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Sunday June 18, 1978

4th Sunday after Trinity

Father's Day

We walked (continued from the previous page - editor) to Guiseley in high spirits and of course in clothing and footwear. I deposited Jacq at a bus stop and went home to wash my face, change my shirt and collect a bottle of coffee wine. I then tanked back down the lane and found Jacq still waiting for a bus and so I took her to Mr Lazenby's residence, where I was set upon by Pete's common-law wife's bronchil son. In fact I was almost wiped out by the little brat.

At 7:30am Pete's girlfriend drove us all to the Central, where I parted with Jacq until tomorrow. And so it came to pass that on the morning of Father's Day we began our intake of alcoholic beverage. I am ashamed to say that I could only manage lager whilst Pete was drinking whisky. By the time the coach arrived at 9:30am we were all pissed up. I sat with Darryl Wills and Pete, who drank most of my coffee wine ~ at his own peril.

In typical fashion we hit Blackpool at noon and within minutes we were gathered in a lousy, tart-filled cavern drinking ale. Let me say that at this stage I was feeling quite fit, healthy and wide awake, but even as I pen this I must add that the memory of this pub is the last thing I do recall before waking up on the beach, covered in sand, with a Yorkshire terrier straddling my form, at 7pm in the evening.

Yes, the coach had left Blackpool at 6:30 without me, but to be fair they had waited in the station for half an hour. I was sunburned too. I didn't panic, weep or wail or throw my hands in the air with frustration. I got on the first coach I could find ~ to Preston ~ and hit the place at some time after 8. I managed to phone Pete at the Albion in Skipton with news of my safety, and then hitch hiked towards the motorway.

Pete told me that the coffee wine had had a drastic effect. I may have been stranded in the wilds of Lancashire but at least I was physically intact.

From here I was picked up by a geezer who drove like a maniac, and blasted off down a motorway which had a sign 'Leeds 45 miles'. He turned to me after heading a few miles down the road and said: "I'm going to have to drop you here because I'm forking off to Eccles now." I didn't want to go to Eccles. It was now about 11pm. It was a warm evening, which was a god thing, because my thin, gaily coloured deckchair-like shirt was my only protection from the elements.

So, I was stranded on the hard shoulder of the M-Way, and within minutes a police car pulled up and I was hauled inside and cautioned. It's an offence for pedestrians to perambulate on a motorway. "Anything you say will be taken down..." &c. I was booked, charged and tainted. My future political career was in tatters. The young PC drove me to a junction and ordered me off the motorway. I was dropped on a busy road and within minutes I was on a late night bus heading towards Manchester. It crossed my mind to go see Dave in Stockport, but decided not to. I didn't want to worry him, and he wouldn't want a fugitive on his hands. I was the only passenger on the bus and the driver looked back at me and enquired: "how do you fancy a Chinese meal?" I said "no thanks" but it didn't prevent him parking up the bus and nipping off into a restaurant for quite some time to dine. I waited for quite a bit and then went into a fish and chip shop next door and bought a few cans of pop to wash the sand out of my mouth. A woman in the shop asked to buy my shirt. I declined. We hit Manchester a little after 12 and once again I set off towards a motorway.

I met a friendly, but highly suspect taxi driver, who let me travel free of charge in his cab. He took me to the M62 (again), but after a couple of hours walking I hadn't secured a lift, and crossing fields I found myself in Rochdale (?). At 6am I got a bus back to Manchester where I waited for the first coach to Leeds at 7:30am.


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