Greg's diary
April 1973
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The real diary entries on page were entered manually from the paper originals on 30 March 2017. Items in italics, like this, were added at this time. This month is interesting enough that I have added some content from memory, which is presented in brown. The dates are best estimates.

Monday, 2 April 1973 Frankfurt
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I have seen a job advertisement for a company called GUT Reisen [in 2017 defunct] in Eschborn. They're running a UNIVAC 1106, whatever that is, and I have a job interview tomorrow. To prepare for it I found UNIVAC in the Neuer Mainzer Straße and went to get a system description manual.

That seems not to be the way you do things, especially since their documentation person was hidden in the attic. She proved to be a US Citizen of German descent, Ellen St Clair, married to a US servicesman, and very talkative.

Spent the afternoon reading about the UNIVAC.

Tuesday, 3 April 1973 Frankfurt, Eschborn
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Out to GUT Reisen for the job interview. What a computer centre!

This was the first big computer centre I had ever seen.

They have these enormous drums, FASTRAND, that can store 200 million characters!

I fell in love with it immediately. They were impressed by the fact that I had gone to the trouble to find out about the computer, but they wanted somebody with experience, something that I had ignored in the job description. I told them I was sure I could do as well as anybody with a year's experience, so they said “OK, ready to do a programming aptitude test?”. Sure, why not?

The test wasn't difficult. Something like a specific intelligence test: nobody is expected to get 100%. And I didn't either: the answers said that one was wrong. On checking, though, it proved that the question had been ambiguous, and I should have got 100%. In any case, GUT was impressed, and said that, though they weren't allowed to hire me right away, they would get back to me.

Then on to another job interview with a company near the Eschenheimer Turm, not far from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, with a name something like „Scandata“. They were a data collection company, and they ran a scanner system with character recognition, run by a PDP-8. They had a number of computer people, but nobody who knew the PDP-8, so I was offered a job on the spot. Should I take it? The other sounded better, but it was a question of bird in the hand or bird in the bush, so I took it.

Thursday, 5 April 1973 Frankfurt etc.
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Only one problem with the job: I still don't have a visa. Off to the Einwohnermeldeamt in Offenbach (since I'm living in Langen) to sort that out.

Tuesday, 17 April 1973 London → Exeter
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To the German embassy first thing, not without nearly starting a fight with an English truck driver; oh, the joy of being back in England!

As I recall, on the way I saw my first Citroën SM on the way.

They were very nice at the Embassy, gave me a form (inevitably!) to fill out, and told me to pick it up in 2 hours, when, indeed, it was fertig.

This was my residence visa for Germany.

To Kuleszas, Stefan gave me barang in part and the news that Mechitld had contacted him and left a message for me. Off to Oxford; sunshine and boredom. Is it just Marita's Lustlosigkeit, in conjunction with my own, or is it now less interesting? Coffee in Queen's Lane Coffee house not as interesting. Off/on to Exeter, told Marita that Mechtild wanted to see me, which caused somewhat delayed floods of tears. Oh God! Couldn't get into Compost [Comp Cottage] - Neville had the keys.

Wednesday, 18 April 1973 Exeter, etc.
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To Lafrowda, found Prav, much the same as ever, Mike learning Fortran surprisingly quickly, and then off to see Mechtild for a rather artificial half-hour. Poor kid - what must she think about suddenly being confronted with Marita?

I had thought that we had split up in January, but it seems that Mechtild still thought we were together. This was the first that she had known that I had found a new girlfriend.

Off to the New Inn for booze, to Dartmoor Inn for for a lunch which didn't exactly entzück Marita, though she drank enough, and finally picked up my keys from Neville and to Compost - what joy! Moved around for a while, then back to town, and to Prav, who said Mechtild wanted to see me alone. Marita created, so took her back home, and then off to eat with Prav and talk to Mechtild, who was a little upset at the confrontation this morning, not unreasonably; she took the explanation well, and reminds me how much she means to me: few girls would understand that, but she does; hoffentlich will she on return to Germany be better in der Lage, mit mir was anzufangen. Mechtild, bleib bei mir! Das Leben kann doch gut erfolgen, und Gegenstücke sind keineswegs inkompatibel.

Thursday, 19 April 1973 Exeter → Lyndhurst
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To Compost to clear out. Saw Neville, more or less happy about the furniture/mess payoff.

He hadn't received any rent since December. To compensate him, I gave him the furniture in the house, for which he also tidied out the mess.

Arranged to collect my boxes of books with a tractor, but Mr. Clark [next door neighbour to the east] offered to put them in the back of his house after I had given him some left-over stuff, which seems preferable to me. Off, having makan, possibly for the last time, at the Ganges, and crept unhappily along to Lyndhurst, where we got passable overnight. Makan and look at the Cathedral in Salisbury, neither very interesting.

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