the management at the YP will be kicking themselves.

Eric Sykes in Charley's Aunt.
Saw Eric Sykes in 'Charley's Aunt' which was good. Dom Melville, QC, came to see me. Do I have a cat in Hell's chance of obtaining damages from my assailant? Dom says he will do everything in his power to find out but bringing an assault case against the bounder (Kirk) may mean that I too could also be bound over to keep the Queen's peace. Me! And all I did was to fall over and bleed quietly! No chance. Anyway, I do have qualms about dragging it through the courts. I don't fancy being dragged in chains before Donald Best, JP, and neither do I relish the thought of reading my name in the pages of my dear newspaper. If Dom can simply frighten the yob to death I shall be eternally happy. Dom says he will go see Kirk on Sunday night, and so he'll be quaking for New Year.

Watched a ghost story and went, laughing, to bed.



Wednesday December 28, 1977

_.Ghastly day at the YP and so I'll say no more. However, John's party tonight made up for it. Feeling decidedly Bohemian I clad myself in a collarless shirt and braces and ruffled up my hair and reintroduced that glazed glint to my disgustingly attractive eyes. Lynne Mather was there. Her reaction on seeing me was to exclaim: "Oh Michael! Haven't you let yourself go?" Let myself go indeed.  It proved to be the punch line of the whole evening. Poor Lynne looked quite well really and she seemed to fluctuate between David L and MM. It's very unusual for Dave to fall for the charms of any female, but a definite warming towards Lynne was obvious. Denise and Marita on good form.

Lynne Mather.
Helen and Graham were the best. I didn't realise until this Christmas just how much I miss Helen. Two years ago we were always in the pub together, invariably bringing the place down and seeing her again has brought these memories flooding back.

Maria was very drunk. She banged about on the piano, cig in mouth, destroying Christmas Carols.

The whole thing fizzled out long before I wanted it to. Jimmy Macdonald reckons he's a wild boozer, but when it all boils down to it he's an average drinking man of moderate nocturnal habits. Even John danced. By 3:00am it was over.


Tuesday December 27, 1977

Bank Holiday in England, Ireland and Wales.

I failed to mention that Helen (the Mrs Helen Malin) and I had another bet yesterday. After paying her the £1 note for 1975 bet we placed another wager. She says Her Majesty will abdicate by January 1, 1981. I have obviously won this one. She (Helen, not the Queen) has moved to Peterborough and a four bedroomed house. I'm invited whenever I fancy going.

Up at 9:30 and cleared the devastation with Dave. Sandra and Miss LD are smoking and lounging like Roman whores whilst we slave. Dave taped some of my records and I made breakfast. I was home by 11:30. No hangover or touch of the squelches. The Lawson coffee liqueur usually loosens everything nicely.

Spent the day at home chiefly discussing the events of last night with the girls. I do love David's Christmas parties.

(Uncle) John, Sheila and Valerie came at 6:30 and for six or seven hours we sampled the wine and forced food down ourselves. Disgusting really. (Uncle) John became greatly pissed and was very amusing. He invited us all to his Canary Island home and even suggested to Lynn & Dave that they should honeymoon there. Good, eh? The only sad thing about all this is that Windsor will never be the same again. Valerie is nice. To bed at 2:00am with the horror of work stretching before me. Ghastly. Tomorrow will be hideous I know.


Monday December 26, 1977

Bank Holiday in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

David's Christmas party. For the first time in many years Mr & Mrs L(awson) haven't gone to Blackpool for the Yuletide festivities, but instead they spend the night at Sandra's.  The event went off with the usual bang. All the gang turned up except CB who is once again having boyfriend bother (Oh God).  Mr______made his usual quip about my dancing, and so I got my own back when he was preparing to leave. He and _____(who was surly, morose and introverted) left together and before a large audience in the kitchen I quipped: "Ay, Ay, off for our traditional screw on the Chevin, are we?" Tee Hee. Sandra was grotesquely pissed and I fear some of her lustre has faded. Linda D______ was present. A bit of a tart, I fear. _____.

Slept in my usual rooms at Tennyson Street. God knows what time I eventually crashed out.


Sunday December 25, 1977

Christmas Day. Santa Claus and all that. Merry Christmas to you all! Up at approx. 10:00am to open my presents. The bulk of my gifts consist of underpants and socks. I don't care.

John, Maria and JPH came at 2 and stayed until 4. JPH was bewildered by all the fuss and wept towards the end. Poor soul. Gt-Auntie Annie and Gt-Uncle John Kirk came for ten minutes (visiting son Raymond on Southway). I gave them the photographs I took on Dec 14.
Helen Mirren.

We eventually dined in great style at 5:00pm. Feeling bloated some 90 minutes later, and whilst everyone else slept, I decided on the novel idea of gluing photographs in a new photo album. A strange Christmas pastime probably, but anything is better than the Moscow State Circus and Angela Rippon on the TV.

Julie Ege.
This evening I sat drinking shandy by the TV set. A couple of boring films later I retired to bed bearing my pile of items of male underwear. Ah well, you can't win 'em all, Michael. Perhaps next year I'll get the TR7 and a night out with Helen Mirren and Julie Ege. Merry Christmas!


Saturday December 24, 1977

_.Got up this morning to assess my wounds. I'll probably need plastic surgery and by the look of things it will affect my fan club membership. Oh, it's terrible. I've buggered my hand too. How will I battle through my Christmas dinner?

Sarah: revolted by my injuries.
Before going downstairs I had to ask Susan where I had been and exactly how I had acquired my injuries. She told my coldly. Oh, I am a fool.

My apologies were accepted by Mum and Dad and he went off to Otley (Police Station) to deal with the swine, or at least find something out. I believe my assailant was only 16 years-old.

Sarah came over at 8 and we, the whole family, went to the Hare & Hounds. Sarah is quiet and I put it down to my injuries. Am I so disfigured that Sarah is revolted?

The atmosphere in the pub is not what I would call festive. In fact most people seem quite sombre. No doubt it's because old age is creeping up on the group and crushing the lustre of yuletide joy from our poor minds.

Sarah, pleading exhaustion, retired at 11:30. Back to Pine Tops with the whole family. Maria brought her Scottish cousin, Marian along too. But, possibly because of my condition, I just felt morose and dismal. Tired even. At 2:00am I stunned the revellers by announcing my retirement.



Friday December 23, 1977

_.Roaring drunk all day with consequences nauseating and dire.Please do not read on if you are of a weak or delicate nature. At the YP we sank a bottle of gin before going over to the pub - the Central - and whilst having Christmas drinks in this ancient pub I am sorry to say my mind disintegrated. Everything became blurred and warped. I managed to get a bus at about 3 and at home I fell of a chair several times whilst attempting to stick balloons to the ceiling for my irate Mama.

From home I went with dear Dave L, Sue, Pete N, Chris, Pete M, Steve Hudson and a scattering of Pete N's pals to the Fox. I remember nothing. Evidently I was drinking Tequila and orange.

Junction, Otley.
I am told that Dave left for home at about 10 and we moved on to the Junction in Otley - of all places - where a breach of the Queen's peace occurred and possibly a case of Grievous Bodily Harm. Whilst making my exit from the said tavern I was, allegedly, set upon by one ANTONY KIRK, of Otley, who assaulted me in the face, my nose, mouth, &c. Supposedly I accosted his tart (she is from Otley and so she must be one), but dear Sue and Pete insist that on leaving the pub I did nothing to provoke an onslaught upon my person. The lad just landed one on me for no apparent reason.

My body was borne in great mourning to Peter (Nason's) where my wounds were dressed and a Mass was said. On my arrival home, it is said, Mama went hysterical and I sat drunk, quietly bleeding.


Thursday December 22, 1977

_.Received two weeks pay, which is fatal. By Christmas Eve it will be sadly depleted. I went out and bought a couple of presents and intend purchasing no more. Blimey, I'm no Paul Getty. Why spend when it's just for spending sake?

David 's party is on for Dec 26, and John's on Dec 28, but other than this I don't think we're in for a riot.

Her Majesty with her first grandson.
Master Peter Mark Andrew Phillips was baptised today at Buckingham Palace. The poor soul going through life with such a pitiful name can find comfort in the knowledge that he is the oldest grandson of Her Most Illustrious Majesty our Sovereign Lady the Queen and it is unlikely that Master Phillips will ever endure the horrors of our state education system or experience the agonies of taking home £30 per week. Oh I'd change places with him and dip my head in that font any day.


Wednesday December 21, 1977

CB: voluptuous as usual.
_.The week is dragging by nastily, as it always does leading up to Yuletide. What more can I say really? Not a lot. To tea at John and Maria's and was joined by CB.  Carole and Fogarty came later and we drank coffee and gossipped. It was my first visit to No 69 since June.  CB is voluptuous, as usual, and is in love again. She insists I'll see her over the Christmas period but I know Christmas and I know CB even better and when she has a man the rest of us don't stand a chance. But we do laugh all the same. ______. JPH is incredible. He's a pearl.


Tuesday December 20, 1977

Prince of Wales: sworn of the Privy Council.
_.Phoned Jacqui to say thank you. She says she's coming from Dec 30 to Jan 3. I hope Mama will not be upset by this arrangement.

The Prince of Wales became a member of the Privy Council today. I have always assumed that he's been a PC since becoming 18 in 1966. Wrong again, Michael.


Monday December 19, 1977

_.Rumour has it that Judith is living in sin with the manager of the Hare & Hounds and that she is now resident at the pub. What has become of the poor, demented landlady? ________.


Sunday December 18, 1977

_.4th in Advent. To Jacqui's mum's. To a pub where Mrs Holroyd drank pints of tarvern ale. J's brother, Pete, is very likeable. He had only arrived home at 9:30 this morning which his mother found remarkable. Back to J's mum's flat and then to Victoria at 5:30 and left at 6:00pm. Jacqui has invited me down to parties in February and March and I have invited her to Pine Tops for the New Year revelries. In Leeds by 10, and home for 10:45. John, Maria and JPH are just leaving. _________.


Saturday December 17, 1977

Party goers at Muswell Hill.
_.To a disco at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. Only half a dozen of us in the place but we enjoyed the scene. Fun really.  Just Jacqui, Joy, Pete (Jacqui's brother) and I went. Home at 2:30am. Drank whisky. All really pissed. Jacqui says she may be moving to Leeds next year.


Friday December 16, 1977

_.To London with my nose running all over the coach. Jacqui met me at Victoria and we went straight to Muswell Hill, which took hours. Party there tonight. My Groucho was good. Jacqui was Shirley Temple, Joy was Liza Minelli, and Jan a gypsy.

Jacqui as Shirley Temple.


Thursday December 15, 1977

Full of cold. Water is pouring from my every molecule. It wouldn't be so bad but my visit to London on the morrow will be completely ruined.

Sarah and John MacMurray came tonight and we went to the Hermit (Burley Woodhead) for a drink. I hate it because of my state of health. ________.

Home at 11 and pack everything including plastic flowers, morning coat and false facial attire. Off to bed. Shit, I'm going to die, I think.


Wednesday December 14, 1977

_Went with Mum and Dad into the depths of Leeds to see Great Aunt Annie (Kirk), my grandmother Rhodes's sister. Uncle John, at the door, wouldn't let us in, and shouted through the letter box: 'Come back nearer Christmas!' They thought we were Carol singers. She was thrilled to see us and told us tales of hilarity about her father, Charlie Henty. Henty, a jockey, married Polly Upton, my great-grandmother, some years after the birth of my grandmother. My grandmother's father is an unknown quantity, if you get my meaning. It seems that Charlie broke both ankles in a pre-1914 Grand National. How intriguing.


Tuesday December 13, 1977

I am very interested in the Plantagenets now. Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm not deserting the House of Windsor, but  I am captivated by my ancestor King Edward III and his offspring, John of Gaunt especially. I will have to see if anything factual on this guy is in the store at Leeds Library. I have rarely delved beyond the Tudors and 'Good Queen Bess', but now my curiosity has been aroused there's no stopping me.

Fat, poxy, 48 year-old Queen.
The Stuarts were all very well but who wants to read about a fat, poxy 48 year-old Queen who's had thirteen children none of whom survived to tell the tale?

Quiet evening. Saw a play on the BBC called 'Charades' by Lady Antonia Fraser. Quite good. Took a bath at 11 and then retired after a hot drink with Mum and Dad at the foot of the troublesome Christmas tree. Who would have imagined that a yard of bloody tinsel could cause so much ill-will and general brutal violence? The house last night resembled a National Front Christmas party, the type we see on Labour party political broadcasts these days.


Monday December 12, 1977

Clementine Spencer-Churchill went off from this world to join Winston this afternoon. The old bird died of a heart attack at the age of 92. This item proved to be the dominant feature on the 6 o'clock news because the BBC is tiring of the firemens' strike and the procrastinations of Mr Wedgwood Benn. I must write to Judith. She loves to talk about Winnie and Clem.

Clementine: went to join Winston.
Work was carried out in the usual fashion. Sarah is back in action, and so is Eileen, who's been off since God knows when.

At home we had the traditional family bust up over the erection of the Christmas tree. I told Lynn where she could stick the tinsel, and dear Mother became quite heated. Susan even threatened to go out until we had all calmed down. Papa took leave of his senses. It was horrific and as is always the case, I lost on all counts. In any crisis the family always sticks together to attack me violently. Mum thinks the sun shines out of Lynn's arse, which I don't mind in the least, but I do object when the collective fury, wrath - call it what you will - is flung at me. However, as eldest child I suppose it's quite natural that I should be the scapegoat. Just like the relationship between the Hanoverian kings and successive Princes of Wales for instance? Clement Freud's grandad no doubt knew all about this psychological phenomena.

It is now several hours since the 'Great Christmas Tree Bust Up' and I wish to re-assess the situation. I was most certainly not defeated in the battle. Dad just attempted to give Lynn and I a piece of his mind about the outburst of childish bickering and I discovered a certain eloquence that has laid dormant since my school debating days. I retired to bed feeling like Sir Winston Churchill. The funny thing about it all is that Lynn and I laughed ourselves stupid afterwards, and we caused the whole rift in the first place. It got to the situation where we just couldn't look at each other without dissolving.


Sunday December 11, 1977

3rd in Advent. Not a very comfortable night. Dave and I were tucked up in the same bed again. Me at the bottom and Dave at the top. I kicked him several times in the face.

We eventually took breakfast at noon and went straight into the bar for yet another session. I cut down my alcoholic intake drastically. Bill was amusing. He seems to have taken a shine to me. We chatted away in Rotter's like we were ancient friends.  I fear Garry is very shy.

Queen Victoria: is that a smile?
At 2 we had lunch and watched 'Royal Heritage' with some film of Balmoral including scenes of the Queen and Duke (of Edinburgh) dancing Highland reels at a ghillies ball. The royal way of life is no different to what it was in Victoria's day. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone was featured too and she said she'd once asked her grandmother, Queen Victoria, whether she had ever said "we are not amused" and the venerable old lady flatly denied she had ever uttered such a sentence. Princess Alice is disappointed. Victoria, she says, is a much maligned monarch.

At 7:30 after bidding farewell to Mr & Mrs Glynn Dave, Bill, Garry and I went to Manchester. More booze (only a slight amount though) and at 8:30 I left for home. Won't be seeing the lads again until the New Year. Dave is working on New Year's Eve. Home by 10:30.

Mum is knitting me a 'sloppy' pullover which, to the horror of all present, doesn't even fit over my head. Certain amendments are going to have to be made, I fear.

Back to the YP in the morning. It's going to take a super human character to get through the day.


Saturday December 10, 1977

Mum woke me at 7:30. I felt ghastly. Close to death in fact. I was in two minds about whether I should stuff my £2 bus ticket to Manchester and just go back to bed. I didn't. I have splashed curry sauce all over my new trousers. Stood in the bathroom looking at my piteous reflection. I nearly vomited. Oh My God, the Christmas season is upon us again!

Garry Barratt.
Got the 9:30 bus out of Leeds. An uneventful journey. I slept for part of the way. Met Dave at 12 and we began drinking on the spot. By 3pm I'd consumed about seven pints of lager. Dave and the boys bashed about playing billiards or pool or whatever they call it. I wasn't even a bit pissed. I realise how disgusting and horribly working class I sound. I may just as well be a coal miner or sheet metal worker if my social life is anything to go by.

After a meal prepared by the great Lily Glynn we went out to the Armoury in Stockport for 8:30. From here we went with Bill (Wright) and Garry (Barratt) to Rotter's disco ('First there were discos, now there's Rotters', is the slogan). We each had to put a £3 deposit down before the management would let us in the God damn place. I think the poor misguided souls took us for rogues! We did get the money back when we staggered out at 2:00am. We did have a good time. Why can't someone open such a place in Guiseley or immediate vicinity? They'd make a bomb. Oakwood Hall is the closest thing and that's light years away in comparison.

On the way back to Dave's it happened. Yes, I was sick. All my own doing.


Friday December 9, 1977

_.Sunny day. I ventured out of doors for the first time in over a week. Went to Leeds at 12 to collect my meagre £28. Disgusting for 1977, isn't it? Jim Callaghan should be flogged. Spent £30 in just over an hour. Christmas presents are the main drain on my finances. Bought John and Maria a picture; Lynn and Dave a set of kitchen weighing scales (Oh my Lord) amongst other things. Saw Marilyn, but otherwise my expedition passed by uneventfully. I also bought three records.

Home at 3. Ernest came to tea and Mum and I entertained him to drinks. He told me several hilarious lewd tales of his experiences in Crete during the war. Stories of lust and prostitution, &c. We both became quite pissed. Dear Mama took no part in this sordid orgy. At 5 she nipped out to see Dr Mellor (just a check up).

The Queen's
I phoned the LGI at tea time and they said Carole had just left. Thank God for that. However, is it just a Christmas break? The New Year will reveal all no doubt. It was wonderful to hear her. She was so overjoyed at getting out. Where do we go from here?

Phoned Peter Mather. We went to the Fox at 8:00pm. Joined by Tony and Martyn at 9:30. ______. From the Fox we went to the Queen's on Apperley Lane. Quite dead, as far as I can recall, and then onto Oakwood. I became abominably intoxicated and remember very little. I do recall coming out in the rain at 2:00am and devouring an Indian curry.


Thursday December 8, 1977

The snow disappears. Feel much better. I have tired of GBS's plays and I am 'glued' to a romantic novel about John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Not my usual style of reading but it's excellent.

Master Phillips is to be christened Peter Mark Andrew by Dr Coggan at Buckingham Palace on Dec 22. The Queen's grandson called Pete! I suppose they've named him after Mark's Dad, Maj Phillips. Andrew is for the baby's uncle of course. Mark is self explanatory.

Carole phoned. They are letting her out tomorrow. David G phoned. Why don't I go over on Saturday, he asks? Why not indeed. _________. For a couple of quid who can argue with the lad? Blimey, Stockport one week, Muswell Hill the next. I'm the nearest thing to a peasant jet-setter. Dave says Glenn is back from his Miami sojourn.

I'm going to Leeds tomorrow to collect my pittance and purchase five or six 'Chrisy' presents.



Wednesday December 7, 1977

Snow upon snow. A thick, white layer everywhere.

Carole phoned me at 5:00pm to thank me for the letter. She says she's probably coming home on Friday. I'm elated. ____________. My letter must have been sentimental. It's made her realise just what I'm thinking. I put Mum on and they chatted for ages.______________. Today I wrote to Kathryn (Young) and Christine. Dad's typewriter in the house prompted this industriousness.

It's becoming very 'Christmasy' you know. Mum is playing 'The Floral Dance' by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band on the record play and the combination of this, the weather, and general cheer will undoubtedly be confusing Santa into coming early.

I have laid hands on a pair of cord trousers from Mum's catalogue. Black ones - very nice too.


Tuesday December 6, 1977

_.A day at home. Feeling much, much better. Read 'The Millionairess' by G.B.S. Finished it.

Carole will have received my letter today. I hope she likes it. She has been complaining that I never write.

Dad brought his typewriter home from the office and so I wrote to Jacqui. I enjoy typing.

We turned off the television fairly early. Mama is knitting me a large, chunky pullover. _________.


Monday December 5, 1977

_.Much better today. Out of bed by 10:30 and spent the day reading 'The Millionairess' by G.B.S. I'm in stitches at much of the dialogue. It's far better than 'The Apple Cart'.

Had kippers at lunch and pork this evening.

Harold Pinter.
Peter N hobbled up to see us. Lynn spent the evening with David at Pool in Wharfedale.

The TV was crap except for Barry Humphries, but he was only on for 30 minutes or so. At 9 o'clock we switched off. I walked around the house, hands in pockets, complaining I had nothing to do. It was reminiscent of my childhood. I have decided to write a play. I'm going to be a second Mr Shaw or Harold Pinter.

Jacqui phoned. She can't get any specs like Groucho Marx, or at least she can't from Derek Sate. I tackled Ernest tonight and he said he might have a pair somewhere. Back to Jacqui: she was in high spirits and sympathetic about the Bubonic plague (my illness). I also wrote to Carole and told her I'm at home. _____.



Sunday December 4, 1977

_.2nd in Advent. Slightly better. In fact I'm a lot better. Just watched TV the whole day and ate a sizeable Sunday dinner at about 6:00pm.

Watched 'Royal Heritage'. It was about Victoria and Albert. 'The Count of Monte Cristo' is finished! Over a thousand miserable pages in about as many days. It's nothing to be proud of at all, Michael Rhodes. Two months to read a book. I really should be horse whipped. I bet Mr Dumas wrote the bloody thing in half that time.

Mum and Dad went out for a drink tonight and I watched a play called 'Waste' on the BBC. Quite good.


Saturday December 3, 1977

_.Mother's coffee morning in aid of Mark Sansom, a 19 month-old brain damaged child whose parents want to send him for treatment to Philadelphia, U.S.A. About 60 people turned up. I stayed in my bed and was visited by my nephew. He must think I'm a lazy rat. Sue came up to see me and had me in stitches when she told me she'd given a cup of hot coffee to an old lady with Parkinson's Disease, who proceeded to shake it all round the room.

I got out of bed at about tea time and remained in circulation until about midnight. Didn't hear from 'the lads'. Saw a Jack Lemmon film on the BBC which was hilarious.


Friday December 2, 1977

Maria has told Mum that Mrs Phillips told her on Tuesday that Carole's got a 'dark patch' somewhere. Carole is, of course, unaware of this. Shit.

Basil Rathbone.
I'm ill. Revoltingly ill. Saw Basil Rathbone in a 1939 Sherlock Holmes film and then went to bed where I got no sleep until the crack of dawn. I was sweating like Hell all night. Ghastly it was. And the dreams I kept having went on and on for what seemed like hours.



Thursday December 1, 1977

Feel revoltingly weak, dizzy and painful about the head, back, arms, legs. At work I did very little, and after collecting my wage, including a tax rebate of £20 by courtesy of Mr Healey, I left for home.

I took something hot to bed and read 'The Count of Monte Cristo', which I almost finished. Yes, nearly.  You may be needing tranquilisers I know, but there's no point trying to deceive you is there?

with JPH.
Maria, John and JPH came to see us this afternoon. Mum brought the baby up to my room and he crawled about on the floor. He liked my clock and kept saying "tick tock", "shoe", "flower", and made various horse impressions.

Saw 'Top of the Pops' tonight and eventually passed into a coma. For God's Sake I hope nobody creeps into my room during the night and switches off my life support machine.

Carole's latest treatment was a success and she may be out of hospital by Christmas. I was supposed to see her today but when she telephoned me with the news I told her I was ill. Bless her.


Wednesday November 30, 1977

St Andrew's Day. A ghastly day. Just Kathleen and I in to do all the work. By 4:30 I was dead to the world. Didn't even have time to take a lunch break. I phoned Lynn this morning to enquire about acquiring a morning coat with tails from one of her mad associates. She settled it straight away and this saves me £8 or £9. Sisters can be very useful at times.

Striking firemen (1977).
______. This morning Jim Rawnsley gave a lecture on his view of the firemen's strike. He really let rip. He thinks all the striking firemen should be put up against a wall and shot. Blimey, we don't live in Chile or Argentina, Jim! (I almost said Spain here, but they are becoming more sensible and non-reactionary lately).

Got home at 5 o'clock. Mum and Dad are back from Luton. The funeral isn't until Tuesday and so they brought Edith & Ernest home too. They're going back on Monday.

I phoned John G in Rawtenstall. He is very well, in case you're interested.

Change of ink from red to black: I feel a little 'off it'. Almost as though I have a cold coming. In the bath at about 11. My neck aches. If it becomes any more painful I won't hesitate to chuck in work tomorrow.


Tuesday November 29, 1977

Sarah is still ill. I realised something was afoot last week. I put her listlessness and complete lack of interest down to the fact that she had tired of my company. Maybe a bit of both.

Simon Regan.
Derek Naylor lent me Simon Regan's new book 'Margaret: A Love Story'. Good of him. The book however is not up to much and is riddled with errors throughout. One cannot help thinking that if he can make so many errors with the known facts how far can we trust him with the juicy, gossipy bits he says are authentic? Not far if you ask me.

Went to see Carole at 2:30. Her face is still swollen slightly. She is entertaining her Mum and 'Auntie' Anne, who are kept busy making Christmas decorations. She walked me to the stairs at the end of the ward at the close of my visit. I hadn't realised just how frail she actually is. I had to support her all the way, and as we walked, arm in arm, down the long, shiny floored corridor I remarked how much it was like getting married.

Maria and baby JPH came at 3:10pm. ________.The baby was rosy cheeked and had a marvellous set of teeth. He has all the attributes of a future Conservative prime minister. I told Carole I'd return on Thursday.

Tomorrow she is undergoing yet another 'milogramme' or whatever. She's got the bravest little character on earth ______.


Monday November 28, 1977

Eileen is still in hospital. Sarah is off sick. It's Kathleen's day off, and so only Carol J and I in the office. Not such a hectic day though and we refuse to panic and let the bastards get on top of us.

My unhealthy Barclaycard statement.
Jack Heath, who died on Tuesday, was cremated today. Most people went from the office just to get off work. ______.

Carole PHONED ME  this morning in marvellous spirits. It was wonderful to hear her sweet voice on the blower. I promise to call in and see her at 2:30. She looked like her mother today. Her face was round, which she put down to the steroids that they are pumping into her each day. She is very much back to normal though and because of this her mother was half as attentive. In fact the old girl disappeared onto another ward with a mug of cocoa to visit a less fortunate patient. I asked Carole where she plans on taking me when she gets out. It triggered off the usual story about why our relationship fell down in July. She seems to think it was all my fault and we had a whispered quarrel, not wishing to have a full argument whilst she's laid up hospitalised. My God she must be improving if she can oppose everything I say! Great, isn't it? I didn't mention __________whom I'm sure is the 'nigger in the wood pile' regarding Carole and I.

I left at 3:15 say I will see her tomorrow. She doesn't allow me to give her a parting kiss on the lips because she doesn't want me going back to the YP smothered in lipstick.

Edith's aunt has died in Luton and Mum and Dad are taking the Blackwells down tomorrow for a couple of days to sort out the estate. The old dear was 87 and died suddenly the other night in her sleep. Not a nice way to go. I'd like just a tiny, little warning, I think. No long, painful illness but a gentle reminder that my time is up.

Watched a Western on the BBC and played Patience. The family sat startled as I shuffled a deck of cards.


Sunday November 27, 1977

Advent Sunday. My eyes were opened to the principal bedroom of the Ratcliffe residence and Mr Mather's gaping mouth and Mantovani on the stereo playing 'Greensleeves' and then 'My Love is Like a Deep Red Rose'. All very nauseating. Peter George Mather, Esq is indeed a weird bundle of male. His eccentricities are numerous:

1). He persists in the wearing of the article of underclothing known as the VEST.
2). He wears his hair in the style of a lieutenant in Princess Patricia's Own Right Knee and Underskirt Regiment.
3). His bizarre musical tastes not only feature Mantovani and Max Jaffa, but Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson and Des O'Connor, &c.
4). His choice of footwear is indescribable.
5). His overall appearance is that of a 1958 bank clerk.
6). Sexually, he's a three year-old.
7). Sexually, he thinks he's a combination of Ryan O'Neal, Casanova, Mick Jagger, the Sex Pistols and Erroll Flynn.
8). He enjoys those archaic boys 'comics' like Hotspur.
9). Everybody's mother simply adores him.
10). If he'd been born American Mrs Edith Blackwell would campaign to have him elected president.

Peter: 1958 bank clerk.
Peter drove me home at 1:30. Shortly afterwards I went with Lynn, Mum and Dad to look at 34, Town Street, Guiseley, which is for sale. A poky, tiny little place but very 'country cottage with roses round the door' type of place. David is, I think, going to 'make an offer for it' as they say in the house buying business.

Back for luncheon and then collapsed in a chair by the fire with my knees firmly under the television set. The series 'Royal Heritage' featured George IV. Later, a Phyllis Diller film.

To bed at 12:00 with 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. Bloody Hell, I expect a visit any day from Alexandre Dumas to fill me in on where I'm missing the point. Oh, hang on, there goes the doorbell. He's here now. Come in, Alex! Sit down and take the weight off your Three Musketeers.


Saturday November 26, 1977

Arose at 10. Mum tells me, over breakfast, that the Gloucester's baby is to be Lady Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte Windsor. Davina, eh? I'm not going to bother connecting the illustrious infant with a certain flaxen haired Oxfordshire maiden with big tits. The connection would be just too obvious. The young lady (the shapely blond one) is now the constant companion of young Winston Churchill's brother-in-law, Mr d'Erlanger.

Uncle Peter called in before lunch to see Mum. He was his usual boisterous self ___________.

The Black Horse.
I intended remaining by the fireside tonight but Mr Mather came up at 8 and easily persuaded me to join him and Martyn at the pub. We drank at the Black Horse at Askwith, the Black Bull at Otley and Fox and Hounds at Menston. Wendy Smith, Anne and Sue (Smith's) joined us at the Fox and the six of us went off merrily to Oakwood Hall. _______. Oakwood Hall was reminiscent of a deep jungle. The humidity was incredible. Wendy and I had a few drinks and danced together continuously. I was pissed.  Peter was with Sue (who told me in strictest confidence that she hates his guts!) and Martyn and Anne were not on friendly terms. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  My God Wendy is a big girl! On to 21, Victoria Drive, Horsforth, with a pissed Peter. Young Chris was out until 4am with Michelle. Dirty bugger.


Friday November 25, 1977

Mr Peter Nason broke his leg this morning. This horrific news was conveyed to me at tea time by a desolate Mama. Susan is at the hospital consoling the ashen faced young man. He will be out of action until the New Year undoubtedly.  Bang goes his Christmas cheer at Oakwood Hall or any other discotheque for that matter. The poor boy has endless trouble with his legs, feet, toes, &c. It would perhaps prove far better if he were to have the lot off.

QEII: Carole's nail varnish would paint it 3 times over...
Talking of invalids and the like, I think it's about time I paid another visit to Carole. It's eight days since I last laid eyes on the fair maid. I cannot understand the change of attitude of her mother, the Dowager Lady Phillips. It was a known fact 18 months ago that her Ladyship hated the sight of me, and yet over the past weeks she's been positively angelic. However, I cannot help quivering when I view the number of presents she 'bought' Carole. The bottles of nail varnish could paint the Q.E.2. three times over. I cannot help thinking that the dear Mrs P isn't paying for it all. __________. Kleptomaniacs seldom recover, do they? Am I being frightfully cruel? Should  I perhaps give the old girl the benefit of the doubt? Oh, go on then.

Saw TV tonight until 12 and then retired to bed with my book. I received a lecture from Mummy this evening on my financial situation again. Things always become a little heated when we discuss my budget and the scenes at Westminster on the days following the Queen's Speech cannot be any worse.


Thursday November 24, 1977

Thanksgiving Day, U.S.A. Saw Nureyev in 'Valentino' at the Odeon with Sarah. We both thought it was a marvellous film. It was one of those films you could see over and over again. Neither of us can understand why it had such bad reviews in the papers. It must be because the critics resent the idea that a ballet dancer can make a good film. I have always thought that you needn't be an actor to be a film star.

I have a feeling that these meetings with Sarah are drawing to yet another close. _________. The death knell to these mild flings is usually sounded by the arrival of an immensely rich 25 year-old male who carries her off to his Palladian seat out of my clutches. This is happening right now, I'm afraid. She is bored of me. Coming out of Leeds with her on the bus I realised all is lost___________. She got off the bus and disappeared into the mist of West End Lane.



Wednesday November 23, 1977

Saw the Alfred Hitchcock film 'Frenzy' on the BBC. Perhaps it should have been called 'Pansy'. A weak, ridiculous dead loss it was Mr Hitchcock, and I don't care who knows it. What a bloody let down.

Mathieu Molé
Nothing of further interest occurred on this twenty third day of November in the year old Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Seven. It's the anniversary of the proclamation of the constitution of Victoria in 1855 and the death of Mathieu Molé , French statesman, also in 1855.

I don't see that point in writing much today other than what I've already done. I don't suppose any of you readers will be upset if I never wrote another line again. But your attitude isn't going to deter me. Where would we be now if Samuel Pepys had listened to his sister, Beryl (who didn't like his writing and thought he was a puff)?


Tuesday November 22, 1977

To the Grand (Theatre) with Sarah at 7:30 to see 'Swan Lake' performed by the Royal Festival Ballet. Barbara Wheeler and her dear, sweet daughter, Beverley, sat nearby but Barbara had an attack of the leaks and left in the middle of the second act. I really enjoyed it. _________. The music especially was superb. Don't ask me the name of the principal participants but one thing's for sure - they were all Europeans. Ever heard of a ballerina with a name like Ethel Jones? All in all it was a success but the closing scene was not what I was expecting. The prince and the swan are supposed to drown in the lake, aren't they? Yes, I thought so too, but in this version they were carried aloft to heaven on the back of a dirty great duck. Sarah hated it and did nothing but moan. We came home on the bus at 10:30. A cold, nasty night.


Monday November 21, 1977

Wet, cold and wicked is an apt description of today. The YP was quiet and inoffensive. Eileen is in hospital having something done to her nose again and won't be back before Easter _________.

Anwar Sadat.
Masses of drivel in the papers on President Sadat's hysterical trip to Jerusalem. The PLO will have him done away with before you can say Golda Meir. The poor man is doing his utmost to achieve peace.

Jacqui phoned at 1pm to ask whether I can stay in London from Dec 16 to the morning of Dec 19 so enabling me to be entertained to dinner by her mum on the night of Sunday Dec 18. I shall have to see what I can do. It all sounds very nice especially in these miserable times up here. I can think of nothing nicer than escaping to the metropolis for three whole days.

Mum and Dad went to see John and Maria for a couple of hours. Mum returned very cheerful and revived. Seeing her grandson has an amazing effect upon her. __________.

Watched some TV and read 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. By 12:26 I'm on page 870. I am going to throw a party when I finish the book. Took a bath and did some more reading. Dad's been looking at Shaw's preface to 'The Apple Cart'. He thinks GBS is a silly, cynical old man. He's more than that I'm afraid ...  he's dead.


Sunday November 20, 1977

Ernest Blackwell.
Last after Trinity. Out to the Commercial just after twelve. Sue, Pete, Chippy and me that is. Had three or four drinks and came back to Pine Tops where Susan attempted to make lunch. I went to Edith's to ask what flour is required to make Yorkshire pudding and remained there for one and a half hours with Ernest in his kitchen drinking his lager (from the barrel) and grape wine.

On returning home I found the mortal remains of my lunch over a pan of hot water and no sooner had I started to eat it when Mum and Dad appeared. Mum was in one of her foul moods and not at all nice to Sue. I think they expected a cooked lunch on the table and the sight of a chicken skeleton and three cold Brussels sprouts cannot have been a heart warming sight.

To make matters worse I invited Edith and Ernest to come round at 4:30 and they arrived on time with bottles of wine. Mum complained of feeling tired and was far from sociable. We drank until about 8 when I evacuated the lounge and let go of my pent up frustrations on Delia's pheasant. I, with the aid of David, removed it of it's feathers and innards and conveyed the pathetic bird back into the house. I do not suppose it will make a decent meal. In fact, it strongly resembled a Vietnamese refugee. Nevertheless, one shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth ... or gift pheasant in the beak.

Mum and Dad enjoyed Norfolk but are far too grumpy for my liking. Saw a film and retired to bed at 12. Still battling on with our mutual friend 'The Count of Monte Cristo'.


Saturday November 19, 1977

Just Susan and I closeted together for most of the day. I got out of bed at noon with a crashing hangover. For four or five hours I reclined on the sofa with a pained expression on my pale, ghastly face. Lynn went off to a wedding after lunch saying I am a disgusting specimen. She doesn't realise that we bachelors have a hell of a life with tremendous responsibilities to hold and reputations to keep up. We can't just sit by the fireside on winter evenings with a good book, perhaps watching "Crossroads" on the TV. Oh no, we have to socialise on a nauseating scale taking in parties, orgies &c, consuming grotesque quantities of spirits, wine and ale in the process. My God it's absolute hell.

with Chippy .....
The BBC went on strike tonight. I remained at home - quite alone - all the same. I even endured 'Match of the Day' featuring Wrexham and Colchester. Then I watched a Vincent Price horror film entitled 'The Amazing Dr Phibes' (1971). Not bad really.

Sue, Pete and Chippy came at 11:30 and they looked thoroughly pissed. Probably because I'm sober. We opened a few bottles. Sue was dancing in the dining room. She and Pete slept in Mum's room and Chippy slept in Lynn's bed. I made a mug of cocoa and listened to the record player.

The Duchess of Gloucester gave birth to a daughter at 2:05pm today. Unlike poor Princess Anne's child (also born at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington) this latest arrival will take a title. She'll be Lady (Christian name) Windsor. I bet Elizabeth is near the top of the list.


Friday November 18, 1977

Margaret Phillips phoned me this morning to say Carole had yet another milogram (if that's how it's spelt)  yesterday evening and that they have discovered something in the pit of her neck which means she'll be having more treatment next week. However, her main reason for phoning was to let me know that Mr Phillips plans to be off work all week next week so enabling both of them to be be in attendance at the hospital on afternoons, and therefor my presence at the hospital will not be required. I wouldn't wish to meet John Phillips anyway. Poor kid Carole. It is of course her 20th birthday on Sunday. I posted her a birthday card this afternoon.

Although I'm just about broke I decided to go out tonight and not to leave the homestead tomorrow. Chris collected me at 9 and we went to the Fox where we were joined by Sue and Pete and Pete M. Denise was there, being entertained by Dave Rogers, and her sister Lorraine and brother-in-law, Mick. Tony and Martyn have gone to Batley Variety Club. To be honest I don't like these variety places. In fact I'd prefer to be held hostage by Baader-Meinhof terrorists for three months than be subject to the horrors of a pissed, aged and declining 'star'. You know the sort I mean, don't you? Des O'Connor, Johnny Hackett and such like.
Oakwood Hall.

From the Fox we went to the Hare at Heaton where Wendy calls everyone 'Kenneth' - this especially suits Peter Mather. Pete met Sue (of Smith's fame), and took me to Oakwood Hall. Any normal persons would feel like a tulip, or a gooseberry, or whatever people who get in the way of young lovers are termed. I didn't feel remotely like a rhododendron. I became quite pissed up. Most of my adventures at this very exclusive club are vague and hazy, and no dialogue of the event remains in my memory at all. Pete M and his Sue came back at 2:30 for coffee and I fell asleep on the rug at 4. Waking to find them gone at 8am.