Greg
Greg's diary
February 1970
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This diary was entered manually from the paper original between 5 January 2017 and 14 January 2017. Comments in italics were added at this time.


Sunday, 1 February 1970 Exeter
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And another wasted day - what I need more than anything else is somebody to come in and wake me up early over the weekends, because, apart from anything else, it makes its efforts felt on Monday. In any case, in keeping with past habits, I did not get up until about 1130, and then only because the sun was shining outside; it was all a ruse. I took my stuff back to Pete, and by the time I went out it was raining again. Stayed a while with Pete, and then round to see Sue, with whom was Marion, and get some notes from Sue, then took Marion back up to Birks and up Exwick Hill, meeting the owner of the 11CL8 at work on same, and so stopped and spoke to him about it, and was nearly late for makan as a result, but back afterwards. The car is in none too good condition, very rusty at the back, but he reckons it is going to be worth the £100 he proposes to spend on it to do up the bodywork. A true 'amateur' - aren't we all? Back and looked up the address of a G.L.Mackie who wrote to the CCC magazine about the Ami - lives just behind County Hall. Nobody was at home when finally I found my way thither, and back to wash the car and fix up the heating flaps, which were sticking, and then had makan and back again, and spoke at length with this fellow, who is completely sold on the vehicle, although it is his first, and went to some length comparing the cars - his looks much newer than mine, has only done 4000 miles, but is in fact older, though I got mine earlier. Am pleased to note that mine feels in no way older than his - though it looks obviously more used. His engine is in fact rougher and noisier than mine. His car still has the new car smell about it, though - very reminiscent of the Ami when I first bought it.

Back to Crossmead after a fairly liberal quantity of sherry, and then to sleep, woke about 2130 and soon was visited by Chris, with the astounding news that, not content in making a bad choice in the Imp, he was doing several grades worse, ad buying a 7 year old VW for £310. Sonny would have a fit, and I nearly did.


Monday, 2 February 1970 Exeter
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Could not get to sleep yet again - I am getting a bit fed up with all this. Where is it all going to end? Why can't I persuade myself to get up earlier over the weekend? In any case, it was something like 0330 before I finally did get to sleep and I decided that the last thing I could do would be to turn up at a 0900 lecture, and as I had not done the maths, there was little point in going to hat, and us I need only turn up to phys. chem in the morning. As it was, however, I overslept even further and did not get up until 1215, and just had time to wake up before lunch and discover letters from both the Home Office and the Australian High Commission, neither of them very pleasing.

Then to lunch, even less pleasing, and off with Dave Snell, who, for some reason, had returned to Crossmead (not for lunch; he had that at the Uni). Managed to persuade Mel to give me another practical, though I had not done last week's, and this was measurements on a rehometer [rheometer], i.e.viscosity measurements. Don is gradually getting infuriating by insisting on doing everything himself, and I got a bit fed up with all this, and took matters into my own hands and said he could either do teamwork or lump it. I was expecting fireworks, but he just swore and sulked in the corner. Rather an odd bloke generally. How is it I always see him with birds? He does not seem to be particularly attractive, as far as I can judge. Maybe he just tries harder.

Finished that, and onto the PDP-12, where I worked out my program and eventually, after, for no apparent reason, seizing up the console, got it to work, but it was far too inaccurate, and so I gave it up and wrote a program to work out a table of fuel consumption against mileage, which gave me a lot of trouble, and kept me until makan. Then did a bit of work, and tried, in vain, to get Chris to let me drive his car. Then started writing a letter to Corinne, as I had once again forgotten to ring her, and did this on the magnificent 8 ft length of paper I got out of the computer. In the middle of all this, enter a Tim Davies, son of Rupert Davies, i.e. Maigret, and saw a photo of my AA 8860 on the wall, and stared talking Citroën at length. Very interesting. Once again could not sleep.


Tuesday, 3 February 1970 Exeter
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Up, a bit earlier than yesterday, in time to get up for Process Principles, but once again could not stay well awake. Wrote a bit of the letter to Corinne before going to the Uni, but Ron Shearn only just managed to keep me awake for his 2 hours work (with the usual break, in which we discovered that the machine was no longer prepared to let us have our coins back. After the problems class decided I was in too bad [missing word; state?] to go to thermodynamics, and instead took over on the PDP 12 from Dave Kernick, and, after putting a bracket into the program, left it typing merrily away for all of 10 minutes, and was then, as far as I could gather, quite correct. Did something for Mum and Dad with the birthday program (which did not load straight into the computer; it gave up at one (very long) line, typed a ?11.35, and I had to type it in.) and then went home, and hung about doing little until lunch time, after which I caught up on my sleep, which kept me pretty well occupied until about 1600 hrs, when enter Chris, and so I persuaded him to let me drive his Imp, to see how the thing goes, and it certainly seems more gutless than most, and round a clock 75 [mph, i.e. 120 km/h] developed a violent steering wheel shudder which proved, on examination, to be due to extremely slack front wheel bearings - wonderful after 8500 miles [14,000 km]! Still, it handled well enough (I scared the shit out of Chris), and after that I persuaded Wolf to let me show Chris how his car handled, and so out again sliding all over the place, scaring the shit out of both Wolf and Chris, also did a bit of tuning [or timing?] work, and back to get my car out, primarily to show the importance of double declutching, but also, as I went along the same road, showed the efficiency of the suspension - going far faster than the VW and faster than Chris' Imp (which has far too much camber on the front axle). Back, and shortly had makan, after which I rang up Corinne and spoke with her for a record 41 m 3,2 s - and even then only stopped because she had to go to bed. I must confess, I am growing very fond of Corinne indeed.

Did little in the evening - caught up on my notes, then to bed.


Wednesday, 4 February 1970 Exeter
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Had intended to get up for breakfast - how often I start thus! And, of course, it implies that something stopped, me, which, as usual, was my laziness. It is all very well, of course, to say all this, and to resolve every night to get up for breakfast the following morning, but it is a matter of what I am going to do the following morning, when things usually seem different.

Finally got up just about in time to go in for Maths, and found a letter from a (not surprisingly, in view of what I know) very depressed Sonny, who asked me to come up and see him as soon as possible. To the Uni, where I bought some writing paper and started writing to him in the lecture, until Dixon came along and introduced himself - absolutely stereotyped “frog-faced” Pom, but he does seem a better lecturer than Dr. Trifari, and started today on complex numbers.

Then to a not-so-good teacher but undoubted good fellow (shades of Chaucer), Ben Ritchie, who gave us another handout, and then asked us to tell us what the last one (which I had left behind) meant, and thus to lunch - in the refectory - and into town to buy a few things before everything shut for lunch, and then collected up my belongings and had a look (at the Uni) at measurements of solubility isotherms, and had an almighty mess-up - I don't like this stuff at all, far too inaccurate, but I must confess I can't think of a better way of doing it (other than looking up the results, which in the circumstances might not be at all a bad idea).

Then back to Crossmead, finally finished my letter to Corinne (all 8 ft of it), rolled it up and posted that and my letter to Sonny, and then spent a while in my room doing very little of any constructive value - i.e. reading C3 - which, as I have so much work, and have arranged to go to London to see Sonny this weekend, wasn't very wise - and then borrowed some of Dave Snell's writeups - terrible style, and I was rather amused by Mike Patrick's comment at the bottom “Try to write English”. Maybe though I was just feeling a little superior after having returned a report in which I got 9/10 and the comment “good report” which could either be pure unadulterated praise or an indication that Mike marks more leniently than Ben (which, on the face of it, seems anything but likely).

This doesn't make sense. Was it Ben who marked Dave's writeup?

After that, off to the Uni for an orchestra practice, and once again went over the final movement [of what?], without making much better fist of it than last fortnight. Had a go on the bassoon of a 1st year Eng. Sci. bloke from Crossmead, who obviously knows me, even though I don't know him. Very nice - must borrow it from him some time.

Then back to Crossmead and, unusually for me, early to bed.


Thursday, 5 February 1970 Exeter
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Up early, though it goes against the grain, and to breakfast, etc., before off to Transport Phenomena, where we were by no means the first, and then Mel discussed the possibility of having the seminar first, and then the lecture, which sounds like a good idea, as it means we don't have an hour to kill while the other mob have their seminar - and it means that we have only one 0900 hrs lecture a week.

Then back to Crossmead, where a very host of letters awaited me - on closer examination proved to be two from Corinne and one from Lindsay. The latter gave the interesting news that she is spending her half-term in a place called Harpford, which she expected me to know (turns out to be just this side of Sidmouth), and expressed in no uncertain terms that she wants to see me. Damn. The age of consent in this country is 16, after all, and I could imagine a horde of Cunning-Smiths [sic] down my throat or other orifice in no time flat.

Corinne, however, had more imminent danger on her hands: somehow the GPO had found out that the phone there was a call box, and as a result there was all hell to pay that end.

My calls to Corinne were reverse charge calls. The GPO (now British Telecom) had no reliable way of identifying the fact that it was a call box, so it was possible to call one and reverse the charges, a featurebug of which we frequently took advantage. The numbers displayed in the boxes themselves included the letter X at the end, but there was no way of dialling the number, and so reversing to the number without the X normally worked.

Was still trying to work out what to do when I went back to the Uni for more complex numbers, and thence back again after a lunch at the Uni, wrote a letter to Corinne suggesting what to do [what?], and then had another lunch before going off to Engineering drawing, and spent some time there - Lee going on about various details, cross-sections, etc.

Finally back from that, and did very little back at Crossmead - set into my practical in a sort of half-hearted way, and then had makan, and decided that I might do worse than to go to bed right away and get up early in the morning to work then, and so almost immediately after makan went to bed.


Friday, 6 February 1970 Exeter
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This must be a good idea. Instead of waking when the alarm went off, round 0500, I woke up, fully awake, round 0445, and out to have a shower, which seemed a logical thing to do. Then, as I prepared to spend as little time as possible this evening going to London, set out to adjust my lights for the trip, and also observe the function of the ammeter I fitted last night; however I found a Mini parked right in front of my car, so I could not get out, and it was locked. Pissed off, I found a fork, bent same and parked the car down the road. Then off, adjusted everything - I am sure this thing is overreading by about 50%. Useless, inaccurate Smiths instruments. Back and did a quite considerable amount of work, and then up to breakfast, and was in the middle of a lab report in German (for Mel's benefit) when my typewriter return wire unwrapped and so spent a while replacing that. Then to the Uni for the full 3 hour stint, which I have not done since shortly after the beginning of last term. Back for lunch, and then, speaking to Dave Powell, off to look for somebody who would make me a pressure guage adaptor, and eventually found an old, retired engineer, Jock Furgeson, who makes machine parts to keep his hand in, and he said, with much swearing, that he would have the thing ready by next Tuesday or so. On the way back, the car was handling oddly, though I could see nothing wrong; parked up by the dining hall and found I had a slow flat, which proved to be due to the tread brace itself puncturing the tyre; bodes ill. Down in Dave's Daimler to the bank, got £6, and out to the White Horse to get another X off a Dauphine, and then back and finally got down to work, though obviously it did not last long. After makan prepared to go to London, awaited at length phone calls from Sonny and Corinne, in vain, and wrote to Corinne saying I would see her on Sunday, filled up the tank, posted the letter, and to bed.


Saturday, 7 February 1970 Exeter → London → Tun. Wells → So'ton → Exeter
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Up by the clock at the more than slightly unearthly hour of 0245, and contrived to be under way by about 0300, and belted off in the now well-known direction of London, noting that the wheel imbalance, which had previously manifested itself only at 80 mph [130 km/h], was now making going rough at 70 [110 km/h]. Carried on nevertheless, making quite good time (55 miles [90 km] the first hour must be something of a record for this stretch and this car). In the middle of Salisbury plain was carved up by a boy-racer type of Viva who insisted on driving on full-beam - rather amusing when he passed me.

He would have had my full beam, a total of 200 W, and some of the brightest lights on the road.

Then, finally, my tyre blew up; funny the difference in the way cars react. When this happened in the 11C, it nearly pulled me off the road. In the Ami, it took a while to sink in that the fluttering noise was a flat tyre - but they both went about as quickly, both tread brace failure. Changed the tyre, and on to London, passing, rather to my satisfaction, the Viva. Time to West London Air Terminal was 3 hours 17 minutes, and for the last part I had by no means been hurrying it, and conditions were much worse than last time, so I am even more convinced I could do the whole lot in under 3 hours. To the Rozallas, who were not home, and so to look for where Sonny was supposed to be, and found the place and off to sleep. Then looking round for Brenda, to no avail, and Raj had also moved out, so, pissed off, pissed off to Tun. Wells and dragged Jim out of bed, and off to fill up my tank - 5,7 gallons [21.6 litres], so it was just as well I did

The tank held 25 litres, so it wasn't as bad as I assumed.

- and changed the tyre and put the new one on; in the middle of this my flasher relay shorted between the control and power, so I had all the lights on; fortunately I managed to get that fixed pretty quickly, and after a while off, Jim driving, to Sevenoaks, where we had lunch, and I a couple of pints of lager (one bought for Jim, as it was Canadian, but he did not like it!) and then off to Brand's Hatch to watch the practice day - it was bitterly windy, and after a brief inspection of the paddock waited until the car practice, and then watched a quite interesting practice where one Jag (lapping in 76!) managed to lose it twice at Druids (and how!) and once at Kidney, which amused me immensely. Then took Jim and Sandy (who had come too) home again, and I off, along the ever faithful (which is a ridiculous expression if ever I have written one) A272 to Southampton, sleeping on the way, but there was nobody there, so on to Exeter and the Gange, where I had some tanduri and beryani, and watched the blokes there handling a drunk, and off, in good humour, to an early bed.

780 km, and for what?

Sunday, 8 February 1970 Exeter → Bristol → Exeter
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Up at about 0900, and up to breakfast, where I found as much mail as ever on a weekday - stuff from Citroën car club about membership, including a membership card in the form of a driving license; I don't like this club too much - typical bloody Pommie attitude - and may join a French club instead. Also mail from Corinne, Sandy and Mum. Read these cursorily and then off to the chapel - I don't know why; I ought to go to the cathedral, where the music is better. There saw Sue, and after took her home and arranged with her to make the weekend of the 27.ii to 1.iii free for going to Southampton, which she would, and then back to DH for coffee and a talk with all the theologians - at least one doesn't get this at the cathedral (does that make it better or worse?). Then back to Crossmead, where John with the while Morris Minor was having trouble with his oil, and then set off in a clatter of big ends, too late for me to stop him. Then down to the Ship and bought a bottle of wine for beloved Corinne, and had a schooner of sherry myself - I must recommend this to one such as Chris for this time on a Sunday. Back to Crossmead, worrying about my car being seen [at Corinne's school], and then got Wolf's permission to borrow his car, and off to lunch where he decided a) to come himself, b) to drive, so I decided to go in my own car, in which we made quite good time, arriving at 1450, and, as after much searching round we could not find Corinne, and I thought it of sufficing importance, entered privily the school (which is not to say through the bogs), and got about a dozen people looking for her before finally we found her in the Gym. She was in a funny mood, to say the least, and rather pissed me off. Spent the whole time talking in one of the rooms of the Gym, and Wolf did nothing to add to the air of intimacy, and so left after somewhat after an hour, before Wolf's eyes popped out (she was wearing a see-through blouse, low-cut bra and even higher cut skirt. And there's nothing wrong with her legs. Just that I didn't ever notice them before.). Had a look round Bristol, and to the Uni, where I filled in a questionnaire about car parking spaces which should confuse them somewhat. Then back to Exeter via Taunton, showing Wolf the school, then to Corfe to look for the Callows (who are abroad), and finally back through Honiton and once again ate at the Ganges, and then I discovered I was broke. Wolf, fortunately, was not, and paid. Then back and, as ever [huh], early to bed.


Monday, 9 February 1970 Exeter
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Up at 0400 again this morning, with a seemingly never-ending pile of practical writeups to do, and so got stuck straight into that as quickly as possible - got through quite a bit of work, and by breakfast felt rather satisfied, but realised that, come what may, I would have no choice but to stay away from lectures today to get the writeups finished, and so after breakfast into the Uni to take Dave thither and get some triangular coordinate paper, and while I was at it looked up a reference in Chemical Engineering Science (7.102 (1957) for further reference; Venkataratnam, Jagamadha Rao and Venkata Rao; must have been in India), about mutual solubility of water, acetone, and alkyl acetates, and, after a bit of shoving around, managed to get a Xerox copy of it - and shall get a bill for 6d. Back, and spent a couple of hours fiddling the results, and finally had quite a presentable graph (once I had worked out how Δ coordinate paper works); but I hope I don't have to explain why me results at 22°C look more like the results at 30° (at which temperature Venkataratnam and mob did their stuff). Then set to on the end of one of the viscometry jobs, and got that and the remains of the chemistry practical finished by 1245, and, ever a glutton for punishment (hell I am!) started writing a letter to Corinne, which kept me going until lunch time. Decided against Tilly's efforts and to the Uni, and then up to the labs and handed in my reports - Mike was very amused by my viscometry practical in German, though I doubt that Mel will be; unfortunately he did not turn up today, and I was not able to see his face.

The idea of writing the report in German started with our discovery that the „Rheomat“ (made in Switzerland) came with German documentation (only?). I was the only person able to read it, and somehow Mel Gajraj suggested, presumably in jest, that I wrote the report in German too.

Today was the wind tunnel, and I let Don have his turn, then had a go myself, and down to the computer to work out a program to calculate it all. This took a while, and after I got home I discovered I had made a mistake in the program (typically involved in changing the units.

Wrote a little more to Corinne, then had makan and, exhausted, early again to bed.


Tuesday, 10 February 1970 Exeter
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Alarm off at 0400, but as I did not have so much to do, decided I might as well sleep in another hour until 0500, which I did. I think having a shower at this time of day is a good idea; wakes one up and leaves on feeling clean for the morning, if not for the rest of the day. Today had not so much work to do, and spent a while writing up a sorely neglected diary, and then writing out a program to calculate correctly the vales for yesterday's wind tunnel experiment. Early in to the Uni and managed to get on the computer - in the time scheduled for maintenance, and was happily messing around (and making a right cock up) when Mike came along, approved, and asked for a tape, and then suggested that I get a subroutine out to calculate the drag force exerted over the surface of the thing, murmuring about Simpson's rule and other mumbo-jumbo, and suddenly I realised that my program wasn't complete after all.

How many times since have I discovered that?

Couldn't do anything then, as I had process principles, and so left it, and in to hear Ron Shearn going on about processes involving chemical reaction, etc., and then off, having been given a handout telling us, inter alia, that tail gas had nothing to do with monkeys with gutrot. Then thermodynamics, where he tried to teach us partial differentiation (as opposed to ordinary differentiation?), and after that back to Crossmead for a lunch that was not worth the trouble, and then a letter from Sonny, which I was unable to answer immediately, and then back for this afternoons seminar, which was a bit of a farce, and I got myself tied horribly in knots - I think I am going to have to face the fact that, advanced as my maths may be, I am just no longer capable of solving simultaneous equations. I am going to have to learn to think again.

After that, hung round the computer for quite a while, and finally, after Jess Jaworski had spent a hell of a time working out lots of Runge-Kutta integrals (whatever they are), finally got my drag force stuff worked out, not without a lot of further messing around. Back to Crossmead, had makan, and once again to bed almost immediately thereafter.


Wednesday, 11 February 1970 Exeter
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Up yet again early; this is getting to be rather a habit, though I must confess I don't mind it much, as in any case I am getting some work done. Went on with the program for the Wind Tunnel experiment, and got a suitable result for this, then up for breakfast, which was terrible - Tilly must use different eggs from other people. After breakfast, scraped the ice off my car and to the baths for a swim. Then, having knocked my time down to 45,3 seconds over 20 lengths, to the Photocopy people to get a couple of plastics [?], as the one I had has mysteriously disappeared. Then back to Crossmead, found a letter from Sonny,

Another one? Or is this indicative of being so far behind with the diary that I had forgotten the dates?

and started a reply to that before going back to maths.

Maths was more complex numbers, and after that had Ben Ritchie further on the subject of engineering economic systems, then to lunch (first time for a long time with Dave Snell) and back to Crossmead, intending to have another lunch, but it was so terrible that I forewent it. Then to my room to finish my practical writeup, and in the middle of that arrived John Edwards with the news that he was going to start up his car to see what sort of noise it would make, and so out, and sure enough it was big end rattle, and so we quickly got everything going, and apart form a bit of messing around taking an oil pipe down to Jock Furgeson, spent a fair time on it, and got one big end shell off by 1700hrs, though the oil pump is different on this thing, and so we could get it off (1" AF spanner?). Off for a shower, and then had makan, after which I felt pretty dead, and though I did a bit more work, went pretty early to bed.


Thursday, 12 February 1970 Exeter
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And again up at 0400, and more work (why doesn't this backlog get any smaller? But I am achieving something, at any rate). On until breakfast, and then once again had a bit of ice-scraping to do, and then to Transport Phenomena, after which again to the swimming baths - I am definitely improving, and today managed 44,56 seconds over the full 20 lengths - I shall obviously have to keep this up. In the near future I should be able to do all 20 laps without interruption.

Back to Crossmead, where awaited a letter from Bev, and read this while waiting for Dixon to come. Karen Schaedel [Sandy's sister, aged 18] has got married! (and just as well, with a surname like that [German “skull”]!), and a lot of other odd things have happened.

After that, makan, then to see Mike Patrick, who went on about Simpson's rule, and so decided I would have to put this into my program, though contrary to what Mike says, it looks very difficult. Had lunch, then back to Crossmead, and caught up on my computer program, and back to run it through, and got only so far - found that the DO loop had to be scrapped, and the thing which I had started would not return at the correct point. Most confusing.

Then engineering drawing, very complicated, and after about an hour and a half I got fed up and went downstairs, but although I had booked the computer, somebody else with priority was using it, and so off back home and went through the thing more basically, and decided I should have it right, and then turned my attention to other matters - why am I always so tired of late? After makan, Dave was having trouble with the clock [generator] on his computer, and so in to help him a bit, and as a result did not get to sleep until about 2200.


Friday, 13 February 1970 Exeter
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Why is it that activity is so unevenly divided across any considerable length of time? Sometimes I find I have done so little that it is scarcely possible to write anything worthwhile about it, and at other times, such as the present, I am doing so much that I have no time to write it.

Lately the latter mode has taken more or less over. Up today at about 0600, and did not achieve all that much in the way of work, etc., but it did take its time, and I managed (finally) to get my room looking a little tidier. Then into town to the Uni for more transport phenomena, and found myself once again with Sue and Marion, and I am beginning to wonder if maybe one of them is also, in a way, out for me.

I think they would have had to hit me over the head with a blunt instrument to make their point.

In any case, managed to get through that, and then had a seminar - fortunately nothing to hand in - and after that maths, but I decided I just couldn't manage that, what with the other stuff I had to do, and so set off home to have some lunch. On the way a bloke on a scooter pulled out and dented my door slightly, and we decided to settle it out of court (typical on Friday the 13th!), so round the corner to Pikes, and they gave a quote of £4··5··0 and a date of Wednesday, so back to get the money from the bloke, picking up Dave Powell on the way. Adjusted my handbrake somewhat (it had just about given up), and then back, with a practical for somebody, to work my program through on the computer, and by about 1400 had managed to work all that through, and for a while helped Ben Ritchie, who has only just learnt FOCAL, and was, naturally, having a bit of trouble.

Then to the Ganges and had one of their 5/- lunches (which cost me 9/-; moral: don't drink beer), and then, feeling a lot better, back to do my chemistry practical, which was a matter of working out enthalpies of neutralisation, and finished there by about 1615, and back to Crossmead, where I did little until supper, after which did a bit of practical writing up, and discovered that my computer program was up the creek, and so, pissed off, at 1850 back to the Uni, to see if I could reload the computer, but found Ben Ritchie, Pete Muir and a few others there, and had to wait my turn. Mick Cook came after that, and so I debugged a program for him, then to the Duryard [residential hall] disco, where I saw nobody I knew apart from Wolf, and in due course left again and back home, early to bed.


Saturday, 14 February 1970 Exeter → Southampton
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Up round the 0930 mark, just too late for breakfast, and spent a long time getting dressed, not helped by the fact that I had almost no pants without splits down the back. There was no mail of any great interest, and so I returned to my room to contemplate the day ahead, and was interrupted in this by Martin Hoyle, who came on some technical query and invited me up to his place for coffee, which turned out to be instant (but then it is only F block who make any quantity of real coffee). After that, though I had proposed to do some wok on the car, thought better of it and decided to go to Southampton instead.

Set off thus, and picked up a sailor hitching to Portsmouth on the way through Heavitree. The journey passed uneventfully enough - the weather was good, for some reason the traffic was not very heavy, and so I made quite good time. Pulling out a filling station, saw a Transit van with an incredible amount of smoke belt past, and set off in pursuit, but never found it. Maybe it evaporated.

Arrived in Southampton about 1340, and Jim and Sonny had just had breakfast, so joined in. Shortly the McGibbons back and engaged in a somewhat farcical Valentine's day gift routine, and Sonny produced for me an electric toothbrush from Mum and a book (21st birthday present) from Auntie Gloria, entitled “Melbourne”. Interesting. Sonny is very cut up, as may be expected, about Bev, and spent quite a while telling me all about it.

Did little in the afternoon - into town to buy some bulbs for Sonny and a pair of pants for me, and back to replace sonny's throttle cable. Then inside, cleaned up, and Sonny prepared a slide show, inter alias of this year's Thaipusam in Singapore, with some quite extraordinary photos, including a sequence of a fellow having his cheeks pierced by a 1.5 cm diameter spear.

Presumably something like this, which I took a couple of years later:

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That really fascinated the McGibbons, and Mr. pulled out a National Geographic about Malaysia in 1963, and found a photo of Tun Razak looking at an FLDA model which Dad had made (and hung about at length in one of our houses).

Then the others to bed, and Sonny and I up to watch “The Blue Angel”, very good for an oldie.


Sunday, 15 February 1970 Southampton → Exeter
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Up later, round the 1015 mark , after the McGibbons had left for the day to go to London, and down to prepare some breakfast, which was all Sonny and me. Thank God I don't have Jim to contend with in accommodation sharing!

Then out and washed Sonny's car, more than slightly in need thereof, and also did a bit of messing around with the rear light clusters, and cleaned my glass while I was at it. Then Sonny decided to clean the inside as well while he was at it, and I off at this point back to Exeter (2 hrs 17 mins) [marginally less than Google Maps in 2017], and arrived in mid-afternoon, Weather still good, and so decided to clean the car, and was in the middle of this when returned Chris from somewhere on the moor, and so showed him Sonny's manifolding, and it was too much for him, so Sonny looks like taking this lot back with him when he goes back to London from here.

Then too see if the washing machine was working, which it was not, and so to my room to contemplate further action, which activity (or lack thereof) was somewhat curtailed by tea, and up for that, and back to my room to attempt some maths, and got the first 2 out, but none of the others, and, consequently depressed, having already gone once to bed, got up again and went down to the Cowick Barton for a drink, and back up again, still could not do the maths, and so to bed, where I lay at length in a more than slightly depressed mood.


Monday, 16 February 1970 Exeter
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Woke up somewhat late today, and then in for a rather late breakfast and back to come back to life, still (strangely) feeling somewhat depressed. Managed to get to the Uni for second period, and was promptly surrounded again by Sue and Marion. Why do I prefer Sue to Marion? Marion is definitely more my type - but I don't want her. Much uproar when my pants (bright cyan bells [bell-bottoms]) were seen, and I had an offer to swap them with Marion for her blue stockings, but I thought we might have bit of trouble doing that. Then to Phys. Chem., my second this term and the last of the series, and after that had lunch and back with Martin Hoyle to Crossmead, and read this months Citroënian, arrived today, in which there was not of a rally for club members, which I might attend; Sue said she wanted to do some navigation, so I might get her to navigate; after all, it is really more an outing than anything. Then to lunch, but felt already sated, so back and into town with visions of buying a 6H which I had seen advertised in the Citroënian for £20.

Then to the labs, where I gave Mel my other writeup and was promptly slated - I should have left it in German. Have aerofoil sections this week, nothing much on the experimental side, but Mike says nobody has yet calculated the correct values for the drag, lift, etc. Did a bit of flow chart stuff in the library, and ran off a program on the cylinder stuff for Andy, and then hung about for a while before leaving with Pete, and found a flat tyre on the way - other side on the front. Changed that, then off home and, after supper, to the flicks to see “Women in Love” (after D.H. Lawrence) which greatly impressed me, and I may even see it again. Then, as it was snowing, off over the moor, where I had traction problems, and so back to change my tyres, and had a hell of a job (as usual) and eventually gave up and went to bed.

Changing tyres was meant literally. I didn't have enough spare rims, so I had to remove the old tyres from the existing rims and put the snow tyres on. And they were really too large for the rims.

Tuesday, 17 February 1970 Exeter
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And so to half-way through the term! How does time manage to get through itself at such an incredible rate?

To the Uni for Ron Shearn at 1000 this morning - I find his classes one of the more interesting ones, and certainly seem to pay more attention than many. If only these lectures did not last so long, what with the immediately adjoining problems class. In any case, today he gave us a bit of information about the bubble point business, and included something to do with calculations on a computer, and so had a chat about it with him later. He had a Telcomp program for the calculations, so I offered to translate it [into FOCAL-69] for him. Then had lunch, and, as it was too late for Thermodynamics, back to Crossmead, where I did little through lunch, and in the afternoon thought about getting some work done so that Sonny would not have to hang around later this week while I did it. That took up a goodly length of the afternoon - where does time go nowadays? - and then set down to do my engineering drawing, which effectively disposed of the rest of the afternoon; I must confess, I prefer doing drawing here to at the Uni, and I am sure that the drawings look better for it.

In the evening after makan, Tim Coleman approached me and asked me to stand as joke candidate for social sec., which I did with a platform of moral purity, no women in Crossmead, free transport to church on Sundays, etc., much to the amusement of all. Decided, just for the laugh of it, to put it to the vote, and then back to spend more of the evening working.


Wednesday, 18 February 1970 Exeter → Tavistock → Exeter
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Up round 0920, and took the car down to Pike's, on the way suffering a flat tyre, and had to replace it with a snow tyre. Then left the door at Pike's and back to change the tyre, with little success. Along to see what Dixon had to say for himself on the subject of complex numbers, all somewhat confusing but nevertheless rather interesting, and then up for more of Ben Ritchie - got my pen back from him, which he had taken last Friday, and then to hear more about the function of monopolies.

After makan, to a tyre dealer across the road from St. David's station, and put my old tyre back on, then ordered a couple of 155-380 XAs's,

It seems that I still hadn't learnt that a 155 wide tyre was too big for the car. I had already experienced this over a year previously.

and back to Crossmead. After lunch, observing Sonny not having arrived (I knew he wouldn't, but it annoyed me nevertheless), wrote up another program and off to the Uni in the hope that the computer might be free; it wasn't, of course, and in the meantime I found that my tyre was going flat about as quickly as before, and so back on went the snow tyre. Mike Haddon was on the computer, so helped him with a bit of debugging, and then back to hang around for a bit longer, before going to Pike's and picking up my door (just in time, too; it started raining almost immediately I did), and left without paying, as they were so slow.

After makan, back again to see if I could get on the computer, and found Bill, Ken and another bloke hanging round with an empty computer, so tried to load it for them, and eventually succeeded, but the other bloke had the time, and so off again to contemplate my frustration, and eventually with one snow tyre with a slow flat, across to Tavistock via Ashburton in 45 minutes from Peamore, which I think is something of a record.

The Peamore Garage still exists, though I'm not sure that it's in the same position. I'm relatively sure that it was at the end of the Exeter Bypass, now probably the end of the M5, but this map puts it on the A379, about 500 away on a side road. In January 2017, Google Maps gives me a time estimate of 60 or 61 minutes (the page, to which I can no longer link, contradicts itself).

Then to the Normans, spoke at length and picked up the Pilotes [Michelin cross-ply tyres] - I wonder how the bomb will handle with them on. Home, late to bed.


Thursday, 19 February 1970 Exeter
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Up late this morning - as a result of my slow flat last night, I knew damn well that the tyre would be flat by this morning, and as a) I had got late to bed last night and b) I had no particular desire to change a tyre before setting off for an 0900 lecture, I decided to miss it, and woke up just before maths, so after a bit more messing around, decided to do something about the tyres, and put the Pilotes on the back and see how the car handled them; pumped up the tyre, and down to Briggs, where they put the Pilotes on without recognising them for what they were; after all, they are pretty rare nowadays, and the fellow who saw them actually said “Ah, the old pattern of X's”, so the chances of the police noticing anything amiss are infinitesimal.

In the days of cross-ply tyres (which most tyres still were), there were two rules about mixing them with radial tyres:
  1. Only one kind of tyre per axle.
  2. Cross ply on the front axle, radial on the rear axle..

I had broken the second rule, deliberately, to see what the handling would be like.

Then into town and did a bit of shipping, after which to the Ship for a schooner of sherry, which, once in a way, is an excellent good idea. Then to the Uni for lunch, after which back to Crossmead for my drawing instruments, and back for a session of dimensioning our drawings, which was a bit of a waste of time, but I was one of the first to finish (as usual), and after that met Martin,

This must have been Martin Hoyle, a Chemistry student.

and suggested he come along and watch while I do what work I had to do on the computer, so back to Crossmead and picked up my stuff and back to do my work, which did not do too well. Also up to see Prof. Lacey to see if he could sign my passport application and then back down again, where Mike Patrick had been telling Martin to mess around for all he was worth. In the middle of working out my program, John Boyle came along with a similar comment, also a bit more info on what was coming with the Fortran pack, and then I got down to my work without any great success, and eventually along came the same bloke who was here last night, so reloaded FOCAL for him with the functions he wanted, and off back to Crossmead, just in time for makan, after which I once again contrived to waste an evening.


Friday, 20 February 1970 Exeter → Honiton → Exeter
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Up for the usual this morning, without making any violent effort to wake up before setting off for the Uni. There, for some odd reason, Sue gave me the impression that she was studiously ignoring me, though she did nothing different from what she usually does.

If one approach doesn't work, try another?

Then more Mel, and he is now going on about radiation, about which he obviously has a few doubts himself, and so there was quite a bit of discussion.

Then break, and managed to secure from Sue a quantity of notes which she had apparently been carrying about an hour for this purpose - wish I understood that girl. Seminar with Mike, spent, as ever, deriving equations - seminars with Mike are just like tutorials with Mike on a larger scale. Couldn't stand the thought of maths - room 4 gets me down quite rapidly - and so into town, shopped, and back to Crossmead; still no luck with the XAs's, and I am beginning to wonder whether I shouldn't just get zX's. Then back and sat on the front steps of Main Hall in the sun, talking to Dave Whitmarsh. Then saw lunch, and back to the refectory again for lunch there, and then bought the County Gazette and back to Crossmead to read it. Was joined by Martin (dammit, Western Times, not County Gazette. This is Devon, not Zummerzet),

It wasn't the Western Times either. That stopped publication under that name in 1950. Maybe I meant the Western Times & Gazette, about which there is even less information online.

when I discovered there was an auction in Honiton this afternoon, and so off, hastily disposing of all the stuff in the back of the car, and bought a couple of tables, a cooker, crockery, cutlery, iron pressure cooker, all for £5 - I was particularly pleased at the cooker, for which I only paid 10/-. Managed, with a bit of difficulty, to get everything in into the car, then back to Crossmead and had makan, and then to the Uni and on the computer, and was soon enough displaced by the other bloke, who is here every evening, not that my own program was doing too well, and so left it and to the Ram for a drink, then back to Crossmead to do some work.


Saturday, 21 February 1970 Exeter → Bow² → Exeter²
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Up later than intended this morning, and in due course rang up Mr. Steer, and told him that I would be coming out this morning. Then up to get Martin out of bed, and after that off to Bow cross-country, Martin navigating somewhat erratically, but we got there without loss of way, got the key, and then to the house, where we unloaded the stuff, and examined what was there; floor covering is going to be a bit of a problem, but fortunately there are not many windows which will need curtains, if any at all; I wonder where I can get cheap carpets.

Then to Rosemont farm and got the rest of my stuff, and took that to Comp cottage, then quickly back to Crossmead, somewhat to Martin's discomfort, as he had no seat. Arrived 10 minutes late for makan, and after makan I discovered to my violent annoyance that I had left my wallet behind (or at any rate, it was missing). Accordingly swore violently, loaded a whole lot of stuff into the car, and off to Peamore to get some petrol,

I wonder why I went there. It was several kilometres in the wrong direction.

and then out to Bow, where despite much looking did not find my wallet, so got down to putting everything together, and while putting the bed together found my wallet. Sat there discussing what to do to the place for a while - as I rather suspected, Martin wants to come out here. I am not too keen, but have not said anything either way. If only he would change his socks! And clean his teeth! Maybe I was once like him (but it was a long time ago), but that does not make that sort of thing any more tolerable. Then back to town, bought a magazine and some Gaulois [Gauloises], and back to eat a quantity of Martin's crumpets. Then had makan, after which talking to Dave Powell about steam engines and petrol engines pretending to be steam engines (like single-cylinder 30 litre jobs). Then did a bit of work, later had some coffee with Dave and to the Ganges for a bite to eat. Later found my Gualoises missing, swore yet again violently, slammed and broke the door. Confusing. Late to bed, and lay awake contemplating once again the idea of an operational computer [i.e. one that controlled “operations”] for Comp Cottage.


Sunday, 22 February 1970 Exeter
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Slept well in this morning - I hope, when I am in Comp Cottage, that I will not spend this much time in bed (sleeping, anyway). Got up only just in time for lunch, at 1245, and apparently continued looking somewhat the worse for wear for quite some time. Back down to my room after that, and, going out to the car to help Wolf with a bit of problems that he had (like driving into a kerb last night and buggering 2 tyres), saw this Eamonn bloke who had the Light 15, only this time he was in a Ford Popular; as I had some time ago expected, the Light 15 had given up the ghost, apparently clutch failure. Finished off with Wolf, and also oiling my door hinges (though I am not sure that these ball and socket joints need much oiling), and off with Eamonn to have a look at his car, and it indeed looked in a sorry state. Unfortunately, could not get much of a look at it, as the bloke with the keys had gone off to play football.

Back again to Crossmead, and tried a bit of program writing for a while, until I was due for a phone call from Corinne, and, as I had half expected, the little bitch did not ring up. After a lot of waiting, rang up, and they said they would look for her. Then, 10 minutes later, rang up again; she had been out for the say, or something, and the result was I blew about 8/- talking to her (why couldn't she have reversed the charges?), and ruined makan into the bargain. Back, and spent a goodly period of time examining various notes of Sue's, and trying to do maths, etc., and got a bit fed up and went off to the Ganges for makan, and then back again, shortly to be greeted by Chris with the exhortation to examine his new (like hell) VW, which honestly was in worse condition than I expected - there is something definitely wrong with the steering, and I have seen many better paint jobs. More work, then to bed, but once again could not get to sleep (not surprising, considering what time I got up)


Monday, 23 February 1970 Exeter
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And another week is up on us - if only I were able to keep up with all the nothing that is happening here! But if I were to go to bed and get up at more reasonable hours, a lot of my problems would be solved, and I would obviously have more time on my hands. After last night's late night, felt extremely disinclined to get up for an hour of Dr. Lang droning on about whatever it was to be this week, and as a result, apart from an interruption by Dave to enquire as to whether I was going in or not, slept until nearly lunch time, when the thought of a Tilly lunch typical of this stage of the year sent me off in a hurry to the Uni refectory, where I had lunch, then over to see if I could get my hands on the computer, and had just finished loading a tape in when Pete Hillier and Bill (who?) came along and wanted to use the machine, so gave it up as a bad job, and off to tell Mike Patrick about my plight, and then hung about looking at the V-notch weir before going off back again to town to get some stuff, and back to see how things were with the computer, but as usual the thing was fully booked, and so back to Crossmead to contemplate the old inns of Devon, and drank coffee and ate Emmental cheese with Chris while discussing which one to visit. Then rang Jim up and discovered that this weekend was definitely off, and so pissed off, to makan.

After makan, went round to borrow some notes from Sue, as well as take back the last lot, and somehow contrived to spend 1½ hours there talking to her - I wonder what her attitude to me is. She was certainly showing one hell of a lot of leg; maybe I should do something constructive about it all.

Quoth he on the way to hell.

Back then to Crossmead, and discovered to my annoyance that Dave and Chris had gone off without me, and so off alone to the Nobody Inn for some Camembert and Guinness. Then back, and was having coffee with John Edwards when enter Chris to ask for an opinion on the backfiring of his VW - most amusing, probably valve trouble.


Tuesday, 24 February 1970 Exeter
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And on, life as hectic as ever - why can't I get on top of my work of late? It is beinning to worry me, and I only hope I can get a bit better under control of my doings by the time the vac comes.

To the Uni early this morning to see if I could make any sense of the computer program for the aerofoil, and then in with Ron Shearn for Process principles, though I was hardly his shining blue-eyed boy this morning, yawning my head off all the time. To add insult to the injury of my having entered the class with a raging thirst, he decided against a break, justifying this on the the grounds that, after all, most of us had turned up late. Finally got a drink of water before thermodynamics, which was considerably - then Ron's ideas of fugacity, etc.

That's what I wrote. It looks like I dropped something between thought and paper.

Sue was in a fuming bad mood, something to do with lack of break, but doubtless unenhanced by my failure to bring her thermodynamics notes with me.

Then to lunch, after which I felt so dead tired that I decided, Process Principles Seminar or no, I would have to go and get some sleep this afternoon, and so back to Crossmead and woke in the order of 1620, and down to Okehampton St. to see what the Exeter auctions are like. Then back again, having decided that tomorrow I would be better off going to Okehampton, and then hung about until makan, after which once again over to Sue's, and found Pete Hillier there with her - is he going out with her? I must confess, he suits her much better than I do, and I honestly don't know if it would be fair to even attempt to take her away from him. Took him home when we went - he, too, is feeling a bit fed up. Home to Crossmead, did little.


Wednesday, 25 February 1970 Exeter → Okehampton → Bow → Exeter
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Up comparatively early this morning for the day's auctions, though not early enough for Tilly's usual uninspired breakfast. After a bit of floating around, and noting there was no mail, scraped the residual ice of my car and went off in the direction of Okehampton, and arrived only just after the beginning of the auction, and picked up, in quick succession, a fire for 1/- and a wardrobe for 15/-, but was not able to get any reasonably cheap paraffin fires - it is amazing the sort of price they will fetch. I shall obviously have to accept the fact and pay a bit more for them. Then people started selling a surprising amount of small junk, and I decided I could give a look in the auction in Okehampton St., Exeter, and so off thither, where things were selling at in the order of twice the price, and was just walking out, absently looking at a rather attractive bird, when said attractive bird burst out “Greg, what are you doing here?”, and upon still closer examination proved to be Simone Baudouy (yes, still Baudouy). Mrs. Baudouy was also there, and is now looking rather older - but then, it is all of 8½ years since I first met her. God, what a long time I have been hanging out in this neck of the woods. They were delighted to see me (as usual, as I used to append), and invited me out to see them some time in Lustleigh. Then off to the refectory, and back to Okehampton, where money started to flow more freely as I bought a 3-piece bedroom suite for £7.50, and a kitchen cabinet shortly thereafter then another table destined for working upon, and then went really mad and bought a suite for the living room costing £11, though the auctioneer had expected to pick up £30 for it.

Then out, and, after a bit of asking around, rang up Andy Perryman and asked him to come along and help me move some of this stuff, and back to wait for him, bought a couple of rugs, going cheap, and then Andy arrived, and we started loading stuff into the horse box, while I waited for them to get to the fridges, and nearly picked one up for £2,50, until some official busybody came along, offered £20 for one and bid £14 for the other, so I had to bid £14,50, which pissed me off somewhat.

This was still before the British pound went decimal. The notation was presumably for my own convenience.

Still, it is a rather fine device, so I can't complain too much. Then off across country and unloaded all the stuff and sat there a while trying to dismantle the wardrobe before Andy (who expressed a desire to move in me) went home, and I off to Okehampton to pick up the table, which I had left behind, and took a chair round to a woman up the road, and got 5/- for my pains. Then took the stuff home and on to Exeter, getting lost en route and running out of petrol 100 yds before I got to a petrol station (downhill).

It's rather hard to understand what routes I took from Okehampton to Bow and on to Exeter. The normal way was a relatively main road.

In town, off to an orchestra practice, but was sent to Nightleigh [building on campus], and could not find it, so off to see Sue, and Pete was there again to take her to a party. Spoke to her a while on the subject of depression, and then home.


Thursday, 26 February 1970 Exeter
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In as usual to transport phenomena, except that I could not find Dave, and then back home again, and decided I could not manage to go to maths, and so hung around in Crossmead instead, first reading the magazines, and then attempting to get my computer program sorted out, which in itself was by no means a simple job. I am always left, after sorting these things out, wondering whether they are worth the trouble or not.

Carried on thus until lunch, and then, with a thought as to what Tilly's lunch would be like, into town and bought various odd requisites for the place, and spent a considerable time looking for suitable eiderdowns, and discovered that Continental jobs cost in the order of £17:10:0, which is rather more than I should like to pay - I shall have to see if I can make do with a £5 english one, at least for the time being.

Then to Engineering Drawing, where Dr. Lee had very little good to say about anything, and gave us another of same to do, and that took one hell of a long time - even after he modified it so that we did not have to dimension everything, it took me until 1700 to finish it, only just ahead of Dave Snell. Then off into town, got some money, and home to Crossmead - after makan off to have a look at the computer and did a bit of editing, then took Bill and Ken along to the Chem. Eng. boozeup, and had a pint and a chat with Prof. Lacey, after which off home with intent to catch up on my enormous backlog of work, but instead went straight off to bed, intending to leave it until the morning. However, I was disturbed, multitudinously, first by an Alistair with toothache, and then, just as I was nodding off, by an Eamonn with big ends, and did not get to sleep until about 2430.


Friday, 27 February 1970 Exeter
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And to the end of another week; this term is finishing itself off at far too great a rate, and there are things which I really much catch up on: at this rate I shall spend the whole vac working. In any case, it will be a bit easier this time than last vac in the B² [Bed and Breakfast] place; maybe with a bit of persuasion I can get myself to do all my outstanding chemistry problems - if I can get all the filing sorted out.

In any case, this morning, far from getting up early to catch upon my work, I got up late and did not go to Uni at all, apparently with disastrous effect. In any case, spent a while in the morning trying to sort out computer programs (again! I wish I could get this over and done with), and then into town to get some more thongs, before going to the refectory, once again, for lunch, and then in due course to the chem labs, where I thought it prudent to do something practical about my work, and this took one hell of a long time, requiring 8 samples taken over 80 minutes. Mike Cook was doing it next to me and got completely different results, which was possibly just as well; Marion and Phil used the same (Marion's) results last week, and Phil got full marks, and Marion nothing for copying results - I gather Marion called the bloke concerned a cunt, which shocked some people rather violently.

Was misogyny in play in the allocation of marks?

Then packed up and over to the computer, and got onto that after a quick trip back to Crossmead, and got through an unprecedented amount of paper and tape, and after a couple of hours arrived Sue, Pete, Bill and Ken, and so let them loose after a rather amusing incident when I overloaded [overran?] the input buffer, and caught the program for same, atrociously written.

?

Finally, after a lot of screaming occasioned by Sue - I am coming to the conclusion I should let Pete have her

I recall this incident, but I thought it had happened much later. I was left wondering whether she did it for show.

- got mine to go through, and we all knocked off at 2145, and off to a pub for some beer, then back to Ken's room, and stayed there until about 0100, and then back, where it occurred to me that I had had no makan.


Saturday, 28 February 1970 Exeter → Bow → Exeter
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Up correspondingly late, and did a bit of messing round before lunch; to the Uni to see how Ken and Bill were getting on, and also got a copy of the program, which did interesting things like typing out “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY LOADED 'FOCAL, 1969' ON A PDP-5 COMPUTER!”. Then off, taking Ken home - Bill had gone on ahead - and then into town and bought some boards, and back to Crossmead just in time for lunch, and persuaded Chris and Martin to come out to Bow and help me this afternoon, and then off in 2 cars, and almost immediately Chris and Martin set to taking the cupboard to bits, and then sent Chris off to buy some bulbs and plugs, also some coal, though in the meantime one of the neighbours came along with some cement bags of coal and wood, and so we tried to get a fire going, without too violent success, as the wood was damp, but eventually got the coal going. Martin connected up the cooker, all of which works, though the large plate is cracked, and I set to putting up shelves in the study, helping Martin and Chris, who were a bit clueless, to get the cupboard upstairs and put it together again. Finally things were looking a bit better, we had all the electrics working, and the fire going, and so I brewed up some coffee with soapy water, not the sort of thing I shall do again in a hurry. Then off to the shop and bought some food, and cooked same - instant curry tasted lousy, but I can doubtless improve on that wen I get all my stuff out here. Then to the pub for a beer, and watched Martin and Chris play darts, then back again to Exeter along a cross-country route which may be faster than the direct A377 in a peak period - Martin navigated well. At Crossmead, had coffee with Chris, and, exhausted, early to bed.


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