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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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....

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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.

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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.

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