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Wednesday May 2, 1979

_. Yes, to get back to David Steel. His father, the Venerable Enoch Steel, was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1974-75. Margaret Thatcher's dad was a Lincolnshire grocer, and of course Jim Callaghan didn't have a father. Well, of course, he did have a father, but it seems that Mr Callaghan Snr, a naval man, had a woman in every port.

The Queen will be chewing on her royal finger nails today. Will it be Jim or Margaret? I suppose she'd like it to be dear old Alec [Douglas] Home tottering up the steps into the palace every Tuesday, or even Sir Harold [Wilson]. I believe she was quite fond of that pipe-smoking vagabond in the Gannex raincoat.

Sleet and snow again. December-type weather, in fact. Delia sent me a blue carnation to wear in my coat. Poor Sarah C's view of politics is that "they are all as bad as each other" but I'm sure she's rather sleep with Max Bygraves than vote Labour. She'd also have David Steel castrated.

David G phoned. I suggested they come over on Saturday. Alison D will be here for the weekend because she is having an interview at Bradford Area Health Authority next Tuesday. So what looked like a tranquil weekend ahead is now developing into a full-scale orgy of booze and blondes. I'm not complaining though.

Dearest mother was in one of her foul, offensive, almost Mussolini-like tempers and I had little to do with her this evening. Mrs Thatcher isn't the only Iron Lady around here. Mother is more formidable than Leonid Brezhnev, Amy Carter, Lena Zavaroni, and President Tito all put together.

To bed at 11:50pm. Dad is going to wake me at 6am because I want to be the first in out polling station. Hip Hip.


Tuesday May 1, 1979

_. It snowed today, and was generally cold. Happy May Day to you all. More election banter on the tv this evening. An interesting debate chaired by Robin Day between Michael Heseltine, Michael Foot and the late Jo Grimond. It was entertaining to say the least. Mr Foot was glowing with embarrassment and cowering at Michael Heseltine's questioning. Labour is so obviously terrified by the union movement. Even Grimond likened the trade unions to the great landlords of the 19th century, and this brought much applause from the audience. Labour cannot hide from the fact that it has abdicated its authority and passed over the mantle of governing to Moss Evans and the heavy boys at the AUEW, or wherever he hangs out. The TUC is undoubtedly the 'red mafia' in our society, and when the Tories have hammered them all into the ground I feel sure we'll be much better off. I feel positive that the country requires a firm swing to the right on Thursday enabling Mrs Thatcher to lead a full strength government, and not reliant on Liberal support. Another 'hung' parliament would be tragic and a Labour government doesn't bear thinking about. Jim Callaghan would be so smug and bouncy. I'm afraid I couldn't stand it. The polls say it is neck and neck, but I feel in my blue bones that Thatcher will come out on top. Ah well, that's enough politics for one day.

Sue and Pete went out for an Indian and returned at 10:30 breathing fumes all over us. For a racist he does very well in these multi-racial eating joints.

Just Mum, Dad and I at home all night. Took to my bed at 11:53pm. Looked at my Who's Who 1976. Did you know that David Steel's dad was a 'Very Reverend'?


Monday April 30, 1979

_. Denise sent me the holiday bill which has to be paid by May 13. A further £162.73 is required, and this means we will have paid £182.73 for what was advertised as a £156 holiday. They have a nerve, don't they? And let's not forget, this is only bed and so-called breakfast. You can't call a hard bread roll and a spoonful of green marmalade a breakfast can you?

Rang Dave G with the dreadful news. He was undisturbed by it, and we joked about the Bournemouth trip. At least he is on speaking terms with Neil again. Peter N came up late, at 9:20, and he brought with him a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry and some cans of lager, and fish and chips. Where has he found the cash? Peter Nason is Guiseley's answer to the Duke of Westminster.

Watched a programme about Margaret Thatcher on the BBC. She is really coming over brilliantly in this campaign and her message is put over with force and conviction. Which is more than can be said of the Ayatollah Callaghan. He has made an astonishing attack on poor Edward Heath, and the only reason why I think he has done this is that he is suffering from the delusion that Mr Heath is still the leader of the Tory Party. Why attack Edward Heath?

Bed at 1:15am after discussing the National Front with Papa.


Sunday April 29, 1979

_. Felt dull and nauseous for most of the day. Only my dinner at 6:30pm restored me to normality.

Dad and Jim were once again sprawled under the car and Jim remained to dinner. So did Peter N.

Bing Crosby on the telly this afternoon and Marilyn Monroe tonight. I can see from the movie why she actually killed herself. __________.

Laughed at Auberon Waugh, who is standing on Thursday in Jeremy Thorpe's constituency, for, I think, the Dog Lovers' Party. The ghastly Jeremy doesn't see the funny side of this for some reason. To bed after 12, Read 'The Corps of the Royal Military Police' by Crozier. Don't worry, I'm not thinking of joining.



Saturday April 28, 1979

The Daily Mail says the Queen was 'badly shaken' and the YP says she was 'unshaken' in last night's car accident so I suppose the truth lies somewhere in between. Let's say, shaken not stirred, eh?

Jim Nason came up at the crack of dawn and he and Dad spent the whole day flat on their backs underneath the car. Welding I believe. And all for the sake of some crumbly MOT. I simply couldn't stand the strain of owning a vehicle. One day I will have to go mobile but for the time being I am staying on my own two feet.

This afternoon I took to a hot, soapy bath with Paul Gambaccini, and wallowed in the steaming firmament.  Lynn and Dave came here at 7:30 and Peter joined us before we left for Jill and Tim's engagement party at Farsley Celtic Football Club.

Uncle Tony looked exhausted and I think the coming election is preying on his mind. Guests included Uncle Peter and Auntie Jean. Peter says he's "voting for Maggie" next Thursday which surprised me.

The girls and most of the menfolk danced in formation until after 12. Susan and Diane are just like sisters. The resemblance was noted by many there. Why does my sister [Lynn] always wear trousers? I haven't seen Lynn in a dress for years, and her legs are so slender too.

Back at Auntie Hilda's afterwards Lynn was passing round the sandwiches and nibbles and one of Tony's Asian friends declined a pork pie. "Oh come on, or I'll put you on my black list!" she exclaimed. Black List!

Jill was rolling me cigarettes. Poor Tim fell through a glass door, and then slept on a rug in the lounge frying on the gas fire. Home at about 3:30am. Headache.


Friday April 27, 1979

Felt acutely rough all day. Kathleen laughed at my condition. I determine to stay by my own fireside tonight. I was horrified looking into my wallet this morning. I spent £10 last night at the Elma and at Oakwood (Hall). 

Speaking to Dave W I told him that last Thursday was my very last 'Thursday night with the lads'. ___________.

So, tonight I stuck to my resolve and sat like a chunk of vegetation before the TV set. The Queen was involved in a road accident en route from Heathrow to Windsor this evening. She wasn't injured but her chauffeur-driven Rover was badly pranged. A spokesman said Her Majesty was unshaken by the incident, but I suspect she must live in fear of kidnap by the IRA.

Bed at 1am.



Thursday April 26, 1979

Back to the YP. Pay day. It has been like a dream missing one full week of the general election campaign. Let us hope and pray that Mr Callagas is not re-elected next week. Labour until 1984 would just about finish us all off. We are already on a par with Mozambique, and I do suppose that the populace of the Spanish Sahara are living in opulence in comparison with the starving masses of Bradford and the industrial north. Margaret Hilda (Thatcher) will be our salvation.

I fully intended staying at home tonight but Chippy phoned at 7:30 and I gave in. I do give in very easily when pleasure is dangled like a carrot before my beady, donkey-like eyes.

Out to the Shoulder at 8:15. Micky H_____ is out too but he leaves at 9:30 to go commit adultery. This is terrible. His poor wife is expecting a baby in May. On to the White Cross and the Commercial. I wasn't in the mood for the Elma, and we all realised this was a mistake, so we moved on  to Oakwood Hall. Bought Dave W his entry in and his booze all night. Got drunk. Met Steve Hudson and my 'Oakwood girl' Sarah. Home for cheese on toast and coffee at about 2am.


Wednesday April 25, 1979

Ate the usual breakfast washed down with oceans of splashing tea, and left at 10am without saying goodbye to Arthur or to Lady Spencer-Churchill, his wife. I have stolen a very large sun parasol from the hotel which will make a splendid present for Lynn and David. I could not possibly hand over this piece of 'hot' stolen property to dear Daddy, who is a fine, upstanding member of our local law enforcement establishment. Questions would be asked in the House and 'Panorama' would dedicate a whole thirty minute programme to the incident should it ever reached the courts. We Rhodeses are VIPs in this area, you know.

I was in charge of navigating the route homeward. Back up to Devizes and then we by-passed Oxford and joined the M1  at Northampton. Before hitting the motorway we indulged in a few drinks, but were put off somewhat by the very noisy, endless political discussions going on in the bar. Politics and alcohol should never meet and be avoided at all costs.

God only knows how Alison gets from Winchester to Leeds in only three and a half hours. We didn't reach Guiseley until just after 7pm. Bill and Garry were unimpressed by Harry Ramsden's and I was moaned at for quite some time. We went off to Lynn and Dave's at 7:30 and we watched TV and sat with them for a couple of hours. They were very impressed by the large, gaily coloured umbrella. David promises to make a stand for it to adorn the garden this summer. Lynn is always so amiable and wonderful with visitors. Both Lynn and Dave are smoking cigars on an increasing scale. Back home at 9:30 where Mum and Dad sit laughing at Billy. They left after 10:30. It is good to go away, but equally nice to be home. Everything looks so incredibly tidy.


Tuesday April 24, 1979

At breakfast Billy remarked how incredibly thirsty he was (alluding to the locked bar) to which Arthur replied: "That's why I have given you an extra large tea pot." It was wonderful just to watch Billy's face. Arthur deserved an Oscar too.

As usual Neil and the silent twosome cleared off while I was still attacking the toast, but we didn't mind in the least. Miserable sods.

At 9:30 we went by car on another jaunt across the southern countryside. Lymington Spa, or is it just plain Lymington? Anyway, we found ourselves at Beaulieu and after a few drinks (12-2pm) we went to the National Motor Museum and then visited Palace House where Lord Montagu hangs out. The old cars were fascinating but I didn't rate the house. Not a patch on Castle Howard.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu was charged with indecency back in the 1950s. But I believe he is now a reformed peer, and has put groping around in public lavatories behind him.

Back to Bournemouth for fish and chips and then out for more drinks. Tonight our bedroom drinks party became quite riotous. Garry demolished Billy's bed and destroyed a couple of towel rails. We had to swap the furniture from room 17 upstairs, and at one point Garry thought he was Terry Wogan, the Irish lunatic.


Monday April 23, 1979

St George's Day

To Poole in Dorset this morning to explore the town. Fell into a few bars. Things just were not the same without Alison's company and we talked about her all the time. I really should begin a Miss Dixon fan club. Ate salmon sandwiches and drank a few pints of Stella Artois. This Philippe Junot-like lifestyle cannot go on forever. How long will the cash last out?

Back in Bournemouth this evening we went for a curry, which was like fire. I only had a prawn madras but I felt like I was being cremated from the inside. We took booze with us back to the Gainsborough because the so-called licensed bar remains under lock and key. Billy says he is going to see Arthur about this tomorrow.

Garry is a lonely lad, and I can see where he is going wrong. He wants the companionship of a lady (who doesn't?) but he never goes to the right places to find one. _______________.



Sunday April 22, 1979

_. Low Sunday.

The pizzas last night were diabolical. Just thought I'd say that. Had a usual breakfast at the usual time and at about 11 we headed off for Alison's at Martyr Worthy. I had been feeling guilty about dragging the lads away to Winchester but following yesterday's session I don't think I could keep them away, especially Garry who is very smitten.

With Alison at Winchester Cathedral
Alison was bashing the top of her boiled egg, looking so voluptuous in her dressing gown. Mrs Dixon, as usual, was staggering around her mansion with a vague expression on her face. In fact she looked pale and ill.

At 12 we ventured to the Plough in Itchen Abbas for drinks and sandwiches. Graham was working in the bar with Midge, the landlady, who is the image of comedian Ronnie Barker when in drag. Had a quite a heavy drinking session and went on afterwards to Winchester to look at the cathedral. A hot, sunny afternoon too.

Back to Alison's for apple wine and a session on the piano. Poor Bill slipped into a coma. At about 7 we went to the Ship Inn for grub and more poisonous liquid and then back to the Plough to conclude the day's activities. Bill was really on top form, and was incredible all evening and at times I almost wet myself laughing. A more sensitive and genteel mob would have been more than slightly embarrassed.



Saturday April 21, 1979

._. Bournemouth. Her Majesty's fifty third birthday. Breakfast was served at 8:30. Sausage, bacon, eggs, and lashings of hot, flowing tomato, the tinned variety. Afterwards we congregated in the [dry] lounge to discuss tactics. Neil and his two stooges announced that they wanted to go watch an amateur football team by the name of Stockport County, who are playing at Portsmouth this afternoon. Obviously, I was horrified and dumfounded. I said: "leave me out" and immediately Dave and Garry followed. Billy, who enjoys a game of football said he would go along with the Portsmouth trippers, and that was that.

Garry, Dave and I wandered around the town and then went in the car to Boscombe Pier where we listened to Sooty and Sweep singing 'Teddy Bear's Picnic'. At 12 we met Alison near the Royal Bath Hotel. Her car was making a terrible noise and the exhaust was blowing out filth and choking fumes. Experts afterwards said it was probably the silencer, or lack of it. She leapt from her motor and we all took off in Garry's car to a pub on the outskirts of the town.  _________. It was as though Alison and I had never been apart. Garry announced that he could have grabbed hold of her and cuddled her tightly. It was great how the four of us got on so well. Garry, I am sure, fancies her. Things become very blurred. Pints of lager and Pernod make a lethal mixture. We took Alison back to our hotel and something must have been said because the bar door was unlocked and unbolted and Arthur, the toothless proprietor, was soon pulling pints like something possessed.

We drank until about 6:30 and then Alison drove us, in Garry's car, to the beach where, wearing only my underpants, I took a dip in the sea, and poor Dave vomited over the sand. Garry and Alison spent ages lobbing pebbles into the sea. Truly delightful.

Back at the Gainsborough we sobered up, went out for a pizza and then more drink. Alison went at 1:00am.



Friday April 20, 1979

-. We left at 7:30am for Bournemouth, with maps, compasses, carrier pigeons, &c.

Bill was navigating and I snoozed in the back of Garry's car. My red suitcase was behind at the Hollywood because it wouldn't fit in the car, and Neil had orders to bring it along in his car when they followed on.

Down past the Midlands I was in new, unexplored territory and the delights of Wiltshire unfolded before my eyes. At lunchtime we stopped off at a village pub where all the regulars resembled characters from 'The Archers'. They all addressed each other as "Mr A" and "Mrs B", just using initials. Then, when Neil and the other lads had caught up with us, we left them and moved on into further unchartered stretches of the vast unknown. Near Devizes we had further refreshment and then motored onward to Bournemouth, arriving at 5pm.

My first action was to phone Ally in Winchester and she promised to join us tomorrow lunchtime for a few drinks. The hotel proprietor, whom we called Arthur for some reason, was typical of those of his profession. He tried to tell me that the hotel - the Gainsborough - had been built for Prince Rupert, the gay Cavalier, who was a nephew of King Charles I. Given that the hotel dated from the Edwardian period I sneered at this tale. Prince Rupert died in the 1680s! Silly, old, lying Arthur.

The bar on the premises was barred and shuttered in a very ominous fashion. The seven of us visited several hostelries in the town and returned to the Gainsborough at 11:30 ~ pissed up.


Thursday April 19, 1979

_. To Leeds with Jim R bearing my red suitcase packed with nearly all my possessions. At lunchtime I bought a ticket and passed the afternoon hanging around in readiness. It was unfortunate really because the coach to Manchester didn't leave until 6pm.

I had a pleasant chat with Ursula before marching out of the office at 5:30. Slept all the way to Manchester on the boring M62 and then got a bus to Stockport arriving there at about 8pm. I managed to get lost. The statue to Queen Victoria was facing one way, and I walked in the opposite direction. Billy told me to follow the old Queen. Dave was out searching for me and so I sat at the bar in the Hollywood with a heap of tongue sandwiches and a pint of lager, chatting with Mrs Glynn. An old boy leaning on the bar was reminiscing about the British pulling out of Malta in WW2, which was really interesting. We then discussed the pros and cons of marrying for money, and we decided it was quite acceptable. I did say that the fortune would have to be considerable before I could contemplate such a move.

Dave G came in at 8:30 followed by Bill [Wright] & Garry [Barratt]. The lads seemed quiet and subdued. Neil arrived with two other Bournemouth trippers and we sat drinking ale until 11. _________.


Wednesday April 18, 1979

_. Packed up my troubles in my old kit bag, and smiled, smiled, smiled.  Well, not quite. In fact I loathe preparing to go away and despise traveling and all the inconvenience attached to it, and do not enjoy a holiday one bit until I'm sitting in the hotel bar with a full glass. Suit cases are hideous objects. In fact, I'm looking at one right now. Red it is.

Spoke to Dave G in Stockport and we joked about the recent violence in Bournemouth. I said I'm going to push a few old girls off the pier and into the sea ~ bath chairs and crutches too. But Bournemouth so conjures up a vision of red geraniums set out in regimented gardens, cluttered with elderly ladies with blue rinses, staggering around the sea front clutching onto one another. I see elderly, long retired colonels, with yellow moustaches, and wilting spats. In fact, I picture nothing young or youthful at all. The arrival of ten lads from the north of England will send a gust of cold air up the crinolines of many a dowager duchess, as they cough and wheeze themselves from the latest Des O'Connor show to the garden of remembrance. Goodnight. Lights out at 1:23am.

Spike Milligan was good tonight.


Tuesday April 17, 1979

_. Last night, it's all very vague. Ally and I really joked about our so-called romance. She said Lynn is taking it all quite seriously and whenever they are alone together Lynn feeds her potted anecdotes from my distant childhood. Oh dear.

YP was dull and uninteresting. I didn't arrive at the office until after ten because I failed to respond to both my alarm clocks (yes, two of them). Kathleen seldom complains about my diabolical time keeping, but I don't like to get in too late in case the Ayatollah Khomeini should happen to be in the throes of a guided tour of the building with the Lord Lieutenant and dear old Sir Kenneth Parkinson.

David B phoned after lunch to say we are going to Salvo's after work, and he collected me at 5:30 and we met Lynn, Ally, Sue & Peter at the New Inn in Headingley. On to Salvo's at 6:30 for pizzas and el vino. We all enjoyed a couple of bawdy hours, The food was incredibly good and the only sadness was poor Ally having to return to Hampshire. Before she left I took her phone numbers so that I can contact her when I am in Bournemouth next week.

Lynn and Dave didn't want to come back to Pine Tops and see Mum but I insisted and both of them seemed subdued. Lynn said she was tired, but I still think something is queer. ____________. Drank coffee and sent Ally off south at 9 o'clock. Poor Alison. ______________________________.


Monday April 16, 1979

_. Bank Holiday in England, Ireland & Wales.

Incredibly warm day. I had to go into the YP too. Roads are dead, deserted and once again I have the distinct impression that I am the only bugger working this Bank Holiday Monday. Just Carol J & me in the office, which was lifeless. More noise to be heard in the crypt of St George's Chapel, Windsor, I suspect. Did a deal with Carol letting her go home at 2pm, but I took a two hour lunch break from 1pm, and came back to work at 3 for an hour.

At lunchtime I was joined at 1pm by Sue, Pete & darling Ally and we found ourselves in Whitelocks because both Len's Bar and the Ostlers were closed. Gulped back lager and beef and red cabbage sandwiches. They collected me at 4 after my feeble one hour back at the YP, and they tell me that some unfortunate devil has drowned in the weir at Kirkstall Abbey. Damned Bank Holiday swimmers - they just cannot be trusted.

Tonight: with Sue, Pete and Ally to the Commercial. She [Ally] is now very cynical about marriage ___________.

On at 9:30 to the Prachee Indian Restaurant at White Cross. I had prawn Madras curry, &c. All quite drunk and outspoken. A waiter attempted to rob me, but I didn't let him get away with it.



Sunday April 15, 1979

_. Up at about 10 feeling revolting. Ate toast and drank tea, then bidding our fond farewells we piled into cars and headed for the Red Lion at Burley in Wharfedale. I could only drink Coca Cola to begin with but soon pulled through. To Lynn and Dave's afterwards where everyone [except me] slept and snored through 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'.

At home by 6:30 to find John, Maria, JPH, Hilda and Tony. Watched even more religious propaganda on TV and ate a big dinner. I am sick to death of food this Easter. Tony is hilarious. It is obvious they have had a good weekend with Mum & Dad. Poor little JPH is returning to Scotland tomorrow. Maria, beetroot-like, had burned herself under a sunray lamp.


Saturday April 14, 1979

A warm summer-like day. Was very surprised to see Mum up bright and chirpy after last night. She and Papa consumed vast quantities of whisky. At 11:30 we all went to Lynn & Dave's and then all on to the Fox & Hounds at Starbotton for drinks. Ally is still knocking back port and lemon. God knows where she puts it. It was very pleasant have 99 per cent of the family together.

We had turkey sandwiches at Burley and then went over to Pudsey at 7:30 to meet Karen, Steve, Jill and Tim. Diane was out babysitting. Tony and Hilda offered to do an exchange visit by coming over to join Mum & Dad at Pine Tops for the night, leaving number 6, St James's Crescent to the mob. We did a pub crawl of five pubs in Pudsey and then returned to St James's Cres for a party, but nothing exceptional occurred. Steve passed out in an armchair and David went deathly white and dashed off to a bed. Susan and Peter just sat on top of one another in the usual way. Karen danced, and Tim played at disc jockey. Ate cold pizza and supped gallons of wine and ale. Ally and I were drawn together once again and at 3am we were alone in the dining room listening to Harold Melvin's 'Don't Leave Me This Way'. Pepper, the dog, proved himself to be something of a nuisance, but we managed to get rid of him. Things became quite romantic ______.



Friday April 13, 1979

_. Good Friday

Day off. Alison walked in after breakfast from Burley where she arrived late last night. She looks well, and didn't mention John Pinder, and so we avoided the subject too.

A hot, sunny day. At 11:30 with Alison and Sue we went to collect Janet Simon, and then went on to Wendy Wools to pick up Sue's pay, and a pair of shoes. A strange thing to do you may think, but Alison and I did it without question and walking around Guiseley carrying a pair of size 5 women's shoes didn't seem remotely funny.

We went to the Commercial for a few drinks and roast beef sandwiches. Janet is experiencing pre-marital bother and she and the obnoxious Robert have terminated their relationship.

At 2pm [the pubs close at 2 because it is Good Friday] we went back to Otley and basked in the warmth of the Spring sunshine. Real shirt sleeve weather. Alison wanted some pottery from an obscure shop, but of course it was closed because of the season. I know I have said this before but why Oh why couldn't Christ have been crucified on a Wednesday, because it makes such a mess of what could be a perfectly wonderful Friday. Mind you, Good Wednesday doesn't have quite the right ring about it.

From Otley we collected Lynn from her place of work. Saw David Greenwood ______________. Back to Burley in W  for drinks with Lynn and Dave and afterwards we headed for the Red Lion where we spent the evening. Got pissed up and Ally and I realised we have an affinity. My flirting and footling around with Ally seemed to embarrass the others. Sue and Peter argued all night and bringing us home he collided with a roundabout and several rose bushes at the Fox and Hounds. Home in one piece.


Thursday April 12, 1979

_. Escaped from the YP at 3:30 and in Guiseley I obtained a lift home from Papa, who came to meet me.

John, Maria and JPH are home for Easter. Maria had a 'scan' yesterday ~ whatever that might mean, and the doctors say she is not expecting a multiple birth. Her due date is August 2.

Watched 'The Song of Bernadette' ~ an ancient religious epic, and then devoured a hot curry. Decided to go out with John tonight, but Maria and Sue said they wanted to come too, so that's that. Chippy will have a seizure if a woman appears in the Shoulder on the boys night out.

Out at 8:30 to the Shoulder with John, Maria, Sue and Janet Simon. Pete N is in with Chippy, Neil and Dave W, but they left minutes later ~ Pete being incredibly childish. Refusing to socialise simply because it is Thursday.

We had fish and chips at Harry Ramsden's because Maria has a fixation. She told me that the baby, if a boy, may be Charles.


Wednesday April 11, 1979

_. Warmer today, but still damp. Lynn came from her weekly shopping extravaganza at Morrison's and remained to dinner. David B came from the office seething with rage and hate after a confrontation with Messers Thompson & Spencer on the topic of his diabolical salary. I do believe he receives less than me. I find this mind-boggling. It means he is running a car, a home and a wife on something like £30 a week! I shudder at this because I find it hard to get by ~ and I have no commitments at all. My £30 is beer, whore, and bus fare money. Oh dear.

To change the subject Sarah and I are back communicating with each other. We plan to go to Lanzarote together in the autumn to stay with John & Sheila. Will this come about, or am I writing balderdash in order to fill a blank page? Wait and see, but at the moment we are deadly serious.

The election campaign dominates the news. I am saying nothing, but my mind is made up, and I don't need to be convinced by any political party and so I can ignore the whole thing until May 3.

Princess Michael of Kent has named her son Frederick. I am quite taken aback by this. It hasn't been used as a first Christian name in the Royal Family since Frederick Augustus, Duke of York [1763-1827], the _Grand Old Duke of York_ the second son of George III. Before him we had Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales [1707-51] who is the new baby's great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. Of course, George III was George William Frederick, and George V was George Frederick Arthut George, and George VI was Albert Frederick Arthur George. So it isn't altogether an alien name. Princess Michael's brother is Baron Frederick von Reibnitz.

Retired to bed at 1:00am.



Tuesday April 10, 1979

_.  Jim Rawnsley insists that the so-called Yorkshire Ripper is none other than the Earl of Harewood, our ugly royal opera fanatic. Jim's theory is that he [the Ripper] has to be a member of the Royal Family in the tradition of Jack the Ripper, of Victorian London, who undoubtedly was Edward, Prince of Wales. I smiled at all this as we journeyed to Leeds because Jim expounds his theory in such a charming and amusing way. Wouldn't it be marvellously embarrassing for the YP if this was so? Whilst the fiend was in the boardroom swilling gin and humming along to Wagner with Gordon Linacre, forty thousand journalists are scouring the county searching for clues. Sadly, the identikit mug shots of the supposed mad man bear no resemblance to his Lordship. Another likely candidate, according to Jim, is Brigadier Kenneth Hargreaves, the former Lord Lieutenant of this charming, picturesque county.

I am enraged and spitting blood at the bloody civil servants strike, which is affecting the payment of my national savings certificate. I need £120 in May [to pay for my holiday] and things don't look very bright at all. The pigs wouldn't be on strike at all if only this country had the proper leadership. What are we coming to, for God's sake?

I have been reading my journal from five years ago and do you know I seem to have been more intellectual and mature than I am now. Writing about Napoleon III and his social policy I was. Blimey, it's quite frightening but I've already forgotten most of my history and Napoleon III means little or nothing to me now. Is my brain rotting away?

Mum and Dad went off to see Marlene and then Mabel after tea. They say they will lend me the £120 until my national savings money arrives.

Sue is full of cold again and her nose is glowing like a furnace. Pete arrived and we watched the Academy Awards on TV.


Monday April 9, 1979

_. It poured down from dawn till dusk. Whatever became of the long, warm Spring which was forecast in the delightful EP?

Carol J paid me £10 for doing the bathroom and asked me whether I would possibly do the wall behind the door in that same, auspicious room. I leapt at the chance. It will only take me ten minutes.

Delia phoned and was most revealing. She told me she had argued with Sarah late last week at the cruel way S had sent me to Coventry for giving her that "frightful cold". She told Sarah to pull herself together and start being nice to me once again. She can be a horrid, precocious child at times. I'd love to be given the opportunity to really sort her out. In a brutal, forceful Clint Eastwood sort of way.

The general election campaign is already in full swing. A month of codswallop and blatant lies from our beloved pin-striped PM is something I can do without. Jim Callaghan really should do the honourable thing and shoot himself. It would be far better to go now than to wait until May 3 and suffer the same fate as King Charles I, Mr Hoveyda, the former Jamaican premier and poor Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who died by hanging last week simply because he was the leader of a defeated party. Margaret Hilda [Thatcher] seems to have the right idea. She says she is ignoring the campaign for a while because she doesn't want to bore the pants off Joe Electorate. Hoe right and clever of the sainted Margaret.

To bed at 1:12am.


Sunday April 8, 1979

_. Palm Sunday

Yes, Sarah was carried screaming from the party over David's shoulder at about 6am, leaving me alone with Jacq and the debris of half consumed drinks and piles of cig ends. We ate toast and drank tea due to a coffee shortage and huddled together on a large bean bag. ____________.

I crept in at home at about 9am and devoured boiled eggs and looked at the Sundays [papers]. The Countess of Snowdon is expecting a baby in the autumn. It's her first and she's 37 years old.

At 10 I went to Carol J's flat in Horsforth to hang wallpaper in her bathroom, and did so with great skill and patience until 6:30pm. I felt quite satisfied with the job afterwards. Carol was delighted, so much so that she drove me home [still in pouring rain]. Women and vehicles are a weird combination. Watched TV and ate until 10 and found myself unable to stay awake and staggered off to bed. Completely shagged out.



Saturday April 7, 1979

_. Out to the Ostlers at lunchtime with Jacq. Saw Lynne Mather but we didn't speak. Well, it has been three years. Home in pouring rain at 5:30 to prepare myself for the party at Linda's.

To the Regent at Chapel Allerton with Lynn and Dave at 8:30. Sarah, Carol J, Marilyn, Beverley W, Sue, Pete, Chippy, Dave W, &c. Had a tremendous night with most people in party mood. Lynn didn't like the crowds but an injection of pernod did the trick.

All the Regent mob returned to the house party. From the outset Dave B was in great shape. I've worried about him for a while. He seems to have really quietened since his wedding. Sarah was on top form. We danced to Donna Summer and howled with laughter at everything. Jacq was sweet too.

Have you ever sipped pomagne from a frog-shaped shampoo bottle? I have. We also did some strange things with a rubber shower attachment from the bathroom. Lynn and Dave took Sarah home and I sat with Jacq until the first bus came at 7:30am. Pissing down with rain.


Friday April 6, 1979

_. Princess Michael of Kent gave birth to a son today. I had understood that the young Windsor would be 'Master [Christian name] Windsor, but I am wrong. The child will bear the courtesy title of 'Lord' before his name even though his father is not a peer and even though the Queen's own grandson is a 'master'. A ruling by King George V fifty years ago declared that great-grandchildren of the sovereign, in the male line, would rank as children of duke of England, or words to that effect. Lord 'Fred' Windsor is 16th in line of succession to the throne.

To Da Mario's on the Headrow at lunchtime with Sarah, Carol J and Eileen. I had no real appetite but had minestrone soup and a seafood pizza. Sarah has forgiven me now for passing on my germs. _________.

Jacq phoned and enquired about the party tomorrow. I wasn't very talkative. Too hungover. I didn't want to discuss the purchasing of cocktail sausages and tins of salmon.  I left her saying I would speak tomorrow, when I hope to be functioning better.



Thursday April 5, 1979

_. To work by omnibus ~ I missed Jim because of my birthday hangover. Did minimal work and devoured a coffee and walnut cake  from fair Aunt Delia. Cards from Sarah and Eileen saying "to our favourite pain in the neck". I like it. I would like to be remembered as a favourite pain in the neck by everyone. Anything is better than blending in with the woodwork. Felt ghastly all day. At 12:30 I met Mum & Dad, Lynn and Dave at Len's Bar for drinks and sandwiches. Saran and Eileen came over for an hour but it was a very quiet affair. Dad was especially quiet because he came straight to Leeds from a colleague's funeral. Pall bearer for Albert Shaw to party-goer with Michael Rhodes. Lynn drank Pernod. Alison was the main subject of conversation once again. Lynn can be very vicious. I'm sure she's Yorkshire Light Aircraft's answer to Henry VIII.

On to Morrison's and then on to Lawn Road for drinks. Jim and Margaret came too. At 9 I joined Peter, Chippy, Dave W and Neil Addyman at the White Cross. Drank vast amounts of Pernod and lager and then went to Oakwood. Addyman was just back from skiing in Gstaad, or somewhere. Was drunk, but an uneventful night. Smoked lots of Embassy cigarettes and didn't dance with anyone. "Come on, it's your birthday!" didn't move me one bit. Home horribly late.



Wednesday April 4, 1979

_. The party with John and Sheila continued today. Home from the YP and a few hours later they arrived once again with Valerie and Graham. Auntie Hilda arrived at 9 and Uncle Tony followed on at 11 with his Liberal agent, who was clad from head to foot in red corduroy ~ just the sort of clothes you'd expect to see a Liberal agent wearing. Oh, and why do people who meddle in local politics always wear suede shoes?

It was good to see Tony again. He looked pale and tired but this probably due to a combination of the coming election and the death of his mother. John and Tony made a good conversational combination, and Hilda was nice. It was an excellent pre-birthday party. They all sang "Happy Birthday" to me at midnight. We discussed politics. John laughed until he cried as I explained my reasons for preferring to live under the yoke of a right-wing dictatorship to a left-wing dictatorship.

Hilda made the statement that I am a "confirmed bachelor". In other words she thinks I'm a poof. I objected to this. I may currently be a single man, but dislike people pigeon-holing me. Drank until the early hours.


Tuesday April 3, 1979

_. Auntie Hilda phoned today to say Karen and Steve are going out babysitting on Saturday and so we cannot have the Grand Gadsby-Rhodes reunion this time. Thwarted again. She told Mum that cousin Derek's wife, Jennifer, is expecting her second baby in November. Karen phoned at 7:30 to say we can all have the great gathering on April 14, which is the day before Easter. I readily agree, and communicate this news to Sue. Mum and Dad with Hilda and Tony are probably going to stay with Ruby and Arthur for Easter, and so the house at Pudsey will be void of parents and eligible for an orgy. Alison is also coming for Easter, and so she'll be included in the party. Gosh, I can hardly wait.

At about 8:30 in walked John and Sheila, from Lanzarote, with Valerie and her boyfriend Graham, a law student at Nottingham Polytechnic. It was such a surprise because we haven't seen them since Christmas, 1977, and following the boycotting of Lynn's wedding, I thought we'd seen the last of them.

Uncle John is just the same self-assured, suave businessman. He never has a penny but is always on the verge of making a fortune. The gold mine is always just around the corner.  At 11pm they run Valerie and Graham to Harrogate, and then come back to stay the night with us. We discussed Lanzarote and our wayward, insane family. From Blackpool to Selby and from the Canary Isles to Stranraer we are making our mark on the world.


Monday April 2, 1979

_. Sarah is in a much better frame of mind. _____________. Queer weather we are having - snow, sunshine, rain, fog, and all in the space of half an hour. This did not deter me from pruning our roses trees this evening with my usual Percy Thrower-like gusto.

Jacq came at 7:30 to collect a dress from Motherdear and stayed until 11:30 watching a play about Martin Luther King on the TV. She seemed OK and we discussed the party next Saturday. I have said no to food, because the sausages and liver pate only gets trampled into the bedspreads and for weeks afterwards one tends to find peanuts and salmon sandwiches in inappropriate places. She agrees and decide to limit the function to just booze, and lots of it.

John phoned. They are coming down from Stranraer on April 11 because Maria is going for a scan to the Hyde Terrace Hospital. John is quite serious when he says it might be twins.

To bed at midnight with The Secret of Chimneys ~ and finish the book before slipping into a coma.



Sunday April 1, 1979

___. Passion Sunday.

Out of bed before lunchtime which is something of an achievement for me at weekends. At 11:30 Mum and Dad drove Sue, Pete and I to Burley where we met Lynn and Dave, Trevor and his wife, and went over to the Red Lion for a 'few' drinks. Lynn was of course knocking back Pernod. [Trevor is Dave's workmate with the beard who drank Crème de Menthe with ice on Dave's stag night. Do you remember?] We had a good session until 2 but I felt strangely quiet.  We adjourned to Lynn and Dave's for lunch and I demolished a couple of bottles of wine. I created a sensation by lighting a fire in the grate which seemed to amuse everyone. I was always a good fire-maker.

Trevor and his nameless wife disappeared at 5 and Mum and Dad came shortly afterwards, from Threshfield, to take us home. I had a raging, thumping, sickly headache and 'Carmen' by Bizet on BBC2 didn't help.

By 9:30 I felt ill and retired to bed where I went out like a light and only stirred slightly when Dad popped his head round the door. It's a combination of booze and booze, I think. Ah well, it's April.


Saturday March 31, 1979

_. Up at 10:30 in the smoke-filled, smelly dining room. The place resembles Winston Churchill's wartime bunker beneath Whitehall. Both Dad and David B are clad in blue boiler suits and puffing out cigar smoke like experimental beagle dogs in one of those cancer research centres.  Had a bowl of porridge.

Ian Dury's New Boots and Panties ...
Went to Leeds with Sue & Peter. They really are my constant companions these days. Leeds was overcrowded. We had a couple of drinks at the Ostlers and, for my birthday, they bought me "New Boots and Panties" the Ian Dury LP. Pete bought a new squash racket and oddments of clothing. Back at home at 3:30 the LP refused to play and made a queer noise on the turn table and it rattled and shook.  Oh dear.

Stayed at home this evening. Saw a film about General George S. Patton, the US war leader, and finally, at 11:20,  "A Night at the Opera" featuring Groucho Marx and Co. Very hilarious.

Mum and Dad are the picture of domesticity, he rug making, and she knitting away.


Friday March 30, 1979

_. The Liberals have won Edge Hill from Labour in yesterday's by-election, but this news is overshadowed by a hideous crime committed outside the Houses of Parliament  this afternoon. Airey Neave, the opposition spokesman for Northern Ireland and one of Mrs Thatcher's closest friends, was assassinated when his car was blown up in the MPs underground car park, at 3pm. He is the first MP to be murdered in the precincts of the Houses of Parliament since prime minister Spencer Perceval was shot there in 1812.

Airey Neave: like a Guy Fawkes dummy.

I was delayed at the YP because of Neave's murder and the shock really hit us all. It is a hideous, brutal crime against a good gentleman and MP. Mrs Thatcher cancelled a BBC broadcast scheduled for this evening and returned to her home broken and shattered. Will the loss of this close influential aide affect Mrs T's electioneering? We shall have to wait and see.

Ursula phoned tonight and said she had been speaking to a reporter at the scene. His description of the dead Mr Neave is almost too hideous to describe. The mans limbs had been torn off and his crumpled remains resembled a Guy Fawkes dummy.

Tonight: Out with Sue and Pete to the Shoulder. Joined by Chippy and Debbie. Went on to the White Cross. It was slightly better here. Met Naomi and Jill. Naomi told me she has bought Mick Orchard's house on Victoria Road. They are out next Thursday to celebrate my birthday.


Thursday March 29, 1979

_. I have to be very diplomatic these days. Sue & Pete's squabbling makes the Thursday nights out with the lads a delicate and highly inflammable operation. So, at the YP, I decided to give tonight a miss and instead go to see Lynn & Dave at Burley. I made all the arrangements with Lynn, who was pleased because I have ignored the Lawn Road branch of the family in recent weeks.

Chippy phoned this afternoon and went berserk when I said no to the weekly Oakwood Hall jaunt. Foul language flowed from him like lava from Vesuvius, but I was not deterred from my path of righteousness.

Dave B picked me up at 5:30pm and we first went to John Little's where he collected £25 for a drawing job. Bessie Little was her usual, delightful self.  On to Lawn Road where Lynn made a paella for us. She never eats. One day she will collapse with starvation in Yeadon.

Watched TV and bought alcohol from Beasley's. Saw a Humphrey Bogart epic on the BBC and then had a bet on tonight's parliamentary by-election. I bet that Labour will hold the seat, but Dave backed the Liberals. However, we switched off before the results came through.


Wednesday March 28, 1979

_. A revolting wet day. It's blowing a gale at the moment [12:15am 29/03/1979] .

Auntie Hilda is 43 today. Mum phoned her this morning. Mum suggested that they team up and go to Ruby and Arthur's together at Easter. H seemed to think this is a good idea.

Sarah has been a cow all day. ______________.

Susan and Peter went out for an Indian meal to celebrate their recovery from gastroenteritis. Oh God!

I have excellent news to relate here. At 10:30 tonight the government was defeated in the House of Commons on a vote of no confidence, by 311 to 310 votes. Old Callaghan will have to go to the country at last. The Queen will be asked to dissolve Parliament in the next few days and the general election campaign will begin. April 26 and May 10 are possible dates. It looks like Margaret Hilda Thatcher will be the first woman prime minister. One Labour MP missed the vote due to illness. I'd be interested to know who that was. His vote would have resulted in a tie and the Speaker would have cast the deciding vote with Her Majesty's Government. Angela Rippon was obviously beside herself with glee whilst reading the late news. It's obvious she is a 'true blue'. No government has been defeated in this way and subsequently fallen since Ramsay MacDonald's first Labour administration in 1924, and he was succeeded by Baldwin. Poor Jim Callaghan's 'Zinoviev Letter' is the failure of devolution ~ such a pathetic subject on which to risk all, don't you think?

Things will now hot up at the YP and the build up to the general election will be all good stuff. It's an exciting time. I really pity the poor people of Paraguay or Argentina, where elections of any kind are strictly taboo. They don't realise just what they are missing. ________.

Went to bed with Agatha Christie at 12:25am.


Tuesday March 27, 1979

_. Didn't sleep too well , and was awakened at 4am with something of a start. Pottered around in the kitchen and went back to bed with a blackcurrant juice and continued with Agatha Christie. Slept until Dad woke me with a start at 7:45, To Leeds with Jim and Jennie.

I am horrified by the news that the horrid Welsh Nationalists are to vote with the government in tomorrow's vote of confidence. It would be so typical of Jim [Callaghan] to hang on by the skin of his socialist teeth until death finally catches up with him in October. I cannot stand another six months of this administration. Administration? That's a laugh.

Sarah is acting in a peculiar manner. I put this down to the malevolent influence of Richard Burke - a shady character.

I have been delving into the background of Princess Michael of Kent. Her grandfather, Prince Szapary, or something, was the last Austrian ambassador to St Petersburg before the revolution of 1917, and her great-grandfather was Prince Alfred of Windisch-Graetz. So, in fact, she's of royal blood and most acceptable. [Snob - MLR].

Home in heavy rain at 5pm for dinner with Mum and Dad. Susan is out at Peter's which is unusual for a Tuesday. Horribly bored. The TV is a dead loss. Is it a surprise that so many people avoid paying the tv licence when so much Yankee trash is hurled down to us from on high? We may just as well opt out and become the most recent US state [was Alaska the 50th or 51st?]

I am resolved to save money for my family tree fund, purchasing certificates, &c. I did make a start with £10 before Christmas, but this went on presents and alcohol. For the sake of my unborn, perfect grandchildren I must provide something of a genealogical table for posterity.

Mum phoned Alison and gave the go ahead for moving to Pine Tops until she has established a pent house of her own. Won't it be fun, I ask myself? If I don't watch it I'll be marrying the poor girl before the month is out. I've always had a very soft spot for Ally and now it seems I'm going to have ample opportunity to kindle the old, abeyant flame.


Monday March 26, 1979

_. Are all the Daves in my journal causing confusion? I do try to put the initial of the surname of each Dave after his name in an entry, and so Dave Lawson is Dave L and Dave Baker is Dave B, &c. Dave Glynn is obviously Dave Y, and Dave Wainwright is Arthur Hailey. Prince Andrew = David Ben Gurion, and the late Duke of Windsor, always David to his family, is now Wally.

Uncle Tony's mother, Mrs Doris Gadsby, was cremated at Rawdon this morning. She died at Pudsey last Thursday. The poor old girl was deserted by her husband, Norman, in 1937, and nobody has heard of him since.

Alison phoned Lynn today. All is now over between her and John Pinder. She now wants to move back to Yorkshire and take a flat in the vicinity but until this is achieved then she will come and live with us. Isn't this exciting, folks? Our little Ally coming to Pine Tops. I informed Mama that I will write to Alison and invite her to stay with us because she is far too bashful to suggest this herself.

"Fear is realising you can't do it the second time, and panic is realising for the second time that you can't do it." Eh? I don't get that.

The poor, broken Shah [of Iran] would like to come and die of a broken heart here in Britain, but the revolting Socialist MPs are protesting. What possible harm can the old boy do? The harshness and cruelty of the jealous crew at Westminster is forever reaching new bounds. They would leap around with joy, urinating in their pin-striped trousers if the Ayatollah purchased Buckinghamshire or Chou En-Lai took over Mentmore Towers. Did anyone complain when Ben Lyon came to live here? Precisely. Besides, just think how our economy would be boosted by all those millions of Iranian rupees, or whatever the Iranian currency is. I doubt very much that His Imperial Majesty would want to live off our social security. It's a repeat of the Tsar Nicholas case in 1918.

Watched "Fawlty Towers" on the BBC ~ the last of the series which is very sad.

Peter came here at 8. Susan sat making a rug and he sat facing her in another chair. Normally they are joined together on a sofa, but I suppose we all tire of constant molestation after years and years of endless groping.

Bed at 12 with The Secret of Chimneys. Lay there listening to the wind howling outside.



Sunday March 25, 1979

_. 4th Sunday in Lent

Drizzle, murky and gloomy. Emerged from my den with a hideous hangover. Glanced at the Sunday papers and ate grapefruit and oranges. Thoroughly boring newspapers, and I cast them aside. Who wants to read of the sexploits of a tarty 25 year-old bird from Solihull? I most certainly do not.

Discover "The Secret of Chimneys" by Agatha Christie and re-read it. Quite a light hearted read for Dame Agatha.

At a reasonable hour I made toast and tea for Mum and Dad and went up with my Mothering Sunday present [a bottle of 5am perfume]. Mum had a card from John in yesterday's post. Susan is absent, staying over at Peter's, and Lynn didn't come  - she sent a bouquet yesterday. So just the three of us here all day. I think Mum and Dad had been arguing. I sensed an atmosphere.

So, sat and read "Chimneys" all day and watched the film 'Khartoum', starring Lord Olivier. I made myself a T-bone steak and chips for lunch. Mum and Dad refused to eat.

Phoned David L at 5:30 and he came here at 8 and we joined Sue & Pete at the Commercial for lager and jars of cockles and mussels. David bought us all a Black Prussian, or was it Russian ? [Coca-Cola, vodka and Tia Maria]. We laughed about old times and I had a blow by blow account of Sandra's wedding last month. She now has two step-sons by the name of Williams. Sue and Pete seemed OK.

Saw 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' starring Tom Courtenay and Sir Michael Redgrave.


Saturday March 24, 1979

_. The Nasons threw a party for Peter's 21st. We went down there at 9 o'clock. A merry throng was assembled, including Peter's 80 year-old grandmother, who is sweet. I told Chippy I am posting him a bill for a new pair of trousers. Drank far too many Harvey Wallbangers. Pissed. Danced a good deal but didn't have much room for manoeuvre.


Friday March 23, 1979

_. Woke up feeling quite well but regretting last night's stunt which cost me a fine pair of trousers. I didn't climb out of bed until 8 o'clock and so I missed Jim [Rawnsley]. Battling down the lane at 8:30 I met Lynn and Dave and scrounged a lift to town with them.

At the YP the atmosphere has improved. Sarah was all light and loveliness, but when she is one of her moods I could cheerfully throttle the life out of her.

At home tonight ~ Peter was in trouble. He phoned Sue, giggling, at 7:30, with Chippy in the background. They had of course been in Otley all day. He excused himself from visiting tonight by saying he was doing some work on his car. "If he tells you lies now, then what will he do when he's married?" interjected mother, unhelpfully. He did come up for Sue aft 8 but I was in the bath and avoided the aggravation.

Sat in front of the television tonight. A Variety Club of Gt Britain lunch in honour of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Lord Mountbatten was accompanied by Prince & Princess Michael of Kent. She is expecting a baby in about three weeks and looked delicious, as usual. Marie-Christine von Reibnitz is the most beautiful addition to the Royal Family since Queen Alexandra joined it in 1863. Harry Secombe made a funny speech and so did Peter Ustinov. The poor, demented prime minister arrived late and seemed almost human. The Tories are demanding a vote of confidence next week and the government doesn't stand a chance of surviving. A general election is now on the cards and good old Margaret Thatcher will be shaking hands with the Queen as the first daffodils emerge through the snow.


Thursday March 22, 1979

_. Chippy phoned this morning to make sure I was joining the party tonight. After the usual abuse he was gone but within minutes he phoned back to see whether I could escape tomorrow afternoon for a session at the Junction in Otley. I told him no because Kathleen is off tomorrow for her parents Ruby wedding anniversary, and of course Carol Johnson has been off work all week with mumps.

Met Jacq at lunchtime at Jacomelli's and we joked about the revolting illness that is mumps. We did speculate that it would be my luck to catch the disease, and that I'll be cycling home quite innocently one night and a loud crash and bang will herald my balls falling off into my socks.

Am I correct in thinking that mumps make big boys sterile, or impotent, or something? We did laugh about this.

Jacq tells me that Trixie's new boyfriend, 'John the Lorry', from Manchester, is only 28 years old! Trixie will be 51 in May. Good luck to her, anyway. The poor woman has had an unfortunate life.

Tonight: out with Pete to the White Cross. Mick Lynch was working in the bar ______________________.

Carole came in with Jill and Naomi but they fled to the Fox to avoid me. My presence was an embarrassment to her with Mick Lynch under the same roof. Joined by Chippy, Dave W, Mick and one or two others whose names escape me. I was quite pissed.

On to Oakwood Hall . Sarah was nowhere to be found. Home at 2am. It is tradition for me to leap on to Chippy's car as he drives away and I did this as ususal with Starsky & Hutch gusto. However, he broke with tradition, and gathered speed and rocketed down the lane with me hanging on the roof clutching the windscreen wipers and holding on for dear life. Gradually I began to slide down the windscreen and onto the car bonnet and Chippy took a sharp turn onto Westgate at which I was thrown from the vehicle and into the road.  I cut my hand, but worst of all I tore a hole in the knee of my new trousers. Ruined they were, and I must have paid £15 for them.


Wednesday March 21, 1979

_. Awoke in a state of turmoil. Chaos reigned. Struggled to the YP and attempted to look sensible and alert without much success.

Christine phoned and played hell about me not sending her a birthday card. My excuse, and a real one, was that I had expected to see her in the Fox last Friday and so I hadn't bothered posting. She took it very well and I told her I'd see her later in the week. She told me she has taken up with a young man from Hawksworth, the name of whom escapes me. The chap says he will take her to America later in the year to visit his mother who has unfortunately lost her reason and married an American. Whether she will go or not remains to be seen. CB is an absolute Goddess and I for one will always look upon her as Horsforth's answer to Helen of Troy.


Tuesday March 20, 1979

_. Party at Pine Tops. Arrived home from work and found Lynn, Mum, Dad, Peter & Sue singing and dancing in the dining room. Within minutes I was sipping a gin and orange and playing at being a disc jockey.

Dave B came straight from work and Mum, enthusiastic as ever, attacked him, tearing the buttons off his shirt and stuffing a rolled up newspaper down his trousers. I suspect he had print from the Daily Telegraph all over his underpants. They had all been out to the Woolpack at lunchtime and Lynn hadn't even bothered going back to work. My mother is a terrible influence.

Jim and Margaret were telephoned and they arrived within minutes. Sue and Pete went to Flashman's for dinner. Lynn and Mum were soon on black coffee, but we had to send out for more whisky when the supplies became dangerously low. Sue & Pete were back at 11 and he proceeded to vomit as he stepped through the door. Dining out when riddled with gastroenteritis is hardly a wise move. But appearances have to be kept up on these anniversaries haven't they?

Bed at some hideous hour after cleaning up the debris for poor mother. My head feels like a Louis XIV commode.


Monday March 19, 1979

_. Thaw today. Met Sue & Pete in Guiseley at 5 o'clock. He tells me he is suffering from gastroenteritis - and it's the day before his 21st birthday. One could have been cruel and asked whether his celebrations were going to go with a blast, but it wouldn't be very tasteful.

Mum and Dad were out all day (and night) and when I departed to my chambers at 11:35pm - still no sign of them. I think they have been up to Grassington.

Dave phoned from Stockport asking if I want to go there for the weekend. I don't think I can go because of the sudden glut of parties. One of Pete & Chippy's old pals is throwing a melé on Friday, and on Saturday Peter is expected to provide some sort of extravaganza for his birthday.

Saw "Fawlty Towers" followed by Dame Edna Everage ~ Superstar and Housewife, which was a good laugh, but not everyone's cup of tea. Sue and Pete hated it. They deserted me at 10:30.

Richard Beckinsale, the young actor, has died aged 31.



Sunday March 18, 1979

_. 3rd Sunday in Lent.

Over my toast and marmalade I see in the sticky Sunday Express that all is not dead between the Prince of Wales and my favourite lady, Davina Mary Sheffield., now 28. It would appear she has been to Balmoral recently and is currently 'down under' where she is to meet HRH next week on some quiet, camera-free wallaby ranch. Oh, the excitement of it all. Come on, you two!

At lunch went with Mum, Dad, Sue & Peter  to the Hare & Hounds and then the White Cross. Something of a liquid luncheon. Saw Carole who was with Mick Lynch and Chris Blades. Mum commented that Carole always manages to pick good looking ones, but adds that they 'are never any good'. This says a lot for me, doesn't it?

Back home at 3 in the snow for a miserable salad. Watched a Cary Grant film on the telly.  But by 7 we were half starved and went back to the Hare for something more substantial. Steak, roast potatoes, &c.  Can't recall the last time I dined in a restaurant with Mum & Dad  - except for the Coniston of course, which can hardly be called a restaurant.


Saturday March 17, 1979

_. St. Patrick's Day

Thick snow. British Summer time begins. Peter arrived after lunch but he was taken ill and vomited everywhere. We decided he was too sick to go home & so he occupied Susan's bed and muggins here gave his bed to his sister, and was reduced to spending the night on the sitting room settee.

Just watched TV tonight. The inactivity was like a dream after weeks of endless toil at Bill North's runny, dripping maisonette. Anyway, I'm now £50 better off, but death might not be all that far away because I failed to post Christine a birthday card for the first time ever. This recent breakdown in communications has reached a tragic, unexpected low. We'll be recalling diplomatic legations before long.


Friday March 16, 1979

_. More snow today. At 5pm I battled across Leeds to complete Bill North's major operation. Was all cleaned up in a couple of hours and we parted on speaking terms, and I had all on carrying the wads of cash down the stairs. I almost danced my way to Kirkstall because the weight of responsibility had been lifted from my shoulders like a cloud of low depression being wiped from the BBC weather chart.

Bill had kept his revolting highly effeminate hands to himself throughout the refurbishment and he had avoided propositioning me for sexual favours, or offering me cash to flash my y-fronts, or the contents thereof. What an incredibly boring existence he leads. He told me that he is very often in bed at 9:30pm after the 'Archers' and various other ghastly Radio 4 programmes. By the look of things his boyfriends must be few, or far between.

Home in a snow-drift and devour a rotten dinner with no enthusiasm whatsoever. Ice-skating is on the tv. How exciting, eh? Bed at midnight. Exhausted.


Thursday March 15, 1979

_. On to Bill North's again at 5. Painted for a couple of hours and had more success than yesterday. Home at 9:30 and leapt into a bath to prepare for the back-end of a Thursday night out with Peter and Chippy. Lynn and Dave were here for a 'Jim and Margaret' session. Julie N was laid up at home with 'flu. Lynn has had her hair flashed.

Peter and Chippy came at 10:30 and on we went to Oakwood Hall. Chippy seemed to be hideously pissed-up, but this can probably be put down to my lack of alcohol all evening. We had a few drinks, and I saw the lovely Sarah again but she took offence to Chippy, and was soon gone. It puzzles me how people either love or loathe Chippy. No middle ground. People can't be indifferent or mediocre about Gerald. The emotion he inspires in others is phenomenal. Christine goes white, and her teeth rattle in rage at the mention of his name, and several old ladies on holiday in Ibiza last summer will always treasure his name with particular regard. Gynaecological examinations included of course.

Bed at 1:30 or 2am.


Wednesday March 14, 1979

_. Dribbling, gushing paint continues to flow in glorious technicolour at Queenswood Heights. I should have it tied up by Friday, thank God.

Have I mentioned that the trip with Christine to Brands Hatch set for Saturday has been cancelled? CB phoned and said Mrs Braithwaite is ill and she doesn't want to leave her alone at the weekend. I can't say I am too depressed about this. The money would have drained away hideously and I am in no position to spend, spend, spend. It is surely a record now since Christine and I had a session. Three whole months have passed.

Jacq is going down to see Trixie at the weekend with Linda. It is Peter Sate's 22nd birthday on Friday. Jacq and I are meeting tomorrow at Jacomelli's restaurant - to collect a batch of photos I took in Oct/Nov. Mum seems to think that Jacq and I will get back together, but she obviously doesn't know her eldest son, does she?


Tuesday March 13, 1979

_.  John and Maria's wedding anniversary. Poor sods. ________________.

Took the day off work because of my illness and went to Bill North's. I wasn't happy with the paint work. The gloss paint just ran and trickled everywhere, and I seem to have lost control over my paint brush. Bill thinks I'm something of a martyr for painting his flat when I'm at death's door. Will this inspire him to give me an extra wad of notes on that joyous day when I roll up the dust sheets and abandon my painting tackle?


Monday March 12, 1979

_. I went to Bill North's at lunchtime to continue painting.  Dave G returned to Stockport.

What a peculiar family we are when it comes to our relationships with the opposite sex. ________ is married to a raving lunatic of Mrs Rochester proportions. Lynn is married but in love with a man old enough to be the Duke of Edinburgh. Susan and Peter __________; then look at me: Michael Lawrence Rhodes. I cannot go out with a young lady for six months because I am frightened to death at what it's all going to lead to. The girls I have been out with have all been 'nice' possibly with the exception of ___________, I have wrecked every relationship with the exception of June Bottomley. Because of all this I now have a reputation for jilting lovely beauties, and my old friends and associates say I am a cruel, hard man. An iceberg. In fact, I only finish these relationships to make it easier and less painful for the ladies in question. When it all comes down to it I am inadequate. It is easier to be alone and a free agent, not obliged to be responsible for anybody else. So, the four of us, all good looking, apparently well brought up children, are disasters with the opposite sex. Why?


Sunday March 11, 1979

_. 2nd Sunday in Lent

Felt slightly better today. I rang Chris. He was disgusted about last night. I told him I'd meet him this lunchtime. He told me he was going to the Regent at Chapel Allerton. Alas, Sue & Pete don't want to go over to Leeds, and so we went to the Commercial instead. Down at Esholt we drank like diabetic fish for just over an hour. At one point John Pinder raised his glass to me [when nobody else was looking] and said: "Well, Michael, here's to you because it is probably the last time I'll see you." He then told me that he'd attempted to go home from Grassington on Tuesday after a fight with Ally but had missed the train & so he returned to the cottage.  Poor Alison ______________________.

Back home for lunch where we discussed the idea of going to work abroad. Ally was serious about the whole thing. She and John left for Winchester at 4. John & JPH arrived while we were at the Commercial and at 5 they took Dave G and I to Lynn and Dave's where he discusses his plans for Lawn Road.  Dave B was as quiet as a mouse. Chris B and Julie arrived.

Tonight: to the Shoulder and the Half Way House with Sue, Pete and Dave G. Almost boring.


Saturday March 10, 1979

_. Woke up at about 10 feeling ghastly. Shivering with cold and full of the jitters. This is probably due to the fact that mildew and fungus is growing over my solitary sheet and something resembling the Victoria Falls is gushing down the crooked, picturesque interior walls.

At 11:30 Dave G, Sue, Pete and I found refuge in the Foresters [another charming pub]. By now I was feeling decidedly rough and unready. A few pints later I had had enough and decided to leave them and walk to the car. My knees knocked together like empty milk bottles, and I could barely move. It all sounds over-dramatized but I can assure you I thought the end - my end - had come. I slept in the warm car for an hour until the mob left the Foresters and decided to leave for home.

I would rather not discuss the events of tonight in any way. I phoned Chris Ratcliffe to ask what he intended doing tonight with John and Steve H and he said he would go down to the Shoulder. I agreed and said OK, but thought I'd never make it.

To Marlene  and Frank's at 6:30 for Auntie Mabel's 60th birthday party. I was in no fit state to be out in company, and after a few glasses of whisky I was dead to the world and asleep in a armchair.  At 10 o'clock Sue, Pete, Dave G, Ally and John P went off to find Chris R, John and Steve & co, but I was unable to move. Auntie Mabel says it is all because I am burning the candle at both ends. Aarrgghhhhhh....


Friday March 9, 1979

_. Home at 5pm. Found the house full. John [Pinder], Alison, Dave G,  and Jacq. Yes, Jacq. She had been out to lunch with Lynn and decided to pay Mama a visit. However, the poor girl looked ghastly pale because Mum had tied her to a chair and force fed her with homemade beetroot wine. She [Jacq] looked on the verge of collapse. She left at 6:30 in her rusty, over-priced Hillman Imp.

At about 7pm John P and Alison took Sue, Pete N, Dave G and I to the cottage they have taken for the week at Grassington. A damp, tiny little place, but undoubtedly romantic. It was Dave G's first visit to the Yorkshire Dales.  We went into the Devonshire [Arms] at 8pm and ate scampi & chips, and consumed a moderate, pleasant amount of alcohol. At 12 we stood up to leave [yes, bloody midnight] but John was still chatting to the pub landlord.

Sue and Pete went to bed and Dave G and I drank the best part of two bottles of wine. Alison and John didn't return from the Devonshire until 2am. John was horribly pissed and staggered off to bed dragging debris and leaving a path of devastation behind him. Dave made Alison and I dinner [or was it an early breakfast?] & we talked until nearly dawn. The place was so wet that even the coal refused to burn.


Thursday March 8, 1979

_. David Andrew Baker is 23 to-day. I bought him a bottle of pernod, which no doubt he will demolish within minutes of receiving it. I didn't see Lynn & Dave today because after work I went to Bill North's to continue daubing pain everywhere.

Did I tell you that Bill and I have settled upon the sum of £50 for decorating? Not bad, eh? Bill tells me that Sarah is a notorious hyporchondriac. I have always thought that the girl is obsessed with disease and illness and seems to go through endless lengths to avoid people with even the most minor ailments.

Worked until 8:30pm. Crossing a field at Headingley to get a bus I was accosted by two youths who asked: "Hey, Mister. Can we wank you off?" I replied in the negative. I would have missed the bus to Guiseley.

Peter came up at 9:30 and we went to find Chippy and Dave W in the White Cross. Chatted with Naomi and Jill. Did you know that, for some reason, I am attracted to Jill? God knows why. She is massive. She must weigh 12 stone - and nothing about her appearance is stunning.  The only thing that would stun you would be if she sat on you. However, I like her brain. Her mind intrigues me and I cannot refrain from chatting her up as if she is a Goddess, or something.

On to Oakwood [Hall]. Saw Steve Hudson there, and the divine Sarah [not Collis]. Also saw Tony Simpson and his friend from the Keighley Argus. Got horribly drunk, and remember nothing from the journey home.



Wednesday March 7, 1979

_. Didn't get to bed until 4 this morning - so I don't feel like dancing to Victor Silvester.

Delia came over for me at 9am and we went over to Headingley and Bill North's flat. To our horror, he's lurking around in his dressing gown, or robe, sneezing and coughing as though at death's door. We expected the place to be deserted, but he announces that he has taken the week off and will be 'hanging around' whilst I am attempting to dollop paint all over the walls. Delia was very concerned at the prospect of my being closeted up with Bill for the day. We went through some amateur dramatics on the corridor near the lift, and when I took leave of her she disappeared through the floor wailing like a banshee.

I rubbed down the doors, painted the walls and finished for the day at about 6:30. Knackered I was in body and mind.

At home it wasn't long before I took to my bed.



Tuesday March 6, 1979

_. Lynn's 21st birthday. Tonight we went out to nosh and make merry at the Coniston at Idle, near Bradford. Alison and John came. It seems as though a reunion has taken place __________________________. The party goers tonight were Mum, Dad, Lynn, Dave, Sue, Pete, Alison John P, Audrey, Henry, Chris Baker, Julie Harris, Richard & Mandy Baker, and me. I wasn't feeling in a celebratory spirit. I do not like the Coniston one bit. I felt the same last time I came here in 1975 for Susan's 16th birthday. The joint is more like a motorway service station café than a restaurant, and to be honest it just isn't worth it. I sat hurling packs of butter at Peter, which played havoc with the surface of the dance floor. I was the only member of the party without a partner, so I had to do something. Blimey, is this how I'm going to go through life?


Monday March 5, 1979

_. I spent all day looking for something to buy Lynn for her birthday and finally settled upon a 'Toulouse Lautrec' Parisian-style poster. You know the one I mean. An old French tart with the top of her corset open, her tits hanging out and swimming in Pernod,  being ogled by bloated old gents in frock coats and top hats, monocles hanging everywhere.
I'm sure she'll like it. It will add to the bistro-effect of her dining room.

Saw 'Fawlty Towers' tonight. Someone should really persuade John Cleese to continue churning episodes out. So sad, isn't it, that all good things come to an end?

The dear Labour administration is five years old this week. Five wonderful years of prosperity and growth with round, fat children, all with well preserved teeth, dancing and openly rejoicing in the streets. Five years of giving so much money to old age pensioners that even now, as I sit here pen in hand, I can see a group of merry geriatrics dashing down the lane all pushing large wheel barrows crammed with crumpled old fivers. No doubt all having a Monday trip to the local rubbish tip. It's more convenient for them to dump excess cash than try and spend it. Most OAPs are too settled to become tax exiles in Juan Les Pins and St Helier.


Sunday March 4, 1979

1st Sunday in Lent.

_. Went with Sarah and Delia to see Bill North at Headingley. It was my first ascent of a block of high rise flats and I was pleasantly surprised.

Bill is something of a cross between Larry Grayson and Liberace, and very suspect. We drank gin and tonic. I agreed to paint his hallway, which has ten doors leading from it, but no overall price was settled upon. He gave me £10 to be going along with though. Delia kept bursting into howls of laughter and blaming it on me, and it was all so childlike and good fun.  I am eternally grateful to that small, valiant lady, with the bunch of gladioli and campaigning spirit, who has undoubtedly saved me from prostitution & degradation.

Hilda and Tony came here again. Wine was consumed on the usual vast scale and we discussed the so-called family tree. I am sure that Tony knows more on this subject than he lets on , and when I next go to Pudsey I must look at the Wilson family Bible. I gave him the dates of the burials of John & Rella Wilson who died in Dec 1920 and March 1926 respectively. Lynn and David came and saw Auntie H for the first time in three years.

Saturday March 3, 1979

_. To the White Cross at lunchtime with Susie & Peter and then went on to Otley with the intention of buying Lynn a birthday present. Sadly, Peter's car broke down near Birdcage Walk in Otley and something of a pantomime followed. I made my way to a phone box and contacted Margaret Nason and arranged for us to get a lift from Jim. Back at Guiseley we secured Dad with the tow rope and headed back to retrieve the ailing vehicle.

Tonight: Out to the Regent [Chapel Allerton] with Sarah at 8. I had arranged to meet Sue, Peter, Chippy and Deborah but they didn't arrive until 9 o'clock. I was left talking to Sarah & Richard Burke and his brother Eamonn, which was awkward. The lads don't like me at all, especially Eamonn. It all stems from our mutual relationship with J___, and for some reason this is embarrassing for him.

The night was dull and boring. I don't want to go back to the Regent for a long, long time. Home at 11. Sarah and Richard were arguing. For a moment I thought I stood a chance, but this prospect faded rapidly. She has a strange choice of boyfriends does Sarah - they are always the same.

Watched Bogart in a film later.


Friday March 2, 1979

_. To Len's Bar with Sarah & Delia at lunchtime. Why do I always prefer the mothers?

Thursday March 1, 1979

_. St. David's Day

Today is lost in the mists of alcohol and time. ______________________.


Wednesday February 28, 1979

_. There is a saying that goes "faber est quisque fortunae suae" - so where have I slipped up for God's sake?

I try to do my bit and keep out of trouble. I've never voted Labour, contracted VD or praised the Ayatollah, so why am I being singled out in this cruel way?

This evening I phoned Dave in Stockport and put him off coming at the weekend. He has postponed his trip until March 9. This is far more sensible and agreeable for all concerned. My excuse to Dave - an outright lie - was that I have found employment decorating at the weekend. This may prove more accurate than you may think. Delia phoned me this afternoon in a state of great intoxication. She immediately put me onto a male flower arranging friend [bent as a nine bob note] who wants paint slapped over some of the walls of his flat. The delightful sum of fifty quid was mentioned. Naturally, I leapt eighteen feet into the air and suffered a major respiratory collapse.  £50 is just the right sum to save me from incarceration in the Chateau d'If, and putting emulsion paint on walls is simplicity itself. Further arrangements will be made on Friday but it seems that good old Delia has found me salvation.


Tuesday February 27, 1979

_. Bright, sunny day. Dave Glynn phoned and invited himself here at the weekend. I readily agreed at the time but afterwards decided that things will be exceptionally tight, financially. It is both Lynn & Dave B's birthdays next week, and with my phenomenal debts I cannot see this weekend being a riot.

Lynn and our Dave called in this evening. We are definitely going - en masse - to dine at the Coniston next Tuesday. The party includes the Bakers and Julie Harris. Lynn complained that I haven't been to Burley since Alison's visit in January. __________________________________.  Jacq is being entertained next Wednesday, and so I must make the effort next week.

Lynn says I am putting on weight. Sharp of her. My ever increasing girth is almost as much a worry as my financial  condition. Aren't I on the mullock heap? Oh dear. This permanent scrawl of self-pity cannot be doing any of you readers much good, eh? I will do my best to cheer up in the coming pages and so do keep reading, and if you like, why not skip a few pages until happier, more interesting times? I feel sure I will be in a happier frame of mind when the Spring lambs are frolicking in the lush greenery of our beloved Yorkshire.


Monday February 26, 1979

_. At lunchtime I ventured to Leeds Library and snatched up a copy of William IV by Philip Ziegler. By 11:30 tonight I had read 80 pages. I've also got about as far with Dorothea Jordan's biography.

I have studied the life of Sailor Bill before. When one reads of the exploits of the royal dukes in the 1780s/90s it never ceases to amaze me that the British monarchy survived into the 19th century. The cherubic Queen Victoria saved us from the disease of festering republicanism.

My financial condition is now in a calamitous situation. If I could only see some light at the end of the tunnel perhaps I'd be slightly happier but I see nothing but gloom and drudgery.

Saw the divine Julie Harris on our mutual form of public transport and she showed me the engagement photos taken at the engagement party on Saturday. Poor Chris [Baker] was helpless with drink and eventually collapsed. Lynn behaved herself, she tells me, and my sister managed to keep on her feet. Julie thinks Audrey and Henry Baker are a very odd couple. I cannot agree more, but do not say so. I have no intention of becoming a foul conspirator to the plot which Lynn and Co. are so marvellously perpetrating.  _____________________________.


Sunday February 25, 1979

_. Quinquagesima.

Continuing heat wave. Lawn cutting weather is just over the horizon and I can almost envisage the dancing daffodils & hear the conscientious bee as he dashes about his business, which is more than can be said for 15 million British workers including the civil service and that sainted profession, the refuse collectors, who have done sweet sod all since Christmas.

We can no longer see down the lane because the piles of festering rubbish are over twenty feet high. To make matters worse the stench is intolerable, and the little masked gent pulling the hand cart piled high with human remains crying: "bring out yer dead!" finds it impossible to get through the heaps of filth and effluence.  Otherwise, everything is rosy and going well on this fake Spring morn.

Did nothing today but watch TV and eat fruit. Sounds weird I know, but true. My reclusive lifestyle continues. I'm now on the path to a lifetime of celibacy and peace. Booze is definitely out and the joys of the female flesh are now a thing of the past. It's strange really because theses sorry symptoms are not the normal ones for those recuperating from pnuemocallaghanicosis. Those on the mend from 'Jim's disease' usually drink themselves into a coma and the majority of them are old regulars down at the clinic having treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

Watched Irene Dunne in a 1906 epic 'The White Cliffs of Dover' - nauseating. Mum made up her own dialogue as the film crackled along its weepy, tragic course. Later saw Shakespeare's 'Henry VIII' - which was good.


Saturday February 24, 1979

_. Spent the whole day alone like a recluse, lost in solitude and very deep, serious thought.  Mum and Dad went out to Clapham [near Settle] for the afternoon leaving me slumped over the typewriter dashing out a tale to Delia and then compiling a 'Stockport County Quiz' for David in that town.  I was far from satisfied with my efforts and by 5:30 all I had to show for a days toil was cold feet and a dull, aching pain in the back of my kneck. [Does kneck begin with a K? Of course not. Oh dear, I must be thinking of knickers].

Susan and Peter went to a cousin's 21st [a Miss Sanderson?] - at a club in Otley this afternoon, and Peter returned with glassy eyes and hair jutting out. They were off out again within minutes and then the walkers staggered in from the dales.

Watched TV with Mum and Dad. I didn't realise I was being morose or dull until Mama, that ever vigilant all seeing woman, pointed out that I hadn't said a word in hours. I blamed my lengthy silence on the long day in solitary confinement. I did feel like the Count of Monte Cristo - alone in my mustard coloured cell, commonly called the dining room, with no company other than the rats and vermin who have accumulated outside since the onset of the dustmen's strike - about eight long weeks ago.


Friday February 23, 1979

_. Warm & sunshine. A spring-like day with the birds clucking overhead and the daffs forcing themselves up from 'neath the leaden earth. I think our esteemed prime minister has done a deal with the lads at the World Meteorological Conference to arrange this, and if the weathermen at the BBC suddenly have a wage rise of 60 per cent we'll all know what's happened.

At lunchtime I met Sarah and Delia at Len's Bar. Delia was moaning about the head of the Leeds museums, who refuses to let her decorate the museum at Kirkstall with garlands of flowers, inside and out. She's already been refused permission to drape garlands over the famous Leeds lions at the Town Hall and is mortally wounded by the general apathy and dreary attitude of those employed in local government. It would appear that Harewood House is Delia's only retreat, and venue for her floral displays, but she hated her last encounter with the Countess [of Harewood] .

Delia discussed Jo T_____, the previous flower chairman,  saying she is undoubtedly 'perverted' and between sips of bitter lemon, adds that the woman is 'slightly lesbian'. Sarah spluttered lager everywhere. Or was it cider?

Delia says I ought to be a scriptwriter. __________.

Back to the YP at 2:30 totally cheesed off with my financial situation. Looking around the office I don't care what I do in future just as long as I can escape the clutches of the Yorkshire Post.  I do so miss 'The Times' - since that paper collapsed I long for the feel of that delicate, exquisite paper between my fingers. Alas, no more.

Sat tonight over whisky with Mum & Dad. We discussed the question of wages and what different workers deserve. Are ambulance men really necessary?  If Field Marshals were to withdraw labour would anybody notice? This dragged on for hours.

Saw Peter Sellers in a late night movie which was hilarious. The man is undoubtedly a genius. Bed at 2am.


Thursday February 22, 1979

_.  The Duchess of Kent is not pregnant - Fred [Manby] has this information directly from York House, her London home. Her cancellation of various public engagements is due to ill health. Happy 46th birthday, your Royal Highness all the same.

A funny night. Peter and I went to the Shoulder, as usual, at 8 o'clock. Chippy was working at the asylum until 9:30 and so we sat about drinking our traditional ale and waited.  Unfortunately, he never materialised, and Peter became quite agitated, and drove desperately around in search of him, from the Shoulder to the asylum, and even to his home. Mrs Ash said he'd left work at 9:30. Peter was like a petrified sheep. _______________ .

I'm a bit fed up of Oakwood Hall. It's far nicer to accompany a young lady to the place instead of relying on a pack of pissed -up whores to take a shine to one when one actually walks through the door half canned, bleary of eye and obviously on the 'pick up'.

Honestly, the older I get the harder it is to chat up the talent. This is because the talent is growing younger and younger. Blimey, most of them nowadays never even saw the 1950s.

Anyway it was to Oakwood Hall with Peter until 2am. Met and danced with another Sarah. She was horribly drunk and had no recollection of seeing me at Oakwood on February 8. Not pissed-up myself.



Wednesday February 21, 1979

_. Mother thinks that the bath is inflicted by a malignant disease, because a mysterious brown patch is slowly spreading over the previous white enamel.

My new hair goes down well at the YP. Sarah thinks it's gorgeous, and dark, sultry beauties throughout the office are flocking around me as though I'm Christopher Reeve.

Alexandra Bastedo: so beautiful.
Back home Mum says I look hideous and Sue, in a hail of laughter, says the whole family have clubbed together for my birthday to pay for me to fly to the U.S for a face-lift. Swines. They don't realise that at 24 I'm beginning to look haggard and baggy and that I need constant reassurance from family members. I need somebody, every day, to point out that I am a God in trousers, a living Jupiter. Ought I to be contemplating to settling down with a wifey, for a life of companionship? Or should I continue as I am in a life of dissipation? Answer: YES, BLOODY YES.

Ran down to Guiseley Library at 5 and picked up "Mrs Jordan" by Brian Fothergill ~ a biography of William IV's mistress. To bed at 11 after a night in front of the smouldering TV. Alexandra Bastedo is so beautiful. 'The Aphrodite Inheritance', a thriller series set in Cyprus, ended and with it my eight weeks affair with Miss Bastedo.


Tuesday February 20, 1979

_. Kathleen is mad. Her very existence entirely justifies the presence in our society of acid bath murderers, insane axe-men and left-wing schizophrenic rapists. ___________________.

Yesterday I met Jacq at lunctime and paid her the customary £5. John phoned tonight. Maria isn't having the baby until August, and so he is delaying bringing her down for the confinement. I don't like the idea of them being up there in that barbaric land. _____________.

Susan cut my hair tonight. No trace of a perm now, and I feel quite smart. It's a sort of Duke of Windsor-John Snagge-Kenneth Kendall-Reggie Maudling-Ian Ogilvy-Roger Moore-King Farouk coiffeur. I've even got a side parting. Mum doesn't like it but says I look like John.



Monday February 19, 1979

_. A restless night. The wine at Pudsey and the late hour of retiring had a knackering effect, YP was dull.

The Duke of Westminster, possibly the wealthiest man in Britain, died today aged 68. Earl Grosvenor succeeds, and his wife, the former Natalia Phillips, is not 20 until May. When did we last have a teenage duchess, I wonder? Natalia is a daughter of Lt-Col Harold Phillips, the Queen's great friend, and a granddaughter of Lady Zia Wernher, &c. Her sister is the Marchioness of Hamilton, destined to be Duchess of Abercorn. And on the subject of duchesses I should say something about the Duchess of Kent. A few weeks ago it was reported that her figure had expanded. The Daily Telegraph even published a photo. Then, she cancelled a public engagement and instead the duke took her place. She will be 46 on Thursday. Can HRH be pregnant? I'd be surprised, but it must be remembered she had a miscarriage in October, 1977, which proves that her equipment must still be in fairly reasonable working order. I think she is too old. Besides, wouldn't it be dangerous? [You budding gynaecologists out there can probably settle this one for me].

Meanwhile, that breathing Aphrodite, Princess Michael of Kent, is laid up at Kensington Palace awaiting the birth of her first child in April.

Watched 'Fawlty Towers' tonight. John Cleese is a genius.



Sunday February 18, 1979

_. The news is going around that a thaw is underway, but I don't believe a word of it. [Is my handwriting going down hill. Bear with me, said the raccoon]. Is a raccoon a bear? No, I don't think so. It's probably related to a bear. Half cousins probably. Like the Queen and the Marquess of Cambridge, or me and Sharon Kirk. However, this drivel is getting us nowhere. Precisely.

Over breakfast Mama suggests a trip to Auntie Hilda's after luncheon, and I add that we should go out - en famille - for a quick dose of alcohol first. It is decided upon. Mum, Dad, Sue, Pete and I head out to the Dog and Gun at Appperley Bridge. It's a long time since I went out for a drink with Mum & Dad. We discuss all going to Stockport together. It is my considered opinion that my parents do not go out enjoying themselves enough. They spend all their time home brewing and have become virtual recluses within the space of a few years.

At 2:30 we went on to 6, St James's Crescent, Pudsey [Sue and Pete having gone home]. Had a boozy, pleasurable afternoon with the Gadsbys. Joined by Steve & Tim. I am told we stayed to dinner, but don't remember this. Hilda's Yorkshire Terrier, Pepper, is a delight. Uncle Tony [the Liberal candidate] is more sensible these days and remained calm and collected when I frequently, without warning, dropped 'Jeremy Thorpe' into the conversation.


Saturday February 17, 1979

_. I feel now fully recovered from my severe bout of pnuemocallaghanicosis . However, I cannot smile and raise my eyes to the heavens in thanksgiving because two million of my fellow Britons remain smitten with this killer disease. This modern day plague affects everybody, with the exception of those already unemployed or the Royal Family.

I spent most of the day closeted at home next to the record player because Mumsie and Daddykins ventured to Threshfield and Susan and Peter went to Bradford, or was it Leeds? Anyway, Pete's car was stopped by the boys in blue on two occasions within the space of half an hour to be told about the offence caused by his dormant brake lights, &c. Susie gave one burly, over-weight bobby a piece of her mind, which is heart warming. The lion spirit lives on in some Britons.

Tonight: Just Chippy and I out alone. We went to the Crown at Yeadon. He spoke at some length of his sexual experiences and over our ale he made me feel like a Trappist monk. I believe I've got a lot of catching up to do.

At 9:30 we went to the Regent at Chapel Allerton and had a giggle with Sarah and her beau, Richard [Burke]. Jacq was in and we were joined by Tony and the boys. No party afterwards which was rare, so homeward at 11 in severe icy conditions.


Friday February 16, 1979

_. Slept until 11. Wrapped up well before leaving for Sarah's at Horsforth at 12 o'clock. Mum was grumpy because I was venturing out when I'm supposed to be ill and off work. To Ivory Towers [238, West End Lane, Horsforth] where I collected a pile of clothes ordered from the Grattans catalogue. Delia, Sarah and I went first to Morrisons and then a wallpaper shop. It wasn't an easy thing selecting wallpaper. We all had very different opinions. Just why was I there?
They are lovely women.

Home at 5:30. Tonight, to the Shoulder with Sue, Peter, Chippy, Debbie, "Floo" and his moll. Quite boring really. Peter M, Chris R and Steve came in and I chatted with them to break the monotony.  Home at 11, sober and dull. I argued with Motherdear about something ridiculous.

Pnuemocallaghanicosis is sweeping the country. It affects its victims in a serious, embarrassing way. The symptoms are a] not wanting to work, b] an inability to dispose of refuse or move the bins, c] the appetite is unaffected and d] the victim is still quite capable of consuming vast quantities of alcohol, e] he looks outwardly healthy but is dim witted and slow to grasp the situation, and f] he becomes belligerent to those who might want to boost the economy, or be inclined to labour for the greater good. The only known cure is to give the victim an immediate pay rise of over 50 per cent.