Greg's diary
October 1965
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Thursday, 28 October 1965 KCT → Shereborne → 7oaks → Maidstone → Ashford
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And so begins the first hitchhiking holiday of my life. Before breakfast (at 0655, but now we are back on GMT, it was earlier than last week), got everything packed together, and ready to go as soon as grace was said.

Off in the direction of East reach, and walked about 2 miles before I finally got onto the open road, and fairly quickly got a lift from a fellow going to Shereborne. [sic] This was not on the A303, but on the A30, which, according to the maps, is a still more important place and so, partially against Green's advice, and also because it was raining, went all the way. Traffic on the way out of town was lousy, and when I finally did get a lift, it was only for about a mile. Carried on again, and hit the Jackpot - the bloke was going all the way to 7oaks in Kent, and so accepted with joy, although it would mean I would bypass London, and thus not go to the bank of NSW.

After Guildford in Surrey, traffic got very heavy, and the area was also heavily built up, but we finally made it to 7oaks. Then got a petrol lorry to about 4 miles from Maidstone - very talkative bloke. Another lorry, which took me to 8 miles from Ashford, but I left my sleeping bag on his truck, and had to hitch another thing, and followed him nearly to Canterbury, but could not find him. Damn nuisance, and Mansell is going to be pleased. Got another lift back to the Ashford turn off by a very public school (“Do I recognized the tie? Oh, Kings Taunton” “No, actually I have a Leica - I don't like these Japanese Cameras”). Then another things from some builders, to a mile from Ashford, and so walked the rest of the way. After considerable searching, found East Hill, the Refuge, Nightingale House usw, and looked in vain for Lesley. Then to have some lunch, at about 1515 hrs (just after the banks had closed), and then to look round town. Before too long, hundreds of girls appeared, but not, however, Lesley. One of the schools here has the same colours as KCT. Thank God I did not wear my boater!

Looked round town a bit for somewhere to sleep, and had a look at the church, to photographers shops, wrote a card to Lesley, had a free chest X-ray, spoke to the director of music at the church usw. Not very eventful evening.

Friday, 29 October 1965 Ashford → Canterbury → Ashford
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Gawd! What a hell of a restless night. Apart from the fact that the temperature was about 5°, the station where I ended up is hardly the quietest place in the world. The whole place came rapidly to life at about 0530 hrs, as well, so I could not do much more sleeping. Spent ¾ hour reading my diary from the time that I met Lesley, and thinking about all the fun we had together.

Then to the church for 0700 hrs communion, primarily to keep warm, but as I was the only person in the congregation, things took on a somewhat different aspect.

Then down to East Hill, and before long various Ashford School birds appeared, including Lesley, and started down the church for matins. I could not face going in again, so waited about outside until they were finished. Lesley said something about seeing me at 1330 hrs, and as it was not yet 0900, I decided I could go into Canterbury and look for my sleeping bag. This I did, and also had a look round Canterbury, which is a very nice little town (in fact, I suppose it is a city). Had breakfast, and wrote a letter to Dad.

Back again, and to the Library. Then into the park, where a couple of very attractive young birds came up and introduced themselves. Ashford seems to be crawling with good looking, eligible birds. Why not so Taunton? Then had lunch, and to wait about for Lesley, under the pretext of taking photos of that part of Ashford. She could not get out, unfortunately, and so again to the library, and read some books about parapsychology.. Not the most wonderful book I have read - it seems to be a relatively early attempt, and no doubt pelicans would have more up-to-date information on it.

Then to the park, went to sleep, woke up, and decided I had better buy some caffeine if I wanted to continue the day without going off to sleep. Cheapest stuff was Pro-+, but twice the price of the stuff that Green uses.

At 1620, to Geary's, where I was to meet Lesley upstairs, but in fact met her downstairs, and then proceeded up. She was buying a birthday card for Tony, and finally got round to asking me when my birthday was. As she (24/VIII/1965), so I asked her to guess, and it took her about as long (Ooh, you're 17 now, are you?).

Then decided it was not worth doing a repeat of last night, and besides, Lesley was worried about my welfare, and so decided to hitch to London, but no go, so back again and had a good time at the Duke of Marlborough in East hill (playing “on the street where you live” on the juke box. Very appropriate, nicht wahr?).

Saturday, 30 October 1965 Ashford
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Kicked off the station in the small hours, and asked to go down to the police station, whom they suggested might be able to help. They couldn't, but the bloke there lent me a rug, and to the park to sleep. Woke up to find it raining, changed places with the formula nx₁ + mx₂ / m+n going around in my mind - it was rather difficult to apply it to the rug.

A little later, to the station again, and the bloke there suggested I try the waiting room at the station, which I did - quite warm enough, and I slept until morning.

Then up, staggered to the public conveniences, and washed up, etc, and had a couple of caffeine to keep me going - I am really becoming too dependent on these drugs lately.

Hung around, doing little, until about 0945 hrs, wrote up my diary, etc, and then to Boots, where we had arranged to meet again, and she arrived about 10 minutes late. Not that once can do much in a shop - hardly even managed to talk.

Then invested 10d in half a loaf of bread, and to the park to devour it. God, this climate is cold.

Then had lunch, and to the proposed meeting place to wait for Lesley. This time (again 10 minutes late) she had 3 other people instead of one. Had to keep my distance until we got out of town, but then caught them up.

To my delight, discovered that we were going to split up after all, and Lesley took me to some place which she thought would be appropriate until the afternoon, but changed her mind just as I was getting around with the preliminaries, and took me to another place, which I must admit was rather better. There enjoyed ourselves as of old, although she said some rather disturbing things, which I interpret as playing hard-to-get. Anyway, I rather feel that she was a bit self-conscious, but in any case it was not badly so. I am sure she still loves me.

Then back again, and despite the fact that her friends were back with us, we carried on holding hands, and even put our arms round each other. Lent a couple of her friends (Rosemary and Sue [inevitable name?]) wore my scarf for me. [sic]

Did little in the evening - slept in the church most of the afternoon, and did not see Lesley again except for a very short period at 2015, when she lent me a very warm (or at any rate, heavy) rug. Bless her.

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Sunday, 31 October 1965 Ashford → London
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Turfed out of the waiting room at the station shortly after midnight, and down to the bench by the church, where blanket and thoughts of Lesley kept me warm enough. How can words express what I feel about her? She is the most wonderful thing that has yet happened to me.

About 0430, a policeman came by, wanted to know what I was doing, and then proceeded to tell me all his woes. Why should a fellow with a first class honors [sic] in history at Oxford become a copper? Beyond me.

Up at about 0700 hrs, when the church sprang to life. Another policemen came, and showed me where to stay if I ever roughed it in Ashford again. Then discovered that the left luggage office was not open on Sundays, and had to carry my belongings about with me wherever I went.

Then to church, and sat next to Lesley, though with a division between us. What a lousy service - but being next to Lesley was enough for me. Then out, and the Vicar came and said goodbye to me, and wished me a safe journey back to Taunton.

Spent the morning over a couple of cups of coffee at the Ben². Had a fairly substantial lunch there, and then to wait for Lesley, and gave her back her rug (which had proved, in the daytime, a bit of an embarrassment). Then off to the park - the only place, apparently, where we were not likely to be seen by staff. 5 others with her this time. However, behind a convenient tree, and told her what I thought of her. She told me what she thought of me - that she liked me very much, but did not love me, nor did she want to, as it might lead to complications. I suppose that is fair enough - she admitted to never having been in love before. Got Sue to take some photos of us.

Then said our last sad good-bye, and (mainly for her friends benefit, I feel), kissed her goodbye in front of them. Left her at 1445 hrs. Straight out of Ashford, and the weather went to pot again. How does it always happen when I am hitching? Anyway, got as far as Farnham with a first quick lift,

I'm fairly sure that's what I wrote, but it can't be right. Farnham is nowhere near the route I took.

and then the 2nd (which again was very quick - people from British Guiana) took me as far as Victoria. 1½ hours from outskirts of Ashford to East end [sic] of London, and 2¾ from when I said goodbye to Lesley to when I arrived in Gui's flat. Gui was not there, and Raymond was still suffering the effects of last night. Had makan, and fairly quickly off to bed.

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