Google+ Badge


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.



Thursday February 15, 1979

_. Like most Britons I am now suffering from 'pnuemocallaghanicosis'. I have taken to my warm bed with a book.

Meanwhile, outside we are heading for a second ice-age. Giant mammoths & fur clad sabre tooth beasts are roaming around, and are quite the vogue. Old age pensioners, clutching red pension books, are being encased in glacial formations. Archaeologists in the year 4062 will be gasping and falling over themselves with delight on finding these perfectly preserved, if solid OAPs.
Debbie Harry.

Snuggled all day with the tale of Mrs Jordan and the Duke of Clarence, aka King William IV by Jean Plaidy. I will have to look at some serious work on this very interesting subject. I did read something years ago, before the ice came. I did emerge from my pit at tea time and later sat looking interested and alert with Jim and Margaret.

Saw Debbie Harry on Top of the Pops on the BBC and have decided that Miss Harry is perhaps the most perfect specimen of the female sex ever to have walked the planet. She is the twentieth century's answer to Helen of Troy, Lillie Langtry and Bessie Braddock.

To bed feeling slightly better but resolved not to attempt the YP tomorrow.


Wednesday February 14, 1979

_. Valentine's Day.

I have a glowing red nose, dribbling over all and everything. More snow over night and it was a three and a half hour journey from Guiseley to Leeds. We [Jim R and I] left home just after 8, and I didn't enter the YP until 11:25am. Spend the day sniffling and coughing, generally out of breath and feeling abominable.

Reginald Maudling died early today from hepatitis. He was renowned for excessive drinking so no doubt the endless flood of booze hastened his departure. He fell from favour over his part in the John Poulson Affair and only last month he was mentioned in the scandal surrounding Sir Eric Miller. Maudling isn't going to be missed by many in his party.

Home in better time, but the snow is hurtling down again.

Today is Valentine's Day and I didn't get one bloody card. Mind you, I didn't expect one because I am out of favour with the majority of my female acquaintances. Carole is enraptured by Mick Lynch, and Jacq won't send me one because I failed to send her a Christmas card, or indeed a birthday card earlier this month. As for Christine, she appears to have severed diplomatic relations since Christmas. I've written twice recently and both epistles have been ignored by the tenant of Glenview Hall. Don't worry. I don't think it's serious. Only slightly disconcerting. CB is much taken up with Doreen at the moment.

Ate a large meal at 5:30 and then went into paroxysms of sneezing. Am I perhaps on my way to join Reggie Maudling on his journey to eternal peace and tranquillity?

David of Stockport phoned at 9 and was in good spirits joking about Martyn. Retired to bed at 10:17pm with several paracetemols.


Tuesday February 13, 1979

_. I am sniffling and glowing this evening undoubtedly struck down by a heavy cold. Dad says it is only to be expected the way I go around only half-dressed in the middle of winter. This is rubbish. Three hundred people at the YP are all sneezing and germ spreading and so it would be something of a miracle for me to escape.

Rubbish is piling up in the streets thanks to the striking refuse collectors. This filth could give us all the bubonic plague, or 'Black Death', and this would put my piffling, unassuming chill into perspective, wouldn't it?

[I do apologise that my handwriting is different because I am writing this in bed. ] I have laid hands on one of Mummy's books. It's by Jean Plaidy and entitled 'The Goddess of the Green Room' based on the life of Dorothea Jordan, mistress of King William IV. I don't usually read this slushy fiction, but after glancing at it I find it quite interesting. If anyone found me with it I'd go crimson. Surely, to read anything is better than not taking up a book at all?

Saw a bit of TV tonight and played cards with Susan and Peter. I just cannot stop sneezing.

The Queen is still in Kuwait and spent the day visiting oil fields. What else is there to look at?  We are told that the Prince of Wales is to spend a day at No 10, Downing Street and sit in a Cabinet meeting. This too is making history. The Queen is making sure that her successor will have some intimate political knowledge, and that an 'Edward VII' situation will never be repeated.

Heard on the late news that Reginald Maudling, the former Tory Cabinet minister, is on his last legs. His kidneys have given way.

To bed with Dorothea Jordan at 11pm.


Monday February 12, 1979

_. Thick, deep snow fell today. Sod it. The white stuff had just begun to clear, and now we are knee deep again. Ah well, I suppose we are better of than those in Iran. The Ayatollah Khomeini is now at the top of my assassinations list, along with Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, Willie Hamilton and Dame Gracie Fields.

Trouble at mill over Miss Jacqui ______________________________.

It seems that the brief affair between Sarah and John MacMurray is o'er. She tells me that he will no longer be called upon to escort her to Leeds RL matches or performances at Opera North. I didn't say much about this because I fail to see why she can go off with Richard Burke every weekend, whilst Mr Mac is doomed to a life of fidelity lightened only by the occasional excursion to the Leeds Grand Theatre every few weeks or so. ________.

Sarah says that she has heard from Marilyn Wheeler who has told her I was bored stiff on my recent lunch date with Delia at Len's Bar. Me, bored? Marilyn was sat like a heap of rotting fish on a dock side! Delia phoned Sarah and I passed on my regards telling Sarah to send love from her 'bored nephew'.

Home in a snow drift and ate everything in sight. The house was filled with the aroma of Karen's wedding cake, all three tiers of it.

Watched the news. The Queen has made history by being the first British monarch to visit Kuwait. It is unprecedented for a woman to be formally received in an Arab state, and one Arabic newspaper has described Her Majesty as being "a highly honoured honorary gentleman". Quite ridiculous.

Bed at 12:37am.



Sunday February 11, 1979

_. Septuagesima. 

Slept in the upstairs sitting room at the Hollywood Hotel with David G and Peter. I had a rough night because the zip fastener on my sleeping bag had broken, and a draught, and a non-alcoholic one at that, whistled through my underclothes far into the night. Meanwhile, Peter and David slept like babies. Susan spent the night reclining like the Empress Josephine in Dave's gold-embossed Empire-line four poster. We had greasy eggs and bacon at 11. Sue had not slept well. The shear enormity of the bed had frightened her.

Breakfast over with it was opening time at the bar downstairs. We were soon in the smoke-filled Hollywood. Joined by Billy, Garry and Steve B. Billy asked me to remember him to my Mum. [He is only five years younger than she is]. He probably fancies her. Quite strange having ancient friends.

Susan worries about this circle of friends because she cannot see any progress been made or any attempts to find partners of the opposite sex. She thinks all males over the age of thirteen should be having regular sex with a long-term partner.

We left at 4 o'clock and got home in just under an hour.

Joined by Hilda and Tony again. She brought a box full of ingredients for Karen's wedding cake. We drank wine and watched TV. Saw 'Julius Caesar' by the bard himself (BBC2) and then Alan Bates in 'A Kind of Loving' . They left at about 1am after the film. Thora Hird is a marvellous actress.


Saturday February 10, 1979

_. Delia phoned to thank me for the good time yesterday. She told me Sarah had been on the phone. She had been out on the town in London with seventy Swedes. The only English they know is: "When can we go to the pub, please?"

Are the Swedes a very boring race? Am I horribly misled perhaps?

I forgot to report yesterday that I went down to the Regent pub in Guiseley and asked for a bar job. "Don't ring us, we'll ring you" was the kind of reply I received from the landlord.

Peter arrived at 1:30 and we left for Stockport. Arrived at 2:50 just in time for last orders at the bar. Met Dave G, Bill and Garry. I think Sue thinks Billy is a groping fiend. Later we crawled about the town by taxi. I was refused entry in Rotters disco - the bouncer citing the length of my hair as his excuse! So Peter, Sue, Dave and I found refuge in Rumours, a cavern-like discotheque of high standing. Very enjoyable. Why didn't Billy and Garry join us?


Friday February 9, 1979

_. Amusing day. Delia phoned this morning to thank me for the letter I'd written on the 7th. She found it delightful. She asked me if I fancied going out for a drink at lunchtime and I leapt with joy at the thought of it. ________.

Kathleen was thinking that I was taking a half-day so I held her to it and took one. Kathleen was chewing her hands like an imbecile when I gathered my possessions and left at 12.

Met Delia on Wellington Street and went to Len's Bar which is just around the corner. She must be quite at a loss with Sarah away with the mob of plundering, ravaging crowd of Swedes. Had a few drinks at the bar and then grabbed a Chesterfield settee. She told me that the Pakistanis are responsible for re-introducing tuberculosis into the UK, and no doubt she is right, but I hate to think they are going to take the blame. On the subject of Pakistanis, she says that if they can organise arranged marriages then so can she and that Sarah and I are to be married at Rawdon Church sometime in the very near future. I told her I am very willing to go along with this.

Joined by Barbara Wheeler and morky Marilyn, who sat in a near coma clutching a Martini. She isn't going to speak to me again after the party last Saturday when I 'upset' Jacq. I fail to see what this has got to do with Marilyn though. Barbara was pleasant though and we discussed Margaret Thatcher's hair, and the days of Harold Macmillan. All Tories together. They left Delia and I at 2. We then ate a ploughman's lunch which consisted of an apple and piles of raw onion. We sat on the Chesterfield breathing onion fumes over each other. She talked quite frankly about many things, things she would never dream of telling Sarah. We are a bit 'Margaret and Roddy'. Home at 3.

Sat by the fire tonight. Totally knackered. My back aches from last night's tragedy. Bed at 12.


Thursday February 8, 1979

_. Phoned Jacq at 12 and met her an hour later for a few drinks. I told her I am on the verge of destitution and she grimaced in that annoying fashion and commented: "What's new?" She showed me John MacMurray's card bearing his phone number, and I told her that John had this very day been asking what her surname is. He made up some ridiculous tale that Jill Armstrong is heading out to interview a guy by the surname of 'Stayte' and was he, by any chance, a relation of Jacq? Why doesn't he just come out with it and ask for Jacq's name and phone number? It is quite obvious he fancies her. I had better not tell Sarah of these sordid developments.

At the office I saw Brian Walters who says the EP Father's Day trip is going to be extended this year. "Perhaps a day at the races?" Since when did gee gees run on a Sunday?

Tonight: Hilda and Tony came at 7:45 and Peter came at 8 and off we went to the Shoulder. Just us two. Chippy was working until 10. I get on with Peter better than I ever have & our friendship has strengthened with these regular Thursday escapades.

I went out tonight wearing a shirt I have made from an old white coat ~ the type which doctors and veterinary surgeons wear. It looks quite good but at Oakwood Hall someone remarked quite unkindly that I look like a chef.

Joined by Chippy at 10 and I took a nasty fall in the ice at Oakwood Hall and just about broke my back. Chippy, roaring with laughter at my plight, also went down with a bump and almost dislocated his elbow. We were grovelling around in the dark like premature lambs on roller skates.

At Oakwood I bumped into Jacqueline Dixon, who was a neighbour when we lived on Silverdale. She is still down there. I have known her since she was about seven. She is quite a little dish now. My chat-up line began: "Hullo, didn't I sell you a rabbit in 1969?" Home at 2:30am. No too pissed up, but semi-merry.


Wednesday February 7, 1979

_. I feel uneasy. My personal financial crisis will reach its climax tomorrow and I do not know what to do about Stockport at the weekend. I asked Susan and Pete if they want to take me there and unbelievably they agree. We decided to go on Saturday afternoon and return the following afternoon. I phoned Dave at 10:45pm but he didn't sound enthusiastic about my plans. Martyn is now a regular at the Hollywood & they had already arranged to take me to Rotters on Friday night._____________________.

YP: Sarah was off with a cold. She has lost her voice. She spent the whole day yesterday making gestures with those beautiful big eyes. The poor thing is meeting a bunch of guys from Scandinavia tomorrow. They are all staying in a large London hotel for a couple of nights. One large Nordic acquaintance has offered to pay Sarah's hotel bill, but she had declined the offer because she doesn't want to feel that she has to repay him in some way. I quite get the picture, Sarah.

Bumped into Jacq on Wellington Street. I promise to return her Bread LP, Genesis single and the shocking pink tie. I want none of them anyway.

Mum and Dad went to Lynn and David's tonight. I watched TV with Sue & Pete. 'Rebecca', and previous to this we sat through ninety pathetic minutes of England v. Ireland football. We won 4-0. To bed with a mug of Ovaltine at 11, and compiled this diary until 11:47. Bye Bye.


Tuesday February 6, 1979

_. I have started to collect the coins bearing the inage of George VI that I find in my change because it is said that the Royal Mint is going to begin withdrawing them from circulation. Uncle Albert collected many pre-decimal coins in the 60s. It is hard to believe that in 1971 you could still get coins with Queen Victoria's regal bearing upon them in your loose change. Incidentally, King George VI died 27 years ago today.

Auntie Hilda, Uncle Tony and my cousin Diane came over at 8pm and stayed until after 2am. It was almost as if they had never been away and we all got on well together. Hilda has asked Mum to make Karen's wedding cake. Karen is marrying Steve at Pudsey on August 4. Diane is 15 and no longer the toothless brat. They haven't been here since 1976.

Uncle Tony is as silly as he ever was. He is standing as the Liberal candidate for Pudsey in the local elections in May, but I don't think he stands a chance of getting in. How can the Liberals be expected to get anywhere when the likes of the Rt Hon Jeremy Thorpe are allowed to roam, quite freely, around the countryside worrying sheep and old ladies? No, Tony, no.

We ate supper and drank ale and wine and talked of the days in Cornwall and Pudsey. Grandma Gadsby is in the asylum & so they can come here after visiting her. Mum invited them to her Thursday night orgy. Bed at 3am.


Monday February 5, 1979

_. I think a thaw is underway. Struggled out to the YP with no enthusiasm at all. Discussed the party with Sarah and Carol J but neither went into great detail about what happened after my departure. Tony took Carol to the cinema at Shipley last night & Jacq was accompanied by Chris Ratcliffe! ______________.

Home at 5. Mum says she phoned Auntie Hilda [her sister] last night and that she and Uncle Tony are coming over here tomorrow night. Evidently, Tony's mother is an inmate of the asylum [Highroyds] and they are calling after visiting her there.

Not a word from Lynn and Dave. _______________________-.

Watched Monty Python's Flying Circus and took to my bed at 11:55pm. Reading 'Majesty' by Robert Lacey.


Sunday February 4, 1979

_. Up at 11:30 for breakfast. We discuss Lynn _______________________. Peter N came here at 3:30. I watched a programme on the BBC about the Bronte Sisters which was dull and morbid. Also watched a play 'The Voysey Inheritance' at 8. Bed at 1am. Feeling tired and dreary. A full day of TV cannot do us any good.


Saturday February 3, 1979

_. Peter predicted last night that dear Mama would 'play Hell' with me this morning because of Susan's condition. He was very accurate in this assessment. Susan, very pale and feeble looking, was pampered and spoiled this morning. I cannot help thinking that some grave miscarriage of justice has taken place. According to my mother I am a "lazy, good for nothing wretch". This outburst came about because I said I didn't want to go with Dad to the supermarket to do the weekly shop. How many men my age willingly go out buying tins of beans on a Saturday afternoon?

At 12 John came in with JPH. It was a surprise. We haven't heard from him since the New Year. Maria came round later, looking quite massive but happy and well. Sadly, John had cut his own hair and he strongly resembled a Russian dissident.

At 5:30 Marlene, Frank, Auntie Mabel, Mark & Deborah arrived. Later joined by Margaret & Jim, Chippy and Debbie, and Lynn and David. A late arrival was David Greenwood. Lynn immediately took him into the dining room and they sat listening to a LP of 'The Desert Song'. John Hanson and all that. _____________________________.

At 11pm Chippy, Sue, Pete and I took off to the party at Kirkstall of Jacq's friend, Linda, where Sue & Pete left Chippy and I after only ten minutes. Sarah came over and gave me a big kiss and Carol J informed me that Tony and Chris R were present. Chippy and I had a bottle of cherry wine and we swigged it from the bottle neck like Irish navvies. I gave Jacq a £1 for more booze. ______________. After an hour C and I decided to leave. We were back at Pine Tops at some late hour and Mother's party was still going strong. David Greenwood was still sat there. Lynn was very drunk.



Friday February 2, 1979

_. Brilliant sunshine, but thick snow. The place resembles Gstaad or Klosters, or wherever it is where the toffs go for the winter sports. I kept expecting to see the likes of the Shah of Iran and Angie Dickinson to come skiing down the lane.

Left work at 12 and at one Chippy came up and we went down to the asylum to meet 'Flu', one of his workmates. On the way out of the asylum grounds we encountered a female inmate with slashed wrists, clutching a large shard of broken glass. Her blood was so thick it resembled raspberry jam. People can be so squeamish about blood, can't they? On we went to the Junction at Otley for the duration of the afternoon. Saw lots of old pissed friends and had about five pints. Chippy was reeling and swaying by 4 o'clock. Otley men are positively Neolothic, aren't they? Long hair. Long beards. Big hairy arms and loud, inaudible voices. You wouldn't think that Guiseley was just around the corner.

At 5 I was at home for bacon sandwiches with Mummy & Daddy. Susan was looking very sophisticated in a new skirt and blouse.

Tonight: Out to the Shoulder with Sue, Pete, Chippy, Debbie, Flu and his girlfriend. A pleasant evening around a crowded, wet table. Chippy insisted on playing a ridiculous game and as usual I made a balls of it. Debbie is a very attractive thing, only 17, and I cannot help thinking that she might actually prefer me to Mr Ash. Haha. Tony and Chris R were also in.

Home at 11. Susan was very drunk. Brandy, I fear. she had fallen over in the snow.  She was horribly sick until about 2am. Peter and I sat with her upstairs. The scene resembled the Vigil of the Princes from the lying in State of King George V in January, 1936.


Thursday February 1, 1979

_. Pay day, but most it isn't mine. K_____ is a frustrated old cow. She was dressed entirely in pink today and resembled a neurotic piglet.

Carol J and I went over to the Central at 5:30 [early doors] to the 'Welcome back to the YP all you sciving Lefty NUJ Reds' party. I had seen Jacq at lunchtime and she also put in an appearance tonight with a work mate from Dacre, Son and Hartley.

Carol and I were in high spirits and attacked the buffet upstairs - fooling around with the cheese sandwiches in dry bread rolls.

The usual journalistic mob was out in force. The highlight was Bob Cockroft's piano playing excellence. His repertoire included such rousing tunes as 'Jerusalem' and 'Abide with Me' . He was doing requests and I asked for Your Tiny Hand is Frozen [Che Gelida Manina] from La Boheme, but he said he couldn't play in German. I am still trying to work that one out.

At 8 I left this merry throng to join Pete N and Chippy at Highroyds. My bus journey was blurred by alcohol, and so was the remainder of the evening. From the asylum we went to the Shoulder where we met three buck-toothed neo-fascist females, who joined us at Oakwood Hall. Quite a laugh, but by midnight I was struck down by a hangover.  Sad. Home at 2:15am in a snowdrift, but Chippy's car glided through it like a knife through hot butter.


Wednesday January 31, 1979

I just don't know what to sling down on this page today. It was such a mundane, ordinary day that the very thought of filling an entire page is horrific.

Sat and watched the hot, over-worked TV until smoke bellowed forth from the appliance. Saw part III of 'Rebecca', but David G phoned in the middle of this & frightened me with news of a financial nature. "We've booked the Bournemouth trip" he casually said, "and can you bring me the £10 when you come over next week?" Oh God. Destitution once again.

I may have to abandon my Stockport trip planned for February 9 and just post the money to David instead. Blimey, I'm not John Paul Getty III.

To bed at 11:30 with a mug of Ovaltine. Just like a bloody old lady.


Tuesday January 30, 1979

_. Slightly more mild. No more ruddy snow. Up at 7:30. Read Mum's Daily Mail and had a black coffee. The Duke of Gloucester says that members of the Royal Family have to be professional ignoramuses, and reckons that the round of royal duties do not allow them, the royals, to speak their minds. The British constitution prevents royals from showing any signs of brightness or initiative. A prince cannot dabble in or discuss public affairs. The Royal Family, is compelled by tradition to appear dull, ignorant and insensitive & I'm not surprised that some members of the family are crying out to be granted the right to speak out. It may be undemocratic but I do feel that Prince Philip and several other royals are perhaps capable of bringing this country from the abyss of Hell. We have to be saved from James Callaghan.

It looks as though the Times newspaper is in its death throes. Thomson Newspapers will undoubtedly sell out and this great English institution will go forever. No Daily Telegraph was published today, which is miserable. The fabric of the country is gradually disintegrating , don't you think?

Home at 5:30. T-bone steak for dinner with Mama, Papa and Susan. David calls in with a ton of empty lager bottles from Burley-in-W. He went off at 6:30 to play Badminton with 'the lads' at Yeadon.

Saw David Attenborough on the BBC. Life On Earth. If the whole of time was scaled down into one year, then man wouldn't put in an appearance until very late on New Year's Eve. Not even a blade of grass or the smallest living organism appeared until early November, and so you can imagine what a quiet Easter Bank Holiday it was.


Monday January 29, 1979

Reading the Daily Mail. The Prince of Wales has injured himself skiing in Switzerland. They thought HRH had broken his hip, but in fact he is only bruised.

Deep snow. To Leeds with Jim [Rawnsley] and Jennie. A two hour journey through snow and ice. Jennie, such an inquisitive child, kept firing questions at me. "What is a coup d'état?" "What is a 'fresco'"?  &c. _____________.

The YP was hideous. Sarah and Carol J sat all day talking about their exploits at the Regent at Chapel Allerton. I was bored by it all.

Read in the papers that Nelson Rockefeller, former vice-president of the USA, died on Saturday.

TV tonight: Monty Python's Flying Circus followed by a Nanette Newman drama - a love story in wheel chairs. Seen it before. On the news they were banging on about direct elections to the European Parliament. We are all voting on June 7 for something I know nothing about. Geoffrey Rippon, MP, made an appearance, and it was like seeing a ghost. I thought they'd executed him at the Nuremberg Trials along with Edward Heath, Mussolini and nurse Edith Cavell.  Obviously I am mistaken. Bed at 12:35am.


Sunday January 28, 1979

4th Sunday after Epiphany.

Awoke with no apparent loss of limb and most of my faculties intact. Mum asks whether I was sick in the night and I fully expected the Spanish Inquisition, but she was fine about it. I even threw up in the kitchen.

I feel diabolical about Jim & Margaret. What must I have been like in car coming home from Menston? It is quite out of character for me to suffer pangs of guilt and embarrassment but I am doing so. "I told you it would be a good do" exclaimed a laughing Peter N.

Heavy snow all day. Phoned the Odeon Cinema and then Dave L and he said he'd come over at 6:50. Dined with Mum, Dad, Sue and Pete and watched the snow heaping up in the garden.

Dave arrived saying the roads are treacherous, but we went out all the same. Dave's is the only car on the road. We laughed and compared ourselves to the likes of Ernest Shackleton and Mr Cabot. The car skid all over the road and we hit Leeds in a shroud of white. We were the first vehicle to access the metropolis since before Christmas.

The film was good. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' ~ a highly delightful comedy based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book. We laughed our heads off. Outside at 9:30 we had a shock awaiting us. We made our way to the car and blamed the horrible scraping sound on the mounds of snow in the car park, but this was not so. People emerged from a neighbouring vehicle and a man, in fits of laughter, informed us we were trying to make our exit with only three wheels on the car! Some thieving swine had removed one of Dave's rear wheels. I laughed. David sat stunned with incredulity. A helpful guy in the vicinity helped to jack up the car and in half an hour had affixed a spare wheel, and tightened up the others. We came home in silence, occasionally questioning the sanity of the dogs who had vandalised his car. Home by 10:30.

Lynn and Dave had arrived with Dave's uncle Tony and they stayed with us until 1am. I was dog tired.


Saturday January 27, 1979

Brilliant sunny day, but another layer of snow fell in the night. Out of bed at 11am to clear the drive. Mum and Dad went out to the Dales, probably Grassington, and I was left alone with the record player and cups of coffee.

At 1pm, Sue, Pete, Chippy and I went to the Shoulder [of Mutton] for a few. Afterwards we went on a Wellington boot hunt to Shipley but had no joy. It would seem that panic buying is not restricted to butter, petrol and sanitary towels. Wellington boots are hard to come by in these days of misery and hardship. Came home for tea at 4:30 and I gave Chippy the negatives of the holiday photographs.

Tonight: out with Sue, Pete, Chippy and Debbie to the Shoulder. I felt like a spare part. Christine made an appearance with Doreen but they stood at the far end of the bar. I think I am out of favour for some reason. She said she would phone tomorrow. At 10 with Sue and Pete to collect Jim and Margaret & then on to the Menston Arms where Pete's cousin Pauline Sanderson is having her 21st birthday party. She is the fattest girl in Christendom, but quite sweet. Her parents Uncle Bob and Auntie Olive [Margaret's brother and sister~in~law] invited is back to the party afterwards, and nobody needs to ask me twice. I only wish I had said no. Don't get me wrong. The party was marvellous but I fear I made a bloody fool of myself. I became very drunk and proposed marriage to Pauline, but can't recall whether she accepted or not. I was attacked by a vicious canine specimen and every time the dog came near me I yelled abuse at it. Susan said I used the word 'piss' is every sentence. I was horribly sick on pernod and don't recall Jim [Nason] driving us home. I was also sick at home too.