Google+ Badge


Friday March 17, 1978

St Patrick (Ireland)

Bank Holiday (N Ireland)

I was awakened at 6:00am by the radio singing away in the Luxembourg tongue. The bedroom light was burning brightly and within minutes I was cramming clothes into a ruck sack with one hand and brushing my teeth with the other hand. All very chaotic. Left at 7 with a happy heart and a dry, thickly lined throat. Drinking heavily before a long drive to the capital is not ideal.

Jacq was waiting at Victoria. To the Shakespeare pub nearby where gin ans Scotch ran like water ... or dry ginger. Jacq looked very well peeping at me beneath a fringe. Her long skirts with frilly petticoats hanging below. It was so good to see her.

Back at the flat I had rounds of toast whilst listening to the Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits singing away on her record player. Indeed, all is right with the world.

Tonight we met Cheryl and Steve and went to an Italian place on Muswell Hill Broadway. I had no appetite but enjoyed myself. Cheryl is a natural comedienne. Afterwards, Steve took us to his rugby club where the floor is swamped beneath two inches of beer and pissed guys stand raucously flashing everywhere. By this time I was already in financial straights. My tight jeans and boots didn't look quite as out of place at they do in Yorkshire.


Thursday March 16, 1978

Moon's first quarter 18:21

Dearest Christine's 22nd birthday. This afternoon I fought my way into town and purchased for the wonderous lady a can of British knickers and of course the ritual card. Tonight is Willie's 21st and I could not forget him either. I bought him a sordid volume entitled 'British Fishing', but with a naked lady exhibiting each 'catch'. The picture of the over weight salmon fisher in her wellies, and nothing else, got me. How did I have the nerve to purchase such a disgusting article?

The party anyway. Christine came at 8 (or was it 8:45?) and we both made a spectacular entry into the Hare and Hounds. We both drank like fish while Willie gloated over his dirty book, and we were joined by the cream of local society, Rick Marshall and Nigel Smith to name a few. We ended up all sharing a table. Rick kept peering over his glass and muttering: "Mick, you're alright, you are", as if it's only just dawned on him what a sound chap I am. The evening became blurred as it wore on. "This time I'm really going straight" said Rick sounding like somebody from a corny episode of 'Z Cars'.

Poor Christine is having boyfriend bother once more. I hung about until about 12:30 and then hot footed it home.


Wednesday March 15, 1978

Oh bugger the old English handwriting today. I feel absolutely revolting. Nevertheless, I crawled out of bed and attempted to make an effort at the YP, but by 11:30am I was dead. In fact, at that fateful hour I was compelled to enter the lavatories of the Yorkshire Post and did wretchedly vomit forth. It was ghastly. At 12 I 'signed off' for the day and returned homeward. The omnibus bearing my pale corpse to Guiseley was within seconds of inspecting the remainder of the contents of the above mentioned stomach.

At home the situation is cold to say the least. Mama and Papa are still considering closing their respective diplomatic delegations and to me it seems that nothing but an out and out war is inevitable. For the remainder of the day I sat ~ quiet as a mouse ~ armed with a gas mask and copy of the New English Bible. Oh, it's all very sad. But this is what marriage is all about I do suppose.  I expect Mr & Mrs Thatcher (Conservative) often fall out in similar circumstances. Goodnight.


Tuesday March 14, 1978

The March winds did blow. In fact, the blowing on Hawksworth Lane was gale force. The meteorological freaks will be having a field day.

David Greenwood, Lynn's boss, is celebrating his birthday tomorrow ___________________.

Mum: slewed
I came home from work to be confronted by dear Mama with the reddest face I have ever laid eyes on. She puts it down to the combination of the sun ray lamp and alcohol. She and Daddy quarrelled this afternoon and she decided to drown her sorrows. I promised not to tell a living soul that my mother has consumed a whole bottle of sherry whilst reclining 'neath the glowing lamp. She is thoroughly ashamed of herself. I say it's all well and good. If my dear old Ma can't get slewed once in a while, who can? By 6:30 Dad was still absent and she went round to Edith's.

Alexandre Dumas is a real dead beat. 'The Man in the Iron Mask' is boring me to death. After a couple of minutes with it I'm either asleep or distracted by something else.

Meanwhile: back to the excitement. At 9 o'clock I went to lay siege to the Blackwell residence and was roped into an old photo appreciation session. We had hysterics over some ancient images of Edith's granny, and much wine was partaken of in the process.  At midnight Mama returned homeward and I sat with Ernest (Edith was in bed) listening to his wartime reminiscences. It was almost 3:30am when I arrived home.



Monday March 13, 1978

Once again an incredibly uninteresting day. Sarah's is not in the office this week. She's in horrid Wales with John MacMurray watching the Welsh National Opera. Somehow I think this relationship has more of a concrete base than any of her previous leaps into romance. Good luck anyway.

Tonight. I spent an hour or so writing to Jacq. Not a good letter by my standards, but Monday evenings are never inspiring, are they? (I don't suppose that any of you bother in the 21st century ~ to write that is.)

"Sunday, Bloody Sunday"
Once again, the television was the prominent source of entertainment. My eyes are going square. Saw 2 films. 'Bloody, Bloody Sunday' with Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson and Murray Head ~ all about homosexuals and middle class people like the Mather family; and the other film was 'Fright', in which Susan George played a babysitter who is raped by the psychopathic Ian Bannen. Honor Blackman was also in the star studded cast.

Today's deliberate mistake can be found in the first film title. Yes, it's not 'Bloody, Bloody Sunday' at all. It's 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday'.

Have received a postcard from Judith in Benidorm. Yeah, she wants the cheque for £28m sending back. No bloody likely.


Sunday March 12, 1978

5th in Lent

A lazy, quiet day. Had a pleasant lunch with Mum, Dad and Lynn, and afterwards I put some polish on my dusty, beer stained boots, and prepared my wardrobe for my weekend jaunt to the fair capital of these islands of ours.

The only interesting occurrence was the screening on BBC2 of 'Hamlet' with Nicol Williamson playing the Prince of Denmark in the 1969 film of Mr Shakespeare's classic.

Dad and I are the only cultural residents of 58, Hawksworth Lane and no sooner had the first scene opened that Mama and my fair sisters scrambled from the room as though an incendiary device had just been deposited at the fireside. This is a sad aspect of 1978 social life.

To bed at 12:30 with Alexandre Dumas close at hand. I'm just starting chapter 5 now. It's entitled "Two Friends" and it depicts a scene featuring Anne, Queen-Mother of France and the clapped out old duchesse who first appeared on page 1, the Duchesse de Chevreuse.



Saturday March 11, 1978

Sun rises 6:25 Sun sets 17:58

Bright sunny day. Lynn woke me at 10:30 to inform me that I was escorting her, on foot, to Yeadon to do some shopping. This was no ideal awakening my any means. I was out of bed by 11 and within minutes I was pouring a glass of beer for Ernest and glass of wine for Edith.

Shortly afterwards to Yeadon with Lynn. The day was warm and we laughed and chatted on the way down the open road. We were home for 3pm weighed down with shopping. Lynn's feet were blistered and my hands were bright pink. And, dear friends, that was my day. Yes, it does seem pathetically short and mundane, but I cannot be expected to carry out earth shattering, spectacular feats of brilliance all the time. Perhaps you can look in tomorrow?  Oh, go on then I'll just say a bit more.

Mama and Papa went out for dinner and Sue, Pete, Chippy and girlfriend went off to Appletreewick at tea time supposedly 'camping'. Not much of the countryside will be seen if I know anything of my sweet sister. The pleasures of the flesh are nearer the top of her priorities than river side walks, but at 18 and with her great beauty, I cannot blame her.

Lynn, Dave and I dined by candlelight together (do you think that perhaps my presence was not welcome?) and afterwards we sat looking at the television. Boring.

To bed with 'The Man in the Iron Mask' but fell asleep after two pages. In fact, a clapped out old French duchess hadn't even finished talking to a bloke named after that nice brand of aftershave lotion ... er, Ah yes, Aramis.



Friday March 10, 1978

Felt fatigued after the excesses of Oakwood Hall. It was a bright, sunny day with the birds chuntering away happily in the trees.

At lunchtime Eileen and I went to the library to get a couple of books by P.G. Wodehouse and Dumas's 'The Man in the Iron Mask'. If it takes me as long to read as 'The Count of Monte Cristo' I'll be here until July. However, Michael, with fortitude it will be done.

Christine phoned this afternoon to say her car stinks like an Indian restaurant and that I've splattered the interior with curry and raw onions. Oh God. We are going to Willie's 21st on Thursday. That should be something of a brawl.

I have received a letter from Carole. I am going to leave it pressed between these pages for you to look at. What do you think of it? I'm slightly confused by it, but no doubt in time the contents will sink in. I am not going to reply until the whole thing has been studied carefully.

Tonight I did absolutely nothing. In fact, I felt exhausted. 'The Man in the Iron Mask' was untouched. Saw a Susan Hayward film. It's interesting to note that all the cast of this 1962 film are now dead. Miss Hayward bit the dust in 1975, Peter Finch in 1976, Charles Chaplin in 1977, Margaret Rutherford in 1972, Richard Wattis in 1976 (?), and Enrico Caruso in 1927.


Thursday March 9, 1978

I'd just like to add some more about last night ________________________.

Alison and John returned to Winchester this morning and they gave me an invitation to visit them whenever I wish. Jacq will have to be informed. She loves visiting far off places. Anyway, to get back today ....

Christine came at 8:30pm and we went off to the Shoulder of Mutton. We laughed from the outset because she said I looked like a puff in my narrow 31'' trousers. I sulked and said: "Take me home, Christine." She responded: "Now you sound like a puff too ~ I never thought Mig Rhodes would worry about what other people said about him". "Oh, Christine Sweetie" pouted I, "stop upsetting me with these awful insinuations."

From the Shoulder we went to the White Cross at Guiseley where a friendly Old Age Pensioner handed Christine a bunch of grapes, no doubt as an offering of the kind made to Great White Conquerors on landing on sandy foreign parts not unlike Hawaii. I immediately thought of Mr Christian and 'Mutiny on the Bounty'. Christine spoiled the whole ceremony by depositing the offending fruit in the nearest ash tray. From here we found Oakwood Hall.  The climate was unbearable but we danced all night ~ in between drinking that is.

Tony Simpson, our sports editor, was boozing at the bar, and I told him the sordid tale of ____________ and the abortionist. He was ecstatic to hear my tales of vice.


Wednesday March 8, 1978

My future brother-in-law is 22 today. Not a very happy birthday either. I gave him £2.50 so I suppose you can say he's only £97.50 short now. Sad isn't it?

At lunchtime Dave was so sulky he boycotted the celebration drink I'd planned at Parker's. Mum, Dad, John P and Alison met me in Leeds and to that underground cavern of refreshment we immediately dashed. I'm afraid that the money flowed faster than the wine but all the same we ate, drank and toasted the absent David. From Parker's we went to the Emmott's at Rawdon. Good grief, the memories of that place certainly linger. We all drank too much and on getting home, after 3, I piled into the MG with John and Alison and we sped off towards Baildon Moor for a ridiculous photograph session. I'm sure they think I'm a lunatic.

Later we went to Ernest's to sample his 'stout' and we didn't get home until about 6. Alison thinks I'm a nutter, but Mother thinks I'm alcoholic.

Christine D and Graham came at 8 and we went with Lynn, Dave, John P, Alison, Sue and Pete to the Dyneley Arms, and then to the New Inn at Headingley and then to Salvo's.  Tony and Martyn with lady friends met us at Salvo's, and they sat next to Alison. ________. Susan and I had a pizza and then shared another one. Gluttony Rules OK. Lynn was very drunk. I do really like Christine Dibb.


Tuesday March 7, 1978

_.A revolting thing has occurred. At 8:00am David and I set out to Leeds. (He had stayed the night). We were in the car and David glanced into the back and said: 'Oh, I've left my briefcase in the house'. But, sadly, he hadn't. A search of the premises found no briefcase anywhere, and we drew the conclusion that the thing had been stolen from his car, which had been unlocked all bloody night. David had left £100 in cash in the briefcase, which had been behind the passenger seat. He'd forgotten that he'd left money in it. How ridiculous, and so unlike David. Of course, Lynn had hysterics and Dad leapt from his bed to begin his line of enquiries. Some criminal will be laughing all the way to the bank. I feel sorry for Lynn and Dave who need every penny they can lay their hands on these days.

At home tonight I was confronted by four or five long, pale faces. Quite a contrast to the gaiety of last night.


Monday March 6, 1978

Lynn's 20th birthday. She came, like a radiant angel, to grimy Leeds, bring a refreshing air to my Monday lunchtime. With Dave, John P, and Alison, we took refreshment at Parker's wine bar and they later called in at the YP to stir up mass hysteria amongst the staff.

Alison and John haven't heard of the latest 'Ripper' who roams the streets of Leeds, but then I don't suppose it matters to people in far off Hampshire, or which ever county it is they hail from. Very little work was done and Sarah and I entertained them until 4.

This evening John, Maria and JPH came up to see us. I fact it was a birthday celebration for Lynn and Mum cooked for 10 people. Roast turkey followed by strawberries and cream washed away with gallons of wine took us to 'playing out' time at the dreaded Fox.

After dinner Tony and Martyn paid us a visit with a birthday card for Lynn. __________. At 9 we all went to the Fox. Joined by Miss Dibb and Graham Airey. Just like old times. Back home at 11 and JPH entertained us until after 12.



Sunday March 5, 1978

 4th Sunday in Lent
Mid Lent
Mothering Sunday

Got a bus from the Bod pub to the bus station and then hitched a lift down Canal Road and was picked up by a Pakistani gentleman. Never again will I criticise our marvellous immigrant population. Bless them all. At the Shoulder of Mutton I got the first bus of the morning and sat with a couple of gin swilling prostitutes, who had obviously had a night similar to mine.

On Hawksworth Lane dearest Edith thought I was up and out for an early morning walk and was stunned to hear I was on my way home. She gave me hot tea and befriended me until they awoke at home.

Had breakfast with Mum at 9:30. Gave her a plant for Mothering Sunday. They all thought I was insane.

Alison, John, Lynn, Sue, Pete & Dave.
At eleven we all ~ Lynn, Dave, Sue, Pete, Alison and John P and me ~ went to the seaside taking in Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay and Scarborough. I was tired but managed to stay active.  I really like Alison and John. Coming home we called at the Royal at Boston Spa for a few drinks. I spent the day snapping away with the camera. The sun shone brightly.

at Scarborough.


Saturday March 4, 1978

Sun rises 06:40 Sun sets 17:46

Michelle's party at Shelf, near Halifax. At 8, Peter N took Sue, John, Maria and me to the Fleece. _________. I wore my new 31 inch jeans and boots. John said I look like a cowboy. Pete M finds my mode of dress amusing, but _______________.

At about 9pm we went to Shelf and the pub The Prince of Orange. I became quite pissed and suffered from hiccoughs on a phenomenal scale. A young lady called, I think, Darryl, befriended me, but she was in a worse state than I was. Michelle looked delectable but no way is she going out with Chris. They barely spoke to each other and she seemed to flit about with every other male at the party. At the party Darryl passed out in the dining room and was carried off to bed. I didn't lay eyes on her again. Shame. John Grady rolled up quite late. He seemed quite miserable. _______________. Steve and Charlie poured after shave lotion all over my head, but it was happy and boisterous. I like Steve because he's so consistent.

The party went far into Sunday morning. Sue, Pete, John, and Maria went off home after attempting to persuade me to join them. I was enjoying myself too much to go. We gave the record player some hammer until dawn. Sadly, as is often the case, people fell asleep, and by 4 or 5am I was bored and lonely. Telling Steve I was leaving I set out on foot down the road towards Bradford.

Friday March 3, 1978

Christine and I were supposed to have a mad evening fling at Oakwood Hall but I'm told Philip H is taking her out instead.  I phoned CB at 2 and we were both miserable about our humourless, forthcoming weekend, but it can't be helped. Instead, we may go next Thursday.

At lunchtime Eileen and I went to the Ostlers for a quick one. She doesn't touch alcohol now that she's on a crash diet, but nobody deters me from my pint of lager. Eileen is having a 21st birthday party on May 28, and so it's going to be a proper battle in the library to get the day off on May 29.

To the alcoholic refreshment this evening.  My friends do not inspire me one bit. ________________.

Mustique: Princess Margaret and Lady Lichfield.
Have I mentioned Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn recently? The royal couple are scorching themselves on the island of Mustique, no doubt discussing plans for the future. The princess at the Earl of Snowdon have been separated for 2 years this month and can be divorced forthwith. The camera-mad earl is enraptured with Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, his assistant, and some newspapers say they want to settle down. Things however are very different for Margaret. If she wished to marry Roddy then a constitutional crisis could easily occur. The Queen's consent is required and I'm sure Dr Cobweb, the Archbishop of Canterbury, won't like it. Once again, my sympathy goes out to the poor sovereign lady to whom we all look for guidance.


Thursday March 2, 1978

Moon's last quarter 08.34

Something of a chaotic day. At 2:30 I took my library books back and then went to see Carole. She is having horrid tests in the morning but seems quite happy and in good spirits. A nurse from Ward 26, who befriended Carole when she was hospitalised before Christmas, thinks I've been away on a winter holiday. Two minutes of sun-ray treatment and I'm bronzed and rippling all over. Afterwards, at about 3, Carole saw me to the door in her carpet slippers. ___________.

Mrs Troubridge: RC divorcee.
The EP have a story that Prince Michael of Kent and Marie-Christine Troubridge have visited the Archbishop of Canterbury recently no doubt to discuss the royal marriage question. Mrs Troubridge is a Roman Catholic divorcee and so you can imagine the mutterings that are going on in the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Our poor, desolate, over worked sovereign must surely be at her wits end over cousin Michael's papist diversion. However, they should allow the boy to do the decent, honest thing.

This evening the only diversion was a slide show and wine party, with Ernest giving a talk on Wharfedale. The Blackwells came at 8 and the Nasons at 9. Dave was here as 'odd job' man. The films were over by 10:30 followed by a booze up and a typical Rhodes political discussion took place. I was attacked when I said cigarettes and drink are no less drugs than LSD. The furore resembled the evacuation of Dunkirk. Ern offers to teach me Greek, German or Italian. Edith was very drunk and quite rude, especially to Mum. They left at 2-ish and I cleared everything up and returned the lounge to it's former glory. I'm in bed at 3:00am.



Wednesday March 1, 1978

St David (Wales)

Carole phoned this morning to ask if I intended visiting her today, but pressure of work deterred me. I told her I will go at 2 tomorrow. Tonight I compiled a letter to her and I will deliver it by hand tomorrow.

This evening I saw Marita again in Leeds and she brought me to Rawdon, and from there I completed my journey to Guiseley on foot. I should walk more often and perhaps I would be more fit to consume the vast meals that await me on my arrival home. I had a good talk with Marita about winning a fortune which was interesting. She doesn't approve of my dream of buying a Rolls-Royce Corniche,  even if after a £50,000 win on the Premium Bonds.

Christine phoned and suggested a visit to Oakwood Hall with her, Philip H and a work-mate called Marion, on Friday. I said yes even though my finances will be revoltingly low. This Marion may be a bit of alright, but on the other hand she may be ghastly. It's a risk all desperate bachelors like me have to take. To look on the bright side, no friend of Christine's could possibly be ugly.

At home we had great excitement. Peter brought a sun-ray lamp, heater, call it what you will, and we all had a 2 minute session underneath it. My face was tingling and Mum seems to think I've 'caught my cheeks' but somehow I feel sceptical about these gadgets. By 11 we had all had a go except Lynn, who was abed. According to the instructions, after 10 days treatment we'll all be nicely tanned. Bed at 11:30 with a drink and a copy of 'The Times'.


Tuesday February 28, 1978

I'm not feeling very communicative, to be honest, but for your benefit I'll try to say something of interest.

A letter from dear Jacq awaits my attention. Blimey, she's done another Emily Bronte job. I'm considering bequeathing her mail to the British Museum after I've done with it.

Poor Uncle Jack (Myers) has been in hospital for treatment to his bowel, according to Auntie Mabel, but no further information is forthcoming. I've been thinking of writing to cousin Jackie but stop myself at the last minute. _____________.

Tonight I retired to bed at 11 with 'Sir Percy Hits Back' by old Mrs Orczy and let me state from the outset that the old dear has become increasingly dull over the past few weeks. 'I Will Repay' was excellent, but each novel in the Pimpernel series sinks lower in my estimation as I move down the line. That's my opinion. Anyway, I think the books are intended for 12 year-olds.


Monday February 27, 1978

Hello people. Another bright, Spring like day with singing sparrows and all the usual band waggon.

Carole phoned me at the YP to say she's in Ward 11 of the (Leeds General) Infirmary. I'd forgotten she was going in this morning. At 2:30 I went to see her. She isn't remotely ill-looking and chats away in her famous style. She says she loathes __________. She wasn't wearing an engagement ring but I saw it concealed under the pillow of her bed! When I left she escorted me to the Town Hall (Yep, they even let her out into the streets).

Marita saw me on Wellington St and brought me to Guiseley. She's having something done with her car at Senior Smith's.
Steel: foul smelling.

John made a fleeting call this evening. He and Maria are going to Michelle's party on Saturday. ______.

Susie cut my hair tonight. She's done a great job and once again I look almost semi-Punk. It looks good, I can tell you.

Edith and Ernest didn't get the cottage in Devon but are definitely going to go south this year. Sad, eh?

Dad's been strange tonight. He looks pale. He's terribly out of shape. Fat and out of breath. Quiet too.

Saw the obnoxious David Steel MP on BBC1. He really is a sly, foul smelling being.



Sunday February 26, 1978

3rd Sunday in Lent.

Edith and Ernest are going to live near their son, Kenneth in Devon. Isn't this awful? My best adoptive grandparents are deserting me for clotted cream, and all that. Mum immediately blanks out the sad details but says: "wouldn't it be nice to buy number 54?" I agree. The Blackwells live in a detached house which must be worth £22,000 and within months (after considerable alteration) could be worth as much as £30,000. Dad, as usual, is pessimistic and sceptical.

Margaret: 'ugly'
Ernest, looking at our Sunday Mirror, says Princess Margaret is 'ugly' and 'looks 60'. Never! Just because the dear thing's gone off to Mustique again (yesterday) with Mr Llewellyn Ernest is following the establishment tradition of 'blackening' her name. She is, and no doubt always will be, a very attractive woman, and her sexual appetite, whether it is for Welsh pop singing gentry or not, should be of no concern to peasants such as us. As long as HRH continues to dish out the honorary degrees, snip the ribbons, and make the speeches then she is fulfilling her intended role.

I did nothing all day but eat and roll around in the lounge. At 9 I went with Mum and Dad to Edith & Ernest's where we watched 'Anne of a Thousand Days' ~ a story very roughly based on Anne's Boleyn's brief association with King Henry VIII. Richard Burton made a very unimpressive monarch.


Saturday February 25, 1978

Sun rises 6:55 Sun sets 17:33

A very historic Saturday. I was out of bed at a late hour and after a slight breakfast of ham and eggs (Ahem!) I thrust myself down to 69, Silverdale Drive. A thinning Maria and unbelievably robust nephew made me frightfully welcome, so much so that I almost felt that Yuletide was once again upon us. At 3, or maybe 3:30 Carole and Fogarty came with a skateboard. (Yes, the poor boy is obviously retarded). I find the lad annoying and acutely immature and when they left at 4 I offered up a sigh of relief. Carole was nice though, and told me she is going back into the LGI on Monday for eight days. I sympathised but didn't say much. Fogarty's revolting personality deadened the occasion. In fact, I just sat and mused.

When they had gone Maria, JPH and I (with me in control of the perambulator) wheeled into Guiseley and bought pounds of smelly wet fish which baby looked after in his vehicle. It began to rain on a Noah's Ark scale and by good fortune we collided with Daddy, who put us in his car and brought us to Pine Tops.

The boy (JPH) is a comedian. He's still calling me Mick. He finds Michael impossible. They left at 7:00 and I played around (this is the historic bit) with a pair of jeans converting them into shorts for the holiday in July! a) No, I'm not having a brainstorm, b) yes, I did stay in on a Saturday night, and c) Goodnight.



Friday February 24, 1978

St Matthias

A better Friday than I thought it would be. Christine phoned in the morning to see if I fancied a night at Oakwood Hall but I said no because of my financial situation. I have exactly £1 to see me through until next Thursday! I didn't sulk about the situation, and took it in my stride.

Mum and Dad have taken to fell walking and this afternoon was no exception. When I threw myself over the threshold tonight they were piled up ~ all muddy ~ like a pair of Siamese mud wrestlers. Mama provided us with a Chinese nosh from the takeaway down the road.

Darling Christine came at 8 dressed in a sailor suit. Able Seawoman Braithwaite tended to my every need until chucking out time. We had a few at the Hare, then the Fox, then back to the Hare, and finally (at my suggestion) the Drop. Alone we make an exquisite couple. Joined by by Pete M, Chris, Martyn and Tony. Lynne Mather was out too.  ___________. At the Drop Christine and I were back on form ~ it's pure friendship. No matter what happens to me or to Christine we will always be like ham and eggs, marriage and divorce, you name it. Our friendship will go on forever. Oh dear, am I perhaps slightly pissed?


Thursday February 23, 1978

Yes, dear reader, the thaw is upon us. But the poor soggy people in Devon and Cornwall are 2,000,000 fathoms beneath the frozen depths of whatever sea surrounds that picturesque peninsula.

Blimey, this time next week and it will be March and everything that this month brings to mind will be going on in the hedgerows and fields of this great island of ours. Let's hope that the mood of the population brightens. I really wouldn't mind creating a new life in 1978. I'm nearly 23 ____________.

To get a bit, or slightly serious: yesterday I sent a letter to Helen & Graham from my solicitors moaning about the lack of communication from Ailesworth ... and what do you think? Yes, I had a letter in this morning's post saying May 19 is just right. They probably think I'm over the top in the Happy World, where all right minded people belong.

Watched a good Yankee film on BBC2. Jim and Margaret Nason came up at 9 and stayed until approx 12. The evening ended with everyone laughing and in high spirits. Lynn __________________________.Oh dear.


Wednesday February 22, 1978

The traffic on New Road Side woke me at 6:30. Hungover. Predictable really. Christine's Mum went off to work hailing her goodbyes at me as I lay ~ almost in state ~ on her settee. She looked older. I haven't seen her since Mr Braithwaite died in May.

CB and Honey.
Christine was up and looked just as she did last night. I think she has an 'A' Level in 'How to Drink to Excess Without Suffering the Repercussions'. She buggered about under her car bonnet whilst I was entertained by Honey, the gorgeous doggy. It's a Golden Retriever with a bit of Alsatian thrown in. We laughed when CB told me she wanted to call it 'Spot'.

A cup of coffee and mug of orange juice gave me a boost and at 8 I bid my fond farewells and cleared off on a green bus to the YP. Having a bus stop at the garden gate must be bliss. Or is it?

CB gave me a letter that she intended posting today and I read it on my short, cold journey into Leeds. I roared with laughter and tears trickled down my icy cheeks at her wondrous composition. The girl is the greatest!

At the office Sarah and Eileen pulled my leg all morning about my stay at Horsforth. Mind you, to them I suppose it appeared more than it actually was. I left at 2:00 because I was in no fit state to do any work. My eye balls were hanging over the sides of my sockets.

Found my way home in the mist and fog and spent the remainder of the day in confinement at the fireside. For each second that I managed to keep my eyelids from caving in I thought I deserved a Duke of Edinburgh Award, preferably of the gold variety. Sadly, however, my courage went unrecognised. It's typical of the age in which we live that good British 'graft' is taken for granted.



Tuesday February 21, 1978

Christine phoned to see if I fancied going out tonight. How could I refuse? She told me that Philip H is seeing another girl behind her back, which will be the death knell to this affair. Unlucky in love is something of an understatement where Christine is concerned.

A cold, icy, deadly evening. I went down the lane to the Fox at 8:30, where she's already at the bar with a half of cider. These are always jolly occasions and this one was no exception. Carole came in with Fogarty! They may no longer be betrothed but they look and act much the same as they have always done to me. Christine laughed a good deal. We both affirmed our dislike of Mr Fogarty. The man's a moron.

The Fox and Hounds resembled a funeral parlour and we seemed to be the only beggars enjoying ourselves. Mind you, it is a Tuesday and a damp one at that. From the F(ox) we walked to the Hare. CB didn't like me putting my arms around her and we had an embarrassing tussle in the mist. By the time we got to the Hare we were yards apart.

In the tap room (where the only sign of life existed) we met  Rick Marshall, Willie and his senile girlfriend. R says he's going straight now after last months assault case. Basically he's a decent lad but he's transformed into a snarling monster with alcohol. We talked about Bob Marley, sex and booze. Christine poured half a pint of cider over Willie during a heated part of the discussion.

Judith, looking like a 'Moll' from a Wild West saloon, informed me of her new status at the pub. She's going off to Benidorm at the weekend with the _______little manager. Personally I think _________.

Outside Christine and I were faced with the horror of a hitch-hike home. It was absolutely freezing and so we nipped into the park at White Cross and fooled around on the swings. We were almost at Yeadon before we got a lift, but how thankful we were. I phoned Mum from Christine's and proceeded to stay the night. I sat, wrapped in a sleeping bag, reading about the Universe and planets in relation to their distance from the Sun, until 1:30am.


Monday February 20, 1978

Phone calls from Carole and Jacq. I'll deal with them in alphabetical order. Carole says she's not feeling too well and has headaches. She is 'dis-engaged' from Peter Fogarty ~ and it's over once and for all. She is going back to hospital. God Bless her.

Jacq phoned. She's pleased I'm able to go to Gina's wedding. I tell her a letter is in the post. She has managed to get an application form for Ladbroke's. She will be staying at a Youth Hostel in Hanover Square, Leeds, until she can lay claim to a flat. We joked about coming to live in the centre of Leeds when the Ripper is running free, but she says things can't be any worse than in London.

Walter Sickert.
On Feb 7 I had a chat with Speed about the original Jack the Ripper and today Mum says that a programme on the BBC has said very much the same: i.e that the Duke of Clarence married a prostitute and had a daughter, who married (Walter) Sickert, the painter, and that the 'ladies' who knew of this liaison and child were 'done away with' by the bloody, hand-shaking Freemasons. I really must have a word with Speed tomorrow and see what he actually knows. According to Mum Queen Victoria's physician had the poor 'Duchess of Clarence' shut away for life, and that he too was in on the murders. This of course implicates the dear, old Queen-Empress.

Nothing much else. It's diabolically cold. The south of England is having an Ice Age and we're not much better off up here. Older people walk around saying 'Oh, it's just like 1947' and younger ones say 'Oh, it's just like 1963'. All quite boring. Sheep are being buried alive. Edith's son, Kenneth, is buried in the drifts at Newton Abbot.

See TV again. 'Jeremiah Johnson' starring Robert Redford, &c. Dame Marie Rambert is 90 today.



Sunday February 19, 1978

2nd Sunday in Lent

A quiet day. Have felt very tired this weekend and have relished bed more than usual. When I eventually decided to emerge Susan & Peter were making lunch. Pork, Yorkshire puddings (flat ones), and roast potatoes. The aroma from the kitchen is one I will never forget.

I joked with Peter about Prince Andrew and his £20,000 income. 'What does an 18 year-old want with so much money?' he asks. I replied, much to his great annoyance, that the prince needs every penny for his new Aston Martin and the jewels he is buying for Kirsty Richmond. I love antagonising Nason. But I was surprised to read in the Sunday Express that our beloved chancellor, Denis Healey, is looking after Prince Andrew's cash until the time comes when HRH takes up royal duties. Bloody Hell, Andy, don't let Healey lay one greedy, slimy finger on it. Before you know where you are the man will have ploughed your money into the coffers of British Leyland or the Crown Agents.

Mum and Dad are home at about 4. They say Windermere was frozen and skating was to be seen there. Dad says the sight was like a de-industrialised Lowry painting. They've had a happy, but cold weekend.

I spent all day and night eating like a horse and watching television. Yes, Clarke Gable in 'China Seas' (1936) and the dramatisation of James Herriot's vet books on the BBC. Also watched 'Moulin Rouge' based on the life of Toulouse Lautrec and finally 'Julius Caesar' starring James Mason, Marlon Brando and Sir John Gielgud. My eyeballs are square.


Saturday February 18, 1978

Sun rises 7:10 Sun sets 17:21

Received a lengthy letter from Jacq. She finishes at the Performing Rights Society on March 31 and will be moving to Leeds shortly afterwards. Gina, her ex flat mate, is getting married at Oxford on April 22, and we are both invited to the nuptials. Jacq is a bridesmaid. I spent all day bashing out a reply on the typewriter.

Lynn, Sue and Pete went off to a flea market at Yeadon leaving Dave B laying flat in the snow underneath his car on the drive. His car failed its MOT this morning.

Dave: teaching career ends.
Steaming hot bath. Cheese on toast for tea. Dave L phoned at 6 to say he's meeting Christine Dibb in the Hare to discuss some lambs he wants to buy for school. The two of us went down at 8. The place is like a Mausoleum. Judith was in. The juke box is gone forever. Instead we have the likes of Andy Williams and the Old Groaner over the piped music system. Really painful.  Joined by Lynn, Dave, Sue and Pete at 9 and we went along to the Menston Arms in an attempt to catch the 'prawn man'. Sadly, he didn't arrive and so we moved on to the Commercial, where they sell seafood in glass jars. In fact, it was a very successful, enjoyable evening. It was good seeing David again, but he's going back on Tuesday to the depths of Gloucester. His teaching career ends in July and he wants to be a pub manager, or cinema manager, or something of that ilk. Just think, he could give his own private showing of 'As Naked as The Wind from the Sea' ~ Oh, can you imagine it?

Dave went off home at 11 and we came back to Pine Tops where a grotty Robert Mitchum film was droning away on TV. I retired to bed with 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' but fell into a coma within minutes.

It was such a good day. I am looking forward to Jacq's trek northward ~ it will break the life of monotony. After last night I have definitely decided that ________ is a psychopath. He may even be the (Yorkshire) Ripper.



Friday February 17, 1978

Hangover all morning. Sarah and I went to the Highlander for a few drinks at lunchtime and it helps to clear my head nicely. We arrived back at the YP at 2:30 to a frosty reception from Kathleen. It's always the same when we leave Carol alone. She always pulls Kathleen to one side in order to blacken our characters, and K falls for it every time. Sarah went home at 4 half pissed. She and John Mac are hitting it off. She tells me she's never been out with anyone quite so calm as John. _______.

No call from Jimmy Mac this evening and so 'Operation Drop' is abandoned. I loathe that pub anyway.

Lynn phoned me at work to tell me Mum and Dad have gone to Ambleside for the weekend and won't be home until Sunday night.

At home Sue is getting ready to go out and is drinking cherry wine by the half pint. By 8 o'clock she'd sunk the whole bottle. It's good to see I'm not the only piss artist in the family. By 'going out' time David is not back from Gloucester and so I went to the Fox & Hounds with Sue and Pete. Joined by Pete M, Chris, Martyn and Tony. My boots were received with the usual wisecracks. At 10:30 I went with Sue and Pete for some food and came home. It was cold tonight. I was compelled to drink whisky.


Thursday February 16, 1978

Still slightly snowy.  I failed to mention yesterday that Carole J is back from _____________.

This revolting gossip epitomises the whole tone of life at Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd, and from what I've just stated you have gathered, no doubt, that this so-called 'secret' will remain just that.  Blimey, you can rely on me never to tell a living soul, Carol, dear.  Ho, Ho, Ho.

Sarah asks if I want to join her and Marilyn in a pizza tomorrow night, but I refuse owing to my financial situation. I don't know why because I will go out tomorrow and I'll end up spending the same amount of cash.

Margaret Nason
Tonight Jim and Margaret Nason came for 'a few' drinks and to our surprise John, Maria and Jimmy Mac arrived at 11 after the pubs had closed. Maria bought Susan's 1976 bridesmaid dress for £10. I drank far too much, but everyone else seemed to be doing just the same. Dad and Jimmy had the usual great debate on education, sex, law & order, &c. &c. We took no notice of them.

My John Wayne's  (boots) were admired by all. I didn't get to bed until after 3am because I did the glasses and cleared up generally - silly sod. Even when I finally hit the sack I had to read a bit of 'El Dorado'.

Out to the Drop tomorrow (I hope) with Jimmy and Fifi. That's if he phones me, which I doubt. David is due home from Gloucester too. So, it could be a pleasant weekend.



Wednesday February 15, 1978

Snow is still hanging about but it's going foul with effluence ~ call it what you will. Most of the pollution consists of animal excreta unfortunately. However, to escape talk of dog shit let me say Carole phoned this morning. She says she may be going back into hospital because she's plagued by headaches. But she sounded fabulous. The poor thing asked why I hadn't sent her a Valentine's card and my reply was that I didn't want to cause more chaos with her relationship with Fogarty. Sending such a token would only provoke an attack from the fiendish gentleman concerned. I told her I'd reply to her letter.

Lynn & Sue.
Christine's chat with her at Naomi's (birthday party) and Lynn telling her on Feb 4, at George and Jane's, that I "think the world of her" may have have brought on this sudden rush of affection. Never will I forget the horror and torment that I suffered when I thought she was dying.

At home I hear of a bizarre occurrence regarding the hideous ________ which Lynn destroyed last summer.

I wrote to David L (he's home on Friday ~ it's half term already) and to Christine. My letter to Christine was from my solicitors, Dogchaser, Boobie & Crapper. (Oh, I mentioned this yesterday. Am I perhaps going slightly senile?)

Dad went out at midnight to surround the house of a sleeping escaped prisoner. I was in bed with the Scarlet Pimpernel for 11:30 and slipped away into the Land of Nod before his return.



Tuesday February 14, 1978

Moon's first quarter 22:11   St Valentine

Seasons Greetings

When All the World is young, lad
And all the trees are green,
with every goose a swan, lad
And every lass a Queen,
They hey for boot and horse, lad
Around the world way,
Young blood must have it's course, lad
and every dog his day.

This poem was inserted in my diary 5 years ago this day. Is it Kingsley? I like it. It could be by Karl Marx for all I know.

I did extremely well this Valentine's Day. I have checked previous years: 1977 ~ none; 1976 ~ 2; 1975 ~ none; 1974 ~ not recorded; 1973 ~ one from June Bottomley. How did I do in 1978? Well, 2 cards, and one passionate letter arrived in today's post. One card is postmarked Pulborough, West Sussex (no doubt from Jacq) and the other card is from Carole and postmarked Leeds. The letter is from Carole too.

It reads:

                                           Monday 13th Feb, 1978
                                           To Michael ~ How do you say goodbye?
                                           Don't Tell me not to cry.
                                          The warmth of your smile,
                                           The passion of your kiss,
                                           Is with me all the while,
                                           Is it to end like this?
                                           Please don't go my love
                                           You said you'd always stay,
                                           You gave me the greatest love of my life,
                                           Oh how can you walk away?
                                           I'd give my life to see you again
                                           That love in your eyes for me
                                           Love from Carole

Bloody Hell, she makes Lord Byron sound like Stan Ogden in one swoop of the pen. Hell, I didn't even send her a card. I shall have to get writing, and quickly. Do I get more points due to the fact that she's engaged to another?

I am pleased with today. I've just heard a piece of music called 'Romance' by Charles Widor which I find haunting and beautiful. I shall have to buy it and get it out of my system.

Wrote to David L and Christine.My letter to CB was one of complaint at not receiving a Valentine's card. Jacq and Carole will be dealt with ~ correspondence wise ~ tomorrow.


Monday February 13, 1978

A nasty, disappointing day. At the YP I find that Eileen is the only occupant of the Library ~ so that's an end to the Rawtenstall venture. Sarah is off with a stomach upset and Mrs ______ has 'the flu', or so we are informed by her horribly snobby mother. If this is the case the next time I have a cold I'm going to phone in and tell them I'm having an abortion.

I phoned Chris and told him I couldn't make it and he was good about it. He may not even go himself because of the weather.

At lunchtime I purchased three Valentine's cards and despatched them to Christine, Jacqui, and WPC Carolle Jones. I thought of sending one to Carole but decided against it. Fogarty would only make her life more of a Hell than it already is. It's a great pity that we cannot be friendly and nice to each other.

To other things: Mrs Thatcher's been making an impact at Harrogate where a Young Conservative thing is going on. She has an eleven per cent lead over the government according to an opinion poll (Ha Ha) but it seems that Callabum is determined to hang on until the Spring of 1979.

Peter Townsend was interviewed on TV tonight where he discussed Princess Margaret for the first time. He seems remarkable for a 63 year-old. Would things, one wonders, have worked out less sordid for the Princess had she married the Group Captain in 1955? Her love life since has definitely been one ghastly misfortune after another. Indeed, in a month's time the Snowdons will have been separated for 2 years and entitled to divorce. Snowdon wants to marry Mrs Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, reputedly his mistress. We shall have to wait and see.

To bed with Baroness Orczy at 12. Fell asleep with the bedroom light burning brightly.


Sunday February 12, 1978

1st in Lent.

Breakfast very enjoyable at the Hollywood and at 12 we were back in the bar drinking again. Disgusting really.

Read in the Sunday papers about poor Spike Milligan's wife, who died last week from cancer.

By 3:00pm we were all eating once again, and at 5 we were on the road home. Coming over the Pennines the weather became evil and foul. Cannot imagine going to Rawtenstall tomorrow if it persists.

Felt tired from the exertions but thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Lynn, Dave, Sue and Pete seem happy too.

Phoned Chris tonight and he thinks the trip planned for tomorrow can still go ahead. I have to contact him in the morning. He has decided that Jacq and I will be getting married. __________.

Took a long needed plunge in the bath. I think I'm giving up on Edward VI. The book has become too deeply involved  in church affairs of the 1550s for my liking. I like a biography to be more personal. 'El Dorado' by Baroness Orczy is the only book I have left. A sad thing it is.


Saturday February 11, 1978

Sun rises 07:23 Sun sets 17:08

Went with Lynn and Dave to see Edith and Ernest this morning. Snow was thickly laid, and it was too bright for the eye-balls following last night's extravaganza.

Peter didn't come up until after 12 and so we were late leaving for Stockport. As usual we became hopelessly lost and had a guided tour of Manchester, Blackpool and Glasgow.

We got to the Hollywood at 2 and the girls and boys were introduced to Mrs Glynn. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and Dave B, being thoughtful towards the ladies, took us to a flea market where we rummaged amongst the antiques for a couple of hours. I didn't make any purchases, but I did my utmost to persuade Lynn and Sue to buy a fox fur stole complete with head, tail and beady eyes.

Back at the Hollywood for an evening meal Dave (B) was taken ill with a bad headache. Lynn says that 'bad heads' are hereditary in the Baker family. Dave's uncle died from one, and his mother is forever bothered by them. How bloody morbid!

My Rotters 'passport' snap.
However, we started in the bar, without Dave, at 8:30. Glenn and Garry came, and we left for the Emigration Inn at 9 after Dave's sudden recovery. From there we went to 'Rotters', where a bouncer refused me entry because I was clad in a leather jacket. This meant a taxi ride back to the Hollywood to pick up a suitable jacket, and I was back at the disco in ten minutes or so. An excellent evening. We consumed vast quantities of booze and danced like fools until 1:30. I became a club member and had my photo taken for a 'passport'.

Back to the Hollywood in taxis in freezing conditions at 2:00. Had cheese on toast and laughed and made merry as people are apt to do on these occasions. Lynn and Sue slept in Dave G's bed, Dave B, Dave G and I slept in the lounge. Horribly uncomfortable on the floor.