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Wednesday January 3, 1979

Ruth Rhodes (nee Upton)
Still snow. We have just been having a laugh talking about our ancestry. Dad's paternal grandfather must have been a frightening character. He had long, flowing white hair, and always wore a black apron. The only thing Dad remembers about John Henry Rhodes's house is the piano with brass candle~holders, and the large, framed portrait of Gladstone on the wall. (Dad says jokingly: "Or was it Disraeli?") The picture frightened him almost as much as grandad did. John Rhodes (1866-1948) was a strong nonconformist lay preacher, and he sang solo in the chapel on Sundays. He was partially blinded when making  his own fireworks when aged 13 or 14. His wife, Christiana Ross, came from a moderately wealthy background, related to the Ross mill owners in Bramley. She died when my father was five or six years old (in June, 1939), and his only memory of her is when she was 'lying in state' in the front parlour after her demise. What did these aloof, God~
fearing folk make of the family of the woman who married their son, Albert Rhodes (1901-73) ? I shudder to think. The Uptons were a colourful bunch of people. My paternal grandmother was Ruth Ellen Upton, the illegitimate daughter of Polly Upton (1882-1932). Polly was from Sussex and spent her formative years on Epsom racecourse. It is said that the father of her illegitimate daughter was a member of the racing fraternity. Polly was only 18 years old when Ruth was born on September 3, 1900. A few years later Polly married Charles Edwin Henty, a jockey, and had a further thirteen consumptive children. In about 1913/14 Charles Henty came to Yorkshire to the stables of the wealthy Gunter family at Wetherby. At the outbreak of the Great War he went off to Europe to fight for King & country, and Polly took her growing brood off to Leeds to find work. The story goes that the first time my grandmother ever saw a tram she worked on it - Ruth would have been about fourteen. She later worked in a woollen mill in Bramley where she met Albert Rhodes. They married at Bramley register office in March, 1922. John Rhodes, the singing Methodist, boycotted the wedding because Ruth was a Roman Catholic. He didn't speak to his son for years, and comfortably off himself, he almost allowed his family to starve during the depression. My Uncle Harry was born in Oct 1922.



Tuesday January 2, 1979

Bank Holiday in Scotland
Dame Gracie Fields.

Mum and Dad's birthday. Snow, bright and clear. Back to the YP for the first time since before Christmas. The New Year Honours list is piled up on my desk. I suspect that they've only given the DBE to Gracie Fields in the hope that the shock might kill her. What a cruel, evil sense of humour I have. Hugh Scanlon is to be made a peer. They might as well make Karl Marx a posthumous Marquess. I don't know why I'm mocking and ridiculing the honours system because really I am all for it.

Tonight. No buses arrive and I don't get home until 6. John, Maria, JPH, Lynn & Dave came to dinner. Sue and Pete of course, too. JPH says his middle name is "Fillet". His swearing has subsided, but he does tend to slap and bash people. Mum succumbed to several heavy blows.

A happy family dinner. Just the tonic for ailing Mum. I gave them both (birthday) cards but no presents. Everybody else seems to have been able to scrape cash together for gifts, but as usual I miscalculated. They don't mind. I told them I'm buying them something on Thursday.

John and Maria left at 10. Late for taking JPH to bed. He managed to burst every balloon in the house and strip the Christmas tree of its pine needles.

Splashed around in the bath. Took to my bed at 1:26am.



Monday January 1, 1979

Bank Holiday in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales


Well, here we go again. We arrived (that is, Sue, Pete, Lynn, Dave and me) at Pine Tops at a little after midnight. We let in the New Year. I kissed mother and gave her a lump of coal (why?).

We had a few drinks and chatted with various people on the phone. Dave G phoned from Stockport hospital. We ate a good deal and waited for John and Maria but they never materialised.

I walked down the lane in driving snow to Molly & Jim's. It was my first meeting with Molly since before July '77. Drank and ate there. Eventually, at about 5am, only Jimmy (Jun) and I remained. Karim _____________. Listened to weird music and had a lengthy conversation about drugs.

Home in bright sun and crisp snow at 8am. Slept until 2. Had a frosty reception from Mum and Dad _________.

Watched the telly. A Tommy Steele film of all things. Bed with square eyes at 1am.



Sunday December 31, 1978

1st Sunday after Christmas

Miserable and far from festive. Out of bed at lunchtime and went with Susan & Peter to the White Cross. The place was dead. Like a mausoleum in some vast Palladian mansion.

Back to Pete's at 2 for a couple of rums and hot soup {yes, what a combination}. Sue equipped herself with a school skirt and blouse, Peter dressed in a cowboy costume for tonight's 'orgy' at the Shoulder (of Mutton).

I pinched a tub of Jim's Brylcreem for my stunning masque.

Back at home Mum looks very pale and Dad not much better. Sore throats and blocked nasal cavities, &c. We had dinner and a few drinks in an attempt to capture some spirit.

Lynn and David joined us but the sombre atmosphere prevailed. I cannot really put my finger on the fault for this gloom, but something was amiss.

At 8pm - clad in our ridiculous garb we went to the Shoulder. No sign of John & Maria until 10:30 and they didn't come in fancy dress. Maria says John refused to come out in his traditional Scottish gear.

MM, Marita, Denise and Chris R came in for a couple of drinks.  ________. Lynn ignored them and scowled at me when I asked them to come and sit in our little corner. Denise kissed me when they left at about 11.

At about 11:45 with Lynn, Dave, Sue and Peter to Pine Tops to let in the New Year. John and Maria went on to Molly's for the event.

Bye bye, diary. For everything after midnight see the new volume.


Saturday December 30, 1978

Sun rises 08:06 Sun sets 16:00

Snow and gales. Slept until lunchtime and then shovelled snow from the drive - it was my good deed of the day.God knows why because the snow didn't cease whilst I was doing it and my labours were buried without a trace in a matter of minutes. It pleased my ailing, demented Papa, who sat reflecting on the days when he was capable of holding a spade, from a chair in the window.

I phoned Sarah once and she phoned me twice. Jacq has phoned her asking if she can accompany the girls to the Regent tonight. ___________.

John came round at 9:30 to watch the TV and drink lemonade. Yes, lemonade. Peter and I went into Guiseley to the Chinese take-away and to buy more lemonade.

Watched a Jack Lemmon film and went to bed at 1:35am.


Friday December 29, 1978

New Moon 19:36

Margaret made a cup of milky tea and I was almost sick over Fieldhead Road. Snow and ice. Susan and Peter brought me home at 11:30am. I collapsed into bed.

Mum woke me at 4:30 for a curry. I then laid in a chair and stared glumly into the television set. Do you know I haven't been into a pub for a drink of alcohol for almost a week? Am I perhaps cracking up?

Mummy seems to think I am exceptionally quiet but why should I always be acting like a circus act or member of the Royal Shakespeare Company? I just want solitude and quiet. Peter and Susan are in a similar frame of mind.

Dad took to his bed at 8pm saying he had 'flu. Mum doesn't look much better.

On the hosiery counter until Day of Judgement
Poor Uncle Albert died 9 years ago today at Pudsey. I remember crying like a baby whilst doing my paper round. Isn't death a useless, wasteful end? God should perhaps devise a way whereby at the age of 70 everybody goes instead to work on the hosiery counter at British Home Stores, or take up Involuntary Service until the Day of Judgement. Think how beneficial we all would be to the economy? No, on second thoughts, I'd rather just fester away.

When you think about it he (God) has everything worked out, hasn't he?


Thursday December 28, 1978

Holy Innocents

Out to Jim and Margaret's this evening. All the family arrived before 10pm and we supped and made merry until nearly dawn.

Maria and I had the usual Goon~like session and I pushed mounds of cream cake into her face. Blame it on the cocktails. Harvey Wallbangers, &c.

David B was quiet but Lynn was boisterous. Susan and Peter went off to bed at about 5:30 (Mum and Dad had left at about 3am) and I was left with Pamela N and Tchaikovsky's 'Romeo & Juliet' until the milkman made his way to the door through the snow.


Wednesday December 27, 1978

St John, Evangelist

Quiet day. In bed until afternoon and then I lay, like a Roman senator, in the sitting room, until someone decided to feed me.

I finally acquired a batch of medicine from the doctor, and spent most of the day gulping it down.

Sarah phoned at lunchtime and was sweet. We really should get married, or shack up together. I will kick myself when some bastard from the Regent snatches her up and slips a ring on her anaemic, yet beautiful, finger. I only hope she seeks my advice first.

To bed with Evelyn Waugh at a nice late hour. I am reminded of Tony Brotherwood's quip _________.

The name Evelyn always makes me think of a man. Mind you, so does Jocelyn, and Vivian. Am I queer, perhaps?


Tuesday December 26, 1978

Boxing Day Bank Holiday {except Scotland}

Good King Wenceslas: when did he look out?
St Stephen

Slightly better. Merry Christmas.

John, Maria and JPH joined us. I phoned Sarah and told her I'm having it off until after the New Year (HaHa).

Sod the New Year's Honours list. Besides, who cares if Arthur Worsley becomes a CH or whether Dame Vera Lynn gets the George Cross? I don't.

Good King Wenceslas looked out today, didn't he? But  what year? I reckon it must have been in the 1000s.

Forgive the abominable handwriting. It isn't anything to do with booze. Someone has hidden my trusty fountain pen and no end of reckless searching has found it. So, I'm reduced to this scrawl with what is commonly styled a felt~tipped pen.


Monday December 25, 1978

Christmas Day Bank Holiday {Scotland}

Still full of cold. Merry Christmas. JPH nipped my nose and it bled. Eeek. Sad news. John's old work~mate, Terry Mellors, was killed in a road accident on Friday, and John was close to bursting into tears when Dad told him at lunchtime. He just sad clutching one of his Christmas presents, looking very pale.

We ate at 4:30 and then collapsed. John and Maria {who had left for Molly & Jim's at about 4:30} came back at 10pm dressed as Scottish punks ~ John in a MacGregor tartan kilt. They danced to Kenneth McKellar records over a pair of crossed walking sticks in the centre of the sitting room. We all remarked afterwards that John would never have done such a thing just a few years ago. He's never been noted for outrageous behaviour.

Maria was bedecked like a Christmas tree with gaily painted balls hanging from her ears.

The house reeks of eucalyptus (sic)


Sunday December 24, 1978

4th Sunday in Advent.

Christmas Eve. Lynn's first Christmas party (at Lawn Rd) tonight. I am ill and taking a Yuletide recess.

We watched a film show (provided by Marlene and Frank) of Lynn and Dave's wedding. Auntie Mabel wiped her spectacles a few times and people shuffled in their seats.

Santa Claus came at 10. Auntie Mabel exclaimed: "Oh, what a sexy old Santa!" It wasn't the real Santa at all, it was David Greenwood __________________________.


Saturday December 23, 1978

Sun rises 08:05 Sun sets 15:55

Feel ill, so get lost. Out tonight with Christine to the Regent at Chapel Allerton and then to the Queen's in Horsforth, and then to Carol's party. Over 200 piled in. It was quite ludicrous. The combined weight of the revellers caused the ceiling of the sweet shop below to cave in. Boxes of Black Magic and Terry's 1767s were afloat in the water from the burst pipes. Very sad.

I was ill and shouldn't have gone out. CB appreciated my indisposition and sympathised. The creeps in the Regent gave us envious glances ~ I am sure CB caused a sensation because the female population in the Regent generally consists of fat tarts buried beneath four inches of make~up.

CB gave me a book for Christmas. It's by Alan Coren and called "The Lady from Stalingrad Mansions" ~ very inspiring. Home at 1:30am (?).  Pissed up.

John and Maria were merry~making with Mum & Dad. The baby is due on July 7.


Friday December 22, 1978

Moon's last quarter 17:41

Not going to tell you much. Work was over by 1:30 and we went across to Parker's Wine Bar ~ which was ridiculous. So cramped and over crowded. Surely a danger and a fire risk? Tarts abounded. Champagne gushed everywhere at £8 a bottle. Most of the men in the place were dressed like Shirley Bassey ~ I think they were heading off to a fancy dress party.

At about 4 o'clock Carol J took Sarah and I to Ivory Towers {really Ivory Dene, West End Lane, Horsforth}, where we ate beans on toast and drank whisky.
November '63: Jack or Bobby?

Auntie Delia brought me home at 7 and came in to use our phone. She wanted to contact Bill (Collis) ~ the phones at Ivory Towers are out of order.

My throat is on fire. I think my cold is returning. By 8:30 I'm in bed and undergo a hideous night of delirium and sweat. At one point, in my dream, I was about to assassinate Senator Robert Kennedy, but couldn't understand why my calendar said it was November, 1963. I went out on the "grassy knoll" trying to tell people that it was his brother, John, who should be assassinated, not Bobby. Nobody believed me.

Yes, I'm stoned out of my miserable brain.



Thursday December 21, 1978

Sorry about this ink ~ but my faithful fountain pen is missing.

Back to the YP. Not at all festive. In fact Kathleen was quite dull. She's usually all child~like and giddy at this time of year.

Left work at 1pm and concluded my shopping at Schofield's. I purchased a wonderful Ian Dury single ~ "Rhythm Stick" and made my way home.

Susan and Peter were flat out on the settee ~ both suffering from colds. Peter was too ill to go out tonight. This stunned me. He went home at 5:30 taking me down the lane with him. It's deep in soddin' snow.

I almost froze to death on the bus. The vehicle rattled and shivered on its miserable journey to Horsforth.

To Bibi's in Leeds after having a double whisky at the Leisure Centre. It was the usual YP Library "do". Boring really. On with Sarah, Carol J, and Monica to the Regent at Chapel Allerton ~ the usual cattle market.

Slept in the Pink Suite at Ivory Towers ~ quite a laugh.


Wednesday December 20, 1978

Feel better, but still snuffling. I phoned Jacq at 12 and told her I couldn't meet her today. She wished me a happy Christmas, and I did likewise to her. I received a Christmas card from her this morning ~ "To Michael, Love, Jacq".

At lunchtime Mum said it was quite unfair that she couldn't have a "works Christmas party" because as a mere humble housewife she misses out on the lavish affairs provided for office workers. Enough said. We grabbed a couple of bottles of wine, and summoned Susan from upstairs, and sat around the dining table to have a celebratory glass.

Sarah phoned at 1pm. They now want to go to Bibi's instead of Da Mario's (on the Headrow, Leeds) and that they want to call in at the Regent at Chapel Allerton. You know what this means? They are going to bugger off with boyfriends leaving me in the lurch. Ah well, who cares?

Sarah doesn't want to linger in town (Leeds). She is frightened that the IRA are going to put an incendiary device under her chair, or pizza, &c. OK, the terrorists have threatened to target northern cities but I don't see the point in worrying unduly about it. Fretting isn't going to halt the IRA.


Tuesday December 19, 1978

Susan has kindly given me her ruddy cold. I didn't wake up until 9 o'clock when I could hear Mum downstairs on the phone telling Lynn of John & Maria's news.

A deep fog lay outside and I announced that I did not intend going into work today. I rarely miss the YP these days and a day at home can do nothing but good in these frightful weather conditions.

Phoned Eileen and informed her of my loss. Or is it her loss? Never mind, any way.

Gradually throughout the day my condition worsened and I began sneezing, coughing and choking. The little treasure upstairs (Sue) is responsible for my decline.

Jacq phoned. She didn't know I was at home. She wanted to speak to Mum but we had a chat all the same. I told I would take her some of her personal effects tomorrow, but if I'm still grovelling in my bedridden stupor, she will have to wait until after the Yuletide festivities. She told me Trixie had collected my signet ring and that it will cost me £29.  _____________.

We have done little but discuss John & Maria's news all day. She has a doctor's appointment on Wednesday when she will discover the date of the expected delivery. It will no doubt clash with my Ibiza holiday. Susan is 20 on July 21, and it's Maria's 21st (birthday) on July 26.

I love babies and children. John is thrilled. __________.

Bed wrapped up at 11:20 with a couple of paracetamol and cup of hot lemonade.


Monday December 18, 1978

Frosty. Uneventful at the YP. Played cards all afternoon and swilled coffee with Sarah, Eileen and Carol J.

John & Maria: second baby in July
Sarah told me that ________- slept with Eamon Patrick Burke on Friday and then went to a party with him on Saturday. I am barely surprised.

Christine phoned. She's not working on Saturday and so we can both take the Regent by Storm (Chapel Allerton).

I have some really serious joyous tidings. John rang from Stranraer and said he'd be down here on Saturday afternoon. JPH sang 'Jack & Jill' for Mum, all in his fine Scottish accent, and told her that Santa is bringing him a police car and a ball. And then John dropped a bombshell. MARIA IS EXPECTING A BABY IN JULY! Isn't this wonderful news? The Rhodes line is to be properly secured in the year of Mum & Dad's Silver wedding anniversary. I'm overjoyed. _______________.

Sue was out at the Hare until 10:30 with Wendy Wool employees. When she came home I informed her she is to be an aunt again.

By the way I go on and on about babies I bet you are wondering why I don't have any of my own. One day, dear reader, one day.

Bed at 1:04am. Poor Lynn won't get the news until tomorrow.



Sunday December 17, 1978

Out of bed at 1:20pm. I'd been brought from my coma several times during the morning to the sound of vacuum cleaners and washing machines belting out. Downstairs Mum grinned and said something about Lillie Langtry, but I refused to be drawn on this pointless squabble.

Ate lunch and then went down the lane gathering holly from the hedgerows to bedeck the house in trimmings for Yuletide.

We have had a Christmas card from John in it a note saying he'll be down on Dec 23. I miss him and really look forward to seeing him again. Little JPH will be wonderful. What is this time of the year without children?

Susan and Peter have avoided Mum and they won't be making an appearance. Booze makes Mother extremely cruel and bigoted. She takes it out on Peter because he isn't boisterous and demonstrative like Dave B is prone to be. Most unfair. I refuse to keep silent on the matter, but my so~called "interfering" only proceeds to make Mum all the more abusive. Never shall I be silent and rabbit~like in the face of wrong and injustice,. (My God, I sound like someone with a cause).

Mum and I dined on curried mince. Dad joined us later. Susan called in and collected a bundle of Lynn's washing and took it to Burley. ( Lynn currently has no drying facilities). Peter is full of cold and sneezing and spluttering.

At 8 o'clock we watched "As You Like It" on BBC2. It starred Helen Mirren and Angharad Rees. Yet another delightful production. Helen Mirren is wonderful. I have always been besotted with her ~ she reminds me so much of Sandra Lawson.

The central heating is on the blink and the house is very cold tonight. I took to my bed at 11:45.

Dad surprised us all by suddenly announcing that he could take to reading Kipling. Mum says he's never read a book in his life. I must admit - I have never seen the man buried in any volume.



Saturday December 16, 1978

Sun rises 08:00

Sun sets 15:52

Sunny and warm. Dave G's cheque arrived from Stockport in a  registered envelope and at 12:30 I caught a bus and buggered off to Bradford to pay the holiday deposit. The city was like the streets of Teheran have been in recent weeks and I resolved to remain in this swarming metropolis for as little as possible.

Met Denise at WH Smith's. She is remarkably thinner. I paid up and then carried her off to the Painted Wagon. It has been so long since we last met it is almost pointless trying to catch up on our experiences. We say we must have a night out soon, but how many times have we promised ourselves this and then done absolutely nothing about it?

Tonight Denise is going with Chris R to see Dave & Laura Pattison (Laura, nee Butchart). Chris and Michelle have finished. Denise is very changed. I suppose she thinks the same of me.

Lucy Lindsay-Hogg
Home at 3:30 to drink sherry with Mum and Susie. The wedding photographs of Lord Snowdon and Lucy Lindsay-Hogg are on the front pages of the newspapers. She is quite ugly. Her arrival at the register office is reminiscent of a housewife dashing to the Co~op  for a pack of toilet rolls. I feel so sorry for Princess Margaret because she has suffered irreparable damage this year over her divorce and friendship with Roddy Llewellyn. The divorce would never have happened but for the fact that Snowdon wanted to re~marry. She must be sad and lonely.

Tonight Lynn and Dave came and we sat round the Christmas tree drinking lager with whisky chasers until 1 in the morning. Mum was quite drunk and became quite nasty. When Sue and Pete came in she turned on Peter like a wild animal. Poor Susan was upset and I consoled her upstairs. She says Mum is always horrible with Peter when Dave B is present. David Baker is Mum's blue~eyed boy.

David severely gashed his finger on a corned~beef tin and the climax of the evening was a violent argument about Lillie Langtry. Mum and Lynn said she was a prostitute. A King's mistress can never be a prostitute.


Friday December 15, 1978

Otley: market day
Rain. A generally damp atmosphere. Mum woke me to say I had to phone Gus. I did so at 11:30am and an hour later I headed down the lane in heavy rain to the Regent in Gusieley. Gus, Chippy, Neil and Johnny, &c are all there supping ale. I was damp and out of my depth because their conversation was all about their own school days. From here at 2:30 we moved to the Junction in Otley. We were all quite pissed up, and the landlord, resembling something like a rugby prop forward, kept asking us to be quiet. Peter joined us at 3, and because it was market day, we supped and made merry until 4.

Heard a few Jeremy Thorpe jokes ~ quite marvellous. At 4:30, dripping in lager, I returned home. Mother is never happy about me drinking in the daytime and afternoon tea was a bit frosty. Out again at 5:30 to the Regent in Guiseley. Had something of a headache, and no money. Took out an IMF loan from Peter, Chippy and Dave W. They lent me £8 in all, I think. A mini bus collected us at 6 and we went to a pub near Crumpet in Batley. Gus and Frank were hideously pissed and kept dropping their trousers and rolling on the floor. All quite embarrassing, so much so that Pete and I went to a pub next door and returned to the main party after a few sensible drinks. To the disco at about 10:30. Slightly rough. We all danced and freaked out in style. A band came on stage for an hour or so and we were deafened by the noise. I only indulged in a couple of drinks and danced for the remainder of the night. Outside at 2am feeling sober, tired and thirsty. The bus didn't collect us until 2:35 and I didn't get to bed until after 4:0am.


Thursday December 14, 1978

Full Moon 12:31

Christmas Carols: nostalgia ....
I am writing this entry by candlelight. The time, if it means anything to you, is 1:21am on December 15, 1978. I, your beloved narrator, am slightly pissed following a Jim and Margaret Nason session, but fear not for my sanity. Candles can be so hypnotic, can't they? I can sit and stare into the flames for hours ~ they bring such peace and tranquillity to a 20th century room. They have given an almost sacred appearance to our dining room. Margaret Nason's Christmas Carol LP is playing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" ~ it's one of my favourite hymns. Nostalgia really hits a peak when the wonderful carols come out at Christmas. (OK, you've made your bloody point.)

Guess what? I arrived home at 6 o'clock after an afternoon at the YP playing cards with Eileen and Mum said: "What about Lord Snowdon and Lucy, then?" She caught me by surprise. The Earl of Snowdon and Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg are to marry tomorrow in Kensington.  ______.

Capital punishment: debate
Jim and Margaret came here at 9 and stayed until about 1am. Peter came at about 11:30 in the midst of "As With Gladness Men of Old". We debated capital punishment (again) and the arming of the police. Quite a fiery argument.

It is now 1:59am and I'm going to clear things up. The house looks like a nuclear missile testing site.


Wednesday December 13, 1978

Jeremy Thorpe: sent for trial
Jeremy Thorpe's been sent for trial to the Old Bailey __________.

I  am cheesed off tonight. Sitting around the glowing Christmas tree should have seen me full of the joys of the season, bristling with gay abandon, but this was not to be. I had been thinking about money. I am on the verge of a great financial collapse. Gus and Frank's 21st birthdays take place at Crumpet on Friday, and this event will make me destitute. Mum hasn't come forth with the offer of a loan and I can understand her predicament because she's no Gloria Vanderbilt is she? Blimey, I cannot be expected to use her purse like a ruddy tap, can I? I am going to have to resort to drastic measures and assault someone. Maybe "mug" an 85~year old spinster and make off with her old age pension. It's all very well giving these old souls a £10 bonus every Christmas, but what about us youngsters who could really spend the extra cash wisely? Life is so cruel & unfair. My best hope is to approach Susan, I think.  If she isn't forthcoming I will lower myself and ask one of the lads.

To bed at 12:05am. Ate pilchards on toast and supped a mug of tea. Ugh.


Tuesday December 12, 1978

I have just been summoned to thee bathroom by Susie who is sitting in a hot bath in complete darkness. "Michael, the bulb's just gone" she moaned. "Go and catch it then" answered I, closing the door. She was splashing hopelessly in the inky black depths. It could have proved nasty if she'd been practicing hand stands in the bath or embroidering a bed~spread whilst soaking.

Enoch Powell: fascist tendencies ...
Have you heard about the ridiculous Enoch Powell's controversial statement on the possible marriage of the Prince of Wales with a lady of Roman Catholic inclinations? The old fool ought to be shot. Obviously, we don't want to the next Queen Consort giving her allegiance to the Pope, but Powell, a Ulster Unionist MP with a little moustache and fascist tendencies is stirring up trouble. I feel sure that the prince is well aware of the impracticality of his marrying a Roman Catholic and do suppose he has no intention of doing so. I am going to state again ~ quite categorically ~ that HRH The Prince of Wales will marry an English rose from the aristocracy or landed gentry (if you can define the two) and in all probability he hasn't even met her yet.

Sarah and I are not having a half~day off together on Friday after all. I'm taking the day off and she's taking Thursday off. It's all part of Kathleen's strike measures. Stupid if you ask me.

Told Sarah that CB is accompanying me to Carol's party on Dec 23, and she didn't look thrilled. She is going with Richard Burke and I haven't complained about that. Anyway, I dislike the Regent (Chapel Allerton) and by going with Christine we can spend most of the evening at the Fox.


Monday December 11, 1978

Wedwood Benn: future prime minister
I am very worried about Anthony Wedgwood Benn. The Daily Mail seems to think that this man is a future Prime Minister and this really worries me ~ especially at breakfast time when I am inclined to fits of morose depression. I left for the YP with a black cloud hanging over me. What's the bloody point in carrying on when communism, decay and drab uniformity lie at the end of life's sombre pathway?

Rang Janet at WH Smith's and told her to go ahead for the booking of the Ibiza '79 holiday. At lunch I dashed to the closest travel agent and picked up a Thomson's brochure to look at the Hotel Galfi. It seems quite nice. It only has 40 bedrooms. Phoned Dave G tonight. We laughed. After two hours at the Galfi everyone will know us intimately. He's going to see Garry later. Bill is dead chuffed about the whole business. The nasty part about it is that Smith's want a £20 deposit from all of us by the weekend. I collected some coach tour brochures for Mum and she fancies a trip to Yugoslavia next June as part of her Silver Wedding celebrations. Disgraceful that she wants to spend a holiday in the Eastern bloc alliance. It is no idea of fun to me. I suppose Mr Benn and his leftie pals from the House of Commons spend holidays in the Warsaw Pact countries, but Michael Rhodes never shall. President Tito can go piss off.

Saw Monty Python on the BBC followed by a Jane Fonda film. To bed hideously tired at 12:30.



Sunday December 10, 1978

2nd Sunday in Advent

No hangover. Up at a grotesquely late hour. Lynn and David were screaming with laughter in the garden with Mum and Dad and Chris Baker and three or four Christmas trees. Rain was gushing down but it didn't dampen Lynn's high spirits. She is always wonderful and child~like at Yuletide ~ even after all these years of marital agony. This hysteria comes the ancient Wilson love of Christmas which is steeped in folklore and mystery. The things Great~Uncle Albert did with his mince pies cannot adequately be described here.

Discussing next year's holiday with Sue she says that she and Pete cannot be included because they are saving up this year and intend getting engaged in January, 1980, and married in the following June. She'd like to marry on June 19 ~ Mum & Dad's 26th wedding anniversary. Nothing is official of course, and no doubt Peter will be the last to know. She is always so calm about these matters and almost unenthusiastic. In similar circumstances Lynn would be on the verge of wetting herself. I will not believe it until I actually see it.

Dad and Dave went down to Burley (in Wharfedale) to glue tiles all over the kitchen and Lynn and Mum spent the afternoon baking mince pies.

We all ate at about 6:30 and then I persuaded them to watch "Richard II" by Shakespeare on BBC2. Lynn and Dave went off at about 9 o'clock because she couldn't understand John of Gaunt's senile deliberations. I really do think that the young people of today should have more patience with Shakespeare. He is so easy to understand if you are prepared to concentrate. Lynn said she thought the play was boring! How can Richard II be boring?

To bed at 1:00am and shudder at the thought of the YP. Weekends just dissolve, don't they?



Saturday December 9, 1978

Sun rises 07:54

Sun sets 15:52


Joke: "What fucks old age pensioners?" (For the answer see the heading of Dec 16).

My stomach isn't what it should be today. I am dribbling and rumbling all over the place and put it down to the Tetley's bitter in the Shoulder last night.

Did absolutely nothing all day other than listen to music and watching Mummy going about her work. If I was the Holy Father I'd have her beatified. (Richard III's niece, Margaret, Countess of Salisbury was beatified in the 1880s). Mum does work like a bee though.

Original Oak: Headingley
Tonight: phoned Chippy at 7 and he and Frank came at 8. We went to Queensway for Gus and then had a drink in the Crown before moving on to the Original Oak to meet Johnny. We latched on to the vicars and tarts. Frank and I went outside to change into our costumes. He was clad in a black skirt and canary~yellow jacket and I put on a white shirt backwards beneath a black t~shirt so that soon I'm the image of the Archdeacon of Bath &Wells. Frank brought the place to a standstill with his impersonation of a tart, he even used the ladies toilets. The gin and ale swilled everywhere. I persuaded a crowd of people to join me in the singing of rousing hymns including "Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Hallelujah!" Someone complemented me on my ecclesiastical voice. One gorgeous tart said I sound like William Rushton! What a tremendous complement. I didn't know I was so articulate. An articulated lorry yes, but no orator.

We gave a lift to a guy called Smith and carrying a seven pint can I entered the party. As usual everything is shrouded in mist and stale alcohol fumes. I had a romantic interlude with one nameless tart who enquired: "Ooh Father, where did you learn to kiss like that?"

Became deeply involved in a discussion on which part of the UK is the friendliest. I said (of course) that Yorkshiremen are the warmest but my opponent said boys from Devon are far friendlier. I concluded that they all vote Liberal in Devon and are invariably homosexual, at which I was set upon by a rugby player from Paignton.


Friday December 8, 1978

Not too hung~over, but all the same  took my weekly dose of Eno's on my arrival at the barren, deserted office.

Malcolm was working flat out to get the EP on the street. I gave him a few items of interest from the Daily Telegraph and he snatched them up eagerly and called me a "grand lad". Am I perhaps a creep, or just nice and helpful? Peter Lazenby wouldn't approve of my assisting here.  Sarah is still off.

At 2 Eileen and I went to Len's for a couple of lagers. At 3 I began my Christmas shopping in torrents of rain and in 90 minutes I purchased five presents and spent £20. Easily done.

Golda Meir: eagle?
Home and dry for 5:30. Devoured a pile of cheese sandwiches. Saw on the news that Golda Meir has died. I believe she is the eagle which escaped from London Zoo in 1966 or thereabouts. (Am I mad?)

Out to the Shoulder of Mutton with Sue & Pete at 8 and are joined by the mob. Johnny is home from college and he is taking us to a party in Headingley tomorrow night  ~ a 'Vicars & Tarts' arrangement. I spent very little but enjoyed it all the same. In fact I was slightly pissed.

Pennies from Heaven ...
At 10 we went to the White Cross and then back to _____West's house opposite the old police station. (He was the lad who thumped me, Dave Lawson and Andrew Dean, after the Fieldhead School prize giving day in Dec 1971). However, Christmas is the season for forgiving. Besides, he bought me a whisky. They played cards and I watched 'Pennies from Heaven' and completed a crossword. Later I read an interesting article on carp fishing in an angling volume which educated me greatly. Home at 1 o'clock and to bed.


Thursday December 7, 1978

Moon's first quarter 00:34

Slightly festive. Out tonight with Christine to the Fox & Hounds in a deluge of bloody rain. She was swearing, using four~letter words in fact, about getting her delicious hair wet.

The Fox was dead and dull and was brightened slightly by the arrival of Philip Knowles and a fellow soccer enthusiast. He and CB had been out together last night.

At 10:30 we went to Oakwood Hall and danced all night. We must be growing quite ancient and unfit because at 1:30 we were exhausted and close to collapse. Sweat trickled and cascaded down the delightful contours of Christine's form.

Peter, Gus, Chippy and Dave Wainwright made an appearance but we didn't fraternize. Christine and Chippy have something of a personality clash. In fact, they hate each other.

Sexual croquet ...
Outside was hilarious. Christine wanted a curry and a £1 note from her purse blew from her fingers and under the mobile curry van. I proceeded to discard clothing and spread~eagle myself beneath the vehicle to salvage the offending note much to the amusement of the assembled multitude. I got stuck. People tried to pull me out. A woman dropped an onion bhaji and it rolled between my legs ~ like a game of sexual croquet. Eventually I got out, covered in filth and clutching CB's money.

Christine laughed all the way home. bed at 2am.


Wednesday December 6, 1978

On safari with Deborah ...
I fear my father suffers from chronic indigestion. You'd be surprised by some of the noises which cry out in the night and at times awaken me with sweat on my brow imagining I'm out on safari in Kenya with Deborah Kerr. Highly peculiar, trumpeting noises can be heard at all times of the day and night and people from miles around gather at our gate with cassette tape recorders and cameras to catch a specimen sample of Daddy's spectacular performances. He is to flatulence what Kathleen Ferrier was to opera.

Warmer today and no bloody fog. Jenny Rawnsley made a record at school yesterday afternoon and so Jim now has orders to purchase a "music centre". I don't like this description of a record player. It sounds to me as though he's going to put in a take~over bid for EMI  or the Rank Organisation. Poor, eccentric James. He could so easily have stepped from the pages of a Jane Austen novel. (I think Jane's "Five Go Off in a Caravan" is her masterpiece ~ Ed.)

Left the YP at 2pm due to the lack of work due to the strike. Malcolm Barker and I are now firm friends. He stood with me this morning showing me the EP copy as though I am the EP news editor or even ~ dare I say it ~ Helen Atha. Blimey I am becoming big~headed and fanciful.

Home at 3. Just ate and watched TV tonight.  "Edward and Mrs Simpson" was good. Cynthia Harris plays the duchess as a power~mad, selfish, calculating hag. Peggy Ashcroft is good as Queen Mary, and the girl who plays the young Duchess of York bears a remarkable likeness to her.

To bed at 12:40 after watching an interview with Woody Allen on the BBC. He really is the funniest man in the world, and so ugly too. I could listen to him for hours. Sat in bed with nothing to read. However, I won't let it get me down.

The mystery King of England in yesterday's competition was born today.


Tuesday December 5, 1978

Fog again.  I didn't get to work until 9.05am but who cares? No NUJ members were working and we found Malcolm Barker attempting to bring out a newspaper quite alone.

I saw in the Daily Telegraph death announcements that Sir David Salt, Bt, has died. When he was in his fifties in 1975 he married an old woman in her 70s. Also spotted that Lord Harewood's aunt, Viscountess Boyne, has died aged 75. Malcolm was thrilled by these items of news and snatched them up it fill the pages of the pathetic EP.

At 3pm with all the routine work finished I left the office and attempted to get but a bus but none were forthcoming, so I caught a train at 3:45.

Silly Old Jim
Read Kenneth Harris's interview with the Prime Minister in the Observer (Sunday).  Silly Old Jim (Callaghan) says he's going to go on looking after us until he's in his eighties. The beloved leader fails to see why politicians give up and retire at sixty when they are the peak of their brilliance. I agree, Jim. Churchill was almost 150 when they finally shot him, and Mr Gladstone was 463.

I am going to give you ten guesses as to which British monarch was born on December 6. (Yes, I know that's tomorrow). Come on! Who am I? I was styled "Dei Gratia Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae" and was born at Windsor on Dec 6, 1421. Crowned at Westminster on Nov 6, 1429, and crowned King of France at Notre Dame, Dec 17, 1431. I married April 22, 1445, Margaret of Anjou, daughter of Rene, Duke of Anjou, titular King of Sicily, Naples and Jerusalem (descended from the Count of Anjou, brother of Charles V). I was deposed after the second Battle of St Albans, March 4, 1461, and re~instated Oct 9, 1470, from when I reigned until taken prisoner in April 1471; I died in the Tower of London shortly after the Battle of Tewkesbury, May 4, 1471, it is supposed by violence, and was buried at Windsor. Who am I? For the answer refer to the block capitals above Dec 9.



Monday December 4, 1978

This afternoon the National Union of Journalists voted to strike, and according to John MacMurray it may mean a virtual shut~down (of the Yorkshire Post) until the New Year. The editors will not last long working alone. A sad day indeed. However, we in the library will carry on undaunted.

Sarah is off with a cold which is no surprise because she looked washed out all last week. No personal phone calls today - but I did send a quick note to Christine on the prospect of our seeing each other on Thursday.

Carol J saw Jacq on Saturday night at the Regent in Chapel Allerton. ___________________.


Sunday December 3, 1978

First Sunday in Advent

Bad hangover. Up at 11:30. Devoured a couple of boiled eggs and masses of toast. Mummy said I looked awful.

Spent the afternoon in a coma and only revived at 8 o'clock to watch Patrick Ryecart and Rebecca Saire in 'Romeo & Juliet' on BBC2. Very enjoyable, and just the thing to clear my pickled, pathetic brain. Watched another film with Daddy from 11, and so I didn't hit the sack until after 1am. This was mad I know, because I really needed the sleep.

Pictures in the Sunday papers of the Prince of Wales and Lady Jane Wellesley in Spain. The Duke of Wellington is saying that the couple are just friends, but I expect he's been groomed by Capt Mark Phillips's parents who said exactly the same thing in '73 throughout Anne and Mark's secret courtship. What else can His Grace possibly say though? He can hardly say they've been screwing for three years and that HRH is virtually one of the family. To say such things would put his KG in jeopardy. We shall just have to wait and see, eh? Blimey, how many times have I said this on the subject of the prince and his lady associates? I'm growing steadily worse as a royal pundit. Before long I'll be a male Audrey Whiting, the so~called expert on the royal family, who knows absolutely bugger all when it comes down to it.


Saturday December 2, 1978

Sun rises 07:45 Sun sets 15:55

Mohammedan New Year {1399}

Snow and ice. Out of bed at 10:30 and had eggs and bacon with David and watched the snow cast a shroud over Burley~in~Wharfedale. I must be dreadfully spoiled at home because this house is just too cold for me. Lynn and Dave just don't seem to notice. No doubt they have become used to the cold, freak, indoor conditions.

I helped Dave with a few chores and he brought me home at about 1pm. Lynn went off to Otley Christmas shopping and Dave returned to his DIY escapades. I went to wallow in a hot bath to de~frost my blue extremities. Passed the remainder of the afternoon idling around and doing bugger all.

Out with Christine at 8:15 to the Shoulder, then the New Inn in Yeadon, and finally to the Fox. Sue, Pete, Gus, Chippy and Frank H were in the Fox. Frank says he's going to Crumpet, at Batley, on Dec 15, to celebrate his 21st. Great stuff.

Christine was monopolised by Philip Houldsworth and Garry Walton, and I made her make a hurried departure with me at 11. Slightly foggy. We drove to the Il Trovatore at Ilkley but were refused admission because CB was wearing jeans! This a phenomena. I cannot stand the place anyway. Undaunted, we went on to Oakwood Hall, arriving at 12:15. The place was packed out with Christmas revellers and the whole place was bedecked with artificial Christmas trees, tinsel, and trimmings. It put us in a very festive frame of mind. I became quite pissed but Christine didn't touch alcohol because of the gruesome weather conditions. Home after 2 with bleary eyes and a raging headache. Pernod ~ ugh!


Friday December 1, 1978

Still foggy and damp.

I phoned Michelle at the travel agents to enquire about apartments in Ibiza for next July or August. She said bookings are going well and many thousands are clamouring for foreign holidays after the disastrous summer at home. She will come back to me tomorrow or Monday. She has such a wonderful, sexy voice.

I did not go out on the razzle this evening. I met David B at 5:30 at Jacomelli's and we drove to Yeadon to collect Lynn at Morrison's. Back to Burley for din~dins and then Dave and I, clad in overalls, slapped gloss paint all over the downstairs living quarters. This was a historic event, because by midnight we had daubed our last splattering of paint on 7, Lawn Road, for some considerable time.

We had a few glasses of sherry to celebrate and watched a western on the microscopic TV and retired to bed at about 2. The house was icy cold, but Lynn had warmed my bed with a hot water bottle.


Thursday November 30, 1978

New Moon 08:19

St Andrew's Day {Scotland}

It's late so I'm going to be brief. Didn't venture out for the usual orgy of ales and delights of the female form ~ party due to the poor state of my finances, but mainly due to the heavy fog. Very dense and nasty it was.

Jim and Margaret came here at 8:30 and we watched a Greta Garbo film on the BBC.

The Prince of Wales is in Brussels on a visit to the EEC headquarters and tonight he dined with King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola at Laeken Palace. Princess Marie-Astrid was not present though she frequently stays with her uncle, the Belgian king. I do not want HRH to marry a foreign princess when these islands of ours are swarming with English roses. It is heart rending to know that the prince is going on to Spain for the weekend with the Duke of Wellington and Lady Jane Wellesley ~ reputedly a 'shooting weekend'. I do wish he'd pull his finger out.

Bed at 12 o'clock. Susan was in all evening.



Wednesday November 29, 1978

To Burley~in~Wharfedale with Sarah at 5:30. She looked gorgeous in her new fur coat, but was pale. I am sure she is anaemic.

We sat with Lynn in the cold, drinking sherry and waiting for David, who was putting in some overtime. He came in at 7:30 and we watched "Coronation Street" and giggled. ____________.

Sarah was not impressed by "Edward and Mrs Simpson". It wasn't one of the better episodes of the series.It dealt with Wallis's divorce from Ernest.

The sherry quietened Sarah a good deal and by 10 o'clock she was almost asleep. The news on ITV had us in hysterics. We had the details of Norman Scott's evidence at Jeremy Thorpe's committal proceedings at Minehead. Intricate details of sexual assaults, buggery in the House of Commons, vaseline, towels, ministers without portfolio, &c. All good stuff.

Home in the fog and freezing conditions at 10:30. It was a long slog. Sarah's fur coat was frozen solid. Poor soul.



Tuesday November 28, 1978

Fog, ice and murky weather generally. Could really do with a few months off work. It seems like a lifetime ago since I had any holiday. If the International Commission for Human Rights got to hear about my working conditions they'd all go collectively grey. I'd make a good Russian Jew.

It is indeed a sad week. On Friday the Times newspaper disappears for an unspecified period of time. God knows just how I will cope without it. It's the only decent national newspaper and the workers are doing their utmost to destroy it. Send in the tanks, that's what I say. Flatten bloody Fleet Street and hang the National Graphical Association rebels by the ankles from which ever newspaper building is the highest. Swines. I'm going now. I have nothing sensible to say and so I might as well just go to bed.


Monday November 27, 1978

Phoned Carole at B.S. & W. Whiteley's at Pool~in~Wharfedale this morning. We discussed her 21st birthday party on Saturday at the Cow & Calf. She said it was a drunken affair and that everyone who should have attended had done so and then she giggled slightly. I told her I had been to Stranraer and she asked about Maria. I told her that she had been the topic of discussion on Saturday when we were pissed up and she exclaimed "Oh God, I can imagine what you were talking about". She told me that she and Fogarty had split "for a fortnight so that she could have a break". Now was my chance surely to get hold of Carole, but after ten minutes of natter down went the phone having made no plans to meet.

Christine phoned later. She told me that now was my chance to pursue Carole again. I will contact her later in the week. Christine said she is free on Saturday, and so I might be escorting one of the region's most glamorous females._____________.

I wrote to David L in Hockley Heath. I fear I have been neglecting him. I don't think he'll be home until after Christmas.

Saw in some of the newspapers that the Prince of Wales and Lady Jane Wellesley have been together in Spain over theweekend at the estate of the Duke of Wellington. This is a weird relationship. They have been on and off since 1972. Lady Jane will be 28 next. A Princess of Wales is going to have to be young enough to produce a few children, and Lady Jane is on the verge of becoming an ancient relic. John MacMurray saw Lady Jane in the flesh a few months ago at a NUJ meeting and he was far from impressed. Mind you, nothing much impresses John.

Lady Sarah Spencer's dad is critically ill following a cerebral haemorrhage and I do suppose he'll shortly be giving up the ghost. The heir to the earldom is the 14 year-old Lord Althorp.

Just watched TV tonight. Mum and Dad went to Lynn and Dave's at 8 and stayed until 10. They returned virtually frozen to death.


Sunday November 26, 1978

27th after Trinity 5th Sunday before Christmas

No hangover. Something of a miracle. David, deathly white, climbed out of bed and went outside to vomit over half of Scotland. Fried breakfast. Maria very cheerful. No mention today of our 'Carole conversation' last night which was a relief really because I didn't want my inner-most private thoughts bandied about over breakfast among the junior, impressionable members of the family.

Though very cold it was a bright and sunny morning and we decided to to go into Stranraer to look at the boats. Purely for JPH's benefit really. JPH is amazing this morning ~ tanking around outside with the 30p I gave him jingling away in his pocket. Funny isn't it how small boys like to stuff their pockets with oddments?

We saw the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle in dock. Not as big as I thought it would be. I don't have any sense of proportion.

Maria and I clowned around and I acted the fool. She called me 'Donal' and I called her 'Sally'. We behaved like morons and our antics went straight over the heads of the others, especially John, who frowned and scowled as I led his wife through Stranaer harbour on a dance of idiocy. I pushed JPH in his pushchair and we were all one big, happy family.

At 2:30 we all kissed goodbye until Christmas and we drove off leaving the three of them framed in the harbour. No stopping on the journey home and we got in at 7:30 quite buggered. Mum made us a big dinner. She thought something was wrong because we were all so quiet, even Lynn, but it was because we were all so tired. Bed after 11.


Saturday November 25, 1978

Sun rises 07:35 Sun sets 16:00

Today it snows and freezes. If this is Scotland they can keep it. Edinburgh in 1968 was my only other excursion to this Moira Anderson territory.

We all, including JPH, went to the Crown on the seafront at Port Patrick and we sat huddled together watching the weather outside and calmly sinking alcohol again. We returned to Lochans at about 3pm for food. Can you believe haggis and chips?

John and Maria found a baby~sitter for this evening and we hit the town again. The Downshire in Stranraer was our first port of call, and then we visited two other places of refreshment. By the time we arrived at the last one it was 10 o'clock and I was £20 lighter! The kitty money was running away like water.

Maria and I discussed Carole __________________. She says C would do anything for me and only goes out with Fogarty to get at me. She'd drop him like a stone if I explained to her how I really felt. She insisted that I should give Carole a ring and is adamant that the girl is waiting for me to make a move. Our chat was brought to an abrupt close at 11 o'clock when a riot broke out on the premises and glasses, chairs, and all manner of pub fixtures and fittings flew across the room. A gang of about 20 lads were fighting. Blood, booze and entrails trickling down the walls. The arrival of the police brought the fracas to an end and we were herded out into the street and allowed to go on our way. We didn't hang around. Lynn was in tears. Funny how violence affects some people. Back to the caravan where we fooled around. Peter and I argued about something.


Friday November 24, 1978

Felt slightly bog~eyed this morning. My Uncle Albert would have been 83 to~day. Saw Lynn and Dave in Guiseley this morning and scrounged a lift to Leeds.

I busied myself until 12 and then returned home. The bus driver tutted and scowled at me when I told him I had only worked three hours today. Is that ancient institution, the half~day, unheard of in 1978 working life?

At 2:30 Sue, Pete and I left for Stranraer in his car. Lynn and Dave left an hour later because Dave had an appointment with some consultants, which was unfortunate. Pleasant journey. We arrived at Lochans at 7:30. They seem very happy and the caravan isn't the hovel I feared it might be. JPH's swearing isn't too bad ~ or perhaps I should say it hasn't got any worse ~ though I clearly heard him say 'bastard' several times, albeit under his breath. JPH is the most good looking child I have ever seen. John, Sue, Pete and I made off to an off~licence whilst Maria cooked dinner, and we returned with a bottle of whisky and eight or nine cans of ale.

Lynn and Dave arrived at about 9 o'clock and we sat about howling with laughter until about 1am. Lynn was pissed. We slept in sleeping bags, and giggled like four year old children well into the night.