Greg
Greg's diary
April 1970
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This diary was entered from the paper originals between 25 January 2017 and 3 February 2017.


Wednesday, 1 April 1970 Canterbury → London →
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Had intended to get up early, but once again it was Dave who woke me round 1330, and suggested we get a move-on for London, so got dressed, picked up my flûte and off in his car through some abominable weather which, had I anticipated it, would have made me go in my car. Finally got into Kensington only little before 1600, and to Dave's parents (should I number them, or what?), where we did little for a while other than listen to Dave tell his mother about his plans for buying a Mini, and had some tea. Later out to buy 3C (or is it C3?), and had this examined by Robert and a be-shorn Mike, who had earlier been having a hairdo.

Later rang up Philip Bates and told him about my flûte, in which he seemed most interested, and so arranged to meet him at the lounge bar of the Criterion in Regent St. at 2030 (his choice, not mine), and so hung about having makan, and later, when the others had gone off to see a flick, told Dave's mother what I thought of Mike; it seems things are progressing at a disappointingly fast rate [cf. 21.VII.1969], and Teen wants to marry Mike this summer - though I am not sure that Mike is in that much of a hurry, and I hope for his sake he knows what he is letting himself in for.

Then to the Criterion, had a couple of Guinness with Philip Bates while he examined the flûte, showing the original Siccama patents (which made no mention of the rings), and came to the conclusion that it was probably made under license for Chappell round 1860, and the brille and short F-key were added at a a later date. he was, however, very impressed by the condition of the thing, and reccommended to insure it for £20-25, which was the sort of value I should have put to it.

Some of this information is inaccurate. As Terry McGee notes here, the flute is marked “S.A. CHAPPELL, 52 NEW BOND ST LONDON, and they didn't move there (from 45 New Bond St.) until 1871. This page also shows that Chappell ceased operating in 1901.

Terry also has information about other flutes by Chappell, with serial numbers from 150 to 1777; mine is number 1254. At least one other instrument (apparently number 1198, so older than mine, but more complicated) also has a brille

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So does an instrument by Hawes. apparently now in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, and one reported made by Mahillon:

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Thn back again and watched a live program on attitudes to sex, and finally off, and just got to Buckingham palace before we decided to go and see Sonny and ask advice on Dave's behalf about doing something to a Mini, Sonny was of the opinion that there is little one needs to do to a Cooper 'S' engine, and tried in any case to talk Dave into buying an Imp - with, I suspect, a certain degree of success. Then started...


Thursday, 2 April 1970 Canterbury → London
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... talking of a tour around the continent with aim to try out a few continental whores, and made plans to leave on Sunday. I decided to stay with Sonny tonight, and so in due course set off for Canterbury with Dave and Sonny so I could pick up my stuff at Dave's, as well as get my car. Sat in the back seat, hardly comfortable, and then, when we got there, had a bite to eat - this at about 0300. Later back in my car, after scraping the ice off it, and noticed the comet Dave had been talking about the other day - just rising at 0400, which explains why we had not seen it previously. Nothing fantastic, but different.

This would have been Comet Bennett, apparently only recently discovered.

Back up to London then, arriving round 0530, and hit the sack with little further ado.

Up round 1300 again to find Sonny still asleep and Richard wandering about. Sonny up in due course, and fairly quickly disappeared with Richard to do something about his car. Made a couple of phone calls - first to the Home office to trace my passport, and after a lot of looking round was told to collect it from a Mrs. Spurling tomorrow some time. Then rang up Mauricette, who said she had planned to go and see a couple of films, but would willingly forgo that to see me, and would I like to meet her in the RIBA at 1745? I would, of course, so off a little later and had breakfast in the Edgeware Road Wimpy, and then to the RIBA, where I looked around for a while, and was presently pounced on by Mauricette, who took me up to her room and showed me what she did. Off presently and to Earl's court for coffee, while we wondered what to do, and watched “The Wackiesst ship in the army” on TV while we were at it. Then had makan and off to a disco which Sonny knows, called the Café des Artistes, and spent the evening there. Vaguely got off with her, though she does not like an audience of any kind - still, I like this bird, and I think she likes me more than most. She is about the same age as I (in fact a month younger), and I made arrangements to see her again tomorrow, though this time to see the films. She tells me that just before I rang, another bloke rang, and she turned him down, much to the subsequent amusement of her office mate. Took her home, somewhat against her will: she is used to going home by train.

Strangely, what I recall of this evening was not the disco (which I have completely forgotten) but a bit of fumbling in the care, wondering whether I dare brave her three brothers.

Then back home, filling up on the way, and found Sonny still at the café, so down and had a look at what little was left, but it was not worth it, and so gave up, and back to the flat to finish reading “Rosemary's Baby” - very good.


Friday, 3 April 1970 London → Southampton
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Up again at a usual time, but this time Sonny was already gone; Richard (who might just as well live here) said something to me, left a message for Sonny, and then left, so I thought it about time to have a bath, and did so to the best of the facilities available, and then thought about ekeing out my modest resources in such a manner as to be able to get through this period of redness in my bank balance, and consequently off to the West London Air Terminal and changed $2 A and $1 US, thus leaving me with no foreign currency worth talking about, but nearly 30/- in more useful currency. To the Home Office, and only just found a parking space (only semi-legal) in time - got to the Home Office 10 minutes before closing time and was given my passport, a visit pass until the 30th January 1971, and a letter telling me what to do next, signed by “your obedient servant”, the under-secretary of State. That amused me violently.

Then to Portland Place and found a parking meter with an hour on it just outside the RIBA, so straight up to Mauricette's office, and met her rather drack-looking office mate, who obligingly soon left us alone - but Mauricette said something to the effect that people watch her through binoculars, so that was of little help. Wrote a letter to Dad on an RIBA letterhead, and put it in a similar envelope, while Mauricette added details of the RIBA research award scheme and added “Private and Confidential” in the hope that Dad would have a butterfly stomach before opening it. Will be rather amusing to hear what he has to say about it.

Then to see the flicks - “Point Blank”, really superb; about a man who escapes from Alcatraz with a couple of bullet wounds, and busts up and kills, one by one, the gang who framed him - and “The Cincinnati Kid”, Steve McQueen, about a gambler, also good, but not as good as the other.

Round to Earl's Court to look for some earrings which Mauricette has lost, and then took her to Charing Cross station; she said she once navigated for a rally, so arranged to go with her on the CCC rally next Sunday. Save her off at the station, then down to Southampton, stopping en route for fish and chips, my only meal of the day.

Found the McGibbons preparing to move out - leaving on Monday, and the place was in a shambles. The McGibnons were having an argument with Sonny and each other about what constitutes a kook - Big Jim has been bitchy since giving up his pipe.


Saturday, 4 April 1970 Southampton Images for 4 April 1970
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Woken up this morning at the unearthly hour of 0730 - about the time I got to bed yesterday morning - as the McGibbons were scared that the movers might pack us otherwise. Had breakfast, then I into town to Criterion, to find out about the Citroën rally next Sunday, and had a much friendlier welcome than before. Noticed that they are selling hundreds of Ami 8's - about one a week at the moment, and likely to be on the increase now that they have brought out the Ami 8 service - which, I see, costs £539, not £639. Could be a good buy at that: how many delivery vans have an oil cooler and alternator as standard?

How many potential customers cared? The better electrics were probably a good idea, though.

Found out about the rally, and had a long talk with a salesman about the cars in general - also had a look at the D19S that CCC is raffling. Red paintwork with charcoal targa upholstery, very nice - these things get more beautiful every year, but I feel they could have done something about the dashboard. Must buy some tickets and hope, just once, for luck. Hear also that Criterion have taken orders for 4 SM's, with another 2 likely soon.

Back to the McGibbons, wrote a letter to CCC about the rally, and off to post it, ringing up Paul Hallett at the same time. He has exams next week, so there was no point going over, but spoke 12 minutes on the phone: classic misunderstanding (as ever with Paul): I said “I got into the Ami again, and knew I would never sell it”, and he thought I meant nobody would buy it. Back to find Mrs. McGibbon looking slightly anxious, because my car was there and I wasn't. I think she thought I had been packed.

Lunch time went by with little thereof in evidence, and I slept through the afternoon, also reading “Colonel Sun” by Kingsley Amis, a James Bond book in the Ian Fleming style (or as close as he could get to it - I, as Dave Rozalla, think it better.

Then had a bit of a discussion, and after some late snacks off to have a drink and look for some women - eventually picked some up (“Excuse me, are you English? - I've got a real live Canadian here for you”), and took them home, but did not feel like anything in particular, and so took them home, then to bed.


Sunday, 5 April 1970 Southampton → Bow
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Up again none too late (by my present standards, anyway; there used to be a time, some years ago, when I did consider 1030 late), and down for breakfast, which was a little quicker forthcoming this time than yesterday. Lingered somewhat over that, and then discovered Sonny planning to leave as soon as Jim had his barang packed, so decided to do likewise. Somehow, with the going of the McGibbons, an era has passed. Times have changed in the past 18 months; then I was still involved with Lesley Cannings, had only just begun the series of adventures which was my Ami, had only begun my friendship with Sonny - and so much has happened since then, as the last two volumes of my diary [since 8 November 1968, though a cleaner date would be 14 October 1968] will testify. Did my life really change so much between April and October 1969, or is it just the way I see it now? I think though, it has. One of the saddest things about the whole affair, I think, is the distance that has sprung up between Sonny and me - has it anything to do with the fact that he has broken with Bev? But certainly it seems that my recent 2½ years of moving around seemed to have stopped (didn't my horoscope predict this?) - maybe now I will become a little more stable. But standing outside Greenacres this noon in the sun, watching people taking photos of Sonny's car and asking us to visit them in Toronto, somehow carries in it an element of nostalgia. What carries the future? Bev is now in Australia. Am I going to go home, after all these years?

What I didn't know at this point, of course, was how life was to change only a month later.

Off, in fact, just before Sonny, and down the A31 and A35, filling up en route, and picking up a thumber at Bere Regis for St. Austell. Driving along with economy in mind, was passed by an Escort with a couple of birds in the back, who waved violently to me and signified we should follow them, so did, and the driver went flat out - was rather surprised that I could keep on his tail. Violently amused the birds by rocking from side to side - they were obviously expecting us to tip over, especially going round one corner, where they were watching me lean, when the [their] car came unstuck and rode up a bank, to my violent amusement; after that, the driver didn't want any more, and turned off, with a friendly wave, as well as signal exhortations from the girls to follow them a bit later.

No, I don't understand either.

On to Exeter and home, and cooked a surprisingly good mee with spaghetti leftovers and bacon - must widen my range of cookable foods (damn it, how do you express that?) Then read and played cor anglais at length - I must confess, I am getting extremely fond of this instrument, and wonder whether I should not buy myself a good Conservatoire system oboe.


Monday, 6 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Following my disastrous financial situation, thought of going to the labour exchange in Crediton today to go on the dole, but as usual was not able to persuade myself to get up early enough to make it practicable; still, to be borne in mind for future use.

That was a vain hope at best. I wasn't employed, and I didn't even have a work permit, though it's very likely that the authorities wouldn't have noticed the latter.

Finally up round 1000, and down to the shops to buy some essentials, and back to eat some of them as breakfast. Then into town and to the Uni, arriving round noon, and found Tony Palmer and John Boyle at the computer, both somewhat surprised to see me, and Tony was just finishing with the computer, and so on to it, had a look at a known good source program for FORTRAN, and rewrote (again!) BUBBLE to match, and then tried to compile it (though John tells me that there is, in fact, some congenital defect in FORCOM),

FORCOM was the compiler. PDP-8 FORTRAN was just plain strange, and normal programs wouldn't compile at all. I have some recollection of it having a free-format source format, with a special syntax for labels (comma after, like DIAL?).

but it would not even start, so did a few other checks, finally got the TA17 program to do what it was intended, and stored it on a tape while I was at it, though for some reason PIP did not like it. Then got out a 50 odd ft [15 m] length of tape with FOCAL 4K on it, which took about 10 minutes to write [punch?] - now to see if I can store FOCAL and an operational program on tape. Finally gave up, and off - saw also Mel and made arrangements about doing some practicals in the next few days.

Then into town and found that the bank had been quite good about paying checks, and so was £10 in the red, though I had been down to £21 in the red - I wonder why the change of heart. Anyway, tomorrow I should be in black. To Maypole in Cowick St., where I could pay by check, bought some food - never realised how cheap lamb is. Must eat more of it. Then home, played some music for a while, had a Western makan for a change (easier but more tedious to cook), and then did some work - maths, not all that much fun, but I really must get on top of this stuff.


Tuesday, 7 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Had intended to get up comparatively early today, but once again something went wrong, and I did not get up before 1130, and into town and the Uni in due course, and found in town that I was, for once, actually in the black, and so got some money out while I could, an then round town to get a few further things. At the Uni, to Reed Mews and the lodgings officer to tell her about the spare room in Comp Cottage. Saw also an advertisement for volunteers for some psychological test or another that would pay £1 for 2 hrs work, but when I turned up they had already got their quota - some bloke sitting in a room surrounded by what were apparently data processing devices, which, as far as I could gather, were mainly relays. Back to a more sophisticated form of data processing in the Applied Science building, and watched at length while Tony Palmer debugged a program which was interesting by virtue of its graphical output (on the CRT) - must learn more about PAL for the PDP-12. Could be very interesting.

Finally, he finished, and left me to do a bit of debugging, rewriting, and attempts at compilation. This time managed to start it, but still get the same error diagnostics out (or so it seemed; they were in any case not of the form that are mentioned in the book). Before I got all too much further with that, was kicked out by one of the porters, who wanted to go home, and so back home and cooked myself the first thing I have had to eat today, and then upstairs and attempted to work further; having received a letter from Bev, found this sufficient excuse to stop working on limits and continuity, and wrote to her, and then continued working through into the small hours of the morning.


Wednesday, 8 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Woke up today well after noon, which slightly irritated me, as I had intended to go into the Uni and also buy some things in Exeter, but on further analysis it proved that the only thing I really needed was paraffin, so into Crediton for that - taking my time has been the order of the day of late, so that I can at any rate do something to keep costs down, and the odd thing is that it does not seem to slow me down nearly as much as I had feared it might to keep the vacuum above 5" Hgg.

The reference is to manifold vacuum. The higher the vacuum, the lower the fuel consumption.

Back, fighting my way through the snow (well, it was snowing, anyway) and setup a syphon-drip feed for my heater, which seems a better bet than anything else I have tried so far. Must get an old SU float chamber and fix it to the body of the thing.

Worked for quite a while before getting hungry, and then to the kitchen - really must work out a way of cooking which does not use up so much time - and spent the next hour and a half there. Then back upstairs again - this room can be warmed effectively. Must tidy up the waste paper and put a couple of carpets, etc., there - could be quite effective.

Later, more than slightly soporified by the effect of a curry, went down to the kitchen to prepare some coffee, and in the middle of all this, Andy Perryman rolled up with his bird, I suspect in search of a room to shag her without further complications, but when he saw the room he decided to take the complications instead. Had some coffee, looked round the place, and then left again.

Back to work, and wrote a letter to Mum, and then again on working into the small hours of the morning.


Thursday, 9 April 1970 Bow, etc. (⇆ Tavistock)
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And again up on the wrong side of noon - I have hardly got up before noon all this vacation, not that it seems to have done me any harm, but I do wish I could get up round the 0800 mark and keep it up - but now I no longer even seem to hear my alarm. It looks as if, at the beginning of next term, I shall have to stay up all night just to ensure that I don't miss anything.

Into the Uni this afternoon round 1600, after having done a little shopping round, and found a note on the computer to the effect that it be sick, and advising people not to use it, signed JDB, which, when I saw John, proved to be genuine, but this was no absolute veto, and so down and did some further editing (edition?, and wrote another FOCAL tape (bubble pint, would you believe?) onto tape, and then along came another bloke, who wanted to use the thing, saw my program on the CRT, and asked, in a tone which implied that I was out of my depth, what I was trying to do. Told him I was rewriting a source program, and left it at that. Handed over to him later, and to talk a while with Mike Patrick, who had many reassuring things to say, and suggested that I not neglect my maths and chemistry. Back to find this bloke, Tom as Mike called him, completely out of his depth trying to load FOCAL, and had to do it for him, which rather amused me.

Back home, the sun shining, and took my old route bypassing Crediton, and then, at home, decided I was fed up of staying at home, and would go and visit the Normans, and so off, but first visited Whiddon down and Andy Perryman, who showed me his new fibre glass bonnet, which he has been in the process of spraying in Ford Aquatic Jade, the colour I am thinking of doing mine in. Not too good a job, but he reckons it will be better once he get the hang of it. Then (after realising what the time was) off to Tavistock to see the Normans, and as usual did little there - found out, after a bit of ringing abut, found out where a hillclimb on Sunday was. Then off home and cooked up a vindaloo for the first time in a long time - don't know what makes me such a masochist.


Friday, 10 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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And on goes life. I may not be dong much else but work, but I nevertheless get the more than occasional feeling that I am not achieving as much as I could; but what to do about it? My only real worries at this stage are the exams which loom so large in the almost immediate future; catching up on a squandered term is not at all easy.

Up round the usual 1430 mark (damn all this computer work - has its effect on my handwriting),

Once again I had started putting slashes through zeroes.

and in due course (an expression which I think I should phase out), and found Tony Palmer on the computer with the interesting news that the DEC man had been in and found nothing wrong with the thing. Upstairs to look for Mel or Mike to see what I could do about my experiments, and Angela handed me a thick wad of notes, etc., with Mel's compliments - whole lot of transport phenomena which he thought I had not got - though I did have quite a bit of it. Also handouts for practicals I have not done (including TA17!). Down again and had a look at everything, had a chat with Mike, then had a think about working out bulk flow rate from a series of Pitot tube readings, and back to the Computer to find Tony loading a program called CPTST1, to find out what was wrong with the computer, which had once again gone bolshy. Proved, after a degree of messing around which seemed unnecessary, that there was something long with the AZE I command (a LINC version, I think, of SZA),

SZA was (PDP-8 mode) “Skip (next instruction) on zero accumulator”. This page confirms that AZE served the same purpose in LINC mode. I'm not sure what the I meant—later below I wrote AZE 1, which makes just as little sense.

and so there was little we could do, and so I out and to the library in town, in hope of seeing the play on at the Northcote theatre, but it as sold out for the rest of its time - this was Abelard and Héloise, the one in which Diana Rigg appears in the nude.

Home, had makan and did a bit of reading, and more, even more maths. Andy Perryman had said something about coming over tonight, but he did not, and so worked on, mainly trying to sort out the integral calculus - I really should be able to do something better about this. Early (comparatively) to bed round 0200.


Saturday, 11 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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And so to the weekend - this work is gradually getting down, as is the frustration about not being able to get up any earlier than I have been doing.

Up again well after midday, and down to the kitchen for a bite to eat; then though about food, and it occurred to me that I would have to do something if I did not want to starve this weekend, and so into town and bought a fair selection of food. Then, nearly broke, back home, and sat round wondering what to do. Without a fire, the lounge room is unbearable (it's still not much fun with, but, God willing, the weather will soon get warmer), and there is little point in lighting one for just an hour or two. Did not do much, not feeling like work, and eventually rang Andy Perryman, and subsequently along to his place, in time for the television of the launch of Apollo 13. Funny feeling I had that something would go wrong; maybe it was just that I turned on Radio 4 this afternoon and heard what sounded like a broadcast of a conversation between Capcom and an Apollo capsule in distress; turned out to be the sound track of some new film, but it had me worried for a while.

Shades of The War of the Worlds. This comment also suggested that I wrote this entry at least a couple of days later.

At Andy's place, discussing spray jobs with him - I have been quoted £15 for the job, if I supply the paint (but they supply the undercoat and thinners). Andy is dubious about the quality of the job, and he may have a point. Then a mate of his, one Bill, came round - proved to be the the son of the American Ambassador in (wait for it!) Moretonhampstead, and consequently ex officio a member of the jet set.

Presumably this was a consul, not an ambassador.

Took us to the Oxenham arms, where we had a couple of pints - everybody knows them there, and it was friendly enough there. Back later and had some coffe, then I left them and off home, where I cooked up some dhall and ghee rice, and then worked through the night.


Sunday, 12 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Mum's birthday

Up again late this afternoon - if only I could snap out of it! Came to the conclusion that the only way would be to get up later and later every day until eventually I had come full circle - as, indeed, I did 7 years ago. Then, once up, decided that I should finally, now that the weather is a bit better, do something about various things to do with the car, and so down to the Bow Garage (VIP) and change my rear tyres and adjust the brakes, and so down. Putting the second tube back in the (radial) tyre managed to chew it up something awful, and so had to take the tube out of the spare tyre. Adjusting the brakes was easy enough, following Colin's suggestions of a while back, managed, for once, to adjust them properly, and even found how to get effectively at the handbrake - just follow the track-rod in to the rack, and it is much easier to get at the adjusters - though I still feel they could, with advantage, use some other system.

Ah, the fun of drum brakes!

With that lot off - I was astonished to see how bald the tyres I had taken off were - and decided to have a burn and see what the handling was like, and so along the A377 and up to Chulmleigh, and then back in a figure 8 configuration. Had makan (boy, am I getting sick of dhall!), and then set down to work, but the Wanderlust has been getting the better of me of late, and that, combined with the frustration of not making any headway in my work, set me off in the direction of South Molton and Barnstaple round about 2240, and again just drove about trying to remember how long it had been since I was last in Barnstaple. I make it in the order of 8 years - certainly couldn't be much less.

This still seems about right. About the only time I remember being there was for an examination for a music scholarship for King's College, Taunton, and it must have been some time before mid-June 1962, when I left Kestrels and returned to Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, 13 April 1970 Bow →
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Back home, set down to work through the night, which I did with a comparative degree of efficiency, and somehow managed to keep working all the time - ended up, after a considerable quantity of thermodynamics, with a computer program for one of the chem. eng. experiments I should be doing soon. Then, early, to the Uni, arriving at about 0740, and wrote out this program, and did a few checks on TA17, then started writing a letter on the computer to Mauricette. Having problems with that, not the least of which was to do with the cleaners watching my activities, but just as I was about to print it out, along came John Boyle, which was rather confusing - I don't know if he noticed what I was doing or not. [John] Put through CPTST1 and found that AZE 1 was still buggered, and so locked the thing and left it, and told me that the thing costs about £3 an hour in depreciation and maintenance. With that sobering thought to the bookshop to buy some dictionaries and did buy a 2-volume french dictionary, the the [sic] Shorter Oxford [English] Dictionary was a bit battered, and I wanted a reduction, but the bloke was not there, so I left it.

Then home, and finally hit the sack, absolutely dead beat, and woke again round 1900 feeling more than a little depressed about the whole thing, and while cooking up something to eat decided to go to London and see Sonny, and so immediately thereafter hopped in the car and with various equipment and set off for Peamore (damn! only 49,9),

This was the fuel consumption: 49.9 mpg or 5.7 l/100 km. I had been hoping for at least 50 mpg.

and then off to London burning with an R16 from Basingstoke to London, and arrived at about 0200.


Tuesday, 14 April 1970 → London
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People were suitably surprised to see em at that time - though I was almost equally surprised to see how many there were of them. Hung about for a while, while people gradually dispersed, and ended up with just Sonny and me there. Spoke for a while - he wants my skidlid [crash helmet], but would not say why, which rather annoyed me, and so decided not to send it until he told me. He is also thinking of going to the Monaco Grand Prix, which might be rather fun, but it is most certainly a hell of a long time to drive - the whole thing represents a journey of about 1200 miles [1900 km] each way, which is rather more than a pleasant evening's drive.

I wonder if that is correct. Nowadays (in 2017, and from London) it's about 1,420 km, or a little under 900 miles. There's no obvious reason why it should have been longer in 1970.

To sleep - or rather, Sonny did, but I could not, and in due course got up and finished reading “Another Country”, and then, finally, round 0600 to bed.

Woken up round 0900 by Richard coming in, and somehow managed to spend quite a long time doing nothing. Then out and into town to get some money, which, surprisingly, was paid without any further ado. Then caught a tube into town and to Lisle St., where I finally picked up a 5Y3GT [valve], just as the fellow was telling me that they didn't have any. Then to Carnaby St. to see Bruno, but he was incommunicado because the shop manager was about, so on and in due course to the RIBA to see Mauricette, who was unduly delighted to see me, and so we adjourned to the bar and I mentioned Monaco, which made her jump up and down in delight, and, of course, wanted to come, and bring Ann, which doubtless will not displease Dave (hope not, anyway). Then down to Oxford St. and saw a flick, and then to Foyles, where, rather to my delight, I managed to find the collected works of Banjo Patterson, and so blew 32/6, and then off back home to find everybody's car having broken down - Raj and Rich both had cooling leaks, with amused me considerably.

My car was air-cooled.

Chased all over London with Raj, looking for an Imp hose, but could not find any, and so back, swearing (not fuming - 'twas in my car).

It's puzzling that this should have been so difficult.

Did little in the evening, and then Rich rang up and invited me round to makan, as Marianna was not feeling up to it. Round, and in due course arrived Sonny with a worn out clutch master cylinder, so helped him push it home.


Wednesday, 15 April 1970 London
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Carried on talking to Sonny, as ever, at length, and in the process got talked into taking Brenda to an interview in Leicester Square at 1115 tomorrow, so comparatively early to bed and was woken, as ever, by Rich's arrival with the news but [sic] his radiator was no longer leaking, and then up and down to Knightsbridge to find Brenda, who did not turn up until 1110, which I thought left it a bit fine, but it turned out that the interview was not until 1145. Off to Leicester Square, and left Brenda and over to Farnum House [the head office of the AA, on the corner of Leicester Square] where I got a considerable amount of information about the journey to Monaco, and then rang Mauricette and had a bite to eat and over to pick up a vaguely worried Brenda, and then up to Oxford St. to take her to DH Evans, and then back home to talk to Sonny and Rich about Monaco, and then rang Mauricette and had a rather hectic phone call, and then spoke to somebody in Beverley about shockers for the Unipower, but they knew nothing about it.

Then did little in the afternoon - had intended to get a move on and leave London, but went off to sleep, and when I woke everybody was there discussing the Monaco trip. Things kept going on and off as I went to sleep and woke, and then watched TV for a while and vaguely worked out an itinerary for Monaco, and then I out to eat a couple of hot dogs, and then back home, watched more TV and went to sleep.


Thursday, 16 April 1970 London → Northampton → Exeter.
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Up comparatively early, as I had been sleeping all the previous night, and thought about getting out of London before the yellow perils [traffic wardens] came around. Heading out along the A4 [west], decided to change course for Northampton [north] and visit Martin Hoyle, and so round the North Circular road to the M1, running low on petrol and so bought a gallon in Hemel Hempstead, and then filled up at the next motorway service station. Found Martin's home without any great difficulty, but his mother said he was out working at the airport on the other side of Northampton, and had a bit of difficulty finding the airport, and, once having found it, even more difficulty finding Martin, who was standing by a conveyor belt putting paper bags on cylinders of gas. There I stayed for a while talking to him, then arranged to meet him at the nearby pub, and spent the intervening time reading Paterson. To the pub, where I was impressed by the accent of the labourers there which seemed fairly pure Pommie [English],

In the parts of England where I lived, there were strong regional accents.

and then arrived Martin and mates, had a bite to eat, and then off to take them back and set off for Exeter along a comparatively long cross-country route which was nevertheless rather pleasant, and finally arrived in Bristol to find a large crowd gathered round a cliff face with a man standing about 70 ft [20 m] up and unable to move. Watched the attempts of the police and the fire department for a while before going on, and filing the tank near Huntspill - 45 mpg [6.3 l/100 km], which is not really bad, considering that I wasn't really trying.


Friday, 17 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Woke up extremely early this morning, and decided that, although it was only about 0500, and got down, not to work, but to catching up on my diary, which of late has been more neglected than ever before in its long life; I really must try and catch up and stay up or I shall not be able to keep it up much longer - or is it likely to last much longer. Had breakfast at length and did a bit of work on a program, and then in to the Uni, and tried out the Volflo program I wrote the other day, and, apart from a few off bugs, it appeared operative.

After a bit of work on that, and attempts to compile my Bubble program - still with no success - Tony arrived, and I left him to it and went into town, stopping at the bookshop on the way to pick up my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (10/- off, which I don't suppose is too bad - after all, it is not badly mutilated).

Then to Maypole, where I got some food, though it strikes me that in supermarkets in this country food is not as fresh as it might be. Then up Dunsford Hill, and decided to call in at Crossmead to see if there was any mail for me. There was indeed, and I was able to collect it - several letters from Mum and Dad, sent, for some inexplicable reason, to the Uni with no further details, and thus forwarded to Crossmead. Also a copy of Drive - I notified the AA 2 months ago! Then to Whiddon Down to see how Andy was getting on with his car, and found it, as suspected, the same red colour as ever - in fact, it turned out that his fibreglass bonnet does not fit, so he has wasted all the paint he put on that. Helped him fix up his exhaust system, which has apparently been playing silly buggers for a long time, and then off home to cook up some lunch.

After lunch, felt singularly tired, and so off to sleep, meainng to wake up in time for the return of the astronauts, but only just made their landing. The coverage on radio and TV was quite incredible; they reckon that 400 000 000 people heard/saw it, the largest single audience the world has ever known. Certainly a quick scan of the medium wave band showed every station to be broadcasting.

Did little in the evening - read a bit, then again to bed.


Saturday, 18 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Today seemed a particularly wasted day - certainly not one to go down in the annals of history, or even figure conspicuously in this. Woke once again with the sun - and why not? Is the morning not the best part of the day? In any case, I am glad I have now got back to this stage, and only hope I can stay there.

Had a leisurely breakfast - did not intend to go into the Uni or Exeter at all, and in the meantime a letter arrived from Mum, expressing worry about the fact that I lacked various (essential?) amenities of modern life. Decided I had better reply to her and put her mind at rest, and also take her up on her offer of some curtains, etc., and then spent a while trying to measure them.

After that, fed up with the state of the mess in the house, decided to do a bit of tidying up, and certainly got the kitchen looking tidier than I have seen it. Then, feeling cold, lit up a fire I really must do something about the fact that I still have not paid the people next door for the coal I got at least a month ago from them. Read, thought, and played the cor anglais at length, and then, fed up with having stayed all day at home, decided to go to the Normans and see how things were getting on. First to the Post Office with intent to post my letter to Mum, and also one to the Citroën club for some raffle tickets. I don't normally like to gamble, but the prospect of a D 20 super for £4 tempts the likes of me. However, the place was shut, and frustrated, to the garage, where Mr. Thompson was away for the day, so could not get him to give me the bill. Even more frustrated, set off to Okehampton, but felt too tired to do anything, and so drove round North Tawton way for a while, then back home and to bed.


Sunday, 19 April 1970 Bow, etc. (very much etc.)
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Up again early this morning, probably as early as I have been up on a Sunday in a long time. Down and had breakfast - life in this cottage is finally becoming fun - and then hung around for a while before deciding to go into town and see what was on in the cathedral. Left at 0830, and, of course, arrived before 0900, and though there was a bit of sun about, it was accompanied by a biting cold wind, and it turned out that the service did not start until 1000, and so I spent an hour wandering about, feeling happy and trying to ignore the cold.

Finally in to the cathedral, and had the service, in the middle of which I saw Ben Weed again, and so cornered him again after the service - took him a while to recognise me, though his wife did sooner. To the chapter room for coffee, while Ben got rather excited to see me - he is rather pathetic after the way I remember him at school.

Saw also Chris and Barbara, and talked with them and a clarinettist from the orchestra about clarinets, and ended up taking them home and duly invited in for makan. Spent a while talking cars with Chris, and then had lunch, and off for a drive in Chris' car - he is learning to drive, test coming up next week, and wanted a bit of practice. To the Baudouy's to return the eiderdown I borrowed some time before, and had coffee and a chat with Van and Miranda (who contrived to spill coffee over everybody). Then off again by the way of Chudleigh Knighton, and, nearly in Exeter, Chris decided to go down to Teignmouth, and once there decided to go and have a look at Netherton House, and nearly got chased off by an irate gentleman on a steered motor mower. [i.e. a ride-on mower]

Then back again, and retrieved my car, back home, where I did little work.


Monday, 20 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up once again ridiculously early, and decided that it was about time I cooked the load of half-baked bread (hey - that hadn't occurred to me before!)

“Half-baked” was a popular term meaning “not very clever”.

that was in the fridge, and so did so, and spent a while hanging about upstairs while it baked; had expected it to increase violently in size, but it did not do so at all, which rather lessens its worth.

Then roasted some grotty coffee I had, but overdid it - by the time I retrieved it, it was thoroughly burnt. Shortly after all the lights went out, and I had no money for the electricity,

At the time the house had a coin-operated meter for the electricity.

and so, after sitting a while in the dark and reading mail past from Lindsay, set off for a drive in the car, and ended up in Sheepwash, where I saw one of the Uni Porters. Then back again home, and passed 40000 miles [64,374 km] on the clock in the process - in only just over 18 months.

Less three months off the road, or a little over 3,000 km per month.

Picked up my barang, and on the way into the Uni thought I had forgotten it, turned back, and subsequently found it in the boot, so, swearing, back to the Uni, where examination of a PIP produced source tape showed it to be abounding in 211 codes, which a quick reference showed to be TAB,

That was in octal. The tapes were 7 bit with the parity bit set.

and so quickly through the program on DIAL and deleted all the tabs, and then printed that out - wonder of wonders, it compiled! - but still gave me error diagnostics to do with the IF statements. Ignored them - the manual said that it did, anyway, and made a punched tape of data.

I think this must have been the object file.

Then tried to run it, but here, unfortunately, had no success, and soon Tony Palmer came along, and so I threw it in.

Home later, and did little in what remained of the day. Tried to work out a program for a birthday routine, which looked like being a success, and then cooked up some curry out of a piece of rather dubious-looking chicken.


Tuesday, 21 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up once again early, though today not unduly so, and marvelled at how little difference there is between term and vacation for me - certainly about the only tangible difference is in the amount of time I spend at Crossmead, and what I do at the Uni.

Went in early as usual, and did a bit of further messing around on the computer, to little avail as far as BUBBLE was concern, but I did get some sense out of BIRTHDAY, though for some reason I never seem to be able to work out the correct relationships.

This was a remarkably primitive program: enter today's date (the system didn't know it) and date of birth, and it would tell you how long it would be until your birthday. The difficulty I had with it says nothing good about my programming skills.

Then up to see Mike Patrick, who said something to the effect that, if I did have to sign in, then I had signed in. Had a look around the place, ascertained that there was little that I needed to do, and so in due course off back home again, and did little - I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that buying magazines is a bad idea, as I spend too much time reading the things.

Spent most of the afternoon thus, and then back into town and to Crossmead, where I found almost nobody, so eventually found Dave Snell in his room, and shortly were joined by Ross, who, however, soon left. In turn up to makan, where a few more people were about than I had expected, notably Dave [which one?] and Paul, but the thing that amused me more than anything was that I had been given meal tickets - somebody has now taken over my room, and so I am strictly no longer a member of Crossmead. In fact, sitting in the Common room talking to Dave Kernick later, I was accosted or otherwise confronted by Andrew Connell, who said something to the effect that the Warden had expressed concern that I was here this evening.

After that, as various people found things to do, gave it up as a bad job and head off back home again to, as ever, once again have an early night.


Wednesday, 22 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up at 0730 again, to give myself plenty of time to get to the Uni and not have to skimp on breakfast.

Then in to the Uni, and we were all bundled into room 103, after I had, once again in vain, done something to BUBBLE. In room 103 we were introduced to a Mr. Colin Gamage from Esso, who told us the rules of the game in about an hour, and then sent us off into various rooms - our lot, group A, into room 102 - and let us get on with it. Our first occupation, which took about 10 minutes, was, in true Vietnam Peace Talks style, to decide where and how we were going to sit. Then spent a great deal of time, and a bit of amusement, discussing policy, etc., and eventually decided that we would have to have a low price, and then sat a while working out details while Ben and Mr. Gamage came along and hurried us up. Then off to maths, which is gibberish to me, and back again for another hour/3 months. That went well enough - we managed to sell all our stock, and so all were pretty happy. So continued until lunch time, where I went up to the offices to find that Mauricette had just rung, and left a message. Also a letter from Dad, wanting to know why the Uni had not paid him anything back for last term. Will have to do a bit of explaining there, I fear.

Then spent the afternoon doing another 9 months work, and finally, having still not made much money, despite sale of all our goods, headed upstairs to await a call from Mauricette, scheduled for 1700, and which came exactly as I got up there. Told her about Monaco, which, understandably, disappointed her, and ended up in the middle of a 3 way conversation with her and Angela when suddenly there was the dialling tone - don't know whether she hung up or what.

Off home, had a bit to eat, then, pricked by my conscience, off with cor anglais to the orchestra practice, and had the whole thing together before I realised that I was in the wrong work, and needed an oboe.

Reminds me of the Hoffnung Music Festival, in “Let's fake an opera”:
“Buona sera, buona sera, wo sind wir?”

Unfortunately I can't find a reference on the web.

Spent the time talking to Barbara Gray, and afterwards, comparing my clarinet with that of a bloke called Pete, came to the conclusion that mine needed repadding. Down to the Ram for a beer, then home.


Thursday, 23 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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And on with the business game, much as yesterday, except that by today we had got into the swing of it. Thought I was going to arrive late today, as I had cut the timing rather fine, but as it happened all was wel, and so got there just in time to bump into Mike Hadden coming over from Birks. Had a couple of hours in the morning, while everything seemed to be coming up roses, and I was rather amused by a comment of Mr. Gamage's - “I suppose you must be the Playboy of this group”. Almost as amusing as what Sue Haile had to say: “What's wrong with being immoral?” (Which I promptly promised to record in my diary).

Then maths, and decided not to go, and instead with Mike along Northcott house, where I notified change of address, and then into town via Birks, parted company with Mike while we got money from respective banks, and then up to get my dry cleaning (left Monday), and then back for more torture while we discovered that we had finally gone down, and also had £10000 to pay back. After that, to the computer and more work on a FORTRAN birthday program, and had a few amusing results, and then back to the game and carried on for a while, then instead of going to the debriefing, along to the Console Room for a bit of learning Multitest which. however, was being a bit of a bugger and dumping all the time. Finally, having achieved as good as nothing, left it, and up to Crossmead for makan, going down again just before makan to see the Grays and take the keys off my clarinet. Then up, where the Warden accosted me and asked me whose guest I was - just as well I had already got Roy Cooper to invite me.

After makan, back home, and again quite early to bed - saves kerosene, anyway.


Friday, 24 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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And on, back to normal work. Just about arrived in the Uni in time for transport phenomena, and once again back with Mike Patrick, and he spent the whole lecture talking about what else we would like to know. However no seminar, and so, as I had just got a note from Barbara Gray, over to the Robourough Reading Room and saw her; she said that she had already got hold of the pads for the clarinet, and put them on, and would I like to go and put the keys back on some time? Discussed it, and eventually decided to go immediately home and get the clarinet, and, on the way back, some oil, and then back to the vestry, where, trying to oil the wood of the clarinet, I contrived to spill a large quantity of the stuff over myself. Tidied up just in time for the lunch time service, and down the road to mess around, examine a blue 2CV which has turned up, and contemplate the poor seating of some of the pads. Did something about that, and then back after the service and playing the thing in the chapel, which has remarkable acoustics - could play a whole chord on the thing, like playing a piano with the pedal down. Then to lunch, and messing around a bit on the PDP-12 for a while before chemistry, and then over to measure the composition of the liquid/vapour split between methanol and benzene, between writing BUBBLE (for once singularly appropriate) over on the Multitest system. Did not get too many readings done, though.

Then finished off, and back home to see what there was to eat, and did little of anything in the evening - what I need is somebody to share this place with me and galvanise me into action.


Saturday, 25 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Overslept my 0930 orchestra practice this morning and did not get up until about 1015, and then into town to see if Martin Hoyle was back yet or not. He was, and in due course we set off into town to Dunn's, talking about Martin's intention to buy an Ami for in the order of £150. Got hold of a couple of drive shaft dust covers, but, dammit, not the splined bit, and then back and did a bit of shopping at Maypole and subsequently back home with Martin and almost immediately had the car up off the ground - these concrete blocks are very convenient for jacking the car up - and tried to undo the drive shaft, which was not easy; eventually borrowed a 5ft [1.5 m] pipe from Mr. Thompson and used this to lever it off. Thence it was plain sailing, and so messed around inside cleaning everything up, wiring up the new dust cover, and put the thing back on, while Martin tidied up the kitchen - must really get round to tidying up the whole house.

Had makan - a curry which Martin unfortunately found a bit too pedas for his liking.

Then off to Tavistock, giving the rod to Mr. Thompson on the way, and saw the Normans, and thought of visiting Paul Widdup and finding out about the ID he was advertising for spares went to his place, and found him out, but was sent along to another bloke, who in fact owned the car; it was complete but for one drive shaft, in excellent mechanical condition, but, of course, rusty - though the front body panels seemed in remarkably good nick. At £10 it seemed very good value, and if Martin wants a D-type, he certainly should get this too. Bought a DS engine and an ID head for 25/-, which seemed incredible; took that lot home, then brought Martin to Crossmead, home, and collapsed.


Sunday, 26 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up end later today; obviously my bout of getting up early in the morning is passing, and from now on I shall once again have the old problem of getting up on time in the morning. Up today, then, round 1100, and had breakfast ass opposed to lunch; then thought about the horrible condition of this place, and decided to tidy it up, setting to work primarily on the rear room, as mush as for any other reason because I wanted to have it free for the DS engine bits, which certainly take up quite a bit of space; I shall have to pu ta few shelves in the shed, so that I can put them in there and keep them clean.

That, however, was not so simple; am I forced to admit that even the whole of this cottage will not accomodate all my belongings? Certainly I came to the conclusion that I had far too much was paper hanging around the house, and so set to and burnt a lot of stuff, including computer paper; there is really no point in keeping all my printouts, debugging, etc, of the various ill-fated programs I have written; the final version and sample calculations, carefully fined away, ought to be enough. Even sticking the stuff up on the wall seems a bit uninteresting now, and if Martin puts his stuff here as well it will be well-nigh impossible.

Finally got fed up with staying at home, and, as ever, on a drive ended up at Crossmead, and found Martin, and after a bit of a talk off to the White Horse, and found them closed; back and Martin, who had been thinking in terms of D types, threatened to buy an Anglia or other abomination and gave me 2 weeks to find him an A or D type Citroën.

Back home, pondering over that, and did little in the rest of the night.


Monday, 27 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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And so another week of the same old drag; missed, as ever, inorganic chemistry - must really start trying to catch up on all this stuff for exams, though the thought of sitting there in cramped lecture Hall D trying to pay attention to Dr. Lang's inept comments is just beyond me.

Arrived in time for thermodynamics, which was little better, and then off to DH, where I bumped into Cris Manners, who wanted my advice on a meter, so took me into town to show it to me - I was expecting to go in his Imp, but he has recently bought himself a Porsche 1600, very nice. Meter (Pentax Mk. 1) looked OK, then to the bank and had a bit of trouble getting any money, and back to the Uni, where I picked up my car and back into town to have some makan at the Ganges - Keema curry, i.e. mincemeat and not up to much. Back to the Uni for a practical, and spent a bit more time messing around with BUBBLE; at least I am making some progress: last time the error diagnostic was 17, this time it was 20. Then Bob Williams told me that there were no practicals, and so up to see Martin and tell him about the gentleman in Ilfracombe who had a couple of D types for sale, and so off to have a look, followed as far as Bow by Keith, and we tried in vain to undo his drive shaft, and so sent im home, and recommended him to Dunns. To Lee near Ilfracombe, taking some rather odd birds to Ilfracombe, Only the ID was there, and the owner, a big red-bearded gentleman, seemed to want £250 for it, which contrasted rather violently to my estimate of £70. Out for a drive in it, and came to the conclusion that the height correctors didn't know what they were doing, and that the steering was a lot heavier than I remembered it, as well as being lower-geared. Offered him £70, which made him nearly jump out of his skin, poor bugger, and eventually came to an impasse with me saying that I would not pay more than £100, and he saying he would not take less than £120. Said he would ring us in due course, and we off back to Exeter, stopping for a drink in Crediton, and hen in to tell Graham of our exploits. He suggested that we let him drive it when we got it, and went back to his dreams of 6H's.


Tuesday, 28 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Now things are more or less back to normal, and I could imagine that I had not been away for a vacation; but things do seem a bit different this term, there is an examination feel in the air, and apart from this everything somehow feels more relaxed than might well have been the case.

To the Uni for another Ron Shearn process principles class, no different from any other; I rather suspect that Ron could be a bugger when it came to thrash the last little bit of work out of one. Damn nearly didn't let us have our break, and expected us back after only 5 minutes - what the hell; I suppose we would just have to put up with it. Discussion our L/V split calculations later - nothing of any great interest there. Carried on discussing with Ron the relative merits of cups of tea made with well and slightly boiled water, and thus missed thermodynamics, and off instead to quench my unreasonable hunger with a rather ineffective Ganges meal. Bought some polishing stuff for the heads, etc., at Halfords, and then bought, on impulse, a copy of 'Playboy' - anything to do with Colin Gamage's comments? - and home to read it, and spent most of the afternoon thus. Thank God the weather is getting more seasonal! and then, round 1700, started thinking about going to Crossmead for makan, and before I left did a bit of messing around with the car; the plugs are no longer too happy, and it is about time I changed them.

For some reason, possibly related to the ignition system, spark plugs wore out very quickly, and during their life required frequent gapping.

At Crossmead, found Graham and Martin covered in God-only-knows-what trying to change Graham's exhaust system en masse, and Keith with a drive-shaft half missing, apparently in the process of overhaul. Had makan, though I don't know if it was worth it, then, after a short time, off home again.


Wednesday, 29 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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No lectures! Or at any rate, none worth going to, though news is filtering through that we are now doing differential equations, so maybe I had better start thinking about going. Off to Okehampton and the sale almost as soon as I got up, only to find that the sale takes place, not on the last Wednesday of the month, but the 4th - and today was the 5th! Swore vaguely, and back to Bow, and to the Bow Garage to do something about getting a sensible wheel back on my car. In the middle of this, Mr. Thompson came and told me of a mate of his who had had the misfortune to have the bonnet of his ID fly up in his face at 85 mph [140 km/h] on Salisbury plain, and was thus in the market for a new bonnet. Offered him ours for £2, and he suggested I put the price up to £10, and so rang him up, but he had just arranged a new bonnet from the White Horse mob, and could not go back on that. Finished that, had makan, then in to town and found Martin, who spoke in terms of going down to the White Horse and having a few things off the DS there; off thus, though Graham preferred to play croquet, and had a look at the DS, and decided to have the hydraulic pump, the steering rack, brake control gear, contact breaker and exhaust manifold, to cost us all in all about £4, so set to, and in the process were joined by the bloke with the Safari [ID station wagon]; the White Horse had sold their bonnet for £5, which might have explained something. Had the pump off with no difficulty, and then set to on the contact breaker, for which I did not have the correct socket, and the brake pedal gear, where some screws had given up the ghost; gave that up as a bad job and had the steering rack, and associated hydraulic piping, off. Then back, and washed up for makan, after which back home and off for a while to sleep, later to go down to the pub, bumping ito the cancer girl on the way and paying her up to date; she has lost her voice, much to the general amusement.


Thursday, 30 April 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up early for an 0900 transport phenomena lecture, which turned out to be a 2-hour seminar, and which thus irritated me somewhat. Still, I suppose it had to be done; after the first hour over to the maths building with a few others, including Mel and had a bit of a talk to him when discussing his origins; seems he is from Guyana, though he is of Indian origin - and apparently European. Back again for another hour, and one of the porters handed me a letter from Paul Hallett, the gist of which was that he was bored with Reading and wanted to come down to spend a weekend; back home for makan and to write him a letter telling him, if at all possible, to come down this weekend, complete with all sorts of descriptions of how to get here. Had a rather unpalatable spaghetti, and then back to the Uni for engineering drawing, which of all things, involved strip integrals - nothing particularly difficult this week, but it looks like getting more difficult and incomprehensible in the coming weeks. Spent a couple of hours messing around with that, and then off up to Crossmead, to find Graham and Martin once again in the process of exhaust swapping, though this time with some more immediate prospect of success, as they had got themselves the exhaust system off Eamonn's old car at the White Horse. Keith has now fixed up his drive shaft, and certainly things look a lot better generally in that area.

Had makan, though people are getting a bit snaky about this, and then, after a further period of time talking to Chris Jones about his car, and, with delight, telling him of plans for the new VW K70 - front wheel drive, water cooled - off back home, where again I did little.


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