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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.