Greg
Greg's diary
March 1970
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Groogle

This diary was entered manually from the paper original between 14 January 2017 and 24 January 2017. Comments in italics were added at this time.


Sunday, 1 March 1970 Exeter → Bow → Exeter
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(I suppose I shall have to stop mentioning the fact that I am moving about between Bow and Exeter, even at the expense of a boring looking diary.

Chris in at 0900 to wake me up, and in due course I headed towards the dining hall and had breakfast, then an early morning chat with Dave Powell, who had already started work on John's car, and then off with Chris to the chapel, where I saw a girl baptised and confirmed at the same time - also 3 other confirmations and a conversion, all by the bishop of Crediton. After that, Chris said he wanted to go to the sermon, so he took me home, where I saw a silver grey 11CL8 (as opposed to palladium grey),

We had had the “Old Grey Mare” in Malaysia repainted in “Palladium Grey” about a year previously.

which I have seen before on the A30 near Tedburn, and spoke at length with the owner, observing the degree of rust of the machine. Then down to see Nigel with the black 11, also back this weekend, and did very well for the fellow (Paul?), who was in need of a manifold gasket, and got them free from Nigel (who appears to be well stocked). Fair degree of bonhomie involved, and there was even a suggestion of a club for Light 15 [11 légère] owners, though presumably I could be included, even if mine is a big 15 [11] many miles away.

I wasn't to know it at the time, but I never saw that car again.

Then back to Crossmead, and had lunch, after which I collected some stuff together and went out to Bow to do some more work, though half the time seemed to be spent trying to get and keep the fire going. Really must do something about a paraffin [i.e. Kerosene] heater or two. Got the other shelf up, and got a lot of books sorted out - it is conceivabale that I shall get away without a third shelf. Then had a bit to eat (should I keep bread in the fridge? I think it would go quickly stale), and then back along the main road to Exeter in 18 min 50 s, and then to Crossmead, and almost immediately into town again to see On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which I found quite good, and was surprised by the degree to which Diana Rigg reminded me of Corinne; I am a sentimental old bastard, and I found the ending more than a little sad - especially, possibly, as that is the sort of bird I could do with myself. Back and drank tea with Wolf, who was 21 today

Which makes him the same age as Yvonne.

- lucky fellow (or otherwise). Quite early to bed.


Monday, 2 March 1970 Exeter, etc.
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And on, and the time comes closer when I shall finally be able to move into Comp cottage - that will be a load off my mind, though I suspect my troubles have all of a couple more months to last before I finally get the hang of living in my own house.

Up once again late today - I hope this will stop in the extremely near future - and, as a result missed even thermodynamics, which I had not really intended. Got up and in to town, where I got £10 out and went and bought a desk light, and then to the Coop, where I bought an eiderdown and cover, though I am rather dubious as to its efficiency. Then to the Uni and had lunch, and later back to Crossmead and read a while before seeking Martin out and suggesting that he come with me to Comp Cottage with aid to moving in, and then with him and a paraffin heater which I bought this morning (inoperative, £2; spent a hell of a long time cleaning out the piping etc.) to Peamore to buy some petrol and paraffin (only 2/4 per gallon; I was expecting more).

At the time petrol cost about 5/- a gallon. According to my rule of thumb that £1 then was worth AUD $50 in 2017, that would be $12.50 a gallon or about $2.75 per litre, roughly double the 2017 price. Who said that oil prices have gone up?

The weather today was completely odd; brilliant sunshine interspersed with blizzards, and the afternoon was a bit of each. Went via the back way - I like to see it in the daytime - though I suspect the A377 would have to be pretty crowded to make the first half worthwhile.

I still have no idea which way this was. Basically there was little possibility of avoiding Crediton, though there was the option of leaving the A377 shortly after Crediton and going via Coleford. Google Maps shows almost nothing of the dense network of tiny roads.

Got everything home (I suppose I had better start calling it ‘home’ now), and, rather to my delight, the paraffin heater worked, and so rejoiced, and put a few things in pace, and had something to eat. Then back to Crossmead again, and found Teg [warden?], and told him I was moving out - he did not exactly cry his eyes out, but said he would do his best to fill my room. Then off after makan to the Choral society for a practice on (would you believe?) Beethoven's 9th symphony, and shared my copy with, of all people, Dave Kernick. Home after a drink at the Ram, and did little - early to bed.


Tuesday, 3 March 1970 Exeter → Bow (apart from a lot of other stuff).
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Up as usual this morning, and spent a while before breakfast copying out Daves Process Principles writeup, which I would much rather not have had to do, and as a result left Crossmead rather late, and screamed to the Uni in 7 minutes flat - that is something I won't be able to do all too often in the future.

Process Principles is becoming downright dreary as opposed to boring (is there any difference?), and we were all more than a little glad to get out and have something to drink; the haddock I had this morning had done little to slake my thirst.

Then back to a problem class which was spent going over our first problem sheet. Then missed thermodynamics and off to lunch, and back to Crossmead, where I got a letter from Bev confirming that she had been accepted at Melbourne University, so it doesn't look as if I shall be seeing much of her in the near future. She wanted me to brave the Andrews and go and get her trunk, so decided to make a day of it and see if I could borrow any bedclothes from the Baudouys, and rang up to this effect, but no luck; nevertheless arranged to go over and see them, so first to Comp Cottage and took some stuff over there, and then to Lustleigh, getting caught in a snowstorm, of all things, there. Found Coombedon house, right up a hill, and then saw Mrs. and Mr. Baudouy and, in due course, Simone - invited Simone and Van [brother Silvain] to my housewarming (Van due back tonight).

Then on to Tavistock, where I was much better received by the Andrews than I had expected, and collected a whole lot of stuff apart from her trunk, including some bedlinen and an eiderdown and rug, which together with an eiderdown which Mrs. Baudouy lent me, should suffice for the time being in Comp Cottage. Then to see the Normans and tell of Bev's fate, and in due course back to Comp Cottage, where I sorted things somewhat, then to Exeter to have makan and get some remaining stuff from Crossmead, then back home [to Bow] and eventually to bed.


Wednesday, 4 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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And so I am finally here! To wake up thus is, if not exactly a delight, a breath of fresh (well, cold) air; in fact, though, it is not as bad as I had feared. Got up slowly, as befits a morning such as this, and in due course down to the grocer's shop and bought some likely things for breakfast, which boiled (should I say fried?) down to fried eggs on bread, and after a bit more messing around along to the Uni, where I arrived 15 minutes too early, and so to DH, where I bought ‘Stern’ and had a cup of coffee - the latter looks like becoming very much a commonplace event - and then to maths, which was somewhat unintelligible vectors. Then economics with Ben Ritchie, and we were told that that was the end of formal economics lectures, and that in the next 2 weeks we should do market research into the possibilities of marketing a new oil, based on Esso's market research for Uniflo [an oil], and the blurb we got with it was rather interesting. Had to divide up into groups of 4/5, and somehow ended up teamed off with Sue Haile, Pete Hillier, Marion Barton, and, by default (as he was not there) Mike Haddon, which sounds an interesting team. Then off to lunch, and after that into town, and bought a large quantity of food at Fine Fare and Watty's Delikatessen (is that how they spell it in this country?), and then to Crossmead, got some more stuff, and then, via Peamore, to Bow, and lit up a fire, and after a bit of messing around decided to sit around and read ‘Stern’ and ‘3C’ which I had also bought. Extraordinary how little heat this fire gives out - must do something about it. Then lit up the paraffin heater, which helped considerably, and in due course cooked myself a nasi goreng - have I lost the touch? - and had just about finished that when a quite attractive lass came along and asked me if I would like to subscribe to a club for promotion of Cancer research, whose membership incentive was computer-decided entries into the football pools (only she did not put it even that lucidly), and left me wondering whether that was really why she had come along; in any case, she was quite presentable, so decided I could do worse than have her come around every week to collect 1/6, so joined, and then in to Exeter, where I was far too late for orchestra practice, so to Sue, got some notes, some stuff from Crossmead, and then home and early to bed.


Thursday, 5 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Can I come to some better conclusion on how to head the monstrous pile of pages to which this heading refers? I wish I could, but I am sure BowExeter → Bow is too cumbersome.

I didn't come up with anything better before I stopped the diary.

In any case, up this morning somewhat late, though why I know not; in any case, things were in no wise helped by several inches of snow and complete absence of salt on the roads; that, however, was not the problem. Got to Crediton in 15 minutes (30 mph [50 km/h] odd), and after that the road was clear of snow, but not of traffic jams. I hope these are at least partly caused by the snow; I would hate to have to go through this twice every week. Arrived 10 minutes late for Transport Phenomena as a result, and after that up to Crossmead, where I found a letter from Sonny inviting me up to London for the weekend; no go, I fear. Wonder if I can persuade him to come down to Exeter next weekend.

Thus went the morning, uneventfully, and then to town and the Uni for lunch, and after that to Engineering drawing, and had the delight of drawing an improvised steering wheel extractor for an 1100, and spent the whole afternoon (and once again I took a long time) wondering why the hell Dr. Lee didn't buy a Citroën and use a simpler device to extract his steering wheel (anyway, the thing he worked out wouldn't have worked). Then to Crossmead, and spent a couple of hours until makan reading magazines in the Common Room, and then to makan, almost immediately after which I set off home and did a bit, though not much work, as I was once again rather tired, and early to bed. Great disappointment - found the face of my Goddess had removed itself from the rest. Was very disappointed. Is there some significance?

The goddess was given to me with the name “Kwan Yin” or goddess of mercy. It is clearly what is now spelt Guanyin. It is made out of ivory, and it was in my bedroom not far from the oil (“paraffin”) heater. Even at the time I thought, probably correctly, that the radiation had heated it unequally. But the “loss of face” could also be attributed to the conditions in which the goddess found herself.
Here she is as of 16 January 2017, long after being repaired:


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Friday, 6 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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More snow this morning, and somehow I contrived to oversleep for transport phenomena and, the rot once begun, I did not get up at all for morning lectures. Finally got up round 1145, and did a bit of messing around in the house before thinking about going into Exeter, where I did the rounds notifying changes of address, and also had a go at getting the Western Times, which for once I remembered.

Bumped into Wolf in the refectory, and it seems he is not going to London after all this weekend, and he arranged to come out to Bow this weekend to see what we could do about his radio. Then I over to the chemistry labs to get down to work on the next experiment, which was a matter of conductivity measurement, and got to understand why Marion stripped down while doing this - that room gets extremely hot, and I followed suit.

I wonder what I implied by “stripped down”. Certainly not (particularly not in Marion's case) to the point of indecency, but in England in those days people wore a lot of clothes to make up for the poor heating systems.

That did not take long, though I got myself covered in oil in the process, and after that down to the car, where I bumped into a bloke from Crossmead, whom I know by sight, though not his name, and spoke at length to him. Then, narrowly missing getting caught up in something else, off back to Bow, where I tried, once again in vain, to get hold of some crumpets, and eventually back home and, after a bit of writing, etc., gave my attention to getting hold of some food, and once again had a violently large curry, and, sated, off to Crossmead for tonight's disco, which had been organised with typical Coleman inefficiency, with the result that, by 2120, there were 15 women there. Saw Don and Paul there, accounting for 2 of the women, which they had brought. Invited them to my orgy next Saturday, and then off to see if anything was on at DH. There was not, and so home, picking up a couple of birds on the way, one of them chatting me up, and at home did a bit of writing, then to bed.


Saturday, 7 March 1970 Bow → Clovelly → Bow
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Up only slightly before noon this morning, a thing about which I must do something, and started thinking about what to do for breakfast, and came to the conclusion that it was lunch which I should consider, and spent a good deal of time preparing that, but I really must extend my repertory of things to eat. I suppose, if I ate more meat, it would be easier - but not cheaper.

After lunch, in need of a change (like I was sneezing violently) and also in need of some food, set off into Okehampton and bought some stuff there - I did not realise that I am all of 10 miles [16 km] from Okehampton. Bought some food there, and then decided, for no particular reason, to go to Bude or Barnstaple, but changed my mind later and decided on Clovelly instead, and had a particularly impossible time trying to navigate by my AA Book of the Road, but eventually made it there - it was cold, dreary and rather bleak, and I had a hell of a job walking up and down the place. Doubtless it is rather quaint at times, but it just struck me in all it impracticability at that time.

Then back via Bideford and Great Torrington, liking greatly the scenery, and then came to a disused airfield, where I measured my 0→60 [mph, i.e. 96.5 km/h] time - 28,4 s, not as bad as I had feared. Spilt a bottle of milk during the braking tests, much to my disgust, and so back home to Bow and managed, while trying to refill it, to break the paraffin bottle, and spilt oil all over the floor - later in the night, while I was trying to run the thing in other ways, the thing nearly blew up on me, and I had a chance to use my fire extinguisher. Then downstairs and lit a coal fire, and read at length “Two weeks in another town” - not bad.


Sunday, 8 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up once again late - why do I not devote some of my scant waking time to working out some device which can wake me up early in the morning? Did little immediately, but got rather gemütlich up, and eventually started thinking about cooking some makan, and consequently ended up in the kitchen messing around with spices, etc., for what seemed an inordinately long time. Finally started eating round about 1430, and almost immediately Wolf arrived, so cooked up some Boh tea, about which he enthused at length while I finished my makan. I am not to sure anybody at Crossmead understands Wolf - though I am getting the feeling that I am getting to. After makan out had had a look at his car radio, which is the reason he came out, and found that my suspicion had been confirmed - I had in fact wired the aerial in incorrectly, and thus caused the consequent shorting. Then fixed things up, and highly delighted Wolf by showing that his Halterung had in fact a fair degree of suppression in itself, and the thing did not make too much noise - in fact, he was highly delighted with the whole affair, and so packed away my tools, got some maps, and suggested we went out for a bit of a drive, which we did, but almost immediately the weather gave out. Wolf has learnt to take corners, but I must confess it scared me - not the speed, which for Sonny would be slow, but the thought of Wolf's inexperience. One of these days his tail is going to try to overtake him, and I only hope he knows what to do. Then back, and after a bit of deliberation on Wolf's part had some makan, after which we spoke at length., and then Wolf, having smoked most of my tobacco, set off back to Exeter, and I in due course off to bed.


Monday, 9 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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And so another Monday morning spent in bed - this whole thing really is a waste of time. I must be firm and make a resolution to get up earlier, whether or not I have a lecture; that would ensure that at lest I did not miss lectures because I did not get up. This morning up round 1130 and had nothing to eat because I had nothing to eat, and in due course off to the Uni for lunch, and then hanging round DH, though after a while into town. Then back for practical, for what use that was, and there found a letter from Dad, who is apparently very worried about me, partially because he has had no account from the bookshop this term, and so he is wondering whether I am still with the living.

Upstairs messed around on the computer for a while, and there found a notice to the effect that from now on only priveliged people, who knew the intricacies of loading FOCAL, etc., where to use the computer after 1800, and that this was to come into effect from Saturday. Then in to watch Don doing an experiment on airflow measurements, and decided to use his results, and then off to Crossmead via town; in town found that my money had not yet arrived, and then off to buy a magazine and some airletter forms, and to Crossmead to indulge in a bit of reading, and then washed the car, which was more than slightly in need thereof. After that up to the common room and wrote a letter to Dad telling him that I would be sure to inform him of my death in its occurrence. Then to see Martin Hoyle - it is probably worth having him at Bow, at least next term; in any case, he has not reapplied to stay at Crossmead, which effectively means he will be in Bradninch next year.

Then to supper, after which to the Choral Society, and still later off back home - I am getting a bit fed up with always being away.


Tuesday, 10 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up in time for the usual this morning, and once again arrived in plenty of time for what we had to do; but things are getting a bit confusing with all the road works going on, and I am beginning to wonder if I can't find a better way round Cowley Bridge; but the only real alternatives to miss the road works outside Thomas are the level crossing on Okehampton St., and they are probably too long to be justified for going to the Uni.

For some reason this description, and particularly the recollection of the road works, remind me of unrest in Northern Ireland. Did something happen round this time? To be investigated.

Process Principles, which is getting rather dreary - how can one instil some pep into it? Fortunately, today Ron (who seems much too much in a hurry for this place, though I suppose all practicing engineers I know seem always to be in a hurry) gave up ¼ hour early so we could get on with the next lot of problem solutions. Spoke to him after that about the bubble point program, and he gave me some results for the Telcomp thing, and then I off to get permission from John Boyle to be included in the list of approved users of the computer; then to lunch and the JCR to read a bit of ‘Stern’, and later back for the Process Principles class, which I found rather amusing; the hand-in question was one about boiling water to make tea, etc., the sort of thing I actually enjoy thinking about; if only I have the time, this will be rather fun.

Then out to find a bloke in the other set, whose name I really should know, on the computer, and while he was puzzling something out, put the bubble point program through, and it did not work, and so up to get a copy of the Telcomp program from Ron, but by the time I had suitably corrected errors of translation, the thing went and threw a spanner in the works by filling up variable storage, and spent a long time trimming that. Spent most of the afternoon on that, and also on the inevitable TA17, which made a bastard of itself by refusing point blank to give any drag force. Home, and early to bed.


Wednesday, 11 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Nothing! The only lecture we should have had today, economics, was not, and so I had a right old sleep in before getting up not long before the noon mark and going i to the Uni for lunch, and then into town to do some shopping - why do I always go shopping on Wednesdays, when everything closes early? Bought some stuff at Fine Fare, and a large number of curry ingredients at Watty's - they are not at all badly stocked there - and then to the junk shop in North Street, whose name I really should know, but don't, and found them closed, and so decided to go back home and, just possibly, get some work done - not that that good intention materialised any more than any of the other myriads have done, but at least it represents something (or does it, dammit?). It is about time I got my heater fixed - and persuaded Mr. Steer to change the fireplace, which generates almost no heat, and most of that seems to go up the chimney. In any case, in front of this device I sat this afternoon, drinking tea, reading “Two weeks in another city” - I really must revisit Rome - and shivering, wondering where all the heat of combustion of the coal went, and wondering why the value of the ∂/∂t of the ∭ was so small - i.e. why the thing didn't start to burn faster. Eventually, getting a bit depressed, though at least reflecting that the thing was economical on coal, decided to go into town and see a couple of flicks - “Hell's angels 1969”, which ended with two people, left by the ‘Angels’ in the middle of the desert, with 2 motorbikes complete except for ignition cables - and no water - and the suggestion was that there was no hope for them. Annoys me. The other one, science fiction/horror, was better, and even quite amusing in places.

But with a quickly forgettable name.

Back to the car to find the battery dead as a doornail; called in the AA, who gave me a start, and then out to lok for a new battery, but decided against it, as the old one, charging at 30-40A on an optimistic ammeter, seemed to be holding its charge. To Crossmead, and borrowed Dave Kernick's battery charger, and home, leaving the battery charging overnight.


Thursday, 12 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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And up for another 0900 lecture, for what that is worth, and was more than slightly heartened by the state of charge of my battery; whatever it was (and I am beginning to think it was my intermittent light flasher short) the battery seems to have recovered adequately. But I must do something about that short - and a number of other things.

The short circuit was due to my poor wiring of the headlight relay behind the dash. A stray strand of wire turned on the relay, and the lights drained the battery.

To transport phenomena like a good boy, but did not survive the lecture without a comment from Mel that I missed last Friday's lecture.

Then to DH, which I am doing quite a bit of late; I am even getting used to their abominable coffee. Bought ‘Stern’, as well as a couple of books, one on transport phenomena, and the other on computer-oriented circuit design, which turned out to be using computers for design rather than designing computers, but nevertheless a good book to have.

Back to Bow because I had forgotten to bring my computer stuff with me this morning, and did a bit of work on the bubble point program before going in for lunch. After lunch was an EGM about visiting hours, which saw Great hall (≡ Audimax?) as full as it has ever been, but I did not stay long. Spoke to some porters about it outside, who had a pretty dim view of the whole thing, and then to engineering drawing, where I finished before some of the latecomers from the EGM had put pencil to paper - but found it wrong. To the Ceylon tea centre for some tea, and then on the computer, and did little there; got the BP program to work, and then back for supper. Messed around a bit after makan with a Fortran tape, with the result that I appeared to have messed up the RIM loader, and could not get FOCAL in, so back, somewhat worried. Picked a thumber up on the way home, who had taken 10hrs to thumb from Salcombe to Crediton, and, at 2145, was making for Bideford. Took him home and put him up for the night; poor bastard was only 16, and was leaving school because he hadn't done well enough in his 'O' levels. Spoke about the things that interested him at some length - odd fellow. Sometimes I think I ought to chuck all this in and go in for psychology.


Friday, 13 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Up early and into Exeter to wait and see when Tony Palmer came along to load FOCAL, but it was not Tony, but John Boyle, who came along, and did not seem to believe me when I told him I had erased the RIM loader; he had good reason: it seems that the PDP-12 does not have a RIM loader. It turned out, however, that I had buggered the tape, and so he had to reload that from the library tape, which was interesting; using the PIP program, this is extremely easy and logical.

Presumably this was a simple copy operation, such as are no longer in fashion in the Internet of 2017.

He then gave me a FORTRAN manual and suggested that I read that wrote a program or two, and he would show me how to compile or execute the thing.

Then to Transport Phenomena, and more mass transfer; I am getting a bit fed up of this - or maybe Mike Patrick is a better lecturer after all. In any case, I was glad when it was over, and even gladder when Mike didn't turn up for the seminar, probably arranging toe open day. Then persuaded Ken to lend me some notes, and off to get them, then had some coffee in DH, after which I had makan and went home to catch up on my sleep.

Woke up round 1630, and down to light a fire - why do these things give out so little heat? - and then sat and read through the FORTRAN manual, and then had tea and later, reading ‘Stern’ and ‘Two weeks in another town’, which I finished - very good, if rather a bitter ending. Then had makan, which was certainly better with the new chili powder I now have, and up to do a bit of work writing out programs - one of these days, I hope, I will be able to do any program I like in FORTRAN almost immediately. Quite early to bed.


Saturday, 14 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Had intended to get up earlier this morning, but once again, despite willing spirit, the flesh was weak, and I slept until 1100, which seems about my usual time. Once up, went quickly in to the Uni, and to the Engineering Department, where I was more than slightly surprised to find no other people from the 1st year. Had a look round - Tony Palmer was playing all sorts of games on the computer, and over the other side they were laboriously persuading the PDP-8 to draw a graph on an auxiliary oscilloscope. Saw Mel there, who asked me to help out on the Rheomat after lunch, and then back to look at the PDP-12, and was nearly left in charge of it over lunch, but escaped, and off for lunch, after which up to Wolf's room for tea, and then he and I in to the Uni, and I vaguely showed him round the place, but got tied up with our computer, and tried to run my birthday program, which somehow got itself mixed up, and typed out all sorts of crazy answers; after a bit of examining, etc., this proved to be due to duplication of identifiers, and somehow fixed that up, while Tony played around with other programs, though this was not helped by the fact that the display unit had once again had an attack of schizophrenia, and displayed its letters in bits all over the screen, much to our annoyance. I was left for some time to demonstrate FOCAL, which interested more people than I expected; after a comparison over at the Maths department, where they had their battery of TTY's typing out, at will, one of 4 different programs,

This was an ICL System 4 machine, and presumably it was running MULTITEST, a time-sharing program that could sequentially handle a dozen or so TTYs. I got to know it better a few months later.

back again, and was confronted by a man and young son who wanted to know why it output in floating point, and so showed them a similar program, and back to the birthday program, which proved still to have some bugs, and so back to Crossmead for makan, where I found I had completely ommitted [sic] a loop; confusing.

Home after makan, and did a bit, though not too much, work, and not all too late to bed (this partially dictated by lack of paraffin).


Sunday, 15 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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And again a late sleep-in, which I suppose is reasonable on Sunday; then downstairs and cooked myself a breakfast for the first time in a long time, and spent quite a leisurely time over this (and why not - what else did I have to do this term?). Then got dressed in slightly more casual clothing, and then went out to do a bit of (long overdue) work on the car; had intended to change the oil, but found I only had a quart [1.14 l], and so left that; jacked up the front of the car to adjust the brakes, and in the process discovered that the spline on the RH drive shaft is somewhat worn as the result of hardly ever having had a dust cover; still, I doubt it will fall apart on me. Greased everything up, and discovered a loose track rod end, which I also fixed up. Round the back, checking for slack which might explain the rattle that comes from that quarter, but there was nothing more there than the day I bought it, and I thing [sic] the exhaust pipe must be hitting the LH rear suspension arm and rattling. The silencers proved to be in order; that tiny hole (now a not-so-tiny hole) in the tail pipe is what is making the noise. Then set to work on getting the gearchange a bit better, which proved to be a great success; after 36,000 miles

36,000 miles is about 58,000 km. I had had the car for 17 months, so this implies a monthly distance of 3,400 km, or 4,500 if I exclude the time it was off the road (from 20 June 1969 to 4 November 1969, with only a couple of days' use in between.

I can finally get into 4th gear pretty easily. All I needed to do was bend the connecting flange between the two levers slightly, and tighten the mounting on the gearbox end.

Then back home, and in a while to the VIP station [petrol station in Bow] for some oil and paraffin, but he had neither, and so filled up the tank; this fellow, strangely enough, is a Citroën fan himself. Home and cooked something, then, fed up at the lack of heat, off to see the Normans in Tavistock, where fire works considerably better, and which gave me food for thought. Home, and straight to bed.


Monday, 16 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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Good God! The end of term is bearing down with a rapidity which compares ill with the long-drawn out end of last term. Had intended to go in for thermodynamics, and this time, miraculously, made it. Apparently Monday's thermodynamics is in lecture hall D - what a drag for those who go there twice in one day!

After thermodynamics, off to the bookshop and bought a book about the subject, and then had lunch with some mob from Crossmead; found Sue and Marion eating there, which struck me as a bit odd.

If all the men in our year were as timid as I, it seems a logical consequence.

After that, decided there was little point in going in for practicals - if I can just get the aerofoil fixed up by next Monday, all will be well. Back then to Crossmead to see if my Citroënian had arrived; it had not, but I found Graham Livesey removing the gearbox of his 11CL8, so thought that the least I could do would be to help him. It seemed, after a discussion with Dave Powell about the subject, that he suspected a dud crown wheel and pinon; I had a look and confirmed this, especially as the oil looked very metallic. Set to, and it took us the whole afternoon to remove the various bits and pieces; some nuts holding the front crosmember on were so badly rusted that I sheared the bolt (12 mm dia!) while trying to unscrew them.

This would almost certainly have been a 12 mm head, not diameter.

Eventually got at the gearbox, and found the bolts securing the bellhousing to be extremely inaccessible, but eventually we got it off, and nearly pulled the engine out with the gearbox - I think, had we had a block, tackle and skyhook, it would have been infinitely easier to remove the whole power unit. In any case, we got it out just before makan, and just about had time to clean up.

After makan, off to the Uni for a chorus practice. This mob will never be good enough by Sunday! No wonder there are so many tickets still unsold! Still, there will be several practices before Sunday. After that, off to Marion's room, where we attempted to work out some ideas about oil, like the slogan “Put an eel in your engine!”. Amused by the manner in which everybody kept falling into everybody else's arms.


Tuesday, 17 March 1970 Bow, etc.
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St. Patrick

Had intended to get up early this morning for the discussion period with Ben Ritchie, but something wen wrong, and I woke up with only ½ an hour until the period began, which was the occasion for a violent full-throttle rush through Crediton to Exeter, in a very creditable under 20 minutes, and arrived just in time to join Sue and Marion, and thus to the discussion period, in which we stated our views, and that was about that.

Then more Ron Shearn, and on with thoughts about distillation column design, and thus through the first lecture, and in the second got our first assesible sheet back, and it occurred to me that I had hardly more than looked at the second; asked Ron if I could bring it in tomorrow, to which he agreed with a bit of looking down his nose. After that, found John Boyle, who came down, found a Fortran source tape (involving going upstairs again), compiled the thing at the 3rd attempt, and in the subsequent two attempts to load and operate FORSYS [Fortran run-time support], erased DIAL, and possibly a few other things, from the tape.

We had only had the computer a couple of months, so it's conceivable that this was John's first attempt to use the Fortran environment.

By the time he had half sorted things out, it was lunch time, and so gave up, and over to have lunch and do a bit of shopping before returning to write my program using DIAL, which was very convenient, though it had the habit of doing a few odd things which must have something to do with PAL III writing. Stored it on tape (“BUBBLE”), and then tried to compile it, but got an enormous number of error diagnostics, and so gave up for the while and went up to Crossmead, and hung about there reading, etc., until makan time, after which to the St. Patrick's party, which was not a dance at all; bit frustrated, off home round midnight.


Wednesday, 18 March 1970 Bow.
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And again nothing! This is getting to be too much of a habit, and in truth I could easily have got in there; this was to prove rather embarassing in retrospect: in to the Uni for lunch, and met Martin in the refectory, and, talking about computers, over to see if I could get any time on the PDP-12, but the DEC man was there looking at DIAL and the scope, and after that Tony Palmer was obviously anxious to use the thing, so back with Martin to Crossmead, after first doing some shopping in town, and then found (a bit late) the Citroënian, where they have given me the initial C, for which I thank them (what for? Citroën?). Then found Graham, who had the interesting news that he had already glanced the magazine, and had also had an offer for an 11CV gearbox and final drive - £15 for the one from Eamonn's car. Decided that we could well do better than that, and so set off to Bow, stopping on the way to change my oil, and dumped my food in Bow, then on through Okehampton to Tavistock and a little scrap yard which we found, following Mr. Andrew's instructions with remarkable ease, and up a track which showed off the car's ability to its best, and found the roof and rear wheel cover of the car, but “The Boss” was not in, and so decided to come back later, and in the meantime over to the Normans, and there collected all the rest of my stuff, and after a bit of a chat back to the scrap yard, where the boss was, and told me that he had scrapped the whole power unit because the block was cracked (sic),

It's not clear what car this was. I had abandoned one in the area a year previously. I didn't record what happened to that car, which would have been an obvious source of a gearbox. Maybe this was the same car. Otherwise it's not clear why I shouldn't have located it and used the gearbox.

and so, disappointed, back to Exeter, where I dropped Martin and Graham at Crossmead, and down to the Ganges for makan, talking with some bloke from Crediton who was looking for action - in Exeter! Then to combined orchestra/chorus practice, and after that home and fairly quickly to bed.


Thursday, 19 March 1970 Bow.
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Somehow I once again seem to be sleeping in more than is good for me, and so it was this morning that I managed to sleep in until lunch time, and thus miss one of Mel's transport phenomena lectures, which would doubtless interest him in his score-keeping. Lunch as ever, and then engineering drawing, which was more joints between curved surfaces, as last week, but even more diabolical, and got me thoroughly therewith fed up, though the Pakistani gentleman who officiates thereat managed to work out something. Eventually got through with that, and had a bit of time on the computer, and tried Bob William's idea of using the TAB key for writing my source programs, but with no more luck than previously' there is some discrepancy between what I type and what appears on the screen: every time I type a comma, the effect of the TAB key is negated, and the whole line slides left. The two forms then seem to be stored on tape; if one prints it out using a PS command, it comes out as on the screen, but using PIP (which is thus obviously more logical) it comes out as I intended it to be typed; but even a PIP-produced tape causes the compiler to chuck out error diagnostics 10100 to the 1100 [i.e. twenty to the dozen].

This was clearly related to the assembly-language related idiosyncrasies of the DIAL editor.

To makan, and back afterwards, where the scope display began to play up again, so messed round reading the advanced FOCAL manual, and making right little of it, but did get a print out of the music program, which is quite interesting. Then home, which was by that time all I could do, and spent a while wondering about this computer I am thinking of building - it is getting bigger all the time.


Friday, 20 March 1970 Bow
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By some superhuman effort managed to get up this morning sufficiently early to get into transport phenomena, where I was immediately sent up to see Angela, and she asked me for 25/-. Saw Mel up there, who had some comment about a record low attendance yesterday, and then in for another lecture, which involved comparing the units of different things, and thus learnt little; it might prove better if I were to come to a few more lectures. Then off back to Crossmead, after a final seminar with Mike, which he spent comparing radiation to electric current, with a view to making the whole thing simpler; that, I suppose, it did, though I wonder if it was worth the trouble. At Crossmead, found no mail, but did find the repair of Graham's car under way, so helped a bit with that, and then to town to buy some gear oils, which I needed as well, and changed mine, not without a bit of swearing, and also messed around a bit with lights; Wolf was supposed to meet me at 1600 in DH, but willing telephonists verified that he was not, and so tried his headlights out on Graham's car, where they fit without any alteration. Graham is also thinking of fitting same, probably Biodes.

Then spent a while helping, and eventually get the car going, though Graham had trouble with the thing coming out of the selectors;

This was a general problem with the Citroën Traction Avant.

I drove it an had no trouble, and eventually Graham decided that it would be OK, and thenin to have some supper. After suppoer, with Wolf to see Jock Stewart,

The previous time I called him Furgeson [sic].

who, as ever, came and had a look, swore violently and said he would have it all ready tomorrow morning. Then I (comparatively early) back to Bow, and recovered from the week past as best I could.


Saturday, 21 March 1970 Bow
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Up early and in for a chorus practice, but first to Crossmead and found Wolf, and then down to see Jock Stewart, who was by this time swearing even more violently, as he could not see how to fix these things in place, and so set to ourselves and spent the best part of 1½ hours fitting everything in place; Wolf had to go and ring up Elaine, the bird with whom he has been going out since Thursday, to say he would be late. Then put the lights in, and had a look at some sludging in Wolf's car (he is going straight down Dunsford Hill in the mornings),

The implication here, possibly correct, was that the engine was never getting warm enough to evaporate condensation, which mixed with the oil to form a mayonnaise-like sludge. This was a common problem with British cars, but I hadn't seen it elsewhere, and I can't recall taking any precautions with my own car, which didn't even have a thermostat.

and then sent him off after Elaine, though not before he had dropped one of his old headlights down a flight of Crossmead stairs. Had lunch, and into town, where I broke myself buying food and flushing oil, and back home, where I sat a long time in front of a healthier than usual fire, working out computer software at length. I had invited Wolf and Martin along to makan round 1930, and when at 2100 they still had not turned up, I gave up and started cooking, and promptly Wolf arrived, having come hottyre from Axminster, where he had left (deliberately) Elaine, so had makan and adjusted his headlights, which are a great improvement; only problem is that they are slightly twisted along the axis of the beam, so that the left hand side of of the road is rather less illuminated than could have been the case. Still, Wolf is very happy with them, and so he should be, since they are much better than the VW stuff.

My recollection was that the mounting was very Heath-Robinson, a visible band of metal holding the headlights and mounted to some part of the body.

Back home, spoke at length, and got a cigar from Wolf, which probably makes up fir the tobacco he whipped last time he was here.


Sunday, 22 March 1970 Bow → Axminster → Bow
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Up early once again, which for Sunday means that, not only did I not miss lunch, but in fact made it into Exeter in time to find Wolf and persuade him to come down to the ship and buy me a sherry before lunch, which is not too easy at the best of times, especially as Wolf was not too sure what sherry is. Had lunch, which seems to get worse each day, then along to the Common room, where I did little at length, though I had a look at the ‘Observer’ quiz: “Are you a weekend driver”, and, predictably, was told I was not: “Too good to be true - go back and try again”. But it was - “Do you do more than 4000 miles [6,500 km] a year?” - I have done more than that in some months. To Peamore for petrol, and a rather hot Great Hall - weather has been good of late - for a final rehearsal for tonight.

Then back to Crossmead and found Wolf to take him to change his oil - he had been expecting a friend, Jürgen Plöhn, for some time, but he had not arrived - he did, though, just as we had given up hope, and were looking for Chideock near Axminster, where we apparently had to pick Elaine up. Out with Jürgen to change the oil, and then back again and spoke in German, until tea time, after which Wolf persuaded me to come with them to Axminster, and so off almost immediately, first leaving Wolf's car at the Uni - turned out I had violently miscalculated the distance to Axminster [about 46 km] - it was only about half what I had expected it to be - and so picked Elaine up and got back to the Uni in plenty of time for the beginning of the concert, which Wolf, Jürgen and Elaine decided to hear - and I must confess it was much better than I had expected it to be. Certainly, by the applause it might almost have been the preimère - how is it that music fans have so much stamina to applaud what after all was only a mediocre performance?

I wish I had noted what we sang.

Back to Crossmead, and had a rather lively (mainly my doing) wine and cheese party in Wolf's room, with a few friends of Elaines from Ransom Pickard (or Randy Pickup, as Linda (one of them) put it). Quite enjoyed it, but was rather disappointed by an Irish gentleman who told me that the name Leahy was not pronounced the way we pronounce Lehey, which rather defeats the purpose. Must look more carefully into this.

In fact, “Leahy” and “Lehey” are pronounced the same way in Eire, just not the way we pronounce our surname.

Home and out like a light.


Monday, 23 March 1970 Bow ⇆ all over the place Images for 23 March 1970
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Out like a light was the operative mode until well through the morning, and arrived at the Uni only just about in time for meeting with Wolf, Jürgen and Elaine at the refectory; but there saw the car smashing competition under way, and so watched the [illegible; Ilerines?] set rather uncertainly to that, then in and got (finally) Bennett and Myers, Momentum, Heat and Mass transfer, for which I have been waiting since the beginning of last term. Then, finally, found Wolf and co. in the refectory, and all had lunch, while I wrote out a computer program to work out 9 people to vote for in the Open member elections - there were 92 candidates, and I was damned if I was going to try and work it out seriously. Unfortunately, I got there just as they took the scope away, and Tony Palmer was, as ever, flat out on the thing. Back again and spent about half a frustrating hour looking for Wolf and mob, and eventually discovered that they had been in the Northcott theatre, where the coffee is apparently better. After that, off in Jürgen's car over Dartmoor - he is at least a better driver than Wolf, even if he always seems to be either overrevving or lugging the motor.

Stopped near Grimspound and up to have a look at the stone circles,


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then to Widecombe in the Moor, to see the story in the church of the mysterious storm which hit the church about 200 [really 322] years ago.

At this point in the diary (“200”) I started putting a slash through zeroes. It didn't last.

On then through Dartmeet, while we had a rather freak storm ourselves, and through hail and snow, sliding a bit, to Princetown, where Jürgen was very impressed by the prison. Then to Chagford, but the Old Forge was closed, as it always seems to be, and so on, and eventually had a quite passable [Devonshire cream] tea in Cheriton Bishop. Then home, vacillated at length, and finally dropped Elaine in Lopes, and off down the coast, with stops, to Torquay, by which time it was 2030, and then back to Lucy's birthday, which involved a trip to the Swan's Nest - not a bad pub Then back and continued in Linda's room, while I spoke at length to a rather nice Moira Bull, who does Deutsch and Italian, and eventually, since she is that sort of person, set off for Sheepwash by car - this at 0100 hrs. She was dead tired by Okehampton, though, and so turned back. Between Duryard and Bow timed 16,53 minutes each way.

The distance, according to a conformist Google Maps, is 14.0 miles (22.5 km), so this represents an average speed, including going through Crediton, of 81.7 km/h.

Tuesday, 24 March 1970 Bow
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After last night, it was obvious that I was going to miss Process Principles, and so I did, and well; got into the Uni, as usual, in time for lunch, this time with Chris, Dave and a gentleman called Donald, a 50 year old theologian.

Then to Process Principles seminar, where I got a dirty look from Ron Shearn, who obviously looks on me as one of his most promising pupils; had to apologise to him. That Marshall bloke gets me, though. He still has not done last week's problem, and when Ron asked him about it, he made no bones about it - almost sounded proud about it. And Ron seemed almost to plead with him - “Do you think you can get it done by next term?”.

As a result of a phone call to Sonny at lunch time, I am going to London tomorrow. Found a note from, of all people, Wojtek Pisarski, whose name has caught my eye before, wanting to move in with me next term - I can't help worrying about a comment in Bradninch [hall] news a few weeks back, “There's something funny about Wojtek Pisarski”. Still... over to Duryard [hall] after a visit to Crossmead, found neither Ken nor Wojtek nor Moira (all, significantly, at least part foreign), and so, after another try, left a note for Moira saying I was going to London early tomorrow, and thus if she wanted a lift to Bournemouth, she would have to see me tomorrow at 0900. To Crossmead, where I found Will Packenham-Walsh wondering how to get to Southampton tomorrow - offered him a lift. He apparently has a very high opinion of Moira, and seemed rather pleased at the thought that I should be going out with her.

That was definitely overstating the case. I have no recollection of her any more.

After makan, bumped into Jürgen, and off to see “West Side Story”, and very sad[?] it was. To a violent evening at the Ram, and then to look for Moira, who still was not in, but had removed my note from her spear [?]. Home, and had trouble with clogged [carburettor] jets at Crossmead. Home thence with all belongings, and spent a couple of hours catching up with my diary, which was fully a week behind.


Wednesday, 25 March 1970 Bow → London Images for 25 March 1970
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Somehow spluttered to life this morning round 0830, and set off almost immediately to town, and found Moira, who, predictably, did want to come with us. Then with her, coming across Wojtek Pisarski on the way - he had in the meantime changed his mind, and in any case I did not like the look of him anyway. Up to see Mike, who was not very interested in what I did, and then off to see what was going on at Crossmead. Found Will below the library, and up to find Dave Powell messing around with his tappets, and then in for breakfast - suspect that at 0956, I set an all-time record for late breakfast. After that, did a bit of messing around while Will messed around performing a goodbye ceremony with his surf board. Finally, rather consequently frustrated, away, and picked up Moira with surprisingly little further trouble, and off in the direction of Honiton, still feeling more asleep than awake, and, after a while, in Ilchester, stopped for lunch, or rather a Guinness and Ploughman's lunch. Then on, and to Bournemouth, while things were somewhat confused as regards my future love life in that it turned out that Will and Moira had more than their course in common. It seems that Will's father was killed in an accident in Kenya, and Moira was there at the time and saw it happen.

In Bournemouth, had a hell of a job finding the place, not helped by Moira's surprising ignorance of the address to which we had to go, but eventually found it, met her brother and mother, and then, after coffee, on to Lymington with Will, dropped him,

Round here I must have taken these photos:
I have no idea where that is. It's certainly not Bournemouth, and I can't find similar photos in Lymington.

and through Southampton, looking in on absent McGibbons on the way, and then on to London, finding Sonny without trouble. Out, and discovered that Sonny, who had told me he had no car, had in fact got a 998cc Unipower GT, yellow and 1m high.


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Had something to eat, then got out in the thing, which was certainly interesting, very different to anything I have done before. Then back, where people are working on detailed scale models of F1 cars. Later everybody to bed, and Sonny telling me about orgies, etc., that happened here, and one girl who was raped and killed after leaving one.


Thursday, 26 March 1970 London
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Maundy Thursday

After trying in vain to sleep, went with Sonny to a laundrette round the corner, where we found a drunken chinese woman sleeping at the back, piss all around her. While we were there she got up, crapped in the dustbin and dried her knickers in a drier. Cop came in a little later and asked if we had seen a little man sitting in the drier playing a violin - turned out he was serious. What a place!

To bed, and woke somewhat before noon to find Rich Lyons in the room with “Motoring News”, pictures and, again, description of the SM, still more praise for the thing. Got up, and Sonny set down almost immediately after breakfast to continuing his Matra model, and so I decided to have a look around Earl's court, and returned shortly to borrow Sonny's camera. Then, after a bit of further looking round, decided to go to the Carnaby Market to see Bruno. On the train started chatting to a couple of Canadian birds, one acceptable, one not. They were going to Trafalgar Square, and we decided to stick together, and so down, while the good-looking one got some money near Trafalgar Square, then took some photos of them distributing some stale Spanish bread to some fussy pigeons. Then walked up to Piccadilly Circus to the Carnaby Market, there to find Bruno having expanded his business still further, now it seems to occupy half the basement of the place. Got him to give the girls a bit of a discount on some stuff they bought, and then off up to Oxford Circus along Carnaby street, and by tube to St Paul's. Had a look round that, round the Whispering Gallery (interesting),

I was in the Whispering Gallery again 27 years later, and once again I was impressed. But I no longer had any recollection of having been there before.

and up to the top, and then home with them to Earl's court, and Sonny and I decided to invite them down to Devon with us tonight, which they would readily have accepted had they not been planning to go to Cambridge to see a friend tomorrow. Told them of the folly of leaving themselves at the mercy of public transport on Good Friday, and then off to take them home to sort out their barang.

Here, too, my recollections are hazy. I thought I had met them in front of St. Pauls.

Back again and watched TV and talked with Sonny and Raj, then Sonny off to the Playboy club, and I off to pick up the girls, after a quite passable spag. bol from Raj, and back to have Raj and Brenda pump Betty and Shirley [the Canadian girls] full of bullshit about colour bars, how good it is in the east, etc., which I think did genuinely interest them, and then Sonny returned.


Friday, 27 March 1970 London → Bow
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Good Friday

Pumped a cup of coffee into Sonny, and then set off post haste via the M4 filling station, and then on through Staines, while Sonny told stories of ghosts, spirits, magic etc., at which he is admittedly very good, though later on he got a bit tired and went off to sleep. Traffic was extraordinarily high for the time of night, all sorts of people trying to beat the rush to the West, and as a result making a hash of trying to drive long distances at night. Thank God this sort of people usually stay at home at night! Finally got home at about 0430, in the process knocking down my record time from the Uni to 17,053 minutes - not at all a bad time.

The distance would have been from the Streatham Drive entrance, a distance of 14.6 miles (thanks, Google Maps, for not giving it in kilometres) or 23.5 km, so this was an average speed, including going through Crediton, of 83 km/h.

Discovered that we had no spare blankets, did a bit of sharing and packed into my bed with Sonny.

Woke up round 1330, and downstairs to make some coffee and wake up the girls, and then cooked up some breakfast and spent a while playing music, while Betty sang, until Sonny came down the stairs complaining bitterly of the cold. Gave him a bit of rubbery omelette, and then had a bit more of a sing-song before deciding to go into Exeter and see what that looked like. To the Uni first, and then to look at the Cathedral, and found a service in progress, so watched that, then out to the Nobody Inn for a drink, while Shirley got herself quite merry. Set off home, Sonny driving, and I doing a not-too-good best of making off with Betty in the back.

At home, started cooking up some spaghetti, and again trying to make out, this time a little more successfully, with Betty - I don't think she likes doing it in public. Sonny out to make a phone call, Betty out to get some leafage, and we had a quite worthwhile candlelight makan. After that, Sonny somewhat pissed me off by spending the time telling fortunes by cards, and kept attention of both of them on himself all evening, and all I could do was finger Betty while she sat on the arm of my chair. Most frustrating - carried on with the lights off, talking by the light of the fire for about 3-4 hours, and I then off to sleep round 0430.

My recollection was that it was bitterly cold, and everybody complained. For some reason I didn't put much coal in the grate: I claimed that adding more wouldn't make any difference. Sonny pleaded with me, but I was resolute. Doubtless that didn't add to the atmosphere.

Saturday, 28 March 1970 Bow → London → Canterbury → London
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Up about 1300 again, and things happened much as yesterday, except that Sonny, who, supported by the girls, who are nurses, thinks he is sick (and he may be) was very cold and talking of catching a train back to London, so after a bit of bitching about packed some barang together and set off for London again - the traffic was, if anything, lighter than yesterday morning. Sonny, who had been annoying me all weekend by his actions, seemed disinclined to stop, making comments about Citroëns (little ones, anyway) in general, my waving to other Citroën drivers in particular, and while looking at some slides, made further comments about my photography, but would not show me the slide. Finally got thoroughly pissed off when he started gesticulating madly when I wave to another Citroën, and clobbered him, which pleased him little. Most of the rest of the journey passed in silence - I felt a bit sorry for the girls, who didn't know what to do - and dropped all of them at Sonny's place, and round the corner to see if anybody was at the McCoys, but the place seemed shut, so off to Canterbury to see if I could find Dave there, and had a lousy time getting down there. Finally got there - broke and hungry - and found he was in London. Pissed off, back again and to the Mc.Coys, where they were half expecting me - this at 2315 - and Dave was indeed there, and had been all evening. Decided to set off for Devon almost immediately, and so off to park Dave's car outside the meter zone, and lost Dave twice between there and Earl's court - after the first time when he reappeared I had picked up a bird who had been thumbing, and the look on his face had to be seen to be believed. Said goodbye to Sonny, then back to wait for Dave, and finally set off in one car.


Sunday, 29 March 1970 London → Bow → W.Coker → Bow
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Dropped the bird in Richmond, filled up the tank a bit further on, and then fairly uneventfully on through the same well-worn route, today much less heavily trafficed than 2 days ago, and stopped eventually at the Frying Pan in Sparkford, and had a bite to eat before going on and being followed by a 1300 with lights on full beam. Eventually could no longer stand it, got out to ask the bloke to dip, and he didn't stop and knocked his aerial off, then came out ready to beat me up - gave him a £1 for his aerial, but what a bloody waste! Turned out he was on dip, and heavily laden. Poor Dave - he always gets the wooly end of the stick. Got home this time round 0530, having knocked nearly a minute off my Uni → Bow record - 16,150 minutes, which is better than my Tuesday's best from Duryard.

This corresponds to an average speed of 87.3 km/h.

Had some tea and to sleep, Dave downstairs.

Dave woke me round 1300, bad, as I had set my alarm for 1100, and not woken. Had baths and coffee, and then cooked some dhall before going off to Somerset to see Corinne - never realised what a long way it is. Carried on without pushing it too much, and finally got to West Coker and knocked on the door. “Could we see her, please?”; “No” - and he shut the door in our faces. Dave was flabbergasted, and I little better

I recall this incident, but not the context: firstly that we had driven the 105 km just to see her, and secondly that I had been allowed to see her on a previous occasion. I still don't understand why her (unspecified) grandfather behaved like that.

- set off back home again, Dave in a pretty bad mood, and I just plain astonished. The rudeness of it got us more than anything - I mean, he could have at least stated a reason for it. Spent the way back to Exeter thinking of names to call him, and then across the moor to Tavistock, to see the Normans, who were not in. On the way out of Tavistock tried to pick up a couple of birds, who wanted a lift and accommodation - but in Widdecombe.

For some reason, that's all I wrote. Things were not that straightforward. This was shortly before a turnoff to Widecombe, and when I said that we were going straight on, one of them said that they were really looking for somewhere to stay the night. Dave and I drove on, discussed the matter and decided to return and offer them to stay at our place, and that we would bring them to Widecombe the following day. But when we got back, they were gone.

Home and started cooking up a curry, and in the meantime off to the pub for a pint - Dave has changed: he has gone off beer. In fact, he has spent most of this term taking drugs, though he has now decided to give it up while he still has his sanity. Had makan, then read for a while, after which Dave spent quite a while describing the effects of the drugs he had taken, and then talking for quite a while about what cars will be like in 50 years time. Late to bed.


Monday, 30 March 1970 Bow →
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Up again late - dammit, this vacation is going by mainly in the afternoon - and had some coffee and played the flute for a while before it occurred to me that it was about time I did do something about getting hold of Mr. Obussier's Cor Anglais, and so rang him up, and he was perfectly amenable to me coming round and picking up the instrument there and then. To the VIP station for some petrol, and saw a Silver Ghost (1924) piston and con rod in the shed - proved to be the remainder of a 1924 Silver Ghost in the back, as well as 3 Lagondas and other things - spent quite a while admiring them, then along on back routes to Exeter and through Topsham, where I found Mr (Philippe) Obussier after a bit of a search, and was duly presented with the Cor Anglais, but also noticed a rather interesting collection of instruments,

In retrospect his house and the collection reminds me of the house of François in “Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire”, which came out a couple of years later. Or, more to the point, the film reminded me of the Obussier collection.

about which I got talking, and he mentioned a work by Bate about the flute, apparently a sequel to the one on the oboe, and showed a picture of a flûte very similar to my Siccama - but without the rings,

This was probably the diagram (the book had no photos) of a Siccama flute. In the 2nd edition, published some years later, it's figure 42 on page 141.

and this gave me the idea that mine might be very rare. Gave me Bate's address, and suggested I look him up in London. Then out and drove round a bit, found ourselves in Clyst St. Mary and looked up Jayne Philpott, who, however, was not there - she is apparently now in Leeds. On and back home, and cooked up the remains of the curry, and played at length on the Cor Anglais, which I liked very much - much more than the oboe, but maybe this is because it is a better instrument. Certainly I am beginning to see that the Conservatoire system is better than the thumb plate.

To the pub for a drink and some bececy [baccy?] with Dave, and then home and prepared to leave, and finally off somewhat before midnight.


Tuesday, 31 March 1970 Bow → London → Canterbury
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On along the A30, and carried on quite slowly with low fuel consumption in mind, and on the Honiton bypass found a bird thumbing, and so stopped for her, and found she had a friend hiding behind a hoarding, and thus off; it proved that the girls were both friendly and talkative, and for once in a way I ended up in Ilminster not knowing where I was; found a police check I have never seen before in my 30000 miles [50,000 km] in this country. They asked where we were going, and said it was a routine check - at 0130 hrs! On, and discovered that the birds were Ann (blonde, had done the thumbing) and Mauricette (from Mauritius). Stopped at Basingstoke for petrol - 48,5 mpg! One of these days I should make 50, as indeed I probably did average over the trip. Then on to London and picked up Dave's car, which, contrary to expectations, started immediately. Took the girls home, Mauricette invited me in and gave me an enormous cup (should I say bucket?) of coffee, and spoke at length. Discovered Ann (who reminds me of Jenny Hallett) was a full 6' feet tall, quite extraordinary. Mauricette expressed the opinion that whe anted to see me again, and gave me her address - she works for the RIBA!

My father had been an Associate, later a Fellow, of the RIBA for as long as I can remember.

Took Ann home, and then off to Canterbury, where I found Dave and started reading a book before going to sleep at about 0800.

Dave woke me round 1330, and I turned over and went back to sleep, while he went into town and bought some food. I finally up at 1500, and it occurred to me that it might be an idea to go into town myself and get some money, so off and did som and back for the latest breakfast I can recall having, round 1345.

Yes, the times don't match. This time it wasn't my handwriting; possibly I had been influenced by a 12 hour clock and really meant to write 1545.

Then hung around for a while before Dave suggested that we go and visit a village near Ashford, which we did, and had tea there, then back and looked in on Teen, but nobody was home, so off home again, and later to see two flicks, “The trouble with girls”, Elvis Presley, which was abominable; I had not expected it to be that bad — and “Captain Nemo and the Underwater City”, a new twist on “2000 Leagues under the sea”, which was showing at the other flick house — not too bad. Then over to look for Teen, and found her, met Mike - nice bloke - and had makan there. Off home round midnight, and read a while before going to bed.


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