Greg
Greg's diary
June 1969
Translate this page
Select day in June 1969:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
Select month:
1969 Jan Feb Mar Apr
1969 May Jun Jul Aug
1969 Sep Oct Nov Dec
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

This diary was entered manually from the paper original, mainly between 16 October 2016 and 25 October 2016. The tale of woe about my car repairs that was originally here now has its own page.


Sunday, 1 June 1969 Tun. Wells → London → Tun. Wells
Top of page
next day
last day

As a result, got up late this morning at round 1000, which precluded Sonny and me arriving in London as planned at 1200. In fact, after getting up, having coffee and entreating Jim to do something with Penny, we did not get there until 1300. Ruth also heard from me, but had nothing more interesting to say than that she wanted me to come and see a ship with her before it left for Grönland.

In London, once again had makan at the RCS - I am getting sick of that place. Then off to Baker St. with intent to see Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium, both of which I found disappointing. I have heard so much about the realism of the Chamber of Horrors, and in fact found it more than a little mundane. Some of the figures are admittedly lifelike, but none are frantically scaring, and were I to believe that a reward were offered for staying there overnight, I would most certainly take it on. Quite a few of the others were realistic, though some of the political figures were not very lifelike - Yehudi Menuhin has surely not got half as many scars as that, and John Kennedy looks nothing like the original, to name but two.

Then on, none too soo, to the Planetarium, where it was all very impressive, as far as it went, which was not very far, and they showed nothing of the moon landing attempts which I had expected.

This was a week after the completion of the Apollo 10 mission, so the expectation wasn't unreasonable.

Then off and dropped Sonny at Knightsbridge, and on to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Had a look round there at the Persian rugs and Chines jade, the latter more impressive.

I didn't mention it, but this makes it clear that my mother had come along too.

Then out and back to the RCS, where we had makan, and off to see “Oh, what a lovely war”, which was nothing of the sort - in fact, more than anything, I found it amateurish, and I am still baffled as to why so many people flock to see it when upstairs “Skidoo” was as good as empty.

Then dropped Mum at the RCS, and back to Tun. Wells. Whatever is wrong with my car, it is getting wors - I rather suspect the inlet manifold is leaking. Home about 2345, and hung around talking with Sonny for a while.


Monday, 2 June 1969 Tun. Wells → London → Southend → Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up at 0700, and almost immediately off, deciding in the process that taking the Old Grey Mare cylinder head with me would be too much of a problem, and so left it behind. It took me 2 hours to get to London, and the car was not idling well to boot. As a result, I was in no good mood by the time I arrived. Mum was, however, surprised to see me so early, obviously not knowing how little time we had at our disposal. Had a rather less than mediocre breakfast upstairs, and then I went round the corner to the Strand to look for a book which Mum had offered me, called, appropriately, “Cars, cars, cars, cars”. Back again, and Mum was just about ready, so prepared everything , loaded things into the car, and after about another 20 minutes we were off, only about 10 minutes late. However, I had misjudged the time it would take me to get through the East End, and by the time we were nearing the outskirts of London it became evident we would have to belt to make it by 1130. We did not; I kept my foot down all the way, slid round the far too numerous roundabouts, and kept up an average of about 70 [mph, i.e. 110 km/h] - the car had decided to be good, and kept up 80 mph [125 km/h] for long stretches, and I passed a hurried Jag and Rover, much to their astonishment.

And for once my mother didn't complain about my driving style.

The car was idling OK in Southend, and I felt a bit better. Got there before Ja'afar, and had a moment of panic before he arrived, but eventually all was well, and Mum got off OK.

This was at Southend Airport, where she caught a charter flight back to Kuala Lumpur. I don't recall the details, but the plane had mechanical problems, and it took her a week before she was finally back in KL.

Then back, picking up a thumber on the North Circular - chemistry student working in Bournemouth - and on to Slough [location of Citroën UK], where the car was idling beautifully, so scrapped my idea of complaining and bought some parts. Exchange engine is obviously out at £250, though I was offered a clapped 3CV engine, bored out to nearly 800 cc, and belonging to the same bloke Nigel told me about some months back (27.I.1969), for £10. Could even be interesting. Fellow told me where I might find the bloke, and I shall see what I might arrange.

On, dropping the fellow a few miles from Bournemouth, and picked up a couple of Yanks - boy and girl. The girl was a Southerner, very nice, and kept making eyes at me in the rear view mirror. Wish the bloke hadn't been there. Dropped them on the Exeter bypass, and on across the moors to Tavistock, where I saw Bev but not the Andrews, and she took me to the Norman's with the suggestion that I spend the night there, which I did, and Bev stayed quite a while, too. I apparently have been volunteered to get Mrs. Norman's 1100 back on the road after 2 years disuse.


Tuesday, 3 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up round 0800 at Peter's wakening ths morning, and down to have none too appetising a breakfast - the Normans are without doubt a very pleasant bunch of people, and it has occurred to me, now becoming interested in women en masse for the second time, that Sarah is quite nice, but I feel that their hygeinic standards are rather low. After that, off to pick Bev up, and found her just having had an argument with Mrs Andrew about me - this latter considered it the most ridiculous thing and a personal affront to have such a disrupting influence as myself present when Bev was taking her exams.

Thinking about it, that's quite understandable. What was I doing there? Just because she had had an appendicectomy? I don't really understand it either.

Bev was quite upset about it, and had to go and pour her heart out to Mrs. Norman (who must be invaluable) before she felt any better. Then into Plymouth with Bev, Sarah and Suki (is that how one spells it?), and dropped them at the library. To Halfords to look for a torque wrench, and found quite a nice one, ratche type with covered scale, extensive use of plastic, for only £5:16:0, but unfortunately the range was too high. On further looking around, I found the classic Britool model for about 10/- more, with a range from 10-50 ft lbs [1.4 - 7 m kg], which just about allowed me to get my first torque of 1 m kg by guesswork as much as by interpolation (I think the scale goes non-linear). But why the pin which so easily gets lost? Bought quite a few other things, too, including a compression tester, which might provide a few interesting figures.

Back in Tavistock, found Mrs. Norman unable to start her car, owing to an only too obvious leak at the mechanical fuel pump. Tightened it up, but she left it, as she had already arranged to go with her sister-in-law. Then set to checking my compression—most heartening thing that I have done in a long while: compression of 110 lb in⁻² is considered excellent, as opposed to 50 poor, but mine was 175, which would seem to indicate a cr. [compression ratio] of about 12,5:1. I am still trying to puzzle this one out, but think it might have been the temperature. Then set to torque the heads down—as I suspected, they had not touched them. Torqued them both down to 2,5 mkg, and then started the thing up—was somewhat astonished to find that the thing did not blow by, though of course it was the obvious cause. Also found that they had stripped the thread of one of the inlet manifold bolts, which is an equally obvious reason why the thing had been stalling—must do something about that soon.

Looking at this month-long tale of woe, I'm left wondering what Criterion did to the car. I delivered it to them with the engine partially dismantled, and about all they did was to stop it from spitting back through the carburettor, presumably by changing the contact breaker and condenser. But that took them 2½ weeks!

On the other hand, it seems that I was all too quick in forgetting the damage I had done four weeks before: it was I who stripped the thread, as I mentioned at the time.

After that, went looking for a place to change my oil, but still could not get the nut off the gearbox - must do something about that soon. Changed the engine oil, then in to pick the girls up. Eventually found them waiting for a bus, and so took them back to Tavistock, only to find that Bev had left her books behind, so back again to Plymouth to look for them, but to no avail. Eventually back, very late, but there was no sign of Mrs. Norman, so Bev thought she had better go home, although she had been invited for makan. Mrs. Norman arrived just as I was cooking some spaghetti, and thinking about Sarah's possibilities - the first thing I would have to do would be stop calling her Dinah.

After makan, watched TV and read, as well as carrying on a sort of conversation with the girls. They are all a bit wierd, but that obviously stems from the mother. Late to bed.


Wednesday, 4 June 1969 Tavistock → Exeter → Yelverton
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up again at about the same time, though a bit later to pick Bev today, and back for Bev to have a chat with Mrs. Norman, although the necessity was no longer there. Then off, once again, into Plymouth, with Bev and Sarah, the latter sitting in the front - is Bev off to something? Has all this been arranged? I wouldn't mind if it had been, but would like to know about it. In any case, dropped them at the library as yesterday after picking Bev's books up from the police station, and off to Exeter, giving a lift to a bloke who proved to have spent the last 12 years, up to 30.V.1969, in Dartmoor prison for the murder of his wife and lover, in Leicester Square with a taxi.

He claimed that he couldn't drive, and stole the taxi on the spur of the moment, crushing them against a wall. I had my doubts at the time, but if his story was correct, then a jury must have believed it.

Poor bloke - I really felt sorry for him. The way he spoke, he seemed more a victim of circumstances than anything, and now here he was, 50, a broken man, with 9d and a change of clothes to his name. Felt sorry for him, and would have given him a couple of quid had I had it on me. Then in to Dunn's, where I arranged to have my car greased (speedo and clutch cables), and thus solved my parking problems as well. To the bank, where I got a cheque book, cover, book about money at the Uni and the news that, as a student, I need pay no bank charges. Then to Property Seekers, where I discovered that Mum had got the wrong end of the stick about the Town Living property, and that things were not as rosy as they seemed. Asked him to negotiate further, and then off to the Empire Grill to have lunch, after which to the Uni and spoke at length and achieved nothing of any positive value - I do not look like being eligible for a grant, and getting a place in a Hall might not be too easy, which, combined with the affair about Puddington, does not look too rosy. I wish that Mum would remember her original reason for buying a house, so that I would have a place to stay when I was at Uni.

Off, thinking again about twin-engined Bijous, and picked up my car, and off uneventfully to Plymouth, where I picked up Bev and Sarah - the latter does not have a very fantastic profile - and back to Tavistock, where we stayed doing nothing at length before I decided to move out, which coincided with Bev wanting to go home, so both off, and after dropping Bev I found a nice little B and B [in Yelverton] for only 15/6 a night, albeit only for 2 nights. Off to Tavy after that, got into a conversation with the Jet [petrol station] man while ascertaining that I had done 48,6 mpg [5.8 l/100 km] on the last run, without unduly sparing it. Then off to Upton Cross to remind myself of the days gone by, when Lesley and I were lovers - home, and depressed to bed, very tired indeed.


Thursday, 5 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on goes life, for what it is worth. Old bag came in this morning at some unearthly hour, and I took quite a time coming to. Eventually got up and had a quite substantial breakfast - this place is pretty good - and then off into town to see if I could get myself a hole in my inlet manifold (OK, so I have a leak, but that's not the point.). Edmunds took one look and said they didn't have the die, and so down to the Abbey Garage, where they didn't have any dies either, but said that they could do it with solder if I couldn't get Carr's to do it for me. Carr's couldn't, and so back to Abbey, where some bloke came to the conclusion that th inlet manifold was some soft/light magnetic alloy, and used the adapter to tap itself in, so all I had to pay was 5/- - though I could have done it myself any time. Ah well - now to get the oil pressure guage going.

Then up onto the moor, observing how low my vacuum insisted on staying, and there had a go at connecting my headlight flasher relay, which was somewhat frustrated by my not being able to find any wire, and so back into town to get some, and then spent a while outside Plaisterdown camp wiring everything up, including the panel guage light. Then picked Bev up, to a transport café for a snack and then dropped her at the school and up to wash Mrs. Norman's car for her. That completed (and it was no easy job) I set to work on my own, and washed that, after which I went mad with the green aerosol and finished it half way through the spraying of the new door - which at least looks green with pink blotches now, instead of pink with a green blotch. Then into town and bought a small matt black aerosol, with another large on order, due to arrive tomorrow. Came back and sprayed the inside of the door with this - it really looks good, though I hope it won't get too hot - and after picking Bev up managed to finish that off as well, and spent quite a while debating with all and sundry about whether I should paint most of my radiator grille matt black, and eventually decided for. Took it off, and delaminated it (3 parts; front 3 horizontal bars, centre expanded aluminium, rear fly mesh), and cleaned up the rear two parts, putting the front back in again - should look good when I get it finished. Then took Bev home and off myself into Plymouth, passing the 25000 mile [40,000 km] mark in Tavistock - how time (and distance) flies!

40,000 km in 7½ months or 232 days. That's 172 km per day. Writing this in October 2016, it corresponds to the distance I have driven since April 2008, 8½ years ago.

In Plymouth, had fish and chips, and then saw All neat in black stockings, very good. Home, had some tea, caught up on my diary and went to bed.


Friday, 6 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And life goes on - I am convinced that after not at all too much of this I would (and in all likelihood will) become bored to tears. Up as usual, and along to pick Bev up and take her to school, after which I headed into Plymouth looking for a few small bits and pieces I needed, mainly concerned with (finally) getting my manifold leak fixed up again. None of this took very long, and I was soon back outside the bed and breakfast place, where I discovered I had altogether the wrong bolts for the job - they were both too long and too wide. After a bit of thought, tapped on into the stripped thread, and then chopped the head off, made it into a stud, and bolted it down. After that, all it seemed to need was a bit of messing round with the mixture and the throttle controls, and suddenly it was working again. Down, feeling a bit better, and was joined first by Sarah and her cousin James. I must be getting rather fond of Sarah: until I knew James' relationship to her, I was getting quite jealous of him. That wouldn't do anyway: there are far too many people floating around the Normans' for that to be safe. Then a Mr. Bond joined us, very interested in the car, which I was tuning. Up after that to the Norman's, where we had lunch, and that in itself took a while. In the middle of it all, down to get the paint I had ordered, which had not arrived, much to my curses, and so back up. Before too long, it was suggested that I go down again and try, in German, to buy some doughnuts, and so down, with a full car, and had a bit of fun at that.

I was lucky enough to be able to park directly in front of the shop so that the girls, who would have been recognized, could stay in the car and see (but not hear) what was going on. In fact, things went remarkably smoothly. After all, you can point at cakes.

Then James thought it might be an idea to look at the wiring on the 1100, so gave him a bit of aid at that, while also doing something indeterminate to my own car - decided to, once and for all, clean the thing out, which I did fairly effectively, taking everything out and not replacing it until it was considerably cleaner. In the middle of this, a black spaniel which would have delighted Eugene Phoa's eyes came along and made itself comfortable on my carpet (or was it itself a car pet?). Eventually got everything back in, and then James left, with the 1100 wiring exposed, and said he would see me tomorrow. After a while, Bev thought it prudent to return to Grimstone, and so took her, later seeing the 2CV that belongs to the French mistress, which I have been seeing everywhere lately. She looks quite nice. Then had makan, did a bit of reading, and back and to bed.


Saturday, 7 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And again up at a similar time, and off this time to the Norman's, to find people anything but ready for the journey into Plymouth (whither I have been going far too often of late), and had a considerable wait before we got moving. Eventually set off, however, dropping Bev, Dinah and Sarah at the library, and myself, almost by force of habit, to Halfords, where I bought a 12×13 [mm] box spanner. Then looking for a 14×15, which I found at Lawsons, and bought, though, as I later discovered, it was too large to remove the fanbelt pulley (which is obviously the intended means of access to the contact breaker; with the right box spanner the fan and pulley would be off together in under a minute. Then found a second-hand book shop, where I bought 5 old magazines for 6d apiece, including the Motor Show issue for Earls Court 1955, at which the DS19 was announced - surprisingly poor coverage they gave it, though I gather it was not the first mention of the car. Then down to the Firestone accessory shop, no good, so tried to buy a compass from a marine supplier, who referred to me as a landlubber to my face, which rather amused me, but was not averse to selling me a compass - if he had one. Then to the Marquee, where we had arranged to meet, and had makan, after which I discovered that the girls had intentions of staying the whole day, so arranged to meet them at 1630, and off back to Tavistock and the Norman's. There I finally got hold of my dismembered radiator grill and sprayed it with the paint I had found in Plymouth, and then did the inside of the rear doors as well. I was rather disappointed with the grille - the effect is anything but obvious, and could easily pass unnoticed. Then sat down and read the magazines I bought this morning, and along came the blokes who had apparently been working on Mrs. Norman's car before I came onto the scene. Went into Plymouth then to pick up the girls, and while I was there saw a broken light 15 there, which gave me the idea of leaving him a message askin if he was interested in one of mine. Then home, where the blokes had got the pump on the 1100 going, and then the whole car, though they were thrashing it a bit. Only snag was the dynamo, which was not charging, and so we took it out and tried to get the back plate off. This was not at all easy; I broke my Citroën issue screwdriver, but with all our attempts we only managed to get one screw out. Then Bev decided she wanted to go to some party tonight, so she rang up Mrs. Andrew and gave some excuse, and after makan we all set off to Yelverton, only about 100 yds. from the place I have been staying at. The party was lousy, and at the first opportunity I set off with Dave Rodgers to show him the Old Grey Mare, in the hope that he would buy it. He was interested, but also pissed, so decided to leave it for the while... When we got back, the girls all wanted to leave, as the party was so lousy, so off home and played cards all evening.


Sunday, 8 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up at around 0830 this morning, mainly as a result of the landlady's nagging. Still, it was indeed a morning too good to resist, and I even rather enjoyed the two solitary boiled eggs I got for breakfast. Then up on the moor with a book I got from some source at the end of my time at ICI. Story, 1 of 3, was called Orange Wednesday, and I sat up on the moor, in the car, reading it, until the thing was, rather unsatisfactorily, finished. One thing about the angle and construction of my steering wheel is that it makes an excellent bookrest. Then down into town, as much to get out of the wind as anything, and had thought of going down to the Norman's, but it occurred to me that they might think I was inviting myself to lunch, so decided I had better go elsewhere. Would have gone to the Forest Inn in Hexworthy, were it not for the fact that I had just come from there, and so instead went on an equally long detour to Plymouth where the place I was looking for was closed anyway. Eventually had something at the China Garden Restaurant - I get all confused with these Mandarin names (or whatever they are; Hokkien? Cantonese? or something again). Then back to Tavistock and to the Normans, where I rather defeated my aim by arriving before lunch was served - even though I had waited in Yelverton for a while, and seen Penny, who had waved madly upon recognition. At the Norman's, I was joined by a rather inquisitive Timothy, and proceeded to measure my compressions again, and only got 110 psi, which rather puzzles me. Then, after lunch, inside and about, and somehow spent a great deal of time doing very little. Was again rather impressed by Sarah wearing a rather brief blouse - nothing exciting, in point of fact, but either because of the novelty or the fact that it was Sarah, it made a difference. Did a bit of reading, then, as time advanced, I thought it might be an idea to get out before I infringed on evening time, though I rang the bloke in Plymouth before I went - he seemed interested, but disinclined to pay £15 for the thing.

If this was the Traction Avant, I can't blame him. It sold for £10 when it was running, and now it had multiple issues.

Had a frozen T-bone steak in Yelverton, then home, losing a spanner en route, and read all evening.


Monday, 9 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And now Bev's exams begin in earnest. To make everything all the more confusing, my landlady did not wake me up this morning until 0820, with the result that I did not have time to have breakfast before going and picking Bev up. Took her to school, though first she wanted to go to her dingy little transport café, where we had tea, then I dropped her at school and went back for breakfast.

After breakfast, I headed back through Yelverton and up onto the moors. Stopped somewhere convenient and read on, now a book called “The Deep Silence”, about a nuclear submarine, and quite good from what I could make of it. Spent quite a bit of time like that, then to the Norman's, where I found James, who expressed interest at getting the dynamo of the 1100 overhauled, and so took it down to Carr's and got them to loosen the bolt, and then up again, and cleaned the commutator, and then the poles of the magnets and armature, and put the thing back together. Then down to pick up the girls, who had anything but enjoyed their exams. Up to the Norman's, where we eventually had lunch, by which time we were joined by Penny and Cathy, and also ascertained that the dynamo still was not working. Then James had the brilliant idea of measuring the brushes, which were below the danger level, so off to Carr's again and changed same - hell of a difference in length. In any case, after getting all that in, it still did not work, but by this time the dynamo was sparking away merrily, so took the top off the regulator and poked about, which finally dd the trick, so elated inside, where everybody was sitting around reading. Read out some ancient horoscopes, and in the process discovered that Sarah's birthday is very close to my own - 2.X.1951 (well, time of year, anyway). Did not really surprise me - I am more surprised when girls I am keen on are not in some way related. But she is young - younger than Vicki, and almost the same age as Jan Peters, whom I once considered almost unacceptably young. The thing is, it does not seem so obvious this time.

My recollections of her were that she was only a little younger than I, not 3 years younger. But of course that relationship changes with absolute age.

I do like Sarah, but I, as usual, don't feel like rushing it. At least she is more mature than Vicki.

Then Bev wanted to go home, so took her, and came back to find Mrs. Norman gone, and thought that Sarah had gone with me [sic], which somewhat put me off, as she knew I had wanted to come to the quarry too (and, say what such as Bev might, I do believe she has some interest). In any case, all was well, as she had not, and we all went later, only to find a cloud of dust, and so we went off up Kitt Hill, and there had a look at a couple of old quarries before going down to the one where Sarah was.

No, I don't understand either.

Chased them back home, and then got some petrol, and spent the evening there doing nothing very exciting, before going off to get my fish and chips and go home, to read and to bed.


Tuesday, 10 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on goes the monotony - as time goes on, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that I am spending too much time at the Norman's: it is either that or the moors. This morning I went straight after breakfast, and arrived to find Mrs Norman's mother wanting to know whether it was worth rubbing down her A30, which needs a respray, and I pointed out that touching up the paint would be of more use. Sarah was apparently about to leave for an exam, so I offered her a lift down, which she accepted. I am getting rather fond of her, more all the time .... I know where this is going to lead me, if I don't do something. After all, I have been here over a week now.

Back up to the house, bringing with me some flushing oil in an insecticide tin, at the somewhat ridiculous price of 6/- for about 5 pints (2½ litres). Wish I could run the car on it. Got the 1100 started, warmed up, and then discovered the sump nut had siezed solid, and had a go with all things, including the torque wrench, which indicated that it was done up tighter than 60 lbs/ft, so down to a garage, where a strong armed mechanic loosened it up for us. Up to drain and flush the engine, then put a gallon of GTX in and off to see how the thing was going. It is in good condition and will doubtless pass the MOT. I rather like the gearchange, which I got used to very quickly, and am astounded at the suspension's capability of ironing out cats eyes and cattle grids, though I am wondering if this is not really the difference between C41's and Michelin X's. Back to find Mrs. Norman gone, apparently a little worried that I had gone out in it - worried about my being caught. Then I went off and picked Bev, Penny and Cathy up, and we all went (again) to the transport café, then I dropped them at school and back up to face Mrs. Norman's wrath, followed by the family history. Managed to break away from that long enough to go and get some money, and buy some airletter forms. Also decided to take a driving test, as my license expired on the 2.VI, and got forms for that. Back up to find Mrs. Norman gone, and so hung around for a while until it was time to go and pick everyone up. Bev came up too, but declined to stay long, which somewhat annoyed me, but this time I came back, which Sarah seemed to have been expecting. I wish I knew what she thought at times. Then was rung by Paul Widdup about the Old Grey Mare, and so arranged to meet him at Yelverton at 1945, and up there accordingly and took him in the Ami to Grimstone, and showed it to him. He knows his stuff: he found the drive trouble - spline on the brake drum had had it, and the camber on the other wheel proved, though [sic] my theory and his observation, to be a broken wishbone. I almost feel like doing it myself now; it should not take too long, and he can sell me a wishbone and find me a brake drum. Then off, had makan, and home to an early bed.


Wednesday, 11 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And again Bev had no exam this morning, which makes all this getting up early in the morning rather pointless. Made no bones today about getting up and going straight over to the Norman's, where I found Sarah the only person around, her mother apparently having gone to the doctor. Accordingly prostrated myself before the sun-god, the weather being truly delightful, and before long was joined by the object, Sarah, of my desires, wearing shorts and brief blouse, and who proceeded to lay herself down in such a position as to expose herself considerably to me - but then Sarah is prone to do that at the best of times. I wonder if she is in some way sexually frustrated, as could well be the case - the only problem is how to exploit it.

Read on for a while, finished “The Deep Silence” and began “The Coördinator”, while Sarah expressed her surprise that I was not reading about cars. Eventually time crept up on me, and I set off, Sarah declining to accompany me to pick Bev up, to find somebody in the process of tarring the drive. He admired the car, but effectively blocked same with his lorry, so down by foot to pick Bev up and hear from Mrs. Andrew that this bloke might be interested in the Old Grey Mare. Asked him to have a look at it, and then off to take Bev to school, and then to the Queen's head, where they have draught lager, and had a ploughman's lunch with a quart of it, which quenched my thirst somewhat. Then up to the Norman's, who were out somewhere, and so went to sleep in the sun, waking up with sunburn on the unexposed side (back), and then observed a tree appearing to me like a wattle (proved to be laburnum), which 2 events so startled me that I thought I had better write and tell Sandy Schaedel about it all, as well as my futile/non-existent relationship with Sarah. In the middle of this arrived Sarah and mother just as I had to leave to pick the girls up, which must have charmed everybody concerned. Did not stay up there as long as usual - Bev wanted to get back and do her work, or something, and so took her home, and then back to the Norman's - Sarah apparently expecting this. Why do I not do something constructive about this? Is it my shy nature, or what? Does Sarah feel the way I think? What the hell? Watched TV for a while, messed about for a while, and am certain that I achieved nothing of any practical value. Set of at about 1930 feeling a bit crook, and so head off in the direction of Barnstaple, had makan at a grotty little place in Heatheridge [Hatherleigh?] that reminded me of Kestrels, and was not licensed at a time when a Guinness would have done me the world of good, and then on, decided even Torrington was too far, so turned back, through a place called Sheepwash were [sic] Sarah apparently was the other day, and decided my shockers were worn out. Must get Dad to authorise some Konis. Home during a nice sunset and soon to bed.


Thursday, 12 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on - life becomes monotonous, and even the thought of romantic involvement with Sarah fades as so many similar ones before it, and will soon be gone if I don't do something about it.

As ever over to the Norman's after breakfast, to find Sarah still in her nightdress and having breakfast, so off outside and sat down for a while to contemplate and finish off “The Coördinator”, as well as to sunbathe, the latter being the only thing I achieved with anything approaching efficiency. Sarah came out after a little while and said something, to which I replied, and then lay down about 10ft away from me, as always. If only I were a little less shy or could make any advancing action seem plausible, which they most certainly do not at the moment. In any case, after a while decided to go within, where I found Sukey and (by this time) Sarah, both studying. At least I can still have a conversation with Sarah about nothing, which is doubtless a good sign. Comparing her with Dinah, thought, I am gradually coming to the conclusion that Dinah is better looking, if not as interesting otherwise.

Off after a while to pick up Bev and, while I was at it, Cathy and Penny, and took them all to school for their English, and then, after a bit of looking about, again to the King's Head [Queen's Head?] for a ploughman's lunch, and then back up to the Norman's, where I did a little bit of adjustment on the car, which has got itself into the stalling habit again, and then in, where I somehow found myself in a long conversation with Mrs. Norman again. I think, were I never to have heard the idea from other sources, I would nevertheless eventually come to the conclusion that women talked more than men - or at any rate, held monologues. The result of that was that, instead of spending the afternoon in the sun or some other pursuit, I spent 2 hours talking to Mrs. Norman on subjects which I have already forgotten. Then down to the school and picked up a large number of girls, and up again to the Norman's, where Bev stayed longer than usual. Card playing was, as ever, rife, though I also watched Sarah doing a few sketches - she is very talented at graphic art - and then took Bev home, wondering why Sarah always sits with her legs apart. Back again soon late, and watched TV for a while, a thing that I seem to be making a habit of - finally off, noting that Sarah seemed just vaguely disappointed. Then bought some fish and chips at a place we went to after the Asia trip, and there they remembered me, after all that time - amusing. Ate my fish and chips on the moors, and then home and, as usual, to an early bed.


Friday, 13 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

If the days continue to get as dull and wasted as this, I shall obviously have to switch back to writing my diary the same evening instead of the following morning, as I am doing now - I think my memory has improved to the point where this latter is feasible, and it places things in a better perspective thus.

So why change?

After breakfast, to the Norman's, and met James, and was just in time to take Sarah to her exam. James came as well, with the result that Sarah sat behind. I think it is already too late. Then back, noting on my return that James had left in the car the work he had intended to hand in. Sure enough, he was soon up and working on it again, and then after a while I headed off to pick up Bev, who seemed intent on spending today at the Norman's - fair enough, I do it all the time. Stayed thus, and did little - Mrs. Norman went to Leigh, and left us on our own with Sukey and Thomas Blanchard. Took Thomas to school after lunch, and then adjusted my brakes as best I could, though I suspect this is as far as some of them will go. Used Paul Widdup's jack, which, though not much for for the OGM, is perfect for Ami - much better than the standard issue, anyway. Then back to the Normans, and Bev said something about wanting to learn to drive, and so down to the Post Office and finally got a form for a provisional license, as well as a few other things. Then up on the moor, where Bev acquitted herself fairly well, and subsequently back down again and bought some underpants, though I could not get any singlets, so off to pick up Sarah, who got out of her exam late, and then up to the house to find Mrs.Norman complaining of a breakdown a couple of miles away, and off with her to find the fuel pump once again disconnected. Tightened it up, and all was well. Home, where once again everybody played cards - I am getting sick of this, and am frustrating myself in Sarah's presence, when I could possibly be doing something about it - I must be becoming a coward. After taking Bev home, I got Sarah to wash my shirt for me while she was doing some other stuff, and then all in to watch TV, and ended up with Sarah, Dinah, James and me all sitting on the sofa and fighting. Oh, I wish I had the initiative. Reminds me of something Mrs. Norman was telling me this morning, about blokes from OBS having to jump 20ft [6 m] into the Dart in flood at the end of the course - some take up to ½ an hour to pluck up the courage. I must try that, though somehow I feel it would be easier than Sarah. I must get her alone again sometime.

Then took James home to Leigh, and had a bit to eat at the same time, while he rather proudly showed me round the original 10th Century house, as well as some 20th century bikes which are giving him trouble. Then back to Tavvy, got some chips and steak pie, and after eating, home to bed.


Saturday, 14 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up again as usual, with a monotony which gets me down, and up to Grimstone to pick Bev up, after which we went straight into Plymouth. Bev made some comment on how early it yet was when we arrived, but we somehow managed to waste time in a most efficient manner. It occurred to us that it is Peter Norman's birthday on Monday, and so decided to buy him an Airfix model, whose choice (a James Bond Toyota GT) took some considerable time. After that, and the ensuing search for paint for the thing, we went to the second hand bookshop I visited last week, and bought a few more things. After that, bought some card and (collector's) stamps, and to the Coöp, where I bought some after-shave, blades, singlets and a pair of sunglasses, and met Bev outside, and proceeded to Bewlays, where after a suitable wait the Normans arrived. Had some coffee, tea, etc, as well as water for a perverse Dinah, and then discovered there was yet more to be done, so I set off on the search for a head gasket, and was side-tracked into a music shop, where I was moved to buy an Adler treble recorder and a copious supply of music, which put me slightly out of pocket insofar as it used up my last cheque. Then to Lang's, the Citroën dealers, and ascertained that they had no head gaskets,

This must have been intended for the Traction Avant The Ami 6 did not have head gaskets.

and then up to the house, where I examined Mrs Norman's A30, which had been flooded this morning, but which started this time at first go. Inside, where I produced my recorder and proved myself to be magnificently out of practice, though Sarah was suitably impressed (well, somewhat). At last I am with her on her own terms - good a graphic artist as she be, she can play no musical instrument. Practiced for a while, while others did other things, and then people thought it would be rather a good idea to go to Milton Abbot and see the school fair there, which we did, with considerable entertainment. There was a fortune teller there, who told me I was a musician, and that I should compose music, that I would come into the money, and that I already knew who my wife would be. Lesley? Or a lot of bullshit? (more likely). Then sat in the blazing sun while little kids pranced all over the place in front of us, after which we consumed an inordinate number of sandwiches and went back to Tavistock. After a while, Bev thought she had better go home, so took her, and then went searching for Dinah, who was not yet back and causing her mother some worry as a result. Didn't find her, but at Yelverton gave Paul Ross a lift back to Tavistock, and in return got an invite to a party. Up to the Norman's, where news of the party had already arrived, and Sarah and (returned) Dinah were going, so took them down and then floated around, playing a recorder I had found. Was rather disappointed to see Sarah and Dinah leaving at one point - I don't suppose I could have expected Sarah to stay for my sake, but it did rather hurt me, and about 15 minutes later I went myself, to have another steak pie, and go home, feeling decidedly depressed.


Sunday, 15 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up at about 0900 hrs this morning - this place is beginning to depress me - and after breakfast down to the Yelverton roundabout, where I waited some time for Paul Widdup, but to no avail - after 10 minutes lateness I headed into Plymouth to see if he had broken down en route, but saw him not, so rang him up and was told that he was on his way. Then, just as I was once again having trouble with the engine stalling, he appeared out of a side road, and so I set off and he followed me to Grimstone, where it became all too evident that there were a lot of things we did not have: apart from a general dearth of nuts and bolts for the cylinder head, there was also no water pump or fan, and also he had a few parts he needed, so we went back into Plymouth and got them, and then out again, while I tried to work out how to hold the water pump to the cylinder head without a gasket and with one bolt, two cylinder head studs and two BSF nuts which were too big for the studs. Eventually got some Heath-Robinson arrangement going, and then all was plain sailing as I put the head on, etc, until I discovered that there were no, but no bolts for holding the manifolding on, so gave it up as a bad job, and decided I would have to wait until I got my head down from Sonny. Then decided to give it up, as Paul was having an equally impossible time with the stub axle, and put everything away and went, I to the Norman's, to find them just about to go to tea, and so was just about to clear off again when they discovered the A30 would not start, and so I took them out to Leigh myself, and then came back and had a look at the horrible little Zenith [carburettor] that the car had, and found Dick Measures [?] there, mortally insulted because they were not at home. Fixed the A30 up, and then took Dick down to the petrol station so he could thumb to Yelverton rather than come in, and back to read for a while, until it occurred to me that it was 1830 and I had not eaten all day. Consequently to Yelverton to change into some clean clothes and have makan, and then off to Leigh to pick the Normans up, and got sidetracked into a game of tennis between Sarah and James, which ended up in a bit of dung flinging by Sarah (alisa Hu Flang Dang), and then in to watch a somewhat soppy film starring Cary Grant and otherwise grotty. Home round 2200 hrs, and had a bite to eat while I showed Sarah (who shows a natural aptitude) a few things about the recorder. This might get me somewhere. Then a long conversation with Mrs. Norman and Sarah, while everybody else went to bed - left at 0040, convinced that Sarah must have some interest, to stay up and talk so long - now all I have to do is tap it.


Monday, 16 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on - little difference to report, except it be that I am heartily feeding myself up of this place I am staying at, especially as there is never any hot water available in the morning. Along in due course to the Normans, where I didn't do anything of much interest, be it talk momentarily with Sarah when she was not upstairs getting dressed. Eventually, after spending some time at the eternal jigsaw puzzle, off with Sarah, who in the meantime had arranged with Penny to take her into Plymouth with us, off with Sarah to pick up Bev and Penny, and then into Plymouth, where I was landed with the job of taking back a toy for Peter and some underpants (no, I think they call them briefs) for Dinah. The first revealed another toy (3D noughts and crosses) in worse condition than before, so got them to look for another, and went off to change Dinah's knickers, and back and eventually got a better toy, so then to the marquee, where Bev, Darah and Penny already were. Had lunch while waiting for kill [?], and then back to the bus station to take some passport photos of Sarah. Notice that Sarah kept walking with me and a little away from the others - suits me. Why don't I do anything about it? Must get her alone again sometime. Then left Penny, and the 3 of us off again window shopping, and eventually bumped into Penny again, and so off to put some of Penny's shoes in for repair and return some 2 month overdue library books for Bev. Then home, where we worked on the jigsaw puzzle for a while, and then took Bev to school to see Mr. Hill, and Penny home, following Mr. Hill all the way, so back to pick Bev up and to the Normans, where Peter was opening all his birthday presents. Had a bite to eat, then proceeded to waste an evening on jigsaw puzzles, etc. Max Capon and Noël Griffths came along, both very familiar with Sarah, and she with them, again distressing. Why the worry? It is all my own fault, like another repeat of the Ann farce. I fear I am degenerating into a neopubic [?] shyness. Mark contrived to lose his keys, so had to short his ignition with a bit of wire, which worked quite well. All late away. Saw him before I got home, as I was coming from the car, but he did not notice me.


Tuesday, 17 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up again and later, as it was so miserable without, and after breakfast went off to the Norman's. There Sarah was still in her night clothes, and did not get out for quite some time, though we carried on a conversation for a while, while she absolutely insisted on cleaning out the Guinea pig's cage, which entailed my going out into the cold and damp to get some grass, much to my annoyance. The trouble is, she has discovered she can push me around, and is revelling in the thought.

The off to pick up Bev. On the way back, at Caseytown cross, a car pulled out of the Whitchurch road and straight across, although he was making a left turn indication, and I could not miss him. Turned out to be a Doctor Findlay, Bev's Doctor,

At the time there was a popular TV programme called Dr. Finlay's Casebook. It's not clear whether the present doctor was Findlay or Lindsay, as I called him later.

who insisted in the face of evidence (a hastily produced Highway Code) that one did not have to give way at dotted double lines across the carriageway. Pinched his keys at one stage while trying to encourage him to stay, but eventually gave them back to him and into town to the police station with a couple of soldiers. Back out in a police Minivan and the bloke had a look round, and spoke to the other bloke, while I inspected my damage: the right front wing, front fairing and bonnet are all buggered, and the bumper will probably need changing as well. Things could be a lot worse: all the affected parts were to be beaten out in the near future, and now I will get new parts free of charge. In fact, the rest of the car (except the door) is quite clean, and I might even be able to do the door pillar on it. Fortunately, the engine was not touched, and so back to the police station, where Bev and I both made statements, and eventually up to the Normans at 1310 - the accident happened at 1130. Told them all about it there, and in return got a not very nice opinion of Dr. Findlay, and lunch. Spent the afternoon messing around with my recorder and showing Sarah how to play same, with quite promising results - especially in a non-musical sense, when she blew and I fingered. Then took Bev into school, and fixed up my lights at Carr's, having a total short in the foglight circuit in the process, but fortunately the only damage was to one of the wires - the switches are all OK.

I don't think the car had any fuses at all.

Picked Bev up, and bought some more wire, and there was given an opinion of Dr. Findlay by Carrs, also hardly favourable. To the police station, where no further news of his insurers, and so up again to the Normans. Soon took Bev home, and back to the Normans, and before I knew were I was, I was given makan, which I thought was very nice. Then along came Dave Rodgers with a Martin Griffin and a Triumph Herald convertible, about which they wanted advice, which flattered me. Had a look at it, decided that it would be OK if he removed the wheelspacers, and inside again, where both rather distressed me by their familiarity with Sarah. Am I just plain old-fashioned, a Blaustrumpf as Ruth would say, or is Sarah a tart, or what? I wish I knew, but it kept me awake a long time after going to bed.

Nearly 50 years later I still can't make up my mind.

Wednesday, 18 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on to the second batch of Bev's exams, and with it the (short-lived) hope of getting alone again with Sarah - all this conditioned by the fact that I was so distressed by Martin's attitude towards Sarah last night, and more especially her response to him. In any case, with intent of doing something more definite about Sarah, off to pick Bev up and take her, via the Norman's, to her exam. Took Sukey down as well, with the result that, when I came back, I was alone with Mrs. Norman and Sarah. Had some coffee, and then played my recorder for a while until Mrs. Norman left and went off to see some female friend or acquaintance about something long forgotten, and I tried to do something with Sarah, who, I noticed, had gone to some lengths to beautify herself, and was wearing one of her impossibly short skirts. But she almost avoided me, as she has been accused of avoiding other blokes. Is she playing hard-to-get, or what? I wish I knew, but it more than slightly frustrated me, especially when she suggested I do something to silence my recorder. Then she sat down and read 1984, and the next thing I knew, old Mr. Blanchard was here with a friend, thus putting an end to anything romantic.

The afternoon went without any great incident - went down to Carr's to find out about insurance, but all I could do was to discover that, in fact, I should make the claim through my own insurance, which all seems frantically odd, though this was confirmed by General Accident about the thing. Back to the Norman's, where we did nothing of very great interest - took Bev home early and spent the rest of the day feeling slightly frustrated. Somehow managed to arrive home fairly late, despite everything, including being chucked out by Mrs. Norman.


Thursday, 19 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And another exam for Bev in the morning - I can't help thinking that she got through her 'A' levels more lightly than I - and so up to pick her up, and take her and Sarah to the school, then to Carr's, where I decided to present Mrs. Norman's 1100 for its MOT, and up to tell Mrs. Norman about it. She seemed to think it was a nice idea, and so I took it down to the garage and got them to go over it. Was rather disappointed that it failed, but at the same time considerably astounded at the thoroughness with which the test was carried out - it is definitely equivalent to the German TÜV, possibly even slightly tougher - though quite possibly a lot depends on the tester, and admittedly these people did not check the condition of the brake linings. Got quite annoyed, however, when they said that the dust cover on the l.h. universal joint had given up the ghost, and that this would fail it, and it was not until Mr. Carr had shown me one of the joints that I appreciated the problem, as there was no means of lubrication. Took the car back to Mrs. Norman, who was considerably less disappointed than I was, and then off to pick Bev and Sarah up, the latter having thereby finished her schooldays, although the matter did not seem to weigh very heavily with her. Did not have lunch, so I thought I ought at least to partake of a ploughman's lunch at the Queen's Head, and this I did, and then back to find the budgie dead, and so down town and bought another, mainly because Sarah looked so upset. Got that over and done with in due course, and then took Bev and Sukey to their last exam, and back with intent to spend another afternoon alone with Sarah, this time amply spoilt by Dinah and Ann, so that again no sparks flied. I think I shall have to invite Sarah out some time. Picked Bev and Sukey up in due course, and then up to the Normans for a while. Mrs. Norman returned, and apparently thought it extremely kind of me to buy a new budgie - maybe it was, but I couldn't stand seeing Sarah there, about to burst into tears. Took Bev home, and then back to watch TV. After a while, Bev rang up, saying she wanted to go out and have a drink, and so I decided to go, though I really did not feel like it, but once we were there (Queen's head again), rather enjoyed it. Spoke, inter alia, about Sarah, and came to the conclusion that she needed to be needed, which was more or less my own conclusion. Up then to find the place swamped, and Penny and Mike having some sort of a contretemps of which I was prime benificiary - I think I might go out with Penny later on in the year. Then home, again late to bed.


Friday, 20 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up early this morning in preparation for the trip to Exeter, and immediately over to the Norman's with Bev, and found a considerable state of confusion in progress (or regress). eventually discovered James ready, and persuaded Sarah to stop prancing around in her nightie, and got her and Sukey ready, but it was a long and tedious process, and we wasted the best part of an hour. Down then to the post office, where Mrs. Norman got some money, and set off on the A384 [where's that? A386? The A384 is on the other side of Dartmoor.], when all of a sudden there was an ominous crash, I got out, and found my fan fallen off. Further examination showed that the fan pulley had sheared down the middle, which was obviously the cause of all my ticks and vibration - but why should it shear? In any case, it was obviously impossible to continue without a fan - it might have worked in a DKW, but not on much else - and so thumbed back in pairs - James and I getting a Mrs. [or Mr.?] Bassett in a taxi, who was also prepared to stop for Sukey and Mrs. Norman. Then to Carr's, where I did my best to hire a car, but they weren't very keen on hiring it to me because I am under 21, and in any case they had none, so got them to tow my car in and up to the Norman's, where we had some coffee and I fumed for a while before deciding it would be more advantageous to do a bit of recorder playing, and so I did, being presently joined by Sarah - I might just be going off her. Had lunch of a kind, and then went on, spending an almightily boring afternoon during which people kept coming and going, and I never knew where anybody was. Eventually, just as I was going down for some makan, they returned. Accordingly hung round for a bit longer, and then was going to go down for a drink, but instead ended up going down in the A35

Was this the car that I had previously called an A30?

to get some fish and chips. Came back to find Martin Griffin there and, as I suspected, making advances at Sarah - he irritates me somewhat in the blatant way he does it - or was I just jealous? Then down for a booze up with Bev and Sarah, but he came too and rather spoilt the atmosphere. Then he left and Ray came, and later took me home.


Saturday, 21 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up late this morning - possibly it was the thought of having to go by public transport that made me so reluctant to get up - but eventually made it at about 0950, and decided against breakfast. Out on the road, it was brilliant sunshine, conditions I have always considered lousy for thumbing, and today certainly bore this out; I waited 40 minutes and then caught a bus. In to Carr's, where Mr. Carr said he had heard nothing from Phoenix, who were supposed to have been sending an engineer; presumably Mr. Higgs with his cancellation of my comprehensive clause is at the bottom of this.

This appears to be the first mention of this. The conclusion is clearly incorrect.

Up to the Norman's, to find Bev and Sarah still in bed reading, so picked up 1984 and went downstairs to read same while Bev got dressed prior going to the Woodward's for lunch. Then got a briefing from everyone concerned (and everyone considered themselves concerned) about proper etiquette when going out for makan, including some rather obscure English habits of which I had genuinely not heard. Then off by bus, and as it happened it was only half so bad, and in fact the Woodwards were quite easy-going, if undoubted snobs. In any case, had quite a nice makan, and then in for a conversation with Mr. W., who offered me a slightly grotty dutch cigarillo, and proceeded to start up quite an intellectual conversation. Then into another room to listen to records, and read in an old Paris-Match about the merger between Citroën and Fiat, which gave some rather interesting facts about the history of the 7CV traction, including the fact that the first production models fell apart after 2000km (surely they mean the prototypes? the traction has, and even then was gaining, an unprecedented reputation for reliability),

In fact, the first version of the Traction did indeed have multiple problems. But I haven't found anything backing up the claim of them falling apart after 2,000 km.

and the manner of André's suicide, very interesting (gassed himself (?) while listening to Mozart).

According to Wikipdia, he died of stomach cancer.

Then Cathy took Bev home and dropped me at the top of Horrabridge Hill, which I thought rather mean of her, and so thumbed, and got a lift even before I crossed the road. I think I should add to my theories on hitchhiking one that one is more likely to get a lift if one is seen getting out of another car - marginally, at any rate.

To the Norman's, where I did little at length, and then off to Yelverton with the girls to Dave Whitmarsh's party (what a coincidence, eh?)

I went to school with Dave.

Along after a while in a pub, with Chris Tupple [?], Sarah's ex-heartthrob, and in to meet Dave, who has changed almost beyond recognition. Quite an interesting party - one bloke wanted me to drive his A35 to give him advice. I think I have made the grade - instead of once asking people to let me drive their cars, now people are asking me to drive their cars. In fact, I rather flattered myself by predicting the faults before I saw the car, and getting them all right - with the addition of very weak breaks brakes (isn't my spelling lousl lousy lately?). Saw Sarah and Chris in his van - obviously romance is aflame again. Then inside, while the owner of the A35 asked me about MOT's, and somebody else asked me if I hadn't been in the East African Safari in 1955. Drank a bit more and quite enjoyed myself, though some bloke with the patience of Job pointed out that if I didn't stop tapping his head with a hammer, he would smash me one.

I think the hammer in question was one of these inflatable toys that were popular for a while, at least in Spain. It looked something like this:

One thing that did hurt me, though, was the way Sukey reacted when, in fun, I put my arms round her. She obviously wished it weren't in fun.

My recollection was that she said “You don't know how good that feels”.

I might brighten her life by taking her out some time. After all, she is as much a woman as the next girl, and can't help her infirmities. Home by foot, wearing Dave Rodger's Che Guavera hat and carrying a hammer.


Sunday, 22 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up late this morning, as much because I had nothing to do as for any other reason, and then almost immediately off to the Norman's with the aid of an NSU Prinz 4, who seemed very fond of his car, and up to see how things were getting on. James, Jill and Noël were still there, having for some reason decided to stay the night rather than go home, and Sarah was prancing around in her nightie looking at one of my Sterns, and making some comment about what was on page 13. Then people thought about going, and on consultation with Mrs. Norman I discovered that they were likely to spend most of the day at Leigh, so decided to go into Plymouth and see a film. Accordingly down to the bus station to find I had about 40 minutes to wait, and so off to a place opposite the Queen's Head for lunch, which amply employed the time.

In Plymouth, had a look round and discovered that the only film at all worth seeing was Oliver!, and so in to see it, obligingly just about to begin. It was quite a good film, though I don't see how it managed to win 6 Oscars.

According to IMDB, it was only 5 Oscars. I wonder where the discrepancy arose.

The only thing I will say for it is that, for its length, it went by pretty quickly - or maybe one could point out that this as because it had no content.

Then walked idly through Plymouth, and before I knew where I was I was invited to join the Salvation Army in worship, which I did, though I regretted it; I didn't know any of the hymns, and the rest of the service bored me to death. Then out and had a bite to eat at the Khyber Restaurant, which is in fact Indian and had no Tanduri dishes available, so had a set meal, and then to wait an hour for the last bus, reading about Wales. Had a bath when I got back, and then Bev rang up to find out what we were going to do tomorrow.


Monday, 23 June 1969 Tavistock → So'ton → Tun.Wells
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up early enough this morning for Bev's sake, though Mrs. Edmunds did not seem to think it was very early, and with the bus to the Norman's, where Bev was not yet. Then rang up Phoenix and told them about my policy, and they sounded dubious, but said they would do something about it. In due course I rang them up again, and they confirmed that my policy was in fact comprehensive, but they had all sorts of other conditions cropping up (don't they always?) that I thought the best thing to do would be to see them, as I wanted to hire a car anyway. Accordingly, having ascertained that Bev was still asleep, into Plymouth by bus and to Notte St. to see the Phoenix, where I was told that if I did my work through them, I would have to pay a £40 excess, and would have to recover this from Dr. Lindsay myself. The only good thing I heard was that the AA would bear the legal fees if I had to sue him.

I wonder how well I understood the situation. My understanding is that nowadays in the United Kingdom, as elsewhere, the insurance companies work it out between themselves, and I would have thought that was the situation at the time.

It's interesteing to note that Dr. Findlay has become Dr. Lindsay. Was Dr. Finlay's Casebook somehow involved?

Then off to look for an 1100 to hire, but nobody had any, so gave it up and decided on an Imp which I was offered, though I don't know how we are going to get Bev's trunk into it.

Nor, indeed, what we were planning to do with it. Round about this time I lost track of Bev's movements, but I don't recall her being in the United Kingdom after my return in September. She had finished school and must have returned to Australia round then, so maybe this was the beginning of moving her belongings to the other end of the world.

Then all sorts of messing around getting money and cover notes, followed by a quick journey out to Tavistock - I like this car, though the seats are not up to much - and then disconnected the speedo (4d a mile over 40/day), and picked Bev up, and off in the direction of Southampton, where I arrived with a sore arse and got my insurance policy and certificate, and to the police station, where everything was agreed upon.

I don't understand what Southampton or the police had to do with anything we were doing.

Then picked Bev up, who had ben getting some makan, and off to Tun. Wells, arriving at 2105 to (eventually) find that Sonny had left at 2100. Eventually found Jim and Larry, astonished to see me in an Imp, and got into the flat, where we had to wait until 0130 before a very depressed Sonny came in - the expression on his face was one hell of a laugh. 3 of us slept together.


Tuesday, 24 June 1969 Tun. Wells → London → Tun. Wells
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woke up about 1030 after a rather restless night - God only knows what Sonny and Bev were up to behind me, and it occurred to me that I had arranged to meet Ruth at 1000, so got up pretty sharpish and went to pick her up. She did not seem very thrilled about the idea of coming back to the house - I think that she was afraid (and with good reason) that I might have decided not to go to London after all. As it was, got some coffee and bread, though she had none, and persuaded Bev and Sonny to show themselves clothed, and then started trying to think about what to do with the day. Eventually agreed to meet Bev and Sonny at Baker St. tube station at 1510, and then off with Ruth in the Imp. Arrived in London not all that long before lunch time, and so into the AA to buy an Autocar Handbook of cars, and then at Ruth's instigation across the road to the Swiss Centre, where we had an enormous quantity of ravioli for lunch, at equally high cost, and then bought a few magazines, including Stern, before it occurred to us that we had better get a move on for Harley St. if we wanted to make it in time for Bev and Sonny, and accordingly along there, and eventually found it - not exactly where I was expecting to find it. Bev had her examination, while Sonny, Ruth and I sat waiting in the Imp, and then Ruth and I set off to Emery's with one of Sonny's [cylinder] heads to get a new valve, and then had an argument with Ruth about what to do, and eventually conceded and ended up in Hyde park, walking along the Serpentine. Had some tea at a café, and then back to Tun. Wells, but stopped a while outside in a field, where Ruth seemed more willing and less inhibited than ever before.

Then back to the flat, where Penny had apparently not come for Jim, and he was none too happy. Took Ruth home, and then back, to find Sonny sleeping with Jim, and them having left me his room free


Wednesday, 25 June 1969 Tun. Wells → So'ton → Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woken up at 0845 by the door, which proved to be Larry, and a little later was asked by Sonny to take him to college, as he had a flat tyre. Then back and had a bite to eat before heading into London to pick Bev up, and then off. Traffic was a little better than yesterday, and I got there in none too bad a time, to be promptly pounced on my Dr. Kulesza, who is thinking of doing the Asia trip again, and was dong his best to extract all possible information form anyone who could help. Talked to him at great length through 2 cups of coffee, and then Mrs. Kulesza arrived, apparently none too pleased to see me, and promptly disappeared upstairs again. Eventually managed to get away, and off back to Tun. Wells, rather against my will, though I had all sorts of dire threats from Sonny and Bev if I didn't, so I really didn't have much choice. Got back about 1420, and left Bev with Sonny to go and get some lunch, as I was absolutely starving. Came back a bit later, feeling more than slightly at peace with the world. and then proceeded to remove various bits and pieces that have been floating around for months, and put them in the car. Eventually set off, Sonny on the verge of tears, and in the direction of Southampton, while Bev somewhat surprised me by asking questions of the technical aspects of cars, and so spent quite a while explaining handling characteristics, etc, as related to camber, engine and drive position, etc. Got to Southampton round 1800, and were given mkan by the Mc.Gibbons, whom Bev rather likes, and also had a chat with Big Jim [father] about testing of pharmaceuticals - he reckons that the Italians are in for trouble in the near future. Then back to Tavistock, making quite good time, and beat my best time from Exeter to Tavistock via Ashburton. Arrived at 2330, and to the Norman's, where everybody was in bed, but got up and put us up for the night, as well as carried out quite a long conversation in the kitchen. Accordingly late to bed.


Thursday, 26 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up more or less early this morning, and downstairs to say hello to Mrs.Norman, while I contemplated what lay ahead of me in the next week. Then Bev came downstairs and got me to take her home, which was OK under the circumstances, as I had to go to Exeter. Dropped her home, and then continued straight on along the moor road; but this time, on Mrs. Norman's advice, along the Postbridge/Moretonhampstead road, which is obviously the quickest way - despite congestion and the fact that I didn't know the road too well, I made it there in 41 minutes, as opposed to last nights record of 47 minutes and my previous record of 52 minutes - on the strength of that, as well as other things had heard, decided that Crossmead would be the obvious choice of hall for me, especially as it has plenty of car space.

Crossmead was at the top of Dunsford Hill, about 4.3 km from the university, but on the direct itinerary to Tavistock. It appears to have been demolished.

First to the bank, where I got a new cheque book and some money, and across to Property Seekers, where all hell had broken loose, and nobody knew what had been going on, especially as Mr. Sleigh had left the firm. Accordingly decided to have a chat with Mum about it all, and left it and up to see Dunn's and give them warning that my Ami would be in after Carr's had had their bash at it. Then to the Uni, where I had a bit of fun burning round looking for Northecote [really Northcott] Hall, but found it eventually, and again to see Miss Small, who told me that just about everything was in order. Off again, couldn't find the refectory [other side of the same building], and so to the Wimpy Bar for lunch. Then looked round town, bought a couple of magazines, and headed back to Tavistock, hitting fog between Moretonhampstead and Postbridge, which stayed with me to the outskirts of Tavistock. It infuriates me that, on a day such as today, where visibility was down to 50 m in places, that some people still drive without lights. At least I would expect such idiots to flash theirs at me with full beam, but no such luck. Then to Carrs, where they had the fan pulley, though not the fan, so got them to put that on. Off to pick Bev up later, but she had gone into Tavvy, so back to find the fan fitted, but no charge; subsequent checks showed that the alternator was not charging. I am sick to death of this car, and don't really want to see it again (well, not all that much). The point it, how do I explain all this to Dad? The Ami 6 is supposed to be one of the most reliable cars made - he will just put it down to bad driving or something.

I don't know where I got the idea about reliability. Maybe just compared to British cars, which had a particularly poor reliability record. But it's amazing how many things went wrong with the Ami. In this case, I suspect that the large number of powerful lights overloaded the alternator and burnt out a fuse inside, about which I didn't yet know.

Up in a filthy mood to the Normans, and watched TV after taking Bev home again - saw an interview with Exeter Uni students, and, of all things, me belting the Imp in the background - looked fantastic, and sounded even better. Later on in the evening, Martin and Dave arrived, and I took Dave for a quick burn. Then off to my bed and breakfast place, only to discover the room let, and so back with my barang to spend another night at the Norman's.


Friday, 27 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on goes life - at last return home is immenent, and as long as nothing goes wrong (unfortunately, by no means a foregone conclusion) we should be back at home this time next week. Up very late this morning, and only then because Mr. Carr rang up to tell me something about alternators, and so then decided I had better stay up, especially as Mrs.Norman had hopped in and smartly removed the sheets from my bed. Then went and pick Bev up, and went through a few more confusions trying to get some semblance of order out of the mess that has ensued since the car has been laid up. After a bit of planning up and around, discovered that the AA free legal representation was by no means as comprehensive nor as free as I had hoped. Then gave up and turned to some musical instruments, and a bit later Mrs. Norman invited me to stay for lunch, which I apologetically accepted. Then came the guests she was having, having been in Singapore for a while, and discussed various aspects of this with her for a while. Sarah and Jill also turned up for lunch, unreasonably annoying Mrs. Norman, and had to eat outside. Then off, at 1400, to see Dr. Lindsay, who was mysteriously not there. Wonder if he had another accident. To Carr's, with not much success, but got my Oscars off, and took the brackets off, then back up to the Normans and almost immediately had to take Bev home. Once back, looked round for a B&B place, and found a couple, expensive, in Plymouth Rd, and then did a bit of shopping for spices, etc, as I had decided to cook a couple of Malaysian dishes for the Normans this evening. Also confirmed a tiny (cheaper) room at one of the B&B places, and then back up again to prepare the dhall, and hung about for a while at a loose end. Eventually off to pick Bev up, and then back to cook the curry etc, and rather excelled myself, even if I say so myself; the ghee rice looked and tasted like ghee rice, the curry tasted more like curry than I have ever had it, though (or possibly because) I made my own curry powder with lots of grinding and swearing. I was not so satisfied with the dhall, but everybody else liked it. Then watched TV until late in the night, and back home much later than intended.


Saturday, 28 June 1969 Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Oh, when only finally get back to Malaysia - I am getting rather fed up of being here, or possibly it is only the anticipation of getting rid of some of my problems. Certainly I think I am becoming sufficiently anglicised to be able to spend a summer her [sic] without going stark raving mad.

Up this morning very late at 1050, and off almost immediately to the Norman's, where I said hello and hung around for a while hating the thought that I would presently have to get down to the sordid business of doing all my packing, which this time involves as much getting the stuff clean as it does putting it back into the case out of which I have been living these past 3 months (my God, is it really 3 months?) One thing is certain, which doubtless has a bearing on a question Sandy Schaedel asked me recently: I can live out of a case and travel light, possibly unprecedentedly so. I am becoming more than ever a nomad, and I suspect that my car and the thus extended horizons have something to do with it.

Down to Carr's after a cup of coffee, and spoke again to Mr. Carr, and paid him for what he had already done, which seemed to be worrying him somewhat, especially as he knows I am going away so soon. After that bought a few magazines, on the basis that I might as well have something to read when I go back home, and then up again to the Normans, where nothing much was going on, so read for a while and then went down again to get a bit to eat rather than impose on the Normans for lunch as well - am I getting more tolerant of people? Quite possibly.

I suspect “considerate” is the word I was looking for.

Then, after another trip to the Normans, down to get a box and so on to put some barang in that I intended to leave there, and then to get my case and some soap powder so I could wash everything. Up and found Mrs. Norman working, and carried on as good a conversation as I could with her above the washing machine, and then washed my own stuff, which got remarkably clean with this enzyme-loaded Ariel stuff. Then left it floating around and inside to read and watch TV, and later to put some old grey mare parts in the garage, as I had only just remembered that they were in the boot of the Imp. Then back in again, out for makan, and later to pick Bev up and off to have a drink at the Queen's Head, possibly for the last time. But I have not seen the last of Tavistock - the Normans have seen to that, and doubtless I shall see quite a bit of them while I am in Exeter. Rather interesting to note that they will probably fill the same sort of situation as the Fussans in Lüneburg did while I was in Hamburg - right down to the one malformed daughter, though not in other respects. The distance is also about the same, and the time taken to get there likewise, though it seems hard to believe. Took Bev home, and back - late to bed.


Sunday, 29 June 1969 Tavistock → Whitsun Bay → Tavistock
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Somehow managed to wake up this morning of my own accord at 0900, which under the circumstances was just as well, as I had to pick Bev up early so that it would appear that she was catching the 0930 train to Paddington. Managed that without much difficulty, and left Bev at the Norman's while I went back to have my breakfast. Came back up to the Normans and discovered that Sarah and Dinah intended to come along and see Bev off as well, so off outside to try to get Bev's barang loaded in such a way that the rear seats were free, by no means an easy task, and in the process I nearly did my little finger a mischief, though I think now that it will probably survive. Then in and did little through the morning, until the time came when we considered that it would be wise to set off in the direction of Plymouth, and almost immediately noted a disadvantage of the design of the Imp: when the back window is open, exhaust fumes get sucked into the car - and boy, do they smell unpleasant.

Eventually made it to Plymouth, and with a lot of messing around saw Bev off on the train, and then off with Dinah and Sarah to have makan at the China Garden restaurant, which was rather pleasant, though Dinah and Sarah are in some respects embarassing guests - possibly Sarah alone would be better. (To be followed up, I hope). Then off in the glorious sunshine to catch the Torpoint ferry, and then across and to a rather distant beach which Sarah tells me is called Whitsun bay, and which she had in vain hoped would be fairly empty - it was crowded out. Dinah accordingly started sulking, but we found a part of the beach which was comparatively clear, and lay down there - seeing Sarah in a bikini is quite an experience, though I still think Dinah is a better all-rounder than she - though Sarah has a longer, and to my mind more attractive trunk.

Lay sunbathing for a couple of hours, while the girls also went in and had a swim, and then as the tide came in we decided to leave and go up to the Moorland Links and see if there was anybody we knew at the swimming pool there. Accordingly off, and took a considerable detour round the Tamar Bridge, mainly because we couldn't stand the thought of having to wait in the hot sun for the ferry. Nobody was at the pool, so we all went home, and nobody was there either, so made some tea and messed round taking some film of Sarah and Dinah until I realised the spool was finished, so gave it up as a bad job and started watching TV until, at some advanced hour, the others came back. At the time was in the middle of watching “Royal Family”, not fantastically interesting, and in came a Peter with a glowing red back, and Mrs. Norman complaining about her sunburnt cleavage, which aroused odd reactions in Timothy. Then had a farewell/packing session, and spent a good deal of time out in the kitchen messing around, and eventually, once again very late, off and back to bed.


Monday, 30 June 1969 Tavistock → Plymouth → London → T. Wells
Top of page
previous day

Up as usual (or becoming so) round the 0900 mark, and without wasting all too much time, off up to the Normans and packed my bags with the last few things which I had not yet done. Then hung around for a while talking to Mrs. Norman, Sarah and Sukey, without achieving anything of world-shattering importance - Mrs. Norman was worried about a french girl who was due to arrive some time today, but nobody knew when, not even the people who had been arranging her holiday here.

Eventually left, and into Plymouth to get some money, and bought „Stern“ and some shoelaces, and then off to the station to leave my barang there. Took the car back to Thane's [?], who took it back after only the most cursory of inspections, and did not even bother to fill the tank - 15 miles, maybe 20, since full - and I had to pay for 12 excess miles. Then the fellow took me to the station, and I got into a highly crowded train, so ended up in the 1st Class compartments - after all, nobody else was there, and there is little point in letting them go empty while I (and others) am standing in the corridor. Went in with a crippled Tanzanian called Mohammed, and almost immediately were caught by the ticket collector, so up to the Buffet car for a bite to eat, and then back again, while Mohammed wanted to know what sort of car he should get (only his left leg is incapacitated, so an automatic or semi-a. should be fine for him). Then I off to sleep, doubtless to make up for the fact that I could not sleep last night, and the next thing I knew we were in Newbury with a burst oil pipe, and the whole outside of the train was covered in oil. They changed that fairly quickly, and then on to Paddington, where I got a taxi to Waterloo, where I had a 50 minute wait. Then on to Tun. Wells, again 1st class - the only sensible difference is the congestion - and caught a taxi up to Broadwater Down, to find Sonny in London with Bev, which somewhat annoyed me, as Bev was not supposed to be seeing him until I came up. Then Jim had a girl over, and I rang Annette up to get my flash gun back, and she invited herself over. Had just about, at 2030, decided she wasn't going to come, and had run a bath, when she arrived, shrouded in an enormous quantity of green-tinged hair, and so I had my bath and then examined a large quantity of more-than-mediocre photos, and listened in doubt to her telling me that she wanted to go to see Kodak tomorrow to see if they be willing to train her. Off later for a drink, and met Sonny, Bev, and Harri there, and then back again and persuaded Annette not to take my Edixa D with her after all, and then Sonny took her home, and I spoke to Harri for a while - she does annoy me at times. Then all came back, and Mr. Greaves came along to collect back rent before Sonny left.

I had half-arranged to meet Ruth on this evening, and the Bev had returned to say that she had seen her at the station, and told her that she would tell me she was there. For some reason, I didn't follow up.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-jun1969.php,v 1.11 2016/10/25 00:40:11 grog Exp $