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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.

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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.

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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.  _____________________________.

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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.

-=-