Greg
Greg's diary
November 1969
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This diary was entered manually from the paper original between 5 December 2016 and 15 December 2016.


Saturday, 1 November 1969 Exeter
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Is weather in England usually this good at the beginning of November? Admittedly it is 3 years since (what the hell am I talking about? I was here last year! And I had a car to keep me warm). So much for that.

Clearly one of the disadvantages of an unerasable medium.

It must, then, be considerably warmer this year, which I regard with mixed feelings; I should rather like to have a really heavy snowfall this year, once I get the Ami back on the road. Still, it was very warm and sunny today, and so got up and had breakfast, at which I found a letter from Sonny, which took a while - he also enclosed a cheque for £6, which was nice of him.

Down to post the letter, and read “Burmese Days”, by George Orwell, very interesting if a bit detached from the sort of life I would have expected of Malaya in those days. Still, it makes a change from the eternal Somerset Maugham (what did he do for a living, anyway, when he was in Asia?).

Then to lunch - how time flies on weekends, with so little to show for it. Following a hint by Chris, found another letter for me, containing the Chronosport catalogue of special watches and their timing manual, as well as a form to be filled in to become one of their agents, for which one gets 10% - should be quite useful, if I can get people to buy - but in any case if I need a timer, etc, I could get it that much cheaper. Filled in the form, and off to post it, and saw a bloke removing from his house garage a 1926 Bentley Speed 6 - exquisite thing - and got talking to him and took some photos of it. In quite good, though not excellent, condition.

Back again, and read a bit more and thought a while about computer programs, then to makan, and later had a bloke who sometimes sits on our table to coffee - he is a silly bugger, but rather amusing, and had a somewhat interesting conversation. Then more work, read a lot, and finally later to bed.


Sunday, 2 November 1969 Exeter
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All Soul's day

Slept well and truly in this morning - I had vaguely expected Barbara to come along, but she did not, which I suppose is not really all that surprising. Eventually got up just this side of noon (which seems obviously enough to mean before noon, but come to think of it, really means after noon). Did little in the morning, though I did finish “Burmese Days” - not at all a bad book. Then hung around until a somewhat boring lunch - if only Barbara had been here to liven my life up to some extent! Such, however, was not the case, and after lunch off to the Common room to see what there was there of interest, which proved to not be much; then down again to my room, where I rather felt the lack of something to read; work has calmed down now somewhat since the beginning of term, and I really need to get involved in a few activities. Eventually started doing a bit of thought about computer programs, of which I was vaguely in need of doing, and got something done there - applied a bit of thought and eventually came up with the outline of a programme which would put even Dave Snell's efforts to shame, which rather pleased me. After a bit more thought on what to do, came to the conclusion that the time had come to reestablish contact with Matin Tatari, if he has not been involving himself in the border dispute with Lebanon. Wrote him a letter, and thus spent most of my time until makan.

After makan, again to the Common room, reason unknown, and finally back down to my room to sleep a while, until enter Mike Halliwell (he seems to have a knack of waking me) looking for some cotten, and then tried to cook myself a miserable failure of meat and rice. Down to the Huntsman for a rather evil pint to wash it down, and back to spend a long time going to bed.


Monday, 3 November 1969 Exeter
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Oh, my God, here comes another week of this drag! If only I had the Ami back to be able to face Monday mornings without the thought of having to tramp up Streatham Hill before I even get started, and supplement it with 7 hours of lectures! So it was once again today, though I hope it will not continue for long.

Chemistry first, which I think is a terrible thing, pumping us full of quantum theory before the weekend has worn off. In any case, so far I know most of it anyway, so it is not too bad. That over, off to maths problems, where Mike threatened to get “fed up” with me again this week, but did not, as I finally got the message and kept my trap shut.

Back to physical chemistry, which is still vaguely intelligible, though I don't have the courage to think whither it might lead. Mc Glashan [?] certainly gives the impression of being the best scientist of all who lecture to us, but I wonder about his teaching ability. Missed chemistry problems, as we did not have any, and off instead to lunch, and back, as last week, for an after-lunch kip.

Up to the drawing office, where things let fly in earnest, and we had plenty to keep us going - I was, as ever, the first to finish, and my drawing even contrived to look reasonably tidy, though these horrible parallell rule things make a nasty series of smudges. I am seriously considering getting myself a T-square.

Off at 1630, and picked up a letter from Barbara, which, much as I had expected, told me she had lost interest - did not really worry me. I wonder why not. At home, letter from PIB about renewal of insurance which did not offer any no-claim bonus. Wrote a nasty letter about that, then to makan.

After makan felt vaguely pissed off, and so off to see “Goodbye Columbus” at the ABC, and was not frantically taken thereby. Home by bus with another Crossmedian, and late to bed, spending some time writing to Corinne asking her go get Pauline back for me.


Tuesday, 4 November 1969 Exeter → Ivybridge → Tavistock → Exeter
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Up as usual and without mail to the Uni, with the week already accelerating at the customary rate. Another experimental stuff class with Ben Ritchie, who, as a teacher, irritates me - I like him as a bloke, but he just doesn't get across to me. Maybe his lectures are just too abstract, and if I were a better student, I would get on better.

Then to a tutorial with Mike Patrick - why does this bloke dislike me so much? OK, so I annoyed him in maths last week, but I did not thing he was quite fair to me in our discussion today, which was on the subject of how a boat sails into the wind. Nevertheless, got quite a way in the process. Then to chemistry, and more note-taking - this almost rivals maths for the degree of astracticity [?] (or some such characteristic), though possibly he is more to the point than Trifari. Then to makan, and in to town, where I got C3 and to the bank, where I discovered that £125 had indeed come through - good old Dad! - and so up almost immediately to pick up my car, stopping first however to buy a KX, which should be of use.

At Dunn's, was faced with a bill for £116:13:0, which was rather more than the second quote, and I was slightly annoyed about that. Then off, however, at 40 mph [65 km/h] to Ivybridge and then cross-country to Yelverton, Horrabridge and Tavistock. Dropped in on the Normans, and heard that Mum and Bev are off to Aussie to sell some houses - hope they don't sell them all. Then off - they were hoping to bathe in town (their boiler has gone on the blink) and was invited to makan on Friday. Off across the moor, passing Graham Livesey in his 11CL8 just past 2 bridges - amusing coincidence. Back at the Hall had a letter from Sonny extatic from having driven a Europa, and some correspondance from Chronosport appointing me an agent. Interesting.

After makan, a hall meeting about damage, theft, etc, and then out to adjust my light. Back, and did little else.


Wednesday, 5 November 1969 Exeter → Ottery St. Mary → Exeter
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And back to normal life again - it feels strange! I don't know why - I was without my car for only 3½ weeks, a comparatively short time, if admittedly the longest I have been without a car in the past 2 years or so (really? But I can't think of an exception). Still, it will doubtless seem absolutely normal before I know where I am.

To the Uni today in the car, though I had plenty of time in the morning, as the first lecture was at 1100, and spent a while somewhat tidying the thing up, also put the rear seat (complete with somewhat tidier-looking carpet) back in the car, and eventually off to the Uni.

Maths first, and for the exercise I timed him to see how much of it he actually needed to do. Despite the fact he kept us 5 minutes over time, he only did 17½ minutes worth of constructive lecturing, the rest was proofs.

I wonder what I had against proofs in those days.

Then to logic, where we turned to thinking in terms of number systems, etc, and all seemed logical enough. Then Andy Holman cornered me and asked me to explain to him what it was all about. Therefore arranged to meet him at 1430, and in the meantime back to Crossmead for lunch, which was not too bad - apparently is better than other days, as Chef is not here. Then out to the car to clean the secondary carb jets, managed to get them back into place with no sweat, a far cry from last time when the petrol pump gave up. Then into town, reclaimed my money from Austins, and off to pick up Andy, and back to the Hall to do a bit of computer talk, though he found it difficult, and so eventually left it, and back to the Uni to load some film in the Eng.Sci. darkroom, then home to Andy's place to see his Zenit E, which obligingly jammed its shutter. Fixed that, then I hope for makan, after which had some waiting around before setting off for Ottery, where, it strikes me, I came 8 years ago when we (Stuart Lamoury and I) were at Kestrels went to Netherton for ½ term; how time has flown since then! Go quickly bored to tears, and after about an hour teamed up with Sue Hayle; I like the girl, but a relationship would be somewhat impracticable.

Why? I've often wondered why I never started anything with her.

Eventaually back an hour early to Exeter in the Crossmead bus, and walked from Exe Bridge to Crosmead. Mike Pill in later and got me to take a photo of Martin [?], who was paralytic on the floor.


Thursday, 6 November 1969 Exeter
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Up at a somewhat later hour than customary for an 0900 lecture, and off, as a first approximation, at 0840, down by Exwick way - I am getting a bit fed up with Dave airing his views uninvitedly. Arrived in time to sway at Don Litten and mob, and consequently somewhat worry them.

The soft suspension meant that a slight swerve would cause the car to sway alarmingly, at least for people not used to French cars.

Up to find various people complaining of various afflictions, and in to TP, where Sue produced a cutting from the Sunday Times, in which it was claimed (by a female) that one only had to be rich or thick [stupid] to be an engineer, which I thought a curious association of ideas, and they (bless Sue and Marion!) a damned cheek. Gajraj took us for TP, as Mike is off somewhere, and gave us an unprecedented amount of maths in the lecture. Decided that that would probably do for today, and so off into town to get a few things done, and bumped in to, of all people, Popsy Townsend, with whom I spoke for about 10 minutes - he seems hardly to have aged at all, in direct contrast with Ben Weed, who looks as if he has one foot in the grave.

He remembered me well: “Ah, Lehey, the boy who didn't cheat”. So he knew all along, and rather than praise me, he punished me. I was amazed.

Collected my old engine from Dunn's, and took it back to Crossmead, where the cleaner making my bed suggested that I did not leave it there or it would just be removed. Left it outside, then took a couple of blokes into the Uni and got myself a new permit for my car, as I had made a mess of the old one. Then bought “Stern” at the counter and read it until 1200, when I had lunch, shortly to be joined by Dave Snell, whom I really shall have to call Smell. Over and loaded Focal for me, then sat round and watched while I checked all my secret programs and found them wrong anyway, and in the middle of checking John Matthews came in, pointed out several mistakes, and showed me what I should have been doing, then messed around on the TTY for a while and produced an effective programme which was half the length of mine. Messed around in the afternoon, getting it to do other things - spent 50 seconds a go over one of the calculations I set it. Then off for a drive round Crediton and Tedburn St. Mary, somewhat to Dave's irritation, and tidied up before makan.

I didn't mention this before, but it might have been one of the houses I looked at with my mother on 24 May 1969, possible the “uninspiring house in Crediton”.

Then off to a Phot. Soc meeting, where I was rather prominent in the activity, along with Mike Pill and a bloke called, of all things, Pritam Singh, who runs the show.


Friday, 7 November 1969 Exeter → Tavistock → Exeter
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And on goes life. Maybe I am living at less than a good rate. When I look back at my entries for the summer months in Sarawak, it comes close to depressing me - why am I so stuck on Pauline? Or is it just an inability to admit to myself that it is just because I have nobody else? But even when I was going out with Barbara (maybe now I should call her Barbie) it made no difference, and I did not really care when she chucked me. And it can't be just cause Pauline is good in bed - she isn't particularly, and, dammit, I don't want her for it. Life here is as usual, today I got a letter from Dad which was not as unpleasant (in fact, quite the contrary) as I had feared. To the Uni, without Dave, who had gone in earlier - it won't worry me in the slightest if he decides to find his own way. Transport phenomena was much as yesterday, and the whole class was present for most of the seminar as well. That was all pretty deadly, and I couldn't face the thought of having to go to maths too, and so walked out and went to have some makan. On the way saw Mike Halliwell, who wanted later a lift out to the Taunton road, which I said I might give him. Then into town and ascertained that Austin's would do my STak 135 for me,

I have no recollection of what they should have done.

and so up to Crossmead to get it, and took Mike and mate Frank to the end of the bypass while I was at it, then took my 135 to Austins, back to the Uni, where it occurred to I had yet to write up my chemistry practical, and so spent a frantic while doing so, then up to do this week's iodometric business, and got through at about the usual rate, finishing as most people were about half-way through, and then off to do the external few minor adjustments to the car (fog light bracket) and off onto the Okehampton road. Stopped for petrol at Pocombe bridge, but they were completely dry - never known that to happen before. On to White Horse, where I found my consumption to have been much worse than I had hoped - only 38.6 mpg (or should I call it 7,15 × 10⁻⁸ m²? [7,15 l/100 km]}. On after a few further checks, including that oil consumption was on the right side of 1000 m p pt (3,43 × 10⁻¹⁰ m²?). To Tavistock and the Normans, where nothing in particular was happening, and it was still freezing because the heating was buggered. Took in a slightly lame James Blanchard (claimed he had broken his kneecap) to Yelverton/Crapstone where I was to recover my umbrella from the Whitmarsh's - was rather taken aback to be mistaken by Mrs Whitmarsh for [her son] Dave, but she realised her mistake when I stood up [because of the size difference]. Back to Tavvy, later took James home and had quite a late makan. Car is not idling too well - wonder if there is something wrong with the carb still. I presume it has nothing to do with the engine. Later still off back via Ashburton to Corssmead - it occurs to me how little I have to see there now that Sarah is gone (and, by all accounts, found a rich racing driver for a boyfriend, just to spite Bev).


Saturday, 8 November 1969 Exeter → Bournemouth → So'Ton → Stonehenge → Exeter Images for 8 November 1969
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Up in time for breakast this morning, not the most common thing on a Saturday morning, and pondered how to spend the addmittedly pretty miserable day. Decided I would just have to run the car in, and so started wondering whether Hartwells had any Oscars, and that under the circumstances I might just as well go along and find out. Accordingly, with very little preparation, set off and along the A30 to Honiton, and on the bypass it occurred to me how few people do more than the 50 mph [80 km/h] to which I was then limited. It makes me wonder whether there is any point in putting running in signs on the back of cars - some people seem to be running their cars in permanently. Along the A35, while the weather cleared up considerably, and outside Axminster picked up a thumber who proved to be at Portsmouth tech and had been spending a while at Yeovil - odd time to be returning. Carried on through Dorchester and Bere Regis, and on to Bournemouth, where after a while I managed to find Hartwells, which were impressive by their inefficiency, and certainly did not have any Oscars. On, and eventually got to Southampton, where I dropped the thumber and along to look up the Mc.Gibbons, who were not at home. Into town and bought some stuff, then had makan at was once the Wimpy bar, but is now a “spanish”-type coffee bar in name and very little different in practice,

It seems that Wimpy bars were on the way out; this wasn't the first that I had noted closing. It's strange considering how popular I found them.

and then out again to find the Mc.Gibbons still not at home, and so on, filling up at the Total station, where I found my fuel consumption to be 5,8×10⁻⁸ m² [5,8 l/100 km] (47,5 mpg), which is much more what I would have expected. I wonder if I lost a gallon of petrol through that hole in the carb - it seems somewhat unlikely. On up to Salisbury and then to Stonehenge, but it was so cold that I could not be bothered to blow the 1/- admission charge, and so just took 1 photo into the sun and then off again along the A303. After Mere got a bit tired and so off to sleep for a while, but the thing certainly cools down faster than I thought, and soon I was too cold to sleep, and got underway again. Back in Exeter, to the Taj Mahal for makan, a mistake which I shall not repeat - they may like it in the “Exeter Book”, but I found the food quite tasteless.

Then to the Huntsman, and later up and down a ford, the longest I have ever seen - must be 50 yards [50 m] if it is an inch: the suspension was groaning somewhat afterwards, exactly where I can't say. Out for a run around Dartmoor, which I rather enjoyed, especially as I passed the 600 mile [1000 km] mark in the process and was able to do 60 mph [100 km/h], but it did not get rid of the groaning. Back, had a chat with Dave Kernick, who was very impressed with the engine in my room, and spent quite a while examining it.


Sunday, 9 November 1969 Exeter and around.
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Up too late for breakfast, though only just, and decided that this might be a good juncture to do something about lubricating the car, especially with all the unpleasant noises coming from the suspension (proved to be the cans holding the springs, so it can't be serious). Could not do much about the groans, but as I had no engine oil, I used gear oil with MoS₂ in it; possibly this is even better for points which are exposed to the open and could otherwise easily dry up. Then set to and washed the car, which was not as easy as usual, as it was frantically windy, and whenever I finished washing the car, I got a pile of leaves and grot all over it. Eventually gave up the uneven struggle and went up for lunch, after which I saw Chris Jones, who expressed a desire to come with me for a drive in the car, so set out there and then. Off along at A30, and saw a turnoff for Yeoford, so decided to go and see whether that cottage was still for sale - had quite a long belt along some rather straighter than usual country roads, though Yeoford, and found the place still for sale, so on to Crediton, where for some reason I decided to go on to Puddington, and then down through Puddington Bottom, which is passable after all - shall have to alter the marking on my map. On the other side, picked up a bramble bush blown about by the wind, and carried it under my sump for several miles. Finally back the back way to Crossmead, and to my room to do some work - these early makans I find very annoying. After makan, got a bit more work done and tidied the place up somewhat - at least now I am a bit more organised. Later in the evening down to the Huntsman, then back, changed both sump nuts (not a bad effort when there was oil in both sumps) and spent quite a while wondering how best to connect an oil guage - found a likely looking hole to the right of the r.h. oil cooler pipe, with a thread the same as the connection to the oil pressure pipe - the adaptor I have for the 2CV seems to be made up of 2 parts, the smaller of which should do for this.


Monday, 10 November 1969 Exeter
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And another week to sap my strength still further - though were [sic] are now, than God, about halfway through the term. In to town even earlier than usual for a Monday morning, not out of keenness, but because I wanted to get the car into Dunn's for a service before lectures started - and managed to do this, too. Then to the Uni through the most miserable weather I have seen in a long time - this Indian Summer certainly made no bones about it when finally it did give up.

Chemistry first - our basic treatment of the quantum theory seems to be fading into chemistry, and we spent all of today being told about preferential filling of electron shells.

Then to maths, where we went over last week stuff, and I discovered, not exactly to my delight, that I had made a pretty average cock-up of the whole affair - I don't know wny I bothered to hand my stuff in.

Then physical chemistry, which, in contradiction to most other things, seems to be getting easier. I must confess a sort of sneaking admiration for McGlasham, in the way he is doing what he things is right, regardless of what others may think.

Then chemistry problems, which I did not attempt; instead to lunch and then to Dunns, where I was presented with a £2 odd bill for ½ gallon of LHS2, and after initial heart flutters at the thought of running an engine on LHS2, a bit of an argument, and eventually paid my 17/6 for 5 pts of GTX (why 5? it was a pint over max as it was).

LHS2 (liquide hydraulique synthétique 2) was the suspension fluid for the older Citroën DS models of the day. It was in the process of being replaced by LHM (liquide hydraulique minérale) for the models starting in 1966.

Off and did a couple of things in town - ascertained that Chris Jones' watch (which is kaputt) would cost £4 to repair, then back to Crossmead, adjusted the carb - why did they alter it? It was quite OK before they started messing round with it.

Then back to the Uni for engineering drawing, and spent a goodly while at that, though it looked a bit better than some of my other stuff. To Crossmead, where I did a bit of work until makan, then after makan, having intended to see „Mayerling“, went instead to sleep and woke round 2100 to do little before again going to bed and lying a long time awake, thinking cars.


Tuesday, 11 November 1969 Exeter → Ashburton → Exeter
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Up as usual and to the Uni, nothing happening out of order - it is usually a matter of waking up in the middle of the first lecture, which today was of course Ben Ritchie talking all about various functions and distributions, and taking notes, then up to see Mike Patrick about what we were doing in T.P. last week - we certainly understood it a hell of a lot better after he went through it. He is probably one of the best teachers here. Got on a bit better with him today, though I am gradually coming to the conclusion that he is not the sort of bloke with whom I would normally associate.

Then to chemistry, and more note-taking - I am getting vaguely fed up with all this.

Then makan, after which back to Crossmead to repair the flat tyre I had this morning at 0840 when I went out to the car, which occasioned a genuine 5 minute change. Then found the hole - not easy; it was very small. Fixed that up, and put it back on, then along half the unclassified roads in Devon to Ashburton, then to the Outward Bound School near there, which is considerably different to OBS Lumut, and I think I could enjoy it, though strictly I am too old - they only cater for 16 - 20 year olds. Had a look round the place, had a look at the literature they had, then back again to Crossmead along the A38, which was a lot quicker, and had intended to get some work done, but somehow ended up asleep, and only just made it to makan. After makan contrived to do some work - mainly the physical chemistry; I wish I could get out of the habit of doing everything just the night before it is due in. That, however, used up most of what little time I had - why do incidentals take such a hell of a long time? Admittedly down to the Huntsman for a quick pint round 2220, but that, I feel, was justified by the amount of work we had to do. Despite early to bed, did not get to sleep until late.


Wednesday, 12 November 1969 Exeter → Clyst St. Mary → Exeter
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And again up for a 10 am lecture; I wish we did not have these chemistry problems classes so that for just once in a way we could sleep right in - still I don't suppose it does any good to break the routine like that.

Chemistry was easy enough, nothing of any mad panic [?; or pain?], and after that maths, which I am not longer attending; there is no point any more. Went into town instead and back to Crossmead for some non-existent mail. Back for logic, and then once again back to Crossmead for lunch, which was exactly the same stew as last week; one is tempted to think (as may well be the case) that it is all the maids can cook.

Or, of course, that Chef had made it the day before.

After that, to my room, and very soon was overcome of a sleepy humour, as I am sure must come somewhere in “Romeo and Juliet”.

Presumably I was thinking of this passage (Friar Laurence, Act 4):

A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:

Was woken from this by a phone call which proved to be Andy Holman asking me to pick him up, bring him hither and explain FOCAL to him. Swore a bit and down to pick him up, then did a bit of work before Mike Halliwell invited us in for some toast, and we hung about in his place until tea, at which Andy participated. Arranged to go to the “Cat and Fiddle” for the skittles tonight, then took Andy home, and back, trying to work out my FOCAL report, but ended up in a discussion about a block party in a couple of week's time. Then off, after picking Andy up, to the Cat and Fiddle, and had a game of skittles, but I rapidly became bored, and after having as much as I could of Don bullshitting about how his bog standard Mini developed more power than a Cooper, and used less petrol than a Citroën 2CV, etc, etc, off with Dave back to Exeter, and he further pissed me off by talking a load of balls about cars and navigation (in which I am an acknowledged master) - off to the Huntsman to have another pint, came back, was just about to settle down and work when Martin from A5 came over and asked me to read him a couple of poems in German, and did not leave until 0100 - not that I minded, but it was a nuisance as far as work was concerned.


Thursday, 13 November 1969 Exeter
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And another useless day to worry me with such things as lectures - there seems to be no point in repeating my feelings on early morning lectures. Thursdays become even more pointless now that I no longer go to maths, and all I have on Thursday mornings is the 0900 TP lecture. To that this morning, taking Mike Halliwell, though we were today somewhat delayed by a frost which took some considerable removal, and it was not until 0905 that we made it thither.

After TP, had thought about getting lots and lots of work done, but ended up just writing up my practical and then going in to town to get some stuff - saw an Ami 8 and made tentative arrangements about a test drive in same. Am amused to note that the braking system is run on LHM fluid now - interesting. I wonder how much I would have to change to fit the discs on the Ami 6 - one thing that occurs to me is how much easier it would be to reline the front breaks.

The front brakes required frequent adjustment, which was probably more of an issue.

Back to the Uni and to a meeting of the Chem. Eng. Soc. to agree to allow members of the staff to be admitted as full members. Then to maths problems, which was a bit of a waste of time; I did not take anything in at all. Then to makan, after which I attempted to get some time on the computer, but the whole thing was shut down; nevertheless I managed to punch my tape at 1400, with the result that I was 15 minutes late for measuring my 200 green rods. Back to calculate everything, but the computer did not like it, and Dave was not inclined to let me use his keyboard long (fair enough) and so went back home and washed the car instead, spending also some time rubbing down some painting, and then tried waxing it, which was not helped by a dew coming on heavily.

In the evening, tried to do some work, but was somehow foiled yet again, and although after a lot of getting down to it I did most of the TP, I had no time for the maths.


Friday, 14 November 1969 Exeter → London → Tun. Wells → London
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And to the end of the week, and the passage of the half-term mark. And where am I? Sometimes I think, where I should be, and sometimes I am damned if I know. Today was one of the latter; to TP, where I vaguely followed, and then the seminar, which I hardly did, though I seem to agree with him; if only I could concentrate at these dos. Maybe I should write everything down on principle, and thus force myself to think about it. In any case, we got through nearly all the examples in a remarkably short space of time, and I might have a chance to go through them next week.

Then no maths (should I say that in a bracket?) and off for makan, and hung round in DH wondering if I could find anybody else who was interested in coming to London and sharing petrol costs, but did not, so back at 1400 through the most miserable weather I have seen in recent times and did my chemistry practical in a record time of 45 minutes, and was off again before Andy Holman had finished his first titration.

Weather conditions on the road to London were abominable - I have never had such a miserable time on the A303. The weather was a fine balance between drizzle and mud, and the traffic was reminiscent of London all the way. Gave a lift to a couple of sailors from Exeter to the other side of Andover, then to another bloke intent on telling me how he pranged his father's Volvo, but good, to West London Air Terminal, where I arrived after 4:32:49, under the circumstances none too bad a time. Round to look for the Rozallas, but, as ever, nobody was home,

I can't recall ever having been there before. There's no mention in this diary. Maybe I tried on 2 October 1969 but didn't mention it.

and so off to find Sonny, who was, and delighted to see me. Went to a Wimpy bar and had makan, , then decided to go down to Tun. Wells for a drink, and so eventually off, arriving at Pennington Road to find Larry and mob just coming out of it. Had a drink there, then Jim and Sandy Bull (steady bird - would you believe?) came along with us and first to the Bull (closed) and then to the St. John's Rd. fish and chip shop, had some, and after looking at length for an absent Larry, dropped Jim and Sandy, whipped a bottle of milk, and off back to London, Sonny telling me about his grotty box and account of Jack Brabham. Slept behind the place.


Saturday, 15 November 1969 London → Chelmsford → London →
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Woke up at about 0910 and looked out of the window of the car to note Sonny about 50 yards [50 m] away, coming towards me - some coincidence. Gave him some money for parking, then off in the direction of Slough, stopping at the airport for some petrol. At Slough, found Citroën shut, and after a bit of consultation decided to go to the nearest Citroën agent at Chalfont St. Peter. Got ourselves somewhat lost coming out of Slough, and then had fun when my throttle return spring parted company with the throttle, either because it broke or just disappeared. After an abortive (no pun intended) attempt to make a temporary return spring out of a condom, belted on to the nearest garage on half throttle (confusing when changing gear) and got a new spring. At Chalfont, left the engine with the people, and they said they would take it to Citroën. Then back to London, had a look at the flat Mum was thinking of buying in Ealing, then to Chiswick to see Willy Griffths, who does not seem as well off even as Paul Emery. Certainly nothing to match the might of Alan Fraser. Back to Earl's court, ascertained that neither Raj nor Brenda needed food, and down to Queensway to get some very good nasi beryani, which we ate in Hyde Park. Then took Sonny back to Earl's court, and off east to see the Sissons, arriving about 1530. After brief admiration of the new (5 days old) Triumph 2000, in, nearly escaping recognition by David Sissons. Had tea and quite a long talk - I wonder if they are just being polite or whether they really like me. In any case, I get on well with them, and that, dammit, is only the least of the reasons why I would not mind being their son-in-law. Eventually got talking about Pauline, but they knew little more than I did; in any case they suggest I see them in the Christmas and see how Pauline feels then. Then outside for a mutual showing-off of our cars - made a bit of a blue opening my bonnet showing off the engine without having removed the dud condom from the inside of the spare wheel; hope he didn't notice.

Then off to Earl's Court again, in the process finishing my running-in. Met Sonny, and we arranged to go out to some discotheque in Soho, I first off with Subaj to pick up his girl; on the way saw a Citroën 11C Familiale - enormous thing; must match any Daimler, space in the back is sufficient to be able to do it on the floor. After a lot of searching for and subsequent waiting at St. Jame's Park tube station, met Sonny and mob, and off for a burn round Trafalgar Square, and subsequently parked off Jermyn St. and tramped half round Soho, without achieving all too much; finally back to the cars, and for a burn down the Mall, screaming round Buckingham Palace, and to Bayswater for more nasi beryani, which we ate at home. Then I got the itch to shift, and after a few preliminary enquiries, it was suggested I ...


Sunday, 16 November 1969 → Exeter
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... took Subaj and Gillian home - without being told that the latter lived 8 miles [13 km] away on the A1. Eventually back on the A4 (near which Subaj fortunately lived), and to the Heston services on the M4, which, I discover, is always open (sure it wasn't 18 months ago), and filled up, then burnt off in the direction of Exeter, making positively fantastic progress; left the M4 by the airport and went to the A30 at Staines, then did the A30/A303 route. traffic was light, and the weather was good, and it was a joy to belt along the open road averaging 60 mh⁻¹ [100 km/h] - I am glad the car is now run in, but even so I seldom used full throttle. Picked a couple of thumbers up just past Stonehenge at about 0230, and so gave up my idea of stopping immediately, and instead pushed on to Sparkford, where I stopped for a 45 minute kip - I had hoped that the thumbers would keep me awake by talking, but instead they went straight off to sleep. Had some coffee when I woke up, then on to Exeter - total driving time to the [Exeter] bypass was only 3:3:, little more than ⅔ the time it took me going up; up to Crossmead it was 3:13:36, an average speed from W. London Air Terminal of 55,4 mh⁻¹ [89.1 km/h].

As of December 2016, Google Maps estimates 3:10 via the motorway or 3:20 on my itinerary, this with vastly improved roads.

Straight to bed, intending to wake at about 0930 for breakfast, but I was dead to the world, and instead slept through until lunch time, when I went up and found an odd bit of unimportant mail, also a note from Duncan Forbes telling me how to procure the oboe. Then back to my room and had a talk with Chris Jones, also coffee. Then out to clean the car, and Chris joined me in this - washing the carpet, which was somewhat in need thereof. This took a goodly portion of the afternoon, along with tuning a Mini for a bloke who was vaguely worried about fuel consumption. Back after that for makan, and spent the evening catching up on what I had neglected through going to London, and managed to get most of it done - also also read a book on computers, explaining everything, including FORTRAN, very lucidly. Late to bed.


Monday, 17 November 1969 Exeter
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Up at a comparatively normal time, feeling somewhat like death warmed up, and up for breakfast to have to endure some fellow or another (unrecognisable at that time of the morning), who was in a talkative mood. Off to the Uni, and this time took Will (sharing with Dave Whitmarsh) and Mike Halliwell, whom I roused with difficulty, but no Dave Snell, who was apparently not in. He rolled up later, having apparently spent the night in Chudleigh [where he came from, about 17 km away]; I don't know why he lives at hall at all - I certainly wouldn't.

No maths after chemistry (which is finally becoming inorganic) - Mike Patrick was away somewhere. Then into town, an got some money, also to Dunn's to tell them about the odd noise coming from under the bonnet - they agreed with me that it was an alternator bearing: must be the same cause as the fan pulley, probably too tight a belt.

This was presumably a new alternator, which they had installed. Did they fix the problem? If the bearing was noisy, it suggests that it was already defective, after less than 4 weeks' driving.

Back for chemistry, after a bit of consideration, and then to lunch, after which thought it prudent to see what I could get in the way of accomodation, and so over to Reed Mews, where I found quite bit, but after a bit of phoning round, found most of the places already long let. Got one place in Otterton, which I was to see tomorrow, and called it a day - had a pint in the Ram, and back to the App. Sci. building for en engineering drawing problem which was much simpler than most - as usual finished first (do I really operate that much faster than other people? I always to to finish a long time ahead of everybody else no matter what I do). Up to see Ben Ritchie about using the computer to calculate my statistics experiment result, and he said I should see John Boyle, but that I could hold over my results if need be. Could not find John Boyle, and so home, and got involved helping a bloke with an A35 singularly reluctant to to - trace the problem (I hope) to the carb, which is certainly in a bit of a mess, but could not do much about it.

After makan, to see a flick - The Green Slime, intriguing science fiction, though, as usual, the details were haywire, and The Best House in London, very good indeed - I might even see it again.


Tuesday, 18 November 1969 Exeter
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And on with yet another week - I can see that, before all too long, I am going to find myself at the end of term haveing done nothing about the fact, and this could be more than slightly annoying if I have by this time found no accommodation. Took various people in today, including one of the Großcurth crowd who buggered a drive shaft on his 1100. Experimental data first, more than usually unintelligible, but eventually got the general gist of the thing - funny thing about Ben: I had never noticed that he has no left forefinger - no wonder his writing is so unusual (he is left-handed).

Then up to look, in vain, for John Boyle, an back down again and somehow killed time until Chemistry, for which I was very nearly late. After that off for makan, and then again to the App Sci building to look for John Boyle, and found him having lunch, though he appeared only too pleased to stop and attend to my needs. Booked the computer for me for tomorrow, which was convenient, and then he lent me the DEC book of words, which has rather more on FOCAL than has the FOCAL manual.

Off home with intent to do some work, but strangely enough found I had very little work to do. Hung about doing little, reading magazines, drinking coffee, etc, and also paid a little further attention to the car - I am cleaning it a lot of late. Eventually spent more than a little time working out some programs for tomorrow, which took me longer than I had anticipated. After that had some coffee, and managed to do unusually little from then until makan time - apart from listening to news about the Apollo 12, which is now approaching the moon.

After makan, had a quite belt down to Otteron, including a belt across a road marked on the Ordnance survey map as a track, which was a fitting description. Got the car filthy, and finally there, where Mrs. Manns [?] took a dislike to my appearance or something, and very politely and verbosely told me that she had really intended it for a couple of female teachers. Then back, and at the end of Barley lane saw Mike, Caroline and Chris, and so down with them to the Huntsman, had a drink, and back up with Chris, who came and drank coffee with me at length. Late as ever to bed.


Wednesday, 19 November 1969 Exeter
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And so another landing on the moon! They make it seem as if there is nothing to it, yet in fact it only takes a morning such as this at the console and TTY of the PDP8 to realise the enormity of the job trying to control something as complicated as the moon landing. Over early today, taking Wolfgang and Mike Halliwell, and had a long look round trying to get somebody to load Focal for me - after having a look through the book and examining the procedure for loading BIN and RIM, decided not to do it myself, which was just as well: they were already in, and all that needed to be put in was Focal itself. Eventually John Matthews did it for me, and then got moving, but in my multiple variable business got somewhat tied up, as the thing kept equating S(N) or similar to 0 at some crucial point in the program. Eventually, time was running out, and so gave up and set out from the other program, which did the job easily enough.

Then John Matthews in, and this time he wanted to do some stuff himself, and so off back to Crossmead, arriving about ¾ an hour before the beginning of the moon walk, which was being shown on TV. The first bloke (forgotten his name) got out by my time at 1144:27 GMT, though the BBC started the clock 3 seconds later, and then caught up. Saw little good TV - after half an hour had to go to lunch, and when I came back, only 10 minutes later, they had contrived to burn out the image tube by pointing it at the sun (as we later discovered). Swore, and to my room to work out what was wrong with my programs.

The first bloke was Pete Conrad. According to Wikipedia, he stepped on the moon at 11:44:22, 5 seconds earlier than I measured.

Later off round the scrap yards to see if I could get anything for Wolfgang's moped (buggered transmission) and also a carb for the bloke with the A35. No luck for Wolfgang, but there were a couple of carbs - £1 and 10/-, which is reasonable.

Back to Crossmead, and the to tea, after which I had intended to go out but instead lay on my bed contemplating the early days of my relationship with Pauline before I became interested, when I thought of her in a completely different vein: childish, cold, a nuisance. So much for masculine intuition (or powers of deduction, for that matter). Then down to the Huntsman with Chris for a couple of pints, and back up again to do little before going to bed.


Thursday, 20 November 1969 Exeter
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On, ever on with the dreariness of life. Now amongst my other worries I also have accomodation to find, which might not be the easiest thing on earth (not to mention how difficult it would be on the moon). Off again to the Uni, and somehow ended up with 5 people in the car - 3 people seem to find it difficult to fit across the back set [sic], but it becomes more understandable if one of them is Andy Holman. Transport Phenomena, on with vortices, etc - all this is still highly interesting, if no longer of such immediate interest as was once the case. After that, to look for Ben Ritchie to get a sheet, but was not immediately able to get it. Eventually managed, and up to the library to write up last week's practical. That went on well enough for a while, until I discovered I needed to know the standard deviation of the population as a whole, which was by no means as easy. With Ben's go-ahead, decided to leave it until I could get some more time on the computer. Then back to Crossmead, where I found a letter from Dad, and, being in ia communicative mood, decided to write to him, including Fortran and Focal programs.

It's interesting that I was learning Fortran only 3 weeks after discovering computers. In my recollection I started that much later. I wonder what the program was.

Then had a rather grotty makan and off to another statistics practical, which, with a lot of messing round, took me 19 minutes - if I'd been in a hurry, I could easily have finished it in under 10. Then to see John Boyle about more computer time, but it does not look like being before next Wednesday. Then into town, bought some stuff, and back to Crossmead, where I removed my bonnet and stuck the felt on a little better. Then did a bit of work and into town to buy some tea and a teapot - I am getting a little fed up with coffee. Eventually makan came round, and later still did a bit of work, mainly computer programs, and then borrowed some maths notes from Dave Snell and copied these out. Then thought about going to bed, but could not sleep, and eventually had an idea to get the PDP-8 to write out a birthday greeting for Corinne, and so spent a while writing out that - not to sleep before 0400.


Friday, 21 November 1969 Exeter
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As a result of my very late night last night, as well as a genuine feeling of crookneß, decided to give everything a miss this morning, which however was somewhat disconcerting for Dave Snell, who of course was replying on me for transport, and so ended up (as I discovered later) arriving 20 minutes late for Mike Patrick.

I, however, woke up closer to 1200, feeling still not quite in the best of trim, and hung around for a while, then up to the common room to see what was going on, and finally into a makan of incredibly grotty fish, which made me feel crook all over again.

In to the Uni and chemistry, this week the reactions of copper, which was slightly more complicated, especially as I genuinely did not know some of the reactions - such as, for instance, the reaction of Cu⁺⁺ with SCN⁻, which must be some complex or another. On top of that we were supposed to prepare Cu₂O by an equally unlikely method - reduction with SO₃⁻, which just plain did not work (not in my case, anyway, though I repeated it - others got something). Gave it up, decided to fiddle it, and off to Yeoford for a resumé of Rose Cottage, which is now being handled by a different agent, and which still looks quite good (I trust I thought the same about the place). Possibly we could get -£1500 for it (does that make sense?).

I think I meant “get it for < £1500”.

Must contact Dad and find what he thinks of the whole affair.

Back via Tedburn St. Mary, and to Crossmead, where I did very little until makan, after which it occurred to me to go to this disco tonight, but in the meantime spent a while demonstrating Keith's 2CV to Wolfgang Fischer, whom I am gradually (I think) converting to Citroën - his main worry, I think, is initial outlay.

To the disco, “Motor Psycho Nitemare”, and it started off as a veritable nightmare indeed: trying to talk on the phone to Corinne (wants me to come down on Sunday) over the noise of somebody violently playing the piano.

Gave that up after hanging about for a while, and home to do little - computer work mainly. Late to bed.


Saturday, 22 November 1969 Exeter
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Up again late - had intended to get up in time for breakfast, but I will end up paving the way to a non-existent hell with such intentions. Finally up round 1100, and decided to bit of maintenance work on the car - following a rather hairy jump round a corner last night I had been hearing a sound of rubbing metal from the front suspension, which proved, as suspected, to be a bit of bent metal in one of the mudguards, which with a bit of manual twisting soon ceased - the suspension groan I got in the ford by the Huntsman also is quieting down somewhat. Was just about to go when I discovered, decidedly to my fury, that one of the glasses from my reversing lights was gone, and with all the thefts of late I can only assume that there is some connection: presumably somebody liked the look of them and removed a glass, discovered he could not get the rest of the lamp, and left it thus.

After makan, into town, taking Wolfgang with me, and to Halfords, where I bought various odds and ends, as well as a Wipac reversing light set for only 29/6 including all the wiring, etc., which was slightly different, and I decide rather than to use it I would drill a hole suitable for the existing wiring in the lamp baseplate. Did this, and fitted everything, including an illuminated panel switch, which seems a good idea.

In those days cars didn't have automatic reversing lights, so the warning was appropriate.

Then washed the car, which after Tuesday's expedition to Otterton was more than slightly in need thereof. Then to makan, after which I retired to my room, wondering what to do, and after a certain period of unproductivity decided to go for a drive, on impulse to Widecombe-in-the-Moor (where the Old Grey Mare gave up the ghost). Seems quite an interesting place - must go there sometime by day. Then back again, via the Huntsman, and then it occurred to me that, if I were to go and see Corinne tomorrow, I had better get some decent clothes to wear, and so did a bit of washing, shoe cleaning, etc., and late as ever to bed.


Sunday, 23 November 1969 Exeter → Bristol → Exeter
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Chris in to wake me up this morning, as requested, round 0900, when I was still dead to the world. Followed him up, on the way being asked if I was going to chapel this morning, as indeed I was, and ended up being stung for another 2 lifts, and finally the omnipresent Wolfgang who asked for a lift. This proved to be a mistake - after a considerable degree of waiting around, we found him still in breakfast at 0950, but somehow made it to the chapel by 1000, with Chris squatting in the boot - he refused to sit down.

The service was not up to to much, and I was somewhat depressed by the few people who turned up. After that, up to DH coffee bar for coffee - apparently part of the ritual, after which one was go go back to the sermon, though Chris and I decided not to go, and instead out to show him the place at Yeoford, this time making it in a much better time of 16 mins 17 secs - I could probably get it down to 13 late at night. Had a further look round the place, which quite impressed Chris, whose father is an estate agent, although I must confess to having my doubts as to his own judgement of the property; still, was pleased, and off then back to Exeter, and on the search for petrol, out to Peamore garages, where I also replaced a nut that had been holding the carb. dashpot assembly in place. Then to the Cowick Barton for a pint, and back to Crossmead for lunch. Bolted that down, then off on the road to Bristol, which has been improved even since last I was on it: they have in the meantime opened the Cullompton bypass, which is presumably part of the new motorway (M30?) planned in the next few years.

In fact the motorway was the continuation of the M5, which already existed further north at the time. It's hard to decide whether the bypass became part of the motorway or not; I can not longer even find the A38 on Google Maps.

Traffic was also mercifully light, and I covered the 85 miles (137 km) from Crossmead to Badminton school in 1 hr 45:00 minutes (looked good on the watch: at first I thought I had inadvertently reset it). Local time as 1457:30, not bad when I had to be there at 1500. Corinne and Clarissa were also punctual (I'll give Corinne that: she is usually on time). Ended up sitting in the car inside the school grounds talking and smoking, and eventually decided to take the plunge and ask staff if I could come in, as I had unexpectedly turned up from London. Nobody objected to this, and so in, seeing also Josephine [Corinne's younger sister] for the first time since in Kuching. Had a chat about Pauline - Corinne was, as I, of the opinion that she was trying to persuade herself that she did not want me (so, for that matter, was Clarissa). In fact, it is all becoming somewhat more understandable - though still a bit far-fetched. In the meantime, from this afternoon, it has become evident that Corinne's feeling for me is now no longer platonic - she is obviously going through the same sequence of thought as I did some while back, more as an exercise than anything, wondering if it would not be a good idea to start up a standard relationship. I think the main thing that is worrying her is what worried Pauline: that I might be out for it only for my gland's sake. Ah, well. One day they will learn. Corinne even tried to kiss me goodbye, but I did not take her up on it - still with Corinne that doesn't neccessarily mean anything. Off and back to Exeter, diverting at Taunton to have a look at KCT - they now have yet another new building. Must go up on Saturday and watch the OA match and have a look around the place. In Exeter, had a biriyani at the Curry House - what original names these people have: they even have the same wallpaper as some other oriental restaurant I know (possibly Curry Inn in Tun. Wells). “Malay chicken beryani” was c.b. with pisang goreng [fried banana] and a fried egg. Home, slept it off and woke round midnight feeling like death warmed up, and wasted the rest of my working time. I think I shall have to accept the fact that I am back on a half-day cycle again.


Monday, 24 November 1969 Exeter
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And yet another week is upon us. In fact, I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the week does in fact get worse as it goes on; on Mondays we generally do not have more than about 5 periods, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are quite good - but things hot up on Thursdays and Fridays, when also a lot of stuff is due in.

Today along, alone, to chemistry - did not even see Andy Holman on the way. Chemistry was simple enough, and after that to maths, only Mike was doing something else, so did not turn up. To Crossmead, tidied up somewhat, and off back to the Uni with a couple of blokes, then to Phys. Chem, which was spent trying to puzzle out some notes we had been given - noted a bird sit next to me who has done so a couple of times before. Is this just coincidence?

Then off again, and to makan, then a bit more looking around for accommodation - I had better do something about this - and then up to try and book the computer for Wednesday morning, but it was already gone for the first period, and we had to be content with second, which could raise problems with John's logic class. Then up to Engineering drawing, where I was astonished to find that I had (apparently) scored full marks on the last thing - in any case, all my measurements were all correct. Did this one, which was slightly more complicated, and then off back to Crossmead, where I did little - one of these days I really must tidy up my room. Did a bit of washing, then still more work, and finally out to have a look at what I had left to dry yesterday, and ended up in a talk with a Morris Minor owner, while he told me what was wrong with his car. Drove the thing - not a bad car in a straight line - but said I would have a look at his front axle for him on Wednesday.

Then to makan, after which again off to sleep - why fight it? - and woke up wound 2200 with some phys.chem. to do (first I heard of it). Did little, hung round and later again to bed.


Tuesday, 25 November 1969 Exeter
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And another day goes by - so what? At times I get the impression that there is no point in keeping a diary, when all days seem to be so similar.

In to the Uni as usual, and to an experimental data class as unintelligible as they all seem to have been lately - I really must do a bit of reading up on the subject. Then out and up to see Mike, who was in, and promptly started talking about a molten wax lamp which he had presumably turned on for the express purpose of getting us to work out the heat transfer equations relating to it (or something: I don't know what difference the molten wax made to that.) Was somewhat handicapped by not having been present last Friday, when he gave us the equations. Rather amusing fact that I discovered in the course of the tutorial was that Mike is married - somehow he seems more like the typical bachelor, especially what with his flirting (maybe too strong a word) with Marion.

Then to Mc Glasham - this looks lie being one of his last lectures: somebody else will teach us the next aspect of it all. Pity - I reckon Mc Glasham is one of the best lecturers we have.

Then off to Crossmead for lunch, and after that ended up going off to sleep for a substantial proportion of the afternoon, then had some tea and got down to some work on the physical chemistry, then in to see Chris for a while, and listened for the first time to the tape of my appearance on Radio Malaysia 5 years ago - horrible thing.

Then to makan, after which more sleep and work on the Phys. Chem, and this carried on for quite a long time. I wonder how long it will be before I end up sleeping from, say, 2000 to 0400, and then getting up. Maybe it is worth trying. Out for a walk round at 0230 - there have been a lot of intruders about of late. Found nothing of any great interest.


Wednesday, 26 November 1969 Exeter
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And on goes life, with now only 3 weeks till the end of term, and somehow I still have not found myself any alternative accommodation; if nothing happens soon, I can see myself still here next term, which would not be so bad once next term comes, but what do I do in the holidays?

To the Uni at 1000 this morning for chemistry problems, and this time we had a different bloke, ladykiller kind (you could never describe Mc.Glashan as that) who found the whole affair too boring and simple for words, but then he had been at it slightly longer than we have.

After that off to the computer room, where John Matthews was messing around with some first-year engineering scientists - recognised that incredibly thick-looking bloke (looks like a wharf labourer). He did not seem to happy about the fact that we were using it: he is apparently heading the campaign to keep the chemical engineers out.

The computer (a PDP-8/I) belonged to the Engineering Science department, with whom we shared a building. We were allowed to use the computer until we got our own.

Got down to the thing pretty quickly, and this time the program appeared to work well enough without any material alterations - unfortunately, after I had typed in the first 19 tests (out of 50) I got an ?02.81 - variable storage filled, dammit, so there was nothing to do for it but do without the overall variance, or, as John Matthews gleefully pointed out, write a 4K FORTRAN program.

Apparently he also didn't consider the option of reading in the data, processing it and freeing the memory again.

Eventually got that done, and then writing out the birthday greetings program, which was not as delightful as I had hoped; the computer recognized names as alphanumerics,

In fact, FOCAL only understood numbers, and it converted all alphanumerics to some (frequently wildly inaccurate) interpretation of a number.

and so, when it asked for a name, I had to put in a line “I SHALL CALL YOU”, followed by a number - floating point in my case, as there is an E there. Possibly the funniest thing of all was when I had finally finished it all, I fed in another mean/deviation tape (for FRAN), and the following occurred:

*G
A: 10  B: 10
SORRY, =1.000000 TODAY IS NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY. IN=0.0000000 MONTHS,
= 10.000000 DAYS YOU WILL BE =0.0000000 YEARS OLD *
The prompts were from FRAN, but since I hadn't cleared the program storage, it was interleaved with lines from the birthday program.

After discovering that FRAN ws FRANtically slow in its evaluation (about 1 term every 40 seconds) went off home and messed around there at length, mainly evaluating the computer work, and then to tea, after which off to sleep.

Woke round 2230, and then did a large amount of work, which had been in many ways building up behind me. Finally got to bed round 0340.


Thursday, 27 November 1969 Exeter
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Somehow contrived to get up in time for TP this morning and it did not even seem particularly difficult. Off down Redhills way, and then to the Uni, taking Mike and Dave.

TP was not frantically interesting - we are still continuing with energy and the like, falling backwards into our notes now, and I was not unhappy when it was all over.

After that, back to Crossmead, and read Autocar - Citroën have brought out a prototype Wankel car - an Ami 8 coupé, the MX35, which also has hydropneumatic suspension. Top speed is ≈ 90 mph [145 km/h], which would make it almost exactly the sort of car I would have wanted 15 months ago - especially as it will be for sale, too.

Then outside, where finally my Oscar had arrived - thank God for that! I had horrible feelings that they would not be able to get one. Down to the car, and fitted that, also the wing mirror which I had also got, which presented fewer difficulties than I had anticipated.

I think that this was in fact a left-side door mirror. My car had been delivered with a right (driver) side door mirror. English cars in those days usually had no external mirrors, but if they did, they were tiny mirrors at the front of the wings, where they were almost useless. Thus, however, the term “wing mirror”.

Then down into town to get some money - after all that, the insurance people have not yet cashed my cheque. Back again to Crosmead, and had lunch, then had a bit of fun trying to put the original gearknob back on again, as the other one had a broken insert. Eventually got everything into some semblance of order, and off to have some fun on the computer labs, where after a lot of messing around we got everything into some semblance of order, and I off round 1600 to Halfords, where I bought some “Plastic Padding”, and back home for tea, then applied said padding, and was more than slightly impressed by the way in which it literally solidified in 10 minutes.

This was, I think, intended to hold the gear knob in place. It didn't last.

In the evening, had intended, as per usual, to get in a bit of sleep, but Chris invited me down to the Huntsman, and somehow when I got back I got tied up with him and subsequently Dave Snell, and did not get to bed until 2230, and so decided to do it all in one hep [?] and get up again at 0600.


Friday, 28 November 1969 Exeter → Princetown → Exeter
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Up, as planned, at 0600, and did indeed get a passable amount of work done, and in the middle of it was somewhat thwarted by by bookcase noisily beginning to part company with the wall, so hoped to forestall it by removing most of the books therefrom.

Up for breakfast at 0800, and was, of course, able to enjoy this completely at a leisurely pace, and then to report my errant bookcase, and back to my room to finish my chemistry.

Finally in with Dave to the Uni, and had TP and seminar, in which, it is becoming increasingly obvious, I am doing most of the work - Mel is getting a bit fed up with it, too, and I don't really blame him - I suppose the others can't really learn anything much out of it, as long as they participate so little.

Then to the Refectory, where I had lunch, and back to Crossmead, fully intending to repeat the performance, and once in my room was again overcome of a drowsy humour and slept through to 1530, somewhat to the detriment of my chemistry practical - oh well, what the hell, I can do them both next week unless the time taken increases drastically.

Outside to wash my car in time for the weekend, and while I was at it, decided to do something about making the driver's door shut a bit better, which turned out to involve the removal of the door, which, however, was much easier than I thought. Got it a bit better, but I think sooner or later I shall have to get some welding done on the front vertical member.

This must have been a late consequence of the damage done on 14 March 1969 and the presumably inadequate repair job.

Then to tea, after which spent quite a while working on the clothing I was going to wear this evening, and eventually, after a lot of advice from Mikes and Chris, went in a sarong and singlet, dressing gown and, in case of emergency, my bathing togs.

Things started off pretty quietly, and I ended up talking to Tony, a fellow Crossmedian, but after a while a few unattached girls arrived, and I latched onto the least unpleasant-looking of them (no, that's not fair, she's not at all bad-looking), and somehow stayed with her for the whole evening (until 2330, when she had to be home). Seems she (Alison Unwin) is doing occupational therapy somewhere here (St. Lloyds hospital? Funny name, but that is what I thought she said), and is staying in approved lodgings, which, especially in view of enforced return by 2330, seems decidedly sinister. Took her and 3 mates home and arranged to meet her on Sunday. Then back to talk a while to Chris, and subsequently over the moor which was covered in snow, and had a bit of a near miss going down a hill near Princetown - very slippery. Turning back, I got myself sideways across the road, and the front started sliding gently downhill... I shall have to get some spikes.

This happened on the southern road (now B3212), heading from Princetown to Two Bridges, closer to the Two Bridges end. The road was blocked by a truck across the road, there was a significant incline, and I really don't know how I managed to stop at all. When I completely lost traction, a couple of people came and helped turn it around in place. I don't think I've ever seen anything that icy again.

Saturday, 29 November 1969 Exeter → Taunton → Yeovil → Exeter
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For some reason today I still remember the birthday of María Cristina del Castillo, whom I have not seen for 5 years - I wonder why. Have times changed since then, if not exactly places.

Up fairly late this morning, and up to the main hall, where I found a real amazement in a reply to a letter I had posted yesterday - to the tax people. It seemed a) I had not signed the form and b) I should have sent it to the Exeter city council, seeing as though I am fully 100 yards in Exeter, and out of the jurisdiction of the Devon County Council. Did something about that, and couldn't be bothered when I got back, and so posted it. Had coffee with Chris, and prepared for this afternoon's journey, then to lunch and immediately thereafter to Taunton and KCT, making a time from Crossmead to KCT of 47 minutes, 16 seconds. Had a look round, and the place somewhat depressed Chris. Up by the Sheldon room found a bloke punching computer cards and writing a program in IBM FORTRAN - ye Gods! Is nothing sacred?

Then down to watch the match, spoke with various masters, and left owing to the extreme cold at ½ time. Was surprised how many of the masters recognised me - Clod even recognised Chris [who had never been there before], though when he realised he did not he quickly showed beyond reasonable doubt that they had a common acquaintance in the Headmaster of Worcester School [Chris' old school], who went to school with Clod. Saw Boris, and spoke to him of Jack Tucker, who, it would seem, is definitely in Hongkong, and illicit whisky stills at Eskdale, also true.

Surprisingly, I didn't mention my discussion with Padfield, who told me that they sent the punched cards (punched on a non-verifying manual punch) to Imperial College London for execution, and turnaround time was 2 days at the best. I was amazed at the difficulty of the system.

Off to Ilchester, and nearby a farm where Chris' uncle lives and works. Had tea there, then to Yeovil to look for his cousin Sue, who is getting married in a week, and found both her and her mother. Then to his uncle Bill, who was an engineer in India, and whose first car ever was a Citroën 5CV trèfle of which he showed a quite passable photo - in better condition (dammit, it was 1929) than any I have seen. Also liked his daughter Mandy (“randy Mandy”, according to Chris), whom I shall have to get to know better. She is supposedly car mad, so there is a basis.

Had makan, though Chris was feeling crook, and then off to see Sue's mother, and after a while back to Exeter, where I had a pint with Chris at the Huntsman, and then got involved back at Crossmead with Mike Pill and mob, who were behaving rather childishly. Late to bed.


Sunday, 30 November 1969 Exeter → Buckland → Exeter
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Woke up at almost exactly 1000, as a result of having set it thus, and up to have breakfast, which lasted until 1020 without a word of complaint from anybody - not that I was by any means alone there. Then back down to my room to catch up somewhat on a sorely neglected diary, and also out for a bit of inevitable work on the car, this time removing the door again to perform a further adjustment, which I had found to be possible. That took a while, though it was by no means as difficult, now that I know how, as it was yesterday - my mechanical proficiency seems to constantly improve. Then back inside, and none too soon either, as it was freezing, and was visited by Chris somewhat before lunch, which somewhat surprised me, as I had thought he was going out. Had lunch, coffee, and then with Chris down Ashburton way (Buckland) to look for an ID19, but it was was not there, which disappointed Chris somewhat, as he had rather hopd to buy the thing if it were in good condition. Back to Exeter, and to Duck's meadows, where I nearly got myself bogged down in some mud. Eventually found Ad [Alison from Friday] playing football, and then on to watch the Chem. Eng. match on the next pitch, when somebody dragged one of Ad's opponents across the Chem. eng. pitch, and on further examination it proved that he had no shorts on, and shortly later a whole mob of them came past chasing a bloke carrying his pants, and eventually Ad got them. Then gave it up and back to Crossmead, where I finished a few things and off again to pick Ad up. She had not yet returned, and so off to pick her up, but could not find her. Back and waited, and was rather disconcerted when I saw a bird of Ad's appearance, who, however, did not show her face, turn up and kiss a bloke goodbye, then enter. Fortunately, it was not Ad - she rolled up at 1745 being carried by a couple of friends, having been hurt in the match, and was understandably reluctant to come out, so arranged to take her out on Tuesday. Then to see “The Virgin Soldiers, very poor after the book. Back, told Chris my tale of woe, and early to bed.


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