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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.