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Sunday January 2, 1977

2nd after Christmas. Mama and Papa's birthday. Need I give their respective ages again? I'm sure that by now you're all aware of the numerical rigmarole so why should I bother? The events of the day are not very noteworthy. I ring Lynne at Thornton-le-Dale and she isn't very communicative. Who cares? [I wish I could get out of this habit of asking rhetorical questions every other sentence].

Marita Fountain
MM: he and Marita will be married ....

David came at 7.25pm and the two of us went to Rawdon for Marita and then on for MM. Where do you think we were going to spend Sunday evening? Would you believe ten pin bowling? Yes. Bowling of all things. To Leeds went the four of us and we spent three or four hours pleasurably bowling. Yes bowling. What more can I say? From here we go to the True Briton Inn at Chapel Allerton [?] where we discuss holidays. David tells me horror stories of the collapse of Christine B's latest romance on New Year's Eve. The poor demented child! I will have to contact her and offer what assistance I can muster.

Back to MM's for coffee until 1.30am. He and Marita will be married as sure as tomorrow's Monday.


Saturday January 1, 1977

New Year's Day. I'm saying nothing at all. I'm so ill. Vomiting, &c. Jimmy Macdonald and I sat up in the small hours discussing most things - including Carole Phillips. I referred to her as holding the charm of a mythological being - a transfixing beauty - a Helen of Troy. Jimmy caught onto this. Oh dear.

I watched the BBC2 footage of the Coronation from 10am until 5pm. Lynne left at 11am.

Troy's answer to Carole Phillips....


Friday December 31, 1976

New Year's Eve. Need I say more? OK, probably. But don't expect all that much. The day was one of further recuperation as you might say. Entertained Uncle H and prepared for a party. Went with Dad to collect John, Maria and JPH at 6 o'clock. Uncle H is fascinated by the baby. Didn't go down to the pub until 10 o'clock because Peter N was too absorbed in the film epic 'Zulu' which I've seen about sixteen times. But sure enough the pub held everyone standing in readiness for the midnight hour.

With John, New Year's Eve 1976

The party [at Pine Tops] commenced at 11.45pm on Dec 31, 1976 and fizzled out at approximately 10am on the morning of January 1, 1977. Nice seeing MM and Marita. Dave L was his usual cheery self. Uncle H gave Jimmy Macdonald and I a wonderful description of Great Uncle Walter [Henty's] death on a ship in the Indian Ocean in the mid-1930s. We also had a lengthy discussion on reincarnation. By 6am only Jimmy, John, Maria and I remained standing. Jimmy and I sat until 10, talking. BBC2 runs the entire footage of the Coronation, June 2, 1953 [we're now in Silver Jubilee year]. For more details see the 1977 diary. Goodnight, or perhaps Good morning, all.

Ernest Blackwell, John, Edith and Maria

Thursday December 30, 1976

Wake up at something in the region of 8 o'clock and decide that I'm not going to the YP. Why should I? Blimey, if the Duke of Edinburgh was feeling 'run down' and knackered do you think for one minute that he'd carry out a public engagement? Always follow the fine example set by the Royal Family, that's what I say. Ring Kathleen who is amiable enough and then go back to my place on the settee until 11.

Mum and Dad take Auntie Mabel down to John & Maria's before taking her home to Pudsey. It's been so nice having her to stay. I depart to the bathroom and wallow in the murky depths until 1.20. However, negotiating the stairs is something of a strain and a half.

Later in the afternoon: Uncle Harry arrives suitably supplied with a bottle of Scotch. With Dad and I the three of us argue about Windscales, devolution, &c. Uncle H keeps howling with laughter and pointing at me for some reason. I often try to be deadly serious but others don't always appreciate this. Uncle H is one of the BEST.

Mum and Dad take H out for a drink. I watched 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' on BBC2. Not the film version but very good. When they get back we sit and sup whisky until 2.15am.


Wednesday December 29, 1976

A massive communal breakfast with John, Sheila, Mum and Dad, Valerie, Auntie Mabel, Lynne and Lynn, &c. J & S go off to Mrs Dorothy Holland's residence at Pudsey in order to collect cousin Robert and take him back to Oxford. I feel grotty and revolting. My bones ache. All the same, Lynne and I go to the Commercial for a couple of drinks. Even she says I look ill. We go on to Burley [in Wharfedale] so that she can telephone her beloved managing director or somebody equally high up in the fibre distributing hierarchy.

Dad, Mum, Auntie Mabel, Uncle John, Valerie, Sheila & Lynne
Royal Albert
Home for 'high tea' on the Royal Albert tea service with Mum, Dad and old Maud Monkman [born March 28, 1896]. It was the old girls 55th wedding anniversary on Boxing Day. God, she had more than half a century of married life. Not my cup of tea by any means whether it's on the Royal Albert or not.

At 4.15 Lynne goes off to York to get a train to London - strictly business of course - the fibre distributing business.

I sit in a crumpled heap by the fireside - a broken man. A physical wreck. I ring Judith R. to cancel our 'Pink Panther' arrangements for tonight. [Yes, Sue, Pete and I went down to the Hare at about 9pm on Dec 26 where I arranged a clandestine meeting with Miss Rushworth for tonight]. Jude is very considerate and I insist it is more of a postponement than a cancellation. Watch TV until midnight. Stuart called in at 9.30 to enquire about Friday. Arranged to meet at the Hare & Hounds.


Tuesday December 28, 1976

I have an alarm call at 7.30 and let myself out of the Lawson residence and go across the frost covered playing fields to the bus stop. Oh how cold it is! Stand until 8.30 and then, after waiting for an hour without a sign of public transportation of any kind, I decide to call it a day and go back to bed at David's. The house [on Tennyson Street] has a yale lock, and from this you can surmise that I am prevented from re-entering the aforementioned house and no amount of banging on my part could awaken Mr Lawson or Tosca [the toy poodle]. So, I went back across the frosty field to the bus stop and stood waiting until 9.20am. Nearly 2 hours at a cold bus stop.

Work was dead and I don't know why I bothered going in. At 12 I left for home again. [Uncle] John, Sheila, Valerie and Auntie Mabel are with Mum and Dad, JPH, Susan and Peter N. Sheila looks slimmer. She's had a hysterectomy or something. We all have lunch together and then go down to John & Maria's. Lynne comes at 7pm. Party at John & Maria's is very good. Maria has put on a good buffet. The house is packed with Rhodeses. Maria gives a recital on the piano. Home at a late hour after de-frosting Lynne's car. Surely one of the coldest nights since the Creation? Not including the Ice Age that is.


Monday December 27, 1976

Bank Holiday in England, Ireland & Wales. No Lynne. Dave Lawson's Christmas party. What a night! In fact the afternoon wasn't that bad either. Went with Mum, Dad, Sue & Peter to John and Maria's at lunchtime. They're both still in bed. Dangled JPH on my lofty knee for a while and at 12.30 or maybe 1 o'clock Sue, Pete and I adjourned to the Commercial for something of a damp lunch. Ron [Lindley] is giving pork pies away because no one is buying them. Do you blame them? Grief! Who wants salmonella food poisoning at Christmas? Lynn and Dave join us at 1.30.
One of Ron's unwanted pies
Ron Lindley
Maria and JPH

Go to Dave L's at 3 o'clock and sample his punch and [sloe] gin. Completely pissed up by now. He is pleased to see us and looks lonely.

Back at Pine Tops Auntie Mabel has arrived on a four-day state visit. She goes with Mum, Dad, Lynn and Dave to the Baker residence tonight.

Dave's party begins somewhat quietly at the Yorkshire Rose. All the gang assemble. Well, er, when I say gang I mean all the Rhodes family plus Chris, MM and Marita. The party is tremendous. I turned my hand - or perhaps leg - to 'Go Go' dancing. It moved Marita anyway. Dave and I are left alone at 3am and I sleep in Mr & Mrs Lawson's bedroom.


Sunday December 26, 1976

1st after Christmas. It isn't Boxing Day today. I don't think so anyway. Boxing Day cannot fall on a Sunday. However, Yuletide or not I'm well aware of the excitement you undoubtedly share for the gripping adventures of the Hay clan. Now read on.

He [William de la Haye no less See Dec 21] was granted a charter [still intact and well preserved in the Erroll papers] of the feudal barony of Erroll in the Tay estuary, county Perth, most of the witnesses being also Anglo-Normans from Cotenin. He [William de la Haye that is] married a nice lass by the name of Eva a Celtic heiress, of Pitmilly, and possibly of other lands near the Tay estuary, and the old legend that the lands of Erroll were acquired by a Falcon's flight, in reward for an ancient victory over Viking invaders, may have been derived from the clan of which she was heiress....

Is this a Nut House? Surely only a loony could fill his diary with such rubbish? I wonder what Margaret Thatcher is putting in her diary at the moment? 'Lunched with Ted at his place before going over the ruddy devolution problem with Quintin [Lord Hailsham] at his place. Shirley [Williams] had a nice gown on today. She says she picked it up cheap in the C & A sales....' and so on.

Saturday December 25, 1976

Christmas Day. Wake up at 9.30 or so on Lynn & Sue's bedroom floor. Go for a 'Merry Christmas' session around the house first paying a call on John, who is sat in my bed nursing JPH. Mum and Dad are downstairs and I can hear Maria talking with Lynn and Susan. John says he has recovered from the illness that descended on our house like a plague yesterday. The baby is laughing and gurgling - so fantastic. His first Christmas.
John, Mum, Maria and JPH, Christmas Day, 1976

Meanwhile 10 minutes later: we all gather in the lounge for the present opening ceremony. The baby is amused with the Mickey Mouse brought to him by Santa. I have a black pullover from Sue & Peter, Eau Savage from Lynn & Dave, and the same from Miss Thornton-le-Dale. Mummy and Daddy gave me £5. That's enough present details. It gets monotonous. Late lunch at about 4pm. It is fabulous. A candelabra on the table and Royal Albert china. Posh eh?

Laze around for the rest of the night. See the usual things on TV like Morecambe & Wise and then Rod Steiger in 'Waterloo' and much more. Sleep kept creeping upon me and I frequently passed into unconsciousness in the chair. A lovely Christmas day - but unusual. Probably because John's always been here on Christmas Day and he was round at Molly & Jim's for lunch. Mum keeps mentioning his name as though he's miles away.


Friday December 24, 1976

It's not only Christmas Eve. In fact it's also King John's 810th birthday today! Happy Birthday, Your Majesty*** Wherever you may be ... probably in a more sober frame of mind than I am now. Last night I slept in the spare room at Stuart's flat above Smith's, and he gave me a lift home at 7.30am. Dave B was sleeping in the lounge and his semi-pissed future brother-in-law made him a cup of tea and sat underneath the Christmas tree chatting with him for half an hour or so.
At the Central with Judith
Down to Leeds in the Spitfire at 8.30 - singing all the way, and my arrival at the YP creates something of a sensation. Why? Well, how many people go to work pissed up other than ___, _____, and the editor? Work is lousey and Mr Michael Rhodes can barely focus on the damned newspaper. Horrible. By 12 o'clock we, the blessed library staff, are having our usual Asti Spumante party behind the filing cabinets. It was all a bit flat. Is it true that good old Santa Claus is coming tonight?

At Pine Tops, Christmas Eve 1976
***I don't think King John was ever a 'Majesty'. He was a Lord Sovereign Highness, or something like that.


Thursday December 23, 1976

What a bloody laugh. Lynne beetles her way up the lane at 7.30 and we take Sue, Pete N, & Mr & Mrs Nason to the Craiglands [hotel] in Ilkley before dropping off Martyn's 'things' at his residence. Miss Mather and I then motored to Neville's Wine Bar [she prefers Neville's to the Vineyard for some ridiculous reason] and after putting away a bottle of wine I suggest going to Stuart's flat for my jeans and pullover. An innocent enough suggestion you may think - and it certainly was meant to be one, but Oh dear, just see what occurred. We found Stu and Andrew attempting to clean up in readiness for Mr & Mrs Walker's visit for the festive season, but I gave them leave to crack open a bottle of Scotsmac. One or two bottles later Stuart, far from being a sober manager of W.H. Smith and Sons Ltd, happened accidentally to refer to Lynne as 'Carole' - a name not unfamiliar to Miss Mather's ear-holes. With this slight she leapt from her chair with the words: 'Come on, Michael. We're going.' With a flourish she swept from the room like Lady Bracknell. I, of course, had no intention of leaving and remained firm and defiant throughout. Minutes later she's sat in her squat little car beneath the balcony of W.H. Smith's, and I proceeded to give a Mussolini-like lecture from above. Then she was gone into the darkness, not unlike [Stanley] Baldwin's departure from Fort Belvedere in 1936. A much warmer atmosphere was circulating in the upper chambers of that bastion of book selling. In fact the mood of we three lads was not unreminiscent of the aura circulating in the private suite of Adolf Hitler on the night he made himself chancellor of the Third Reich. [That's enough dictators, I think]. Minutes later, Stuart, Andrew and I were at the Stoney Lea where we made merry until 2am. Andrew Walker Esq pinched someones cigarette lighter, which wasn't very nice, but things like this do happen when one is as pissed as he was. The theft of a lighter is a much nicer crime than say raping three nuns in the rear of taxi - or is it? [By the time you, dear reader, sit reading this rape may well have been legalised].


Wednesday December 22, 1976

At lunchtime I go to 'Just Pants' in Leeds and lay hands on a white shirt and a red tie. Took a half day today and so at 1 o'clock I'm hurtling back to Guiseley, courtesy of West Yorkshire Road Car Co Ltd. Alight from the omnibus at 1.30 and go see Maria and the baby. On my arrival there I find Miss Phillips discussing the ins and outs of everyday things women normally discuss and I end up staying for two hours. My first conversation [with Carole] of any length - or pleasant one at any rate - since May. What more can I say? It's too daft for words, and besides, I've said it all before.

Home at 4pm and prepare for the onslaught. Martyn comes at 6.45 and Dad gives us a lift into Guiseley. By 7.30 we're at Delia's where we have a good laugh and a few tubes of lager. Chris and Peter come at 8.15 and we go out for a bus. No bus arrived until 9 o'clock. Kathleen, Carol J and Marilyn get on the bus at the Old Ball and we all head for Salvo's. Monica joins us there. The lads take one table, and the girls [like Vestial Virgins] share another. It's going to be one of those nights. We all get more than merry and the bus journey [yet another one] to the city centre was one of hysteria. The Nouveau was horrific - completely dead, and so we went by taxi to [Cinderalla] Rockerfella's. Not a particularly enjoyable evening. I was sober as a judge at midnight and we all stood around looking quite miserable at one another. Pete, Martyn, Chris and I went for a taxi at 2am and waited an hour. A car came driving past us & a naked woman passenger had her bum hanging from a window. Hilarious sight! Martyn and I get home for 3.30. Go to bed in a shagged out condition.


Tuesday December 21, 1976

I'm not in the mood for this at all. I'd sooner be a department store detective with a large round face and horn-rimmed spectacles, with pores which open readily when agitated. [Courtesy of P.G. Wodehouse, Sir].

Good God I've just looked at the date at the head of the page. Isn't it supposed to be the shortest day of the year or something? Is June 21 the longest day? Funny how a brilliant mind can just seize up and wither.

Blimey, did you know, or were you aware of the fact that the chiefs of the clan Hay derive their name [Latinised as Haia, and later rendered into English as Hay and into Gaelic as Garadh] from an original 'Haie' or stockade on the castle motte-hill at La Haye in the Cotentin peninsula of Normandy? Their arms argent three escutcheon gules have always been the same as those borne in the Middle Ages by the ancient Norman family of La Haye, seigneurs of the Le Mesnil-Geldouin [now Le Guislain] La Haye-Hue [also called La Haye-Comtesse or La Haye-Bellefond], La Haye-Belouze, Villebandon and Beaucondray, whose fiefs border on the Soules, near St Lo. The first chief of the Scottish Hays, William de la Haye, Butler of Scotland under MALCOLM the MAIDEN, was a nephew of Ranulf de Soules, Lord Liddesdale, and also Butler of Scotland, whose family became hereditary butlers of Scotland but were fortfeited for plotting to seize the throne itself during the wars of independence. William de la Haye, Butler of Scotland under Malcolm IV anmd WILLIAM the LION, was among the nobles of the Scottish court from circa 1160, was a hostage for the Treaty of Falaise, 1174, and ambassador to England for the King of Scots in 1199.... Zzzz


Monday December 20, 1976

What a year it's been! A good one generally but some horrific spatterings thrown in like salad dressing or mayonnaise - if you see what I mean. Surely the greatest event for the family was the birth of John Philip Hugh on Sept 30. Never have I seen a more placid, happy child. It makes one wonder how the hell we all went on without him gurgling merrily in the background. However, if he grows up thinking he's Napoleon or Elizabeth Taylor I wouldn't be surprised because every time he opens his eyes some fool takes his photograph. Forever in the limelight.


Sunday December 19, 1976

4th in Advent. Devour a fried breakfast and then go to Thornton-le-Dale. Believe it or not I have no hangover and feel fit, vital and active. Poor Lynne is very different indeed. Three anadins later and she's still pale and tired.

I remember few of the Lazenby party details but Lynne tells me that at one stage of the evening a dwarf had my flies down in an attempt to perform a sex act upon my person - much to the amusement of the other guests. The lad didn't have to kneel down evidently. For Christ sake, I've heard it all now! Nice to know I brought a bit of joy into the miserable existence of one of our shorter beings.

Life at Thornton-le-Dale is much the same as it's always been and I cannot be bothered to comment further. Went to Pickering for a drink with Pete M and Chris and discuss the holiday [I left Lynne at home]. Pete said _______.Would I want to go on holiday with somebody who isn't perfect fun?


Saturday December 18, 1976

Lynne and I go into Leeds at 12.30 so that I could buy her the long awaited dress I was supposed to be purchasing for Christmas. When I say we looked at forty eight million dresses I am not exaggerating. Why do men have to put up with it? By 5.30 I have a thumping headache and no patience. No suitable dresses are to be found, and so I go to Denton's and put down a £6 deposit on a garnet single stone ring. Will pay the remaining £10 next week. Lynne bought me a gold chain and a bottle of 'Eau Savage' after-shave. Buy the remaining Christmas presents and feel very relieved on the way home. In fact, the journey out of Leeds was one which can only be compared to the release of some aged criminal after spending 47 years in penal servitude. No doubt Rudolf Hess will experience that sensation one day - if he's lucky.

Back home for tea. Mum and Dad go to Jim and Molly's 30th wedding anniversary party at Acacia House. Lynne and I go down to the Hare. Speak to Judith who is working in the bar. She even bought us a drink. She is becoming fanciable indeed.

To Pete [Lazenby's] at 11 o'clock with a bottle of white wine [£2.20]. A great evening. Tony, Mandy, John Cameron and Jill come. Stand in the kitchen until 3am. Denise arrived _______. I didn't see the sordid 'do' but had a report from Jill._____. Stephanie Ferguson mistakes me for 'John Rhodes', the twin brother of 'the drip who works at the YP'. They laugh when I say Michael is my 'twindentical' brother. Don't see all that much of Peter and the evening seems to be over very quickly really. Back home to catch Mum helping a drunken Papa into the house. Bed after 4am.


Friday December 17, 1976

See in the Daily Mail that the Prince of Wales and Davina Sheffield are attending the wedding of Richard Beckett and Elizabeth Waterhouse in Derbyshire today. It's the first we've heard of Miss S for quite some time now, but I can't help thinking that she and the heir apparent will one day 'tie the knot'. Will report on developments later.

To the Hare & Hounds with Susan and Peter at 8.30. Carole is in with Naomi again. [They were in yesterday]. I have the feeling that Carole is gloating about something. I'm willing to bet you a million quid that ____ has told her of my recent revision of my feelings, &c. Tony, Mandy, Martyn, Stuart, Kathryn, Chris, Pete M, and Denise all flock in. Lynne is far from pleased and goes on about being ignored by Carole & Denise. What does she expect? ________. We decide to go to Oakwood Hall. Tony, Mandy, Lynne and I go to the Vineyard in Ilkley until after 11. I purchased the wine [£2.20]. From here we go to Martyn's where I change into one of his suits - like a male Cinderella really. Borrow £5 from Lynne too! God, have I taken leave of my senses? All at Oakwood Hall. Speak to Carole, not in the presence of Lynne of course, and she questions me on the whereabouts of my crucifix and asks why I've taken to wearing my ring on my left hand. Mundane, but a massive improvement on previous meetings. ___must have said something to bring Carole back on the scene.


Thursday December 16, 1976

Snow and shit. Mum had her Christmas dinner at her work today and so when, at 6.30pm, she hadn't arrived home to make the tea I began frying sausages and boiling baked beans. Maria rings to say she is holding Mama hostage at a secret address and she will only be released if I pay up £6m in cash. The only thing I can think of is the IMF. Will they provide the necessary cash to free the old lady?

Lynne comes up at 7 o'clock and after sampling my cooking we go down to the Hare & Hounds. We meet Jean [Holmes] and that dumb friend of hers along with a couple of young police constables. They leave at 9.45. I do like Jean, a sweet almost desirable being.

Oh God! I've made an error. An error indeed. Lynne and I having passed a pleasant evening at the pub, which went without a hitch. Miss Phillips was in with Miss [Naomi] Downing and Lynne was a bit peeved that Carole completely ignored her. But to get back to my nasty error. You know I don't embarrass easily, don't you? Yes, well I'm embarrassed, red in the face and shitting myself at the story I'm about to relate. On the way home from this pleasant evening I accidentally referred to Miss Mather as "Carole". I was horror-struck. Lynne said: "For Christ sake, she's been on your mind all night," and I replied "yes, I'm aware of that". Haunted - and for what reason? Bed at 11 with this embarrassing thing on my mind. SHIT!