Greg
Greg's diary
October 1969
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This diary was entered manually from the paper original, mainly betwen 25 November 2016 and 5 December 2016. Part of the entry for 30 October 1969 was entered in January 2013.


Wednesday, 1 October 1969 Tun. Wells
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Did not wake up until 1300 this afternoon, partially because I had no better way of spending my time, and partially so that I would be sufficiently awake to pick Sonny up in the small hours of tomorrow morning. Upstairs, and somewhat as I had expected, found a letter from Pauline, though covered with all sorts of script on the back (“How about my tights?”, and “ITALY” [I Trust And Love You], the latter of which somewhat irritated me, bringing home to me once again that she is, after all, only 15). Down to the Bull to see if I could procure for myself a Ploughman's lunch, which I could and did, and washed same down with a pint, then into town to discover that Wednesday is Tunbridge Wells' (and, so I am led to believe, the rest of Kent's) half day, and so everything was shut. After a bit of thought decided to see if I could rent a car, and so to Rawsons and Caffyns, but neither could help, unless I wanted a Morris Minor from Caffyns, so off to a place called Tolhurst, where they do all sorts of rentals, but their prices were lousy and so were their cars, and they wanted me to do a driving test for them. Off again, and rang up Guy Belsham in Nutley, who said he could make it tonight, and would see me at 1930-2000 hrs. Then off back to await a phone call from Pauline, and as none seemed forthcoming decided to write a letter to Nightie, and then up to take some stuff to Larry, and his mother told me Pauline had, in fact, rung, and that she wanted her hat and gloves back earlier. Sent my letter off to Nightie, as well as a letter and a card to Pauline, and then off, having failed to get Martin's car, to Tolhurst, but their tester had left 5 minutes earlier and they would not let me a car. Back to wait for Guy, who did not arrive on time, and later Larry told me he would be at the Bull from 2035-2045. He arrived at 2055, in a Sprite as soft as a 2CV, and we then went on a reasonable pub crawl. Back 5 pints and a lot of jokes late to the cellar and had a game of snooker before they left, and I rather reluctantly hit the sack.


Thursday, 2 October 1969 Tun. Wells → London → Tun. Wells
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Up again quite late, though I doubt I shall again reach yesterday's all-time high, at least not in the immediately forseeable future. Down town as ever, though this time with definite thoughts on getting hold of a car again. Got some money and had some makan, again at the Po-king, and then off to the city baths, where gradually a memory came to me of this morning, waking up at 0400 with a raging thirst and no water to quench it, and of eventually getting up and going down to the Pantiles to consume inordinate quantities of the Chalybeate water. Now its well-known (better known to me since this morning) laxative qualities were manifesting themselves.... eventually I had my bath, then up to Caffyns, where I got myself an 1100 without any further formality than a £10 deposit, which vaguely irritated me. Then back and got my washing, and down to the laundrette to wash same, which was rather confusing and took two lots of washing before it was acceptable - still, better than some of the stuff that I found in my sack at the McGibbons. Then back to Broadwater Down, where I found Larry examining his spark plugs as if he could thereby glean some information about why he was using so much petrol, though they were just slightly oiled up, and so told him nothing. He told me that Sonny was at Westwood, and so over to pick him up. Out again pretty quickly, while Sony told me of his ordeal trying to get here, and then we bumped into Larry in London Road, and stayed talking to him for quite a while, then took Sonny back to Westwood and off myself to the Curry Inn, then back to Broadwater Down to write up my diary, and got involved in a conversation about cars with Larry, and then of to pick Sonny up at Westwood, and on the way picked up 3 Dutch girls who were thumbing to Sevenoaks. When I got to Westwood, Larry and Jim also decided to come, and so we had 7 in the car. Took the girls all the way, then up to London, where we could not find Raj, so over to Bayswater, where Sonny found Raj and got the keys - Raj was sick - and back to Earls court to get the stuff.

A lot of context missing here.

To the Wimpy to have something to eat, which was a bit of a laugh, as Larry was there, and I was putting on a German accent. Took the keys back to Raj, then back to Tun. Wells, following a police car for about 10 miles, while Larry and Sonny slept in the back. Finally late home and almost immediately to sleep.


Friday, 3 October 1969 Tun. Wells → Ashford → Tun. Wells → So'ton
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Up at 0900, possibly because the fact that Sonny was here gave me the idea that there would be more to do than might otherwise be the case, and in any case I had Pauline's hat to take back to Ashford. Accordingly got Sonny up - he could not sleep anyway - and upstairs, where I found a letter from Miss Nightingale, who said that she was not in a position to give me permission to take Pauline out, as her mother was in the country, and as permission could not be obtained in time, could not take her out. Into town, where Sonny tried to find out what was going to happen about his car, which apparently had blown up when he tried to start it, and then we set off for Ashford, while I discussed the situation with Sonny, and as I came into Ashford, decided to contact her mother, and so found the Post Office and rang her up - she had apparently heard from Pauline herself, and had actually gone to the trouble of ringing Nightie up to get her permission. Down accordingly to the school and sought an audience with Nightie, and eventually saw her - she is in fact quite nice (can't remember if I have met her before, but rather thing not - had expected her to be considerably older). Quite apologetic about having said no, and let me take her wholeheartedly. Then dumped Pauline's hat and gloves at Northside and back to Tun. Wells, where Sonny dropped me at the Po-king and went over to Rawsons. Followed him over, then together off to a fish and chip shop, and had some makan. Thence to the Bull, had a drink and a talk with Mary, and still later back home to tidy up somewhat before Sonny decided to go various places, and give gifts. This involved a trip to Westwood and Tonbridge, and then back to have some coffee and see Rawsons yet again, and finally, after getting some of my stuff, off to pick up Jim and off to Southampton, where we arrived at about 1900, rather to his parents surprise, and as a result had to wait a while for the makan. Later into town, though I did not really feel in the mood, and had a drink, and tried, for Jim's sake, to pick up some birds, then, as he was too nervous to even join in, back home, where I went upstairs, multitudinously depressed by all I have in front of me.


Saturday, 4 October 1969 So'ton → Beaulieu → So'ton
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Up late today, mainly as a result of yesterday's late night and the fact that nobody had any particular reason to get up early. By the time we got down to breakfast, it must have been nearly 1100, and as usual we had an enormous McGibbon breakfast (I had all but forgotten how enormous!). In the course of this, Mr. McGibbon suggested that we go and see the Montagu Motor Museum in Beaulieu, which seemed like a good idea, especially as I had been intending vaguely to do this for quite some time. Accordingly after we got up from the table, set to doing the usual time-consuming nothing for some period of time, and then piled into the Zodiac, Jim driving - apparently there is nothing in the way of the insurance or whatever now. Off in what appeared to be anything but the right direction, and which proved not to be when checked on the map - in fact, we were one the 31 to Cadnam (after a further mishap), and it eventuated that Big Jim had some specially scenic way to show us, which he himself did not know too well, so we were in Lyndhurst before we found we were on the wrong road. Back again and across the A31 to a pub somewhere called the Green Dragon, whose only claim to fame, apart from the extraordinarily slow service, was New Forest Brand marks all over the walls - enormous numbers of them. Then, after taking about an hour to get through everything, finally off in the opposite direction to Lyndhurst and Beaulieu, and after a while turned round and thither. Got there round 1430, and almost immediately in to visit the Motor Museum, which, however, was by no means the largest attraction - the place was crawling with various steam organs and odd steam engines, fun fair machines, etc. Still, the cars were interesting, though there were not nearly as many as one might hope. Then got a card to send to Pauline, and off to have a look at the “Go-karts”, which must have been propelled by detuned model aeroplane motors, and did about 10 mph [15 km/h], so we forewent paying the extra 5/- each and fairly soon left. Back in Southampton, into town to buy some socks and a pullover and a watch strap for Jim, then back home and in due course had an enormous meal, after which I felt more than slightly bloated. Off later for a drink, picked up some girls but did nothing with them, and then back home, where I endeavoured to get an early night, as usual not helped by Sonny or Jim.


Sunday, 5 October 1969 So'ton → Ashford → Hammingfield → Ashford → Tun. Wells → London →
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Up at 0615, and things sprang pretty quickly to place - everybody got up, which made me feel a bit guilty, especially as Mrs McGibbon immediately set to and, after coffee, made us sandwiches. Off as scheduled, in fact 4 minutes early, and into a dense mist/thin fog that lasted nearly all the way to Tunbridge Wells, thinning off somewhat as time went on. Made good and uneventful progress had a it of fun coming up to a narrow bridge only to find a lorry beating us to it, especially as it was slippery. Yumping at Billingshurst, came down sideways, which shook Jim more than a little. Dumped them at Broadwater Down and on to Ashford, arriving at 0915, as against a feared 1000 or later. Pauline, however, did not turn up at the church, and I presumed from the small numbers present that it must be voluntary. Waited around awhile, and then off to the school to see if I could see Pauline before taking her out. She was outside, on the other side of the school, and as soon as she saw me she disappeared. Then there was a bit of confusion, and finally I was ushered in to find Anna trying to comfort Pauline, who was crying her eyes out and refusing to see me. Eventuated that she did get into trouble last week, and blamed me for it all.

I have no recollection of this particular detail. How did she get into trouble? I suppose we will never know.

Tried to calm her down a bit, and then they had to go to church. Asked Anna to talk her in to coming out, and then off in the Folkestone direction to get a bit of sleep. Back after an hour and picked Pauline, still protesting, up, and off in the direction of Chelmsford to find her mother. She was very quiet indeed at first, but livened up somewhat after a bite to eat at the M2 service area. Got to Hammingfield in about 90 minutes, including stop, and her mother was understandably surprised to see us, but had the best idea of the lot to get her out of trouble: say that she indeed thought I was a cousin, as she had always called Dad “Uncle Norman”.

So the trouble was because she had claimed I was a relative rather than a boyfriend? But only 2 days earlier I had received permission to take her out again.

Hammingfield was where the Sissons lived. I can't find it on the map, and it can't have been as far away as Chelmsford. To get there we went through a tunnel, I think the Blackwall Tunnel, under the Thames. Maybe it was the name of the house, which I recall as being relatively small and full of books.

Did little in the afternoon - I think Pauline really does want to chuck me, though possibly it is just that she is worried about the opinions of other people, in particular Lindsay, who has done her share of rumour-mongering.

It's not clear how much influence Lindsay could have had after we all returned to England and Scotland respectively.

Took her home, running low on cash and spirits, and felt thoroughly depressed by the time I dropped Pauline.

That was, indeed, the end of the relationship. I never saw Pauline again, and I can't recall any further contact. It's hard to understand what happened between 10 September 1969 and today.

Back to Tun. Wells, took up my bed (OK, sleeping bag), and walked. To the station, where Jim, Sonny and Larry saw me off, and to Charing Cross, where I started a mad cross-London chase, thinking I had only 35 minutes to get my train. Made it, on 3 different tube lines, in 25, and discovered, once I had regained my breath, that the train was due to leave an hour later than I had been told. Eventually it did leave, and I off to sleep.

I didn't think anything of it at the time, but this was the third part of my break with the past: first I left Kuching on 20 September 1969, never (as of 2016) to return. Then on 20 September 1969 I left my home of half a lifetime, Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia in general. I have been back many times since, but only as a visitor. And with the break with Pauline I also broke with almost all my previous connections. From the next day, life was very different.

Monday, 6 October 1969 → Teignmouth → Exeter → Tavistock → Exeter
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Woke up at 0530 to find the train in Teignmouth, so out in what must have been record time, and discovered the first train back to Exeter would not be until 0633, so into the waiting room where it was not much warmer than outside, and sat round for nearly an hour checking what I had to do before going to catch the train, and back to St. David's station, where I left my bag (sleeping) in the left luggage office and went into a somewhat warmer waiting room, then back to the restaurant, and finally to sleep in the waiting room. Woke up at 0945, and out and up to the bank, getting a quotation for Mini insurance on the way: £85 odd for a Cooper 'S', which is, to say the least, somewhat discouraging. At the bank, got things over and done with pretty quickly, and then, saving discovered myself to be £85 in the black, went up to Dunn's and collected my car, which is now in running order, though the big ends are making one hell of a noise and will obviously not last much longer.

Why did this happen so suddenly? The cause was doubtless the loss of oil on 23 December 1968, but I made no mention of it the last time I used the car.

Down to the station and got my bag, and up to Crossmead, where I was given all the necessary stuff and a room on block 'F', very convenient: ground floor, by myself, and access from the road without going past the main hall. Settled in there vaguely, then up to the Uni, where I had makan and made enquiries about what I had to do, and then back to the Hall to get my registration stuff, and finally back to register, which all seemed rather slap-happy, apart from a bill for some £350. Then off to Tavistock across the moor, taking it easy for the sake of the big ends, which are now making some rather frightening noises. Saw the Normans, and had a chat - Sarah is now going off tomorrow, which is rather unfortunate; I had rather hoped to see her a couple of times before she left. Loaded all my barang into the car, then off, saying goodbye to Sarah and threatening to visit her in Firenze over Christmas. Back in almost exactly the same time and had a while to tidy things up before makan, after which there was an orientation talk which answered a lot of questions about what to do and how to get away with it, and we were told that we had a hell of a lot of freedom, and to respect it, and not play silly buggers under the Wardens window at 0300, etc. Then back to my room, where I spent most of the evening unpacking.


Tuesday, 7 October 1969 Exeter
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Up at about 0815, and then along to the dining hall for breakfast, an uninspiring enough meal. I have never tasted tea so much like tar in all my life. After breakfast, off fairly soon to the Uni, giving a lift to a couple of other blokes in the process - I like the custom they have here of giving 6d for a lift - one could make quite a bit of money that way, and it certainly more than pays for the petrol.

At the time petrol cost 5/- a gallon, and I got about 40 miles to the gallon, so the 6d would take me 4 miles. The distance was 4.3 km, or 2.7 miles.

Then, at the Uni, studied my requirements and accordingly over to the Applied Science Building and met my tutor - name sounds Irish: Mike Patrick. Reminds me of the one about the queer Irishmen. He was quite nice, in any case, and was very helpful about a variety of aspects of University life. Sent me out of there and in to see Professor Lacey, who is a prototype of an absent-minded professor, and kept asking me the same question and telling me the same things over and over again. I wonder how much he left out. Then to Devonshire house to find out why something hadn't been signed, and back to the Chemistry and maths departments respectively to register there, and in the former also had a photo taken - they accepted my passport photo in the latter. Then over to the refectory, where I arrived at the worst possible time, and so had a long wait. After that into town to see if I could get some oil and wire - Carr's had cut off all the auxiliary light wiring when doing the bodywork - but still could not find any 50 oil - though somebody told me there was a 60 available somewhere. Back home and fixed up the spot wiring, then did my best to get the thing to idle - there is definitely something wrong with the carb, for the thing will idle - I cheated and partially opened the second choke, though this way is by no means perfect. Then washed the car, and into town to get a few things done, mainly posting letters. To the Ceylon tea centre, which I look like visiting more often. Reading “Popular Motoring” - road test report on the Dyane 6. Things now only cost £598, as opposed to £596 for an 850 Mini, and apparently are faster. No wonder they are selling like hot cakes. Polished the car when I got back, which took me until makan time, and after that spent a while tidying up my room, though once again hunger overtook me, and I went into town searching for food - ended up with fish and chips.


Wednesday, 8 October 1969 Exeter
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And so the first day of lectures start, and once again I am an active student!

Up this morning at 0830 - I must work out some means (in all likelihood involving an alarm clock) to ensure that I wake up at the right time. Up to the dining hall for another slightly more palatable breakfast, and then, after a bit of hanging around, off to the Uni, giving a lift to a bloke in the maths department, and had a look for stuff round the bookshop, after which over to the Applied Science building to have a lecture, only to find it had been cancelled. I was, however, grabbed by the secretary and taken over through the engineering science building to the darkroom, where I was handed over to another girl who took me all the way back again and took some photos of me once she got her Praktisix all set up. Had a look also at a Pentacon Super - nice looking camera, but what an enormous lens! Must be twice the size of the 50/1.4 STak, and it is only a 55/1.4 Pancolor. Then to Dev. House, and got a newspaper but no coffee, and back for a maths lecture; noticed a bird in our group, which somewhat surprised me - quite a talkative one at that. Maths was somewhat boring, the lecturer being as undecided as we were, and talked irregularly and at length about numbers. Then into a logic class, in which he started teaching to those of us who didn't know it the new math, with a view to being able to handle a computer. Then that was it for the day, and over to the refectory for lunch, then into town, only to find everything shut, and so bought what I could and back home to clean out the innards of the car, and this occupied me all afternoon - approached it by removing everything from inside the car and sluicing down with gallons of water - a bit of Ajax was also very useful and proved ideal for cleaning the seats with, much better than anything else I have tried. Then left everything to dry and more or less sorted out the stuff I had in my room. Finally put the car back together, and after that had some work to do on the relay, which was not functioning correctly. Had makan, ridiculously early at 1730, and later, after talking to Snell, the bloke next door,

I don't seem to have mentioned it, but Dave Snell was in the same year of the same course as I.

off to a talk at Devonshire Hall - then back, filling up on the way, and then to find (with difficulty) “The Huntsman” and had an incredibly cheap pint - only 1/8d, which scarcely leaves room for one to complain about the poor quality of same.

This could well have been what is now the Twisted Oak in Ide.

Back to Hall, and finished off things, and then reading once again “Silent Army” - enthralling book, but horrible.


Thursday, 9 October 1969 Exeter
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And on - had to get up earlier this morning, so as to make it to the Uni by 0900, and as a result got up at a time closer to what I used to when working for ICI. Then had breakfast and messed around a while before deciding to go to the Uni, and then had a moment of panic when I could not find my key. Finally off, and this time the lecture did start on time, and so off and away with Professor Lacey telling us what he thought we should know about the sordid facts of PVC manufacture (not all that much, in fact), and then instead of a seminar worrying ourselves with it all, we went upstairs and worried about how to get coffee out of the coffee machine, which was a near-impossibility, and ended up to talking to the girl in our set, called (I believe) Susan. Quite a nice person, and vaguely attractive in a wierd sort of way. Then had more maths with our German accented friend, and as usual learnt little. Had a couple of hours off for lunch, and after messing around in the refectory, out into town, mainly to buy a gown, but also bought a few things for making coffee with, mainly the Melitta stuff - glad that I managed to get hold of that. Then back to work and had a lecture on safety, which was almost ludicrous in its incompletion, and had an even more ludicrous show round the engineering labs - say what Barry Shorthouse [of ICI] may have last winter, this is obviously more to do with engineering than chemistry. Finally were shown the library, and then Dave Snell and I to the bookshop for some stuff before the promised tea party, and then off pretty quickly and into town to do some more shopping, and although I did not get an electric kettle, I did find some Castrol Grand Prix 50 oil, and bought 3 quarts [a little over 3 l] of that, and also some mugs, then back to Crossmead, and changed the oil; this Holt's EP5 stuff is almost unbelievably viscous. Then did some homework, as I felt I had better - this place is surprisingly conducive to work. Had makan, and then almost immediately off to the Fresher's squash, where I joined the phot soc. and gave my names to all sorts of other people - transcendental meditation society, music club and rag week. Then back again - the place was violently overfilled, and if before I didn't know why it was called a squash, I certainly do now. Home, finished off “The Silent Army” and to sleep.


Friday, 10 October 1969 Exeter
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Up again slightly later, and just got into breakfast on time. In to town with Dave to take some of his stuff to the dry cleaners, and then to the Uni to start off our series of 3 hours lectures in room 004, which I am sure I am going to learn to hate. The first one was not too bad - basic methods of energy transfer in fluids, and we more or less understood and took notes. It began, however, to become more than slightly confusing when the next period was a seminar on the whole thing, and we all made absolute fools of ourselves in the process - I hope things improve a little from this position. Then had maths, still talking about numbers and their properties - if things carry on at this rate I don't expect any undue difficulty, though possibly something will arise later on. Then to lunch, after which we were back at it again, which was possibly just as well, as Dave was trying his hardest to persuade me that carpenters preferred thinking backwards. There was a lecture in one of the Newman building lecture halls, in which some rather interesting means of using pipettes and burettes were put forward, including keeping them full of DI water when not in use, and cleaning them in good old chromic acid. Then up to the lab, where we were given our stuff and told to clean it, so ended up slopping chromic acid everywhere, rather to my distress. Carried on like that for a while, and then in to learn how to use the balances, all very nice - first time I have seen a direct reading balance with a vernier - but this was only to 100 µg, so possibly the thing I was using at ICI was more accurate. Then off home, and discovered that tea was pretty soon after that, and then prepared for the party. Eventually along, and rang up Corinne, then arranged to meet her tomorrow. Had a drink, and upstairs to await the arrival of the girls. After a while took the plunge and picked up one Penny Osborne from Solihull, who is studying English and Music, and stayed with her for the rest of a not-very-exciting evening. Then home, taking 5 others with me, and in the process had a lighting failure which only added to the general merriment. Late to bed.


Saturday, 11 October 1969 Exeter → Bristol → Southampton → Exeter
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Up later than normal, with the result that I missed breakfast and just about got up in time to find Dave leaving for Cullompton. Tided my room up somewhat and got various things ready, then changed my mind about waiting further and instead hopped straight into the car and left, descending into the fog on the [Exeter] bypass and gave a lift to a bloke from Crossmead. It was not until I was well and truly on the other side of town, that I realised I had forgotten all maps and my diary with directions of how to find Corinne. Carried on regardless, and took a whole hour to get to Taunton, where I had a very expensive and rather small Wimpy (which I consequently regretted) at the Wimpy bar, then on, giving a lift to a tramp who was scared out of his wits in the thing. Carried on, gave a lift to a couple of blokes from Cannington, the second all the way to Bristol. There is, apart from the crank, also something definitely wrong with the carb; the second choke seems once again clogged, though I know not how. Found Badminton School without all too much trouble, then down to Westbury on Trym for some lunch. Back, hung around for a while adjusting the carb, and then picked up Corinne and a friend called Clarissa, and after a bit of doubt went out of town by an airport and spoke at length, thus passing a good deal of time, and inter alia made arrangements to go to Yeovil and see her in 2 weeks time. Then off for some tea, and took them home, and I off to Bath, Warminster, Salisbury, etc. Filled up in Warminster - have used a lot of fuel, but surprisingly little oil: this GP50/EP5 certainly cuts down consumption, and knowing STP, I think it must be the GP50. Then to Southampton, bearings knocking more than when I left, and had makan and loaded all my stuff in the car, and off back to Exeter, turning down Mrs. McGibbon's offer of accommodation for the night. Belted on quite fast, and outside Clyst Honiton noticed the car pulling very reluctantly. Sopped and had a look at the oil level, found the sump dry and the engine very hot. Poured a quart in and on 100 yds to the nearest service station, and checked the sump - still dry. Could not rouse anybody, so left the car and home, getting a lift into town with a taxi, who charged me 6/- to take me to Crossmead. I am all very cheerful about this - I wonder why.


Sunday, 12 October 1969 Exeter
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Up late today, though not too late for breakfast - once again I seem to be in need of breakfast, though doubtless that will pass in due course. After breakfast, sat around for a while and tried to get somebody to give me a lift down to my car, but no luck, and so into town (got a lift that far) and tried to get a taxi, but they were booked up as well. Accordingly and left it and wondered what to do for a while, then down to Gandy St for a while to line up for the Uni church service in the cathedral, and got talking to a mob from the German Society, who told me they were meeting tomorrow at 2000 hrs - I already have 2 places to be at that time, and no transport. In for the service, and, of all people saw Randall Unmack there, looking considerably the worse for wear. Service was quite good, with a rather inspiring/inspired sermon by the Dean of York, though the programmes did not quite agree with what the choir thought, and they, traditionally, had the last word. Out afterwards and tried to find the Weed, but no go - or rather, he already had, and I consequently could not find him. Off back to Crossmead, getting a lift on a scooter, which looked a bit ridiculous wearing a gown.

Had lunch, then over to see Nick, bloke in E8 who does chemistry, and persuaded him (not difficult) to take me up to the car and get all my stuff out. Did this, after a false start, and got all the stuff out, and while there had a look at the motor, where I found, apart from the fact that it had further siezed up, that the oil level a quart above maximum - in other words, as much as I had put in. I can only imagine that it was caused by the EP5 additive, which, on getting hot, thickened up so much that it would not flow back down the sides of the motor into the sump. Might get on to Holts about that.

That's still the way I see things, but what redress would I have had? The engine had had it anyway.

Then home and unloaded all the stuff, following which I spent all afternoon trying to restore order in my room, and at the ridiculously early hour of 1715 had makan, and then back to it, and by 2000 odd things once again looked vaguely civilised, so in due course down to the Huntsman, which is not as far by foot as I feared, as I was hungry as hell. Back up, and shortly before midnight Dave came back, and we spent a good deal of comparing things we had brought back, and I did not get to sleep until 0200.


Monday, 13 October 1969 Exeter
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Oh, what a horrible thought, getting up at 0745 after a late night and having the thought of finding one's own way to the Uni. I could not stand the thought, but somehow survived. After a bit of asking around discovered that most blokes already had their cars full, and by the time we set off, the bus had already left, and we had to walk to the Uni, which is no light undertaking, especially the last bit, on from St. David's station. As a result, after 38 minutes we arrived in lecture hall D dripping with sweat, 10 minutes late. That was chemistry, a vaguely interesting history of the modern atomic theory. Then, before I had completely recovered from having arrived, I was faced with having to traipse over to the Chem Eng building for a maths problem class, which I found more than slightly pointless, as we had not submitted an stuff as yet for marking. Did what we were given at the end of last week, then off and back to lecture thatre A in the Newman building, where we were issued with a monograph written by this bloke and published by the RIC. Then had a dissertation of vague interest on physical chemistry before going back to room 106 of the applied science building to do some non-existent chemistry problems, so off after a couple of minutes and quickly to the refectory, after which into town and got Dunns to tow the car in and see what they thought about it. Then bought a few things, mainly to eat, and home, where I realised Ihad forgotten all about such things as plugs, etc., and swore. Then got down to finding out what was wrong with the PCR, which turned out to be very little; I knew that the rectifier was in a bad way, and once I had required the thing to run the 5U4 all was well, apart from a dud lead to the mixer grid. Then did a bit of work, tidying, etc, and miraculously the afternoon passed, helped also considerably by a visit from Dave Großcurth, who had finally worked out who I am, and seemed quite plesed to see me - he is doing law, of all things. After that just about had time to get up and have makan, which I left early in order to get the bus into town, and to the Choral Society for a while - doing Bach's “Christmas Oratorio“ - and then to the German Society, where I found that the girls outnumbered the blokes by a factor of about 6. Spoke with about than number, and took a fairly nice one home (like her place), and then discovered she was already hooked, and the last bus had left - talk about wild goose chases. On the way home, Dave Großcurth gave me a lift - these blokes come in handy at times. Late to bed.


Tuesday, 14 October 1969 Exeter
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Up later today - what with these late nights, breakfast seems to loose its importance until examined later, and so today I missed it. Then off to the Uni for experimental data, only of course we did not have any, and instead were given various ideas on how we should behave ourselves in the lab, etc., and so on to how to write up - spent an hour on it, anyway. Then a free hour which came in very handy to get some food inside me, as I was feeling distinctly crook as a result of not having any. That in itself was a bit of an adventure: it is not as simple as it sounds, as the coffee machines work at an appalngly slow rate, and hundreds of art students (lower than scum!) queue barge (not that I wouldn't if I could, but most engineers seem to prefer Nescafé in the faculty room. Can see their point.).

Then to the Newman building and read Punch until 1200, then more physical chemistry - I never liked the kinetic theory much, and the more complicated it gets the less I like it. Thanks God we don't live in a 5-dimensional world.

Then to lunch, after which in to town to get some money, and discovered, as I had feared, that I am overdrawn. They were, however, prepared to let me have £5 for 2 weeks, by which time I hope I shall have some money coming in again. Then bought some electrical stuff at Woolworth's and off home to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to work out how to arrange all my electrical equipment, and finally came to some sort of conclusion and did a bit of washing, also tried to do some work, but was just getting round to it when Dave suggested tea, and when I did get back, I had a good 10 minutes to myself before enter Dave Whitmarsh, now back in Crossmead, and pleased to see me, so that I only just got rid of him before makan. Confusing, all these Daves around. Then up to makan, after which we had a hall meeting, mainly concerned with meal tickets, the whereabouts of the soft bog paper (good question) and whether the rubber rep should hold a place on the committee.

The rubber rep was assigned to sell condoms to anybody in the hall.

Also sung an anthem to one of the movements of Einer kleinen Nachtmusik.

C-R-O-S-S-M-E-A-D!
C-R-O-S-S-M-E-A-D!
Crossmead, way up on Dunsford Hill
Where social life is nil,
An ever rising bill,
Way up on Duns---ford Hill.
J for Gentlemen
Jentlemen, Jentle, Jentle, Jentlemen.

The C-R-O-S-S-M-E-A-D! was spelt out, and the movement was the first (Allegro) There was also a the phrase “We are jentlemen”. The reference in the link above as to the origin of “Jentleman” is the first I have heard.

Then down to the Huntsman, Dave's [which?] idea, and soon back up again and finally did a bit of work.


Wednesday, 15 October 1969 Exeter
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And today is a year since I collected my Ami! Hardly, by any standards, an easy year of ownership - I doubt many people could have had a harder one. The oddest thing is that I like the car. I only hope that my next year will prove more successful than the last.

I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the breakfast in this place is not worth eating - certainly these days this week when I have contrived to get up in time therfor it has hardly seemed worth the effort.

Thereafter to Uni - I am getting just vaguely fed up of Dave Snell's company; he seems to be too clinically emotionless: even when he speaks of matters which would normally be expected to arouse one's emotions, he behaves like one of the computers which he so much admires. Doubtless he is no fool, and he even has enough artistic tendency to have an interest in the french language/culture. Possibly it is just that he is a Pom.

That didn't exactly distinguish him from the mainstream.

Chemistry problems first, only we did not find anybody there (Dave reckoned it was in hall B, Newman building) and so over to Dev. House for some coffee, later to room 004 for some increasingly unintelligible and muddled notes. After that, up to a logic class, which contrast begins to make me wonder whether the heading “maths (illogical)” on my non-logic maths notes was not as much prophesy as an attempt at humour. Boolean algebra today - interesting but as yet pointless.

Then to lunch, after which back home and attempted to get something done in the afternoon, and, finally, did. It is pretty obvious that I am going to have to get in the habit of spending these Wednesday afternoons catching up on what notes I have taken in the first half of the week; evenings seem as good as useless. Also, apart from a great deal of note transcription and comprehension (finally!) I also did a bit of washing, which occupied me suitably until 1730 and makan, and thereafter felt sufficiently tired to want to sleep at length, which I did until 1930, and then back to work, and suitably rounded off the evening, and all would have been well had I not, at 0100, felt hungry and cooked some soup, drank same and read “So zärtlich war Suleyken”, and subsequently, on impulse, wrote 4 pages of near-nonsense to Lindsay, and not to sleep until 0400.


Thursday, 16 October 1969 Exeter
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After last night's late night could not face the thought of getting up and going to a lecture by 0900 terrified me, and I decided that I could probably get the notes from Dave later anyway, so slept through, and possibly would have slept until lunch time had the cleaners wanted to change the sheets, and so got up and went to see what mail I had; a new National Insurance card and a letter from Mr. Tallon of Citroën to the effect that he was very sorry about what had happened to my car, and would I care to give a few more details? Also said an exchange engine only cost £80 - that sounds a lot better. Might well get a new engine.

Had an argument with the bus conductor as a result of his leaving 5 minutes late - most unpleasant fellow, and I felt like reporting him to the company, but my main concern was just arriving on time. Managed that (well, for that particular lecture), and then were shuffled around, as the lecture hall was being worked on, and took a particularly unintelligible series of notes. Then to a departmental meeting, where somehow I became the Freshers' (OK, 1st year) social rep, which is a laugh if ever I have seen one.

Then to lunch, after which back to the faculty room and, subsequently, room 106, where we were to be briefed about what to do this afternoon, and divided into pairs - this resulted in me being paired off with one Don. Litten,

Looks like another alphabetical division.

not a particularly nice bloke, but I'm damned if i'm going to let it worry. The experiment was almost insanely simple, and consisted of throwing dice 50 times each and plotting a histogram relating to the score distributions, and then things got somewhat more complicated, as we had to work out the mean deviation and spread and other unintelligible things, and the amount of arithmetic involved made me glad that we had a small digital computer to do the hard work.

If this is the device I recall, it was a Texas Instruments desk calculator. It was such a long time ago that I can't find any suitable image on the web. It certainly wasn't programmable.

Did that, then off about an hour early to go into town and get a few things, then back home and effectively wasted the time between then and supper - was visited about 1840 by a bloke trying to sell me life insurance, which I might well take up.

After makan, off for the departmental evening, with lousy beer and Prof. Lacey the order of the night. Helped tidy up, then to the Ram to wash away the taste, and then home, and did nothing at length.


Friday, 17 October 1969 Exeter
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And to the end of the second week, though already it seems as if I have been here months. I rather anticipate this getting somewhat monotonous, at any rate until I get my car back, which I suspect will be an unpleasantly long time.

Missed breakfast, and only just about in time caught the bus to the Uni, and then into Transport Phenomena, which might have been somewhat more intelligible had it not been for the fact that I missed yesterday's lecture. Marion offered to lend me her notes. As it was, the lecture was upleasantly [sic] realistic, reminding of viscosity and power loss in bearings, siezed engines, etc. Mike has no heart. Then a seminar, in which, as usual, we got ourselves thoroughly lost. I must do a bit of background reading about this, or perish (or at any rate find it somewhat more difficult than I should).

Maths after that, and did little - I am decidedly getting fed up with all this stuff, which seems singularly unintelligible, and wish we could get onto something at least slightly more concrete. Got Marion's notes from her, and then to the refectory for lunch, after which back to the faculty room and handed in my maths to an absent Mike - pity; I had wanted to tell him about my car. Then off ot the chemistry practical, which was a matter of titrating (COON₂)₂ [what's that?] against KMnO₄, and then the KMnO₄ against FeSO₄. Got delightfully consistent results in both cases - this is considerably easier than TiCl₃ against Ce(SO₄)₂, even if you do have to cook up the first half.

Left early, and in to town, whence to Brufords [?] and tried to get my watch adjusted, but they had no instruments in that branch, and had quite a long discussion/argument with the fellow, who told me that 7 seconds/day was extremely good for such a watch, and went in to quite a bit of technical description to explain himself - all very plausible, only his constants are wrong: I know damn well that this watch can do better.

This was the Omega Speedmaster, and my recollection was that it was advertised as being accurate to less than 2 seconds a day.

Home then, and did little: despite my shortage, I am getting through money far too fast, and look like having to borrow at this rate. After makan, off to sleep, and woke at 2300, and then got round to doing some work, which I carried on doing for quite some time, and certainly got through a good portion of my notes, if nothing else, and carried on for a long while before I began to wonder what I could pick up on my radio.


Saturday, 18 October 1969 Exeter
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Managed, after a bit of fiddling round, to pick up MSF and thus check my watch, which was about 2 seconds slow, so decided to keep tab on it, an started the chronograph hands at exactly 0330:00. Then started wondering about the alignment of the radio, especially as MSF was coming in at 10,5 MHz on the scale, and so, after a bit of fiddling around under the chassis, found a condenser in parallel with the padder, and after a bit of fiddling round put it in parallel with the trimmer instead, but still was unable to get it back down to 10 MHz, and after a bit more time, gave it up as a bad job and put shield, etc., back on again, and read and otherwise messed around for a while, but finally to bed.

Up round 1100, which vaguely annoyed me, as I had rather hoped to make it to breakfast. Would probably not have got up then had not some bloke come in and demanded £1 for the Fresher's dance, but after that was sufficiently awake to get up, and go up and see if any mail had arrived for me; there had: a cheque from General Accident for £40: that was very good of them, no beating around the bush - and a note from Bruford's to say that my (Ebel) watch be now ready. Saw Dave Whitmarsh on the way up, and he invited me in for coffee, so had that at length, almost until lunch time, and then up to have lunch, after which I attempted to contact Margaret Minshall, who never seems to be at home, and then into town to do various things. Bruford's were shut, and so I could not get my watch, so over to Smith's, where I bought a goodly quantity of stuff by cheque, and then down to Fore St., where I bought a vital necessity of life, a coffee pot, and back home, buying also some other stuff on the way, and to my room to deliberate whether or not to go to this dance tonight, and eventually came to the conclusion that I could use the time far better doing some work, and in any case I was not in the mood for walking home from the Uni at midnight. In this frame of mind up to makan to discover that the dance was cancelled in any case, and so the tickets were revalidated to 8 November, which all seems a lot happier. Then back to do some work, which I did at length, and then did it again when Dave could not do it, and I had to help him with it, which certainly is a good way to make absolutely certain that I know what is going on. Then Mike from room 3 came in in a dressing gown to borrow a kettle, obviously for company. Got me thinking and wondering why the hell I was not in a similar situation. As a result of same wrote a rather nasty letter to Pauline, telling her what I thought of her opinion. Then on, reading as I did, "Age...


Sunday, 19 October 1969 Exeter
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... of consent”, about a painter in NSW, and consequently very late to bed. Managed, nevertheless, by some superhuman effort to get up just about in time for breakfast (well - by 1000), and then back down to my room to continue and finish reading “The Age of Consent”, which I found very good. Nevertheless, I must cut down on my book reading; at the moment I find that once I pick up a book, I can hardly put the thing down until I have finished it, with correspondingly confusing results as today, when it precluded all other activity. Also, either as a result of same or for some other reason, I was tired out when I finished it (round 1200) and went straight off to sleep for an hour or so, feeling like death warmed up when finally I went to lunch. Came back after that with intent to work, and did get a bit of the maths paper we got the other day, and which I finally found after temporarily mislaying the thing; that took quite a while, especially as I was in a somewhat butterflyish mood, and kept hopping about from thing to thing, but did manage to do something about my oscilloscope, whose shift controls were all over the place, and with a bit of judicious stripping of an old Transistor radio (old? I bought it new in 1962, but it was cheap and nasty even out of proportion to the price) managed to get everything more or less correctly back on the screen, and then left it to do something else again, and then off, eventually to yet another meal; today seems in many way to have been somewhat pointless After makan did a bit of reading about transistors - not that these things are so extremely cheap, it seems pointless to use valves,

That recognition took a long time.

so I had better find out something about it all. Who knows - I might become a radio amateur at last, if only in a small way. Dave in later, and had quite a talk on the maths, and finally to sleep.


Monday, 20 October 1969 Exeter
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And on through another week - gradually the pace accelerates, though not really fast enough for my liking. Still, one-fifth of the term is now gone, and I suppose the term will be over before I know it. Up in time for the 0900 lecture - that still hurts, even though I got quite early to bed last night, and to add insult to injury the bloke arrived ½ hour late, so we could have got away with catching the next bus. Then we had some record forms to fill in, so we only got about 20 minutes lecture. After that to see Mike Patrick about the maths, and there was pleasantly surprised to find that he, too, could not do the last bit. Then off in to town, since for various reasons the other 2 lectures had been cancelled, and so to Dunn's to find my car much as expected with the engine sitting in a group of 3, one of which was brand new but damage in transit, and had a look at mine: 2 - 3 mm play in the starboard big end, though the other one was in good shape, also worn out rear main [bearing] and piston/liners. Decided that it was pointless to repair the engine if a new engine could be had for only £80, which it appeared it could. Got them to check on this, and order it if it indeed were only £80, and then to the bank to get rid of my overdraft and get some money - was promptly pounced on by the fellow who wanted the dance money, and so went out £1 poorer. Then got my Ebel watch and handed in the Speedmaster to have my name engraved on the back, then off home to Crosmead and had lunch there, though it was not up to much. Then to my room and attempted, without too much success, to do some work, and did achieve something, though it was somewhat limited, what with Dave keeping coming in to ask things. Then off to town again, having run out of coffee, and did quite a few other things while I was there - to Dunns, where indeed there was an engine available, and already on its way. Also got some coffee, stamps, and the inevitable magazine, and bumped into Dave Whitmarsh on the way back, and spoke at length about cars. Then bumped back into Dave Smell, had coffee, and had somehow wasted time before and after dinner, with the result that I went to bed having done little more than learn (or rather, relearn) something about transistors.


Tuesday, 21 October 1969 Exeter
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And on drags life - into town and Uni as usual, fully expecting the Experimental Data class to be on what we did last Thursday, but in fact it was just another lecture on how to process information, and a rather amusing demonstration of how misleading log/log graphs can be. Then out and to Dev. House for coffee, also buying Punch, though this is very poor value for money; one soon finishes every last bit of it. Then over to have another Phys. Chem lecture - this fellow gets frantically involved in maths and so on, one is tempted to say bogged down, only I suppose from his point he is not. In any case, it looks good on ones notes, so I suppose there is some point. Then off again into town after lunch, and decided to see “The Wonder of Love” by Oswalt Kolle; I was rather intrigued to note that the consultant on sex was Professor Dr. Dr. Hans Giese of the Institut für Sexualforschung an der Universität Hamburg - must go and hear one of his lectures some time. The film itself was not up to too much - like a lot of these German educational films I am left with an odd feeling of a mixture of stuffiness, puritanism and promiscuity. Still, it was probably quite useful to some people and the one thing I did get out of it was how stupid and somewhat revolting people look when they are at it.

Then home, after also seeing another film, “The Destructors”, in which the most amusing thing was a view of what was supposed to be a laser element but which looked more like ruby [?] sateh. At home, did little until makan - found awaiting me letters from Lindsay Cumming-Smith and Ahmad bin Mahmuddin, the former somewhat cooler than I might have hoped, the latter asking for photos of Laura. Wonder what I have done with them.

These were the photos I took on 26 April 1969. I thought I never printed them, and they were lost along with the majority of my other photos of the time.

Then had makan and later made some pretense at work - must get down to this. Am gradually accumulating a backlog of notes to be transcribed. Read vaguely through “The Invasion of the Moon, 1969” at night - could not get to sleep.


Wednesday, 22 October 1969 Exeter
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Up later than usual today, as we did not have any Chemistry problems class, and thus dd not have to be at the Uni until 1100, which was just as well, what with the time I got to sleep last night. Up to the Uni in time for maths, in which we had somewhat of an argument with Trifari about the way he was going about imparting to us his pearls of wisdom, and got absolutely nowhere. Took down, once again, copious volumes of notes, and then were kept 7 minutes past the end of the lecture, and were consequently late for logic, which is getting more interesting, as we are just touching on gate theory, logic circuits, etc - this looks as if it could become profoundly interesting. My trouble is that in many ways I am more interested in electronics than chemical engineering. If only my maths were up to it! Still, chem. eng. shows every sign of being an interesting subject, and certainly will take me a long way, and a knowledge is useful in tuning cars, etc - I never realised how much chemistry there is in making a car go.

Then to lunch, and later into town to pick up my watch, and found that the name was not quite where I had wanted it, but nevertheless quite well engraved - certainly worth the 6/6d they wanted for it.

In Malaysia the watchmakers had engraving machines, but such engravings weren't so common in England, and he had done it by hand. The watch was stolen, probably some time in the 1999—2002 time frame, and I still haven't given up hope that the name on the back might bring it back to me.

Then, everything else being shut, bought a magazine and went home and attempted to get some work done - certainly I am doing less now than of late, which is a bit of a nuisance. I am beginning to wonder whether Dave Snell is doing me much good at such close proximity - maybe I would not be so badly off in a flat after all. It is certainly a bit cramped here, and in a decent flat I would have much more space than here.

Up to tea did little, nor even afterwards - got my camera out and messed around for a while, and took a watch (my old Wingo) apart - found a shattered bearing, which is probably not worth replacing, and took a photo of it, which should look interesting. Also, finally - after over a year - fixed up my Mecablitz synchro cord. Did a bit more work later on in the evening, also wrote Corinne a letter. Not too late to bed.


Thursday, 23 October 1969 Exeter
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For some reason forgot to wind my clock last night, with the result that I woke up at 0828, and the bus left at 0830, so gave it up as a bad job, turned over, and went back to sleep until I was woken by the cleaning women wanting to do all sorts of things with my bed, so got up and went to see what awaited me in the mail, which proved to be letters from Citroën and Dad, Citroën expressing the hope that I would not have any trouble with my new engine, Dad wondering about things long-answered, and asking when I proposed getting rid of the Ami.

Eventually to the Uni for maths with Trifari - these sessions get crazier every time. I can understand why Tom Lehrer cracked up, if he was anything like this bloke.

After that, had lunch and then off into town for a variety of things, and first to Dunns, where there was no sign of the engine, but I was greeted with open arms by the workshop manager (Mr Sinclair?), who apologised profusely for having overestimated the cost of work on the car, and in fact I would probably not have much over £100 to pay, which is all somewhat encouraging. Then to buy a typewriter ribbon and a negative album, and had trouble with the former, but eventually got one. Then back to the Uni, and presently down to the 1st year Chem. Eng. labs, where we were working on fluid logic, which is quite fascinating in principle: jet of gas deflected so as not to re-enter the nozzle acts like a thyratron, but with very low pressures and power consumption; managed with a few of these things to get some interesting “circuits” hooked up, culminating in a counter device (every 4th pulse it would change priority) and an on/off memory system for an oscillating rod that sounded more like a pneumatic drill, and was not helped by some grit or something in the LA's, which meant one could not be sure whether it would respond or not - I have already have enough of clogged jets! Then home and did various organising, etc, chores, and even a bit of work before makan. After makan, this Warwick bloke came back again to see what I was doing about the insurance proposal form, and so signed it and gave it to him - only hope I can keep up payments. Then down to a minimal amount of work, sufficient unto the day, and to bed, but could not sleep again.


Friday, 24 October 1969 Exeter
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This week seems certainly to have gone much faster that [sic] the last couple did - maybe it is that I am getting used to being without a car, which is all very well, except that I shall (I hope) soon have it back.

Up early this morning to take the oil pipe in to Dunn's for fitting to the pressure guage, and prepared to catch the 0900 bus, but that same conductor was there and refused to so much as allow me on the bus. If I had not been half asleep I might well have done something about it, but as it was I just set off by foot to town, and caught the next bus en route, and then to Dunn's where yet nothing had been heard of the whereabouts of the engine. Gave them the piping, and then off by foot to the Uni, arriving in plenty of time for Transport Phenomena, which I think is probably the best and certainly most interesting lecture of all - glad I have Mike as a tutor [he was also the lecturer]. Then a seminar which was even more than the usual farce, and did nothing that we had not already done anyway. Followed by maths, which was yet more disorganised than yesterday, and Mike [not sure which Mike, but clearly not Mike Patrick, the lecturer] spent most of it telling me about the arrangements for the Crossmead party tonight, continuing in the refectory, and it looks as if the thing is going to be quite something; certainly there would seem to be no dearth of women.

Then to the chemistry practical, which involved titrating ZnSO₄ and MgSO₄ against, of all things, EDTAA, which forms some form of complex.

I knew EDTAA only from photo colour developer formulae.

Got everything over and done with in 75 minutes, which must be something of a record. Straight back to Crossmead to tidy up, and then managed to get my room looking a little more sensible, and settled down to read “Sexual Behaviour of Young People”, a report made quite recently of people of my age and a couple of years older (15-19 then). Very interesting, but as I read on and kept comparing results with my own experience, I was more than slightly depressed at the thought of what I had done, resulting in me hardly wanting to go to the dance at all. Did, however, and somehow Dave and I picked up a couple of Norweigian birds, which was OK from my point of view, but Dave's bird, Wibecke, would not be separated from Karen, mine, and in any case they decided that this was not the sort of party for them, and left at 2200 hrs. Dave was thoroughly offpissed at this, and decided that was it, and went to bed, but I went in again and this time brought out a psych/bilge [biology] student called Barbara Prest, and lured her without any trouble to my room, and moved fairly fast, though she is suffering from an environmentally conditioned guilt complex about sex - I shall have to give her some environmental therapy. As it was, she stayed the night, though I did nothing, and quite enjoyed the company; she is quite a nice person, more than just a body in bed.


Saturday, 25 October 1969 Exeter
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Did not go to sleep for quite a while; spent quite a time lying in bed talking, in a hope of getting her feeling a little more at ease both with the situation in general and sex in particular; I certainly succeeded in the former, and I hope also in the latter. Then up again and dragged out photos, etc., and made some coffee again, but finally, round 0230, off to sleep, before Barbara had expressed a hope that she could go home tonight, caused mainly by the fear of being seen leaving tomorrow morning; no point in her worrying about that. Slept rather restlessly, she more than I. Eventually woke round 0800 with the news from NDR1. Had some coffee, and I upstairs to retrieve her coat, and then just missed the bus, so waited another half hour and in to town, arranging en route to meet this evening at 1930. Then I to buy some coffee, and to the Wimpy Bar for some breakfast; there seem to be an unpleasantly large number of “skinheads” about here; I will be glad when I have my car back and no longer need to rub shoulders with them. Then home, and carried on for a while reading “The Sexual Behaviour of Young People”, and this so tired me that I went off to sleep, and slept until lunch time.

After lunch, while I gradually woke up, set about tidying my room up somewhat, and in this was comparatively successful. Set to to find out what I had in the way of clothes in my big gunny sack, and found a large quantity of unbelievably filthy underwear; Mum's concern at this last spring is now understandable: the thing I no longer understand is how I could let my standards drop so low. Put [?] them soaking for a while, which removed some of the mess, though by no means all of it. Then repaired my gunny sack, which was getting somewhat tatty, with more holes in the side than in the top. Then up for makan, and later attention to my diary occupied me until 1900, when I caught the bus into town and had a 25 minute wait until Barbara came inythumbed.

This strange construction is in fact well formed: in the preposition, y the Germanic past participle prefix (ge in German) as it degraded in early mediaeval times, and thumbed from “to thumb”, which is actually described in the Oxford English Dictionary:
5. To seek or get (a ride or lift) in a passing vehicle by signalling with one's thumb the direction in which one hopes to travel (also fig.); to signal to (a driver or vehicle) with the thumb. Also intr., to make one's way by thumbing lifts, to hitch-hike. orig. U.S.

So the whole thing could be written in portable English as “arrived by hitch-hiking”.

Decided just to go on a vague pubcrawl, and thus to the “Ship”, then to the Chopstick restaurant, where we did not exactly have the best Chinese food I have ever tasted, but it was passable. Then to the Turk's head, wither [sic] I doubt I shall go again, and then made plans as to what we were going to do next week, whether we should indeed to go to Aberdeen or not, but eventually decided (pending my bank statement) that we would, and in the meantime we would do something together on Wednesday afternoon.

Aberdeen never materialized. It is about 1000 km from Exeter, one of the longest distances in Great Britain. Why did we want to go there? I can only assume that that's where Barbara came from.

Then she off to the Uni to look for a lift, and I by bus home to read some magazines, then back down and to bed, not before reading further.


Sunday, 26 October 1969 Exeter
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And finally, after an increasingly frantic time (not really, no, it just seems like it without a car), I have managed to relax to some extent (well, everything's relative, and the scale is long). Today, then, the morning went by without complaint, and it was not until 1245 that I got up (what providence is it that so often wakes me just in time for lunch?). Staggered up, and gradually came back to life, then to the Common room to see if I could find an article in Playboy about graphology, but it was not there - presumably removed by some bloke in need. Back down to my room, where I had, for some reason, the idea of once again rearranging all my furniture to better effect than at present, and put the bed under the bookcase, which slightly worries me, as I fear the possibility of the thing parting company with the wall and disgorging its 120 odd kilos of books onto the bed - the only thing which comforts me is that there is still a 2:1 chance that it will be empty. This took me a considerably while, but also helped tidy up the place. Then got down to various chores (why are there so many of them?) and eventually, round 1630, thought about doing some work, and had just addressed myself to the physical chemistry problems when in came a bloke doing first year chemistry and whom I had noticed about before - he is in fact as odd as he looks. He was mainly concerned about his clapped out model aeroplane motor, and wanted to order another.

This was Martin Hoyle, with whom I had a lot to do throughout my time at Uni.

Then to makan, after which found Playboy in a long queue, so back down to my room and saw the light about the phys. chem. problems. Did about half of them, and then, in a fit of zeal, wrote up my reports on both Logic and chemistry, which leaves only the maths to do, and that looks positively impossible - I shall have to spend a bit of time on that if I get any.

Then gradually started tidying up and early to bed, but this was not to be, and at 0010 Mike Halliwell fell through my door asking me to join a boozeup which fizzled out after a bit of messing around trying to get into a fornicatorium, and so back to sober everybody up.


Monday, 27 October 1969 Exeter
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And on, bleary-eyed, to another boring week (or am I being unfair?). Certainly the prospect of 7 hours of work on the first working day of the week is not the most pleasant at 0750 on a Monday morning when one has not got to sleep until 0330. Managed breakfast, then to the Uni and inorganic chemistry - these lectures are getting slightly better, and at last I am taking a few notes.

Then to maths, where I had a bit of a clash with Mike Patrick about relevance of the proofs, etc., and he suggested I get out if I did not like it.

Then to physical chemistry, though I had thought it would be cancelled - instead it was with another fellow, all to do with enthalpy changes, etc. After that, back to chemistry problems, where hardly anybody was, and off almost immediately to DH for lunch, and then had intended to go into town to get some money, but forgot my cheque book, and then back to the faculty room, where I quickly went off to sleep, to wake slightly before our Engineering Graphics class. This started off in room 106 with a synchronised slide-sound show, and in the process were told about the enormous number of expensive drawing instruments we needed. Up to the drawing office (why office? - admittedly I never knew another term, but it seems slightly inappropriate), and had a go at interpreting some unlikely orthogonal projections. That took every minute to 1700, and I was the first to finish. Then down to the bookshop and bought what instruments I could get, and back home to contemplate whether to go to the Choral society, and decided that I could not afford the time and should give it up altogether. Spent the evening accordingly trying, though without all that much success, as everything seems to gang up on me in such matters.


Tuesday, 28 October 1969 Exeter
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And on through yet another week, as the rate of passage of time gradually accelerates - say what one will, ∂t₀/∂t, where t₀ is one's impression of time, is not a linear function of t; there is a further factor, based on ones activities, which is not nealy [?] so easy to describe mathematically; the more minimal the activity, the slower time appears to pass. Now I am getting used to the situation, time is once again going faster.

To this morning's experimental data class, which was somewhat confusing; I am beginning to wonder about Ben's ability to get the subject across (which is an arrogant way of looking at my own disability).

Arguably it's correct. The job of the lecturer is to get the message across even to stupid students.

Then to DH for some coffee, and back then again to the Newman building for more physical chemistry. This is beginning to seem interesting, over and above the fact that today he was considering the thermochemistry of such unlikely compounds as hexene-1, cyclohexane and Cyclobutadiëne.

Hexene-1 was one of the chemicals that I used a lot at ICE earlier in the year.

Then, after lunch, into twon, and got some moeny, though I was more than slightly irritated to note that I had money from neither Dad direct nor the Bank of NSW - must do something about that, or I shall be broke, far from being able to pay for the Ami.

Then off home, and attempted to work - did actually get a bit done, but it is precious little, and a lot of it involved washing clothes - one of these days I will get on top of this. Before makan arranged with Mike Pill to get a lift to the Royal Oak this evening, and afterwards eventually got off, and found the Royal Oak, Dave Snell and Ben Ritchie, and one other bloke. The beer was awful - now I know why Dave Kernick did not want to turn up, and we all decided to kick on at the Cowick Barton, where we got well and truly pissed, and back to try and shake Graham up and get some beer, to no avail.

It's surprising how bad the beer in England was at the time.

Wednesday, 29 October 1969 Exeter
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And on in the dreary monotony of life - I hope that, in the near future, something will come of my car, money, etc - it is going to be more than a slight inconvenience if I have to go through the whole winter without a car. If only I would hear from Dad. I rather suspect he has gone outstation at length at the most critical time - we will see.

Woke up at 0800 feeling thoroughly refreshed - must get pissed more often if this is the sort of effect it produces

Off to the Uni for chemistry problems class which was not as bad as I had thought, though I did not do as well as I had thought, and came out a lot less happy about the whole idea of phys chem, though not as disillusioned as poor Sue seems to be; I gather she is making rather heavy weather of it all.

Then to Trifari, the usual farce, though he promised to move on to the more interesting subject of differentiation tomorrow, which made things today slightly more bearable. Then to logic, where we are certainly moving - now definitely onto computation as related to logic.

Then, stifling, having at an hour in the sun, off to lunch and then to wait for Barbara (what am I going to call her? Babi [OK, Barbie] is obviously out, and Babs makes me feel slightly sick; and she does not like Bra).

Babi is the Malay word for pig. But it seems that I had considered the names without knowing what she herself preferred.

Had some coffee (when I met her) and then off to Crossmead, where I spent a totally disproportionate amount of time looking for some cigarettes for her. Then back, and she cut my hair for me - there is something about her (dammit, who?!!) which gives me the idea she is posessive - she is trying to influence my appearance, which is usually a good sign. She was, to quote herself, “in a funny mood” this evening, and wanted to talk instead. Eventually gave it up and off for a photo-taking walk, which was cut short by her sudden realisation that she had to be home to cook the makan (genuine, I think). Back myself after she had left, and had makan, then spent the evening working.


Thursday, 30 October 1969 Exeter
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How I tire of writing “Exeter” at the beginning of each day in this diary! It is depressing in itself, along with all the life it brings with it. If only I could hear from Dad, to find out why there has been no word from him for so long.

Up early this morning, and for about the first time it was quite cold, not that this was helped by the light pants I was wearing. Into town as ever, and to my first Thursday morning TP lecture in 3 weeks. That was OK enough - nothing in any way out of the ordinary - and after that across to the DH coffee lounge with Andy Holman, with home I am getting rather friendly of late. Bought the AP, Andy bought a poster, and then back again for maths, and finally, after all these weeks, gave up what we had been doing and got involved in the calculus - and Trifari, true to tradition, treated this subject in a completely unintelligible way - I don't even think he made mention of dy/dx in the whole lecture. Had a bit of a grumble about this, and then off for makan, where we had Mike Halliwell and Andy Holman to keep us company; good - I am getting rather fed up with Dave Snell and his somewhat unemotional and what one might call boring outlook. Then over to the computer room, after verifying that the TT [Telegraphic (funds) Transfer] had not come through, and leaving a note to Barbara to that effect. In the computer room, Dave (whose name should be Smell, not Snell - when did he last have a bath?) had a bit of fun with the computer, which kept swearing at him. Then had my practical messing around on same, and quickly go the hang of it - for once Don Litton around can't sneer at me, as he is wont to do at the slightest opportunity - what is it in him that makes him so nasty? Am I at times really like that? If I am, this is certainly enough to cure me of it. Got the hang of programming it after a while, and after a few mistakes programmed it to solve a quadratic equation, and then made a tape of it. Home, had makan, and apart from visits from Mike and Dave worked on computers all evening.

Interestingly, this was the same day that the ARPANET carried its first data packet, at 6:30 am (22:30 on 29 October 1969 local time in California).

Friday, 31 October 1969 Exeter
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Up later today, though not an hour; I think a bit of time lying in bed does me a bit of good. After that, of course, things happened as usual, and off to our TP lecture and seminar, where we spent an hour doing little enough apart from doing the rest of last week's calculations - and even then were not given any more work to do. Maybe I am odd, but I want to be set some work to do; possibly, if I had the textbook, I could do some of the examples in that. Then on with maths, and spent a quarter of an hour at the beginning vociferously bemoaning the demise of dy/dx, etc, but eventually had to accept it - especially as I was lacking support from the others. Were given an example sheet to do, and then off to change computer books, and to makan, after which I ended up in the Ram with Andy Holman, and thus spent our time until the chemistry practical. This was a matter of titrating AgNO₃ against KSCN, then again after adding a quantity of KBr - all seems remarkably closely related to photography to me, reminding me of the days when we tried to fix AgBr in KSCN and ended up with dichroic fog more often than not (why? I forget, but there seems to be no reason to expect same). Got that over and done with pretty quickly, though there was a notable fluctuation in my readings - I wonder if this has anything to do with how well the solutions are mixed. Then packed up and over to the JCR [Junior Common Room?] in DH to read “Stern”, which took a while to obtain, and when I had got it the PA system ordered us to evacuate for the people to enter and prepare for this evening's party. Out and bought a couple of books at the bookshop, then waited for a Barbara who did not turn up, and off (admittedly got a lift) pissed off to Crossmead, where I had makan and then down to look for Barbara, who was depressed and had shrunk back into her shell; wanted to be alone, so off home. Think money might be the chief worry, which I could well imagine - just think back to last May. At home did little, read about Australia nd to the Huntsman for a quick beer and pastie, very early to bed.


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