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Sunday November 13, 1977

Remembrance Sunday - 23rd after Trinity. A bright, sunny day. Jacqui and I walked to the Commercial at 12. The pub isn't full in the usual Sunday fashion but we enjoyed it. We discuss the fancy dress party at Lord's Cricket Ground on December 16. What can I go along as? A policeman? A tart? A French maid? No, we decided upon the late Groucho Marx who should be quite easy to imitate. I need to lay hands on a morning coat with tails and a pair of baggy trousers. Jacqui is going as Shirley Temple. Oh My God!

Poldark ...
We do get on well. ________. After a good lunch we went to Leeds where she got her bus (or coach if you're posh) to London at 5pm. Returning to Guiseley I saw Carole's brother, Peter, and his girlfriend. He said hello.

Just watched TV tonight. Saw episode 48 million of 'Poldark' and then a film. To bed at midnight with a certain nameless volume written by an author of French persuasion.


Saturday November 12, 1977

I woke at about 12 and could hear Mum yelling about something from her bed. Evidently she did hear Jacqui and I listening to the stereo in the early hours and is far from happy about it. I hid for quite a while beneath the sheets until some sort of plan of action could be worked out in my enfeebled mind. I decided upon the straight, honest, Richard Nixon approach and just marched, with head held high, into her bedroom and said sorry. She was perfect from then on and just said in that famous, soft, musical voice: "Michael, you take your mother for granted." I fear I do. And she's ill too. I am a swine.

Haworth: the parsonage.
After lunch Jacqui and I got a bus to Haworth (Bronte Country and all that). It's like Hell on earth. I soon see why Charlotte, Emily and Anne never reached the age of 40. Bleak is hardly the word. What's more, it snowed. We dashed round the parsonage and then into a cafe where hot tea and cream buns failed to revive us. Felt ill and cold. Jacqui giggled. She can hardly wait to tell the folks back home who have never seen a desolate moor or the rampaging spectre of Heathcliff.  We spent more time on the road than we did at Haworth, and at 5.30 we got a bus home.

Tonight we thawed out and watched TV. Saw Penelope Keith and Lord Carnarvon on the Michael Parkinson Show.


Friday November 11, 1977

Met Jacqui at 4.45 at the bus station and the weekend began disastrously when the bus broke down and we got caught up in a snow storm. By the time we arrived at Guiseley after 6pm it was so bad we were compelled to seek refuge at the Station Hotel where I phoned for assistance from home and we both had half of lager. I was carrying a pheasant (courtesy of Delia, who did not desire removing it of its feathers and innards) and the bird's beak poked through the polythene bag, dripping blood over the pub carpet.

Dad collected us. He says Mum may have a kidney stone. Dr Mellor says she must shed a stone in weight. Her blood pressure is high. She is pale and ill.

The rain, snow and gales persist and at 8 Sue, Pete, Janet Simon and Chippy take Jacqui and I to the Fox & Hounds. They then leave the two of us alone and we saw none of the usual Friday night visitors. No Tony, Martyn or 'Piss and Crete'. We had a few at the Fox and then went to see Judith R and Kathryn at the Hare where I became quite pissed. I blame the vivacious Miss Young entirely for my condition. We sat in the Tudor Bar until midnight and then I ran around in the car park with my 'inflated' umbrella until it was smashed to pieces in the high winds. It disintegrated into a warped mass of fractured metal and plastic.

At home the two of us drank 2 bottles of Beaujolais and listened to the record player at a very low volume until about 5am. Nobody could possibly have heard us. Sue and Pete slept on the settee - snoring contentedly - until I had the foresight to awaken them after 3. Poor Pete dashed off home. He's working at 7.30am.


Thursday November 10, 1977

Went to see Carole at 2.30 bearing a box of chocolates and fearing the worst. Leeds Infirmary is an incredible place to get in. The bloke who first discovered Ward 26 may well have been Capt Scott.

Carole is ill but one wouldn't believe it by looking at her. Her looks have not deteriorated nearly half as much as I'd been informed by other visitors. She was overjoyed to see me and was an Angel. For me it was glorious to see her face and hear her voice. Her mother was with her, and behaved very nicely. It was just like old times in fact. Carole is the bravest kid alive - and she's only just managed to hang onto that by God's will. Mrs Phillips says that on two or three occasions Carole was a 'write off', and it seems that their priest is wearing a path from his church to the hospital. I was horrified to hear Carole's description of several revolting tests they have subjected her to, and could not find the suitable words to respond. I am over awed by it all. Her body is paralysed after treatment she's had on her spine and she is blind in one of her eyes (but unaware of this). I left at 3.30 and returned to the YP promising to visit again on Monday with chocolates and sandwiches. In hospital Carole is actually eating meat and vegetables of the non canned, fried or baked beaned variety. She is putting up one Hell of a fight. I do love her. She loves Peter Fogarty. I just want to see her happy whether it's with me, Fogarty or the Aga Khan.

To the (West Yorkshire) Playhouse at Leeds with Sarah after tea at Delia's. Saw 'Twelfth Night' with Vivien Heilbron as Olivia. Incredibly amusing. I seemed to enjoy it more than Sarah who looked seriously bored by it all. I do think she finds me dull. We left at 10.30 and she came back for a cup of tea (she never partakes in coffee). Mum is still laid up in bed and the Norfolk venture is fading all the more. Poor Soul. I shall have to get her a present at the weekend.


Wednesday November 9, 1977

Mum was taken ill after tea. Have we perhaps been subject to poisoning? God knows, but one thing's for sure - the Norfolk visit for Mum and Dad is now in jeopardy. (I bet Jeopardy is far nicer than Norfolk anyway. The climate is better than ours at this time of year, and Jeopardy has no ghastly Broads to contend with).

We watched a play on the BBC which, quite remarkably, is good. The leading lady, whose name escapes me, deserves an Academy award for her portrayal of a deaf and dumb Bradford prostitute who stabs an alcoholic pimp to death in the Lumb Lane. Wonderful family viewing. It made such a change from all the sex and violence so often awash on our TV screens in these restless times. (I'm spreading the writing out tonight because I want to get to bed).

Dumas: infatuated with typist.
You will sit back and raise your hands in horror that I'm only on page 728 of 'The Count of Monte Christo' (and I can't even spell his soddin' name right). I know it's truly pathetic, but I'm afraid the book is becoming incredibly dull. The count is certainly taking his vengeance very seriously and incredibly slowly. One would think the guy had all the time in the world. Either Mr Dumas had connections in the paper manufacturing industry or he was infatuated with his typist.

Bed at the usual time and attempted to reach page 750, but failed.


Tuesday November 8, 1977

Quite a good day at the YP. A new journalist, John Longman, came into the library and I spent the day with him showing him the ropes. He seems quite a decent sort really.

Kathleen was in a strangely pleasant and unruffled mood. Is her sailor boyfriend in harbour at the moment, one wonders?

Princess Anne: married stableboy.
Read in the papers that Princess Anne is going to be delivered of the young Mr Phillips in hospital, probably the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers. So very sad and a horrid departure from tradition. Young Lord Ulster and Lord Nicholas Windsor were hospital born but no other royals so near the Throne have been. Ah well, I suppose somebody somewhere will call it the march of progress.

I heard, with horror and nausea, Kenneth Kendal announce on the nine o'clock news, that Princess Anne's child will not receive a title of any kind and will be known simply as Master or Miss Phillips. Born in a common hospital, and without a title! What a let down. My God, 'Private Eye' was right when it said, two or three years ago, that Gt Britain's declined could be traced to the sad day when Princess Anne married her stableboy. As the years go by I rely more and more on the deliberations of that knowledgeable organ, 'the Eye'.

Mum and Dad went to the Cow & Calf with John and Maria at 8.30 and did not return until almost 1am. ____. Afterwards they took refreshment at 69, Silverdale Drive. ______.


Monday November 7, 1977

Sarah's 25th birthday. Her Silver Jubilee in fact. Not a thrilling day by any means and Sarah isn't in ecstasy at the thought of attaining her quarter century. With Eileen we went to Da Mario's on the Headrow at 1pm for a celebration nosh. Joined by Bev and Marilyn Wheeler. ___________.
Vivien Heilbron.

Back to the YP bloated and tired at 2.30. I told Sarah I would not formally recognise her jubilee until Thursday when we go to the Playhouse to see Vivien Heilbron in 'Twelfth Night'. Afterwards we shall have to let ourselves go. She does me a lot of good does Sarah Elizabeth. To paraphrase Bagehot she's a 'soothing influence on a dark and restless age'.

Tonight John came up to plan a night out with with Mum and Dad and Maria at a place of Mum and Dad's choice. They decide upon the Cow & Calf tomorrow night. _______.