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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.