Greg
Greg's diary
September 1970
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This page was entered manually from the paper originals between 17 March 2017 and 23 March 2017. The entry for 30 September 1970 was entered earlier, on 11 June 2013. Items in italics, like this, were added during this time.


Tuesday, 1 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Up earlier today to go and see this Hopkins bloke about the car, and early in to see if I could get any time on the PDP-12, as usual no luck. One thing about the new computer room is that it is more directly visible from the bottom of Stoker Road, and one can generally tell if there is anybody there by the state of the lights.

Saw Mr. Stephens before Mr. Hopkins came, and he said that he had, indeed, given Hopkins the key of the car; subsequently Hopkins, whom I disliked on sight (because of his appearance: one of these arrogant-looking buggers who looks as if he owns the place), admitted that he had taken the keys. Then showed him the floor, and his first comment was “Well, what's wrong with that!”.

The floor under the driver pedals had been crumpled into several folds.

Subsequently told him what I thought of his work, and he said, “Are you criticising my work?”, which seemed a rather pointless question at that stage. In any case, he tied himself up thoroughly in knots; I wish he had been in court at the time. In any case, he declared the vehicle unroadworthy, and suggested I left it there and then, though Exon can't do anything with it for another 2 weeks; they want to repair the chassis, but are not prepared to give me any written statement that it is roadworthy when it is finished; I shall obviously have to discuss this with the insurance company.

Back at Dunns, did some shopping for the Old Grey Mare, also bought some food, and then saw a 2CV with local registration - spoke to the owner, a Paul Snow of Mile Lane, who was trying to change the brushes, and he offered to flog it to me, which in view of the present demand might not be a bad idea - offered him a tentative £70 for it, and then exchanged addresses and off home.

Did little after that - put the head back on the OGM, though I note that one of the stud holes is broken, and after a lot of messing around it, and found that the damaged hole is causing an almighty gasket leak; also contrived to strip the oilway on the head, which annoyed me somewhat. Decided that I would have to change the block.


Wednesday, 2 September 1970 Bow, etc
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And so Sue is back at home again now!

This was the end of our “visit” to Mike Hadden.

Damn! If only I could keep her here all the time. In any case, today there were other things to worry about: Mike Hadden had sent a letter with the cards (a bit late, but we just said we had forgotten to post them), and mentioned also that a Mike Yeomans was coming down to say for resits; don't know anybody by that name, but it's not as if I don't know enough surnameless Mikes.

Over to pick Sue up, and in the process dropped an almighty clanger talking to her mother about this Hopkins bloke yesterday, when we were supposed to be in St. Ives; fortunately her mother was not listening to me, and so we were safe; nevertheless, it shook me a bit. Still, it was only a passing mention, and we could always say it was last week, not yesterday.

Back at home, did little enough - indeed, nowadays we very seldom do much - and I messed around a bit, and achieved absolutely nothing of interest. Got a letter from Mike Yeomans himself, telling me he would be down tomorrow, which is a bit sooner than I had expected, and exhorting me to ring him and reverse the charges if this was not OK - not that I mind, but some people have a certain aversion to sharing their bed with a crankshaft.

Played around a bit on recorders for a while in the afternoon, and then decided to go into Exeter and see ‘2001’ again - Sue had never seen it, and I thought it might be a good idea for her. First, however, to the Uni, to find, predictably, John Boyle still playing around on the PDP-12; is it still the same program? It's a pretty short, basic one at that, and I didn't like the way he sounded almost pleased when he told me he would be there all afternoon.

Flick was as ever; thing that strikes me now is that it is already going out of date: the Æ-35 unit was depicted as having printed circuitry, when in fact it would, even today, use IC's - God knows what they will have in 30 years' time.

In 2017, so do I. For some reason at the time I thought that ICs were going to replace circuit boards rather than transistors.

Still, very good, and enjoyed it at least as much again.


Thursday, 3 September 1970 Bow, etc
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And on goes the monotony of things, and exams come dangerously close; I am depressed of late, at least partially because of this and partially because of this book I have been reading, “A Singular Man”, who appears to be some kind of necrophile. Really upset Sue last night, talking of hanging myself, and I think she half believed me; in fact I only said it in my depression, and doubt that I would ever feel really suicidal. In any case, when I got up this morning, found a letter from her telling me how upset she was, and how much she loves me. Poor Sue! What a bastard I am to her! Went back to bed, and was woken up by Sue's arrival - she had begun to get a bit worried when I did not turn up this morning, and wondered whether I really had done away with myself.

Such, however, proved not to be the case, and so I got up and said hello, and Sue told me that she had instructions to bring me home for supper tonight, for some obscure reason; presumably her parents think it is time we got to know each other better, or something; I often wonder just what they do think about the whole affair, and how innocent they think our relation is; my bet is that it s not nearly as innocent as Sue thinks they think.

About 9 months later, after I stopped keeping the diary, I found out: yes, they really thought that we had never slept together. How naive, and how far from the truth.

Funds being low, decided in the afternoon to go into Crediton and to the bank, and at the same time to buy a bit of food pending Mike Yeomans' arrival this evening. Had the devil's own job getting any money; there seems to be no branch of Barclays bank this side of Exeter and as far as Tavistock, which would seem a logical enough reason to get another bank account. Finally got some money at the Midland bank, and off after a while back home, with food and cheap maltese wine.

Mike still not there when we got back, and in due course set off for Sue's, where we were allowed out again fairly soon after makan and found Mike, whom I don't know at all; presumably a nice bloke, and gave me several useful books, including one on science russian, in return for rent, which was kind of him. Gave him some curry, which somewhat confused him.


Friday, 4 September 1970 Bow, etc
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And on goes life! Somehow contrived to sleep in until nearly midday today - and I see that these catalogues I ordered have not arrived yet; this seems a bit tardy and consequently irritates me. In any case, Mike was up no earlier than I, though he had hit the sack pretty early last night (I know why I have reverted to my old habits! It comes of Sue's mother telling her to be home early at night, and our consequent defiance. If Sue's mother would just keep quiet, she would be home early!).

Believe that who will.

Had a bite to eat, then over to pick Sue up, while Mike enquired about getting into Exeter; like Chris Calcutt, he needs a library to work in. Were discussing this, and I preparing yet another curry for lunch, when the postman came with a little registered packet, which proved to be the two rings; we told Mike that the single sapphire was a diamond, and his reaction was so satisfactory that I think we shall tell everybody the same.

The stone was colourless and about 9 mm across.

I personally prefer the other ring, which is a tourmaline (Brazilian sapphire) surrounded by 14 small white sapphires (that's a point: why all these white sapphires when I have almost never seen a blue one?), but Sue prefers the big one; I think she is caught by the lure of its diamond-like appearance. In any case, set off into Exeter and took it to Brufords, and the fellow there was sufficiently impressed by a sapphire of that size - he had thought it a zircon, and when I told him he had considerable difficulty speaking for a while.

That may have had other reasons, as I later discovered.

Got them to take it in a bit (it was too loose),

That in itself was surprising. My mother is quite a small, slim person, and Sue was tall and not the skinniest.

and to value it at the same time, and then set out of Exeter at a great belt (after all, the car is still untaxed), stopping only to buy a Wireless World. Then back, buying a bit more stuff in Crediton, and to the station to see what time Mike would be back, as the weather had deteriorated considerably, and the station is not exactly on top of the house),

Many of the smaller British regional train lines were laid out more for efficiency than closeness to the villages they served. Bow station (now closed) was 2.2 km from the village, and another 200 odd metres from my cottage.

and then back, and Sue to sleep. out to pick Mike up at the set time, but the train was 20 minutes late. Had steak, etc., for makan, and drank a bottle of maltese wine with it, which is quite good, but contains an incredible quantity of sediment.


Saturday, 5 September 1970 Bow, etc
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And what a boring day was today! After a succession of days such as this (and reading back over the last couple of months is sufficient to verify their number) I feel that the time has come to drop my voluntary minimum number of lines per day, so that the thing makes more interesting reading and writing. The real trouble is that life of late has become so much in the way of routine (well, to a certain extent, anyway). Today I got up rather late and went over to pick Sue up, which was much as usual, and we went into Crediton to buy a bit more food, and spent the rest of the ay at home, especially suitable as it was such a miserable day. Why should I have to fill up a whole page describing such mundane events


Sunday, 6 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Up somewhat before noon today to get prepared for makan with Sue's parents, which seems to be becoming a regular sort of thing; just for the laugh of it decided to dress up in all my finery, waistcoat, chains, etc., which rather put Mike off, as it obviously made him think it was a comparatively formal do; not that anybody cared either way in fact. Sue's father, I think, found a comrade in Mike, who is apparently also interested in cricket, and they spent a good deal of time talking about that. Eventually, after lunch, but before catching sight of the washing-up, managed to find some excuse to go home, and found some idiot parked right outside the drive, which annoyed me no end, especially as he had left it. It had the steering lock on, and I pushed it back; half wished it had rolled into the wall. Sue and Mike went inside, but I removed the head from the Old Grey Mare, and messed around there a bit examining broken stud holes, etc, before giving it up as a bad job. Inside and did little work, but plenty of messing around with Sue; I am going to have to get down to a bit more revision in the near future.


Monday, 7 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Time draws near, and there is very little that I have done about the exams yet; nor, for that matter, very little that I did today, though possibly a bit more than yesterday. Otherwise things followed a fairly normal sort of pattern; picked Sue up and back home, where we fairly soon left and into Crediton, and found Gateway shut and everybody else too expensive, so swore and bought 8ozs of lard and with Sue to the New Inn in Coleford, where I got into a somewhat better mood. Mike had caught the Bow Belle into Exeter, and so we had the place to ourselves, but I did not get all that much work done, and the only thing of any interest we did in the evening was to cook up a vindaloo, in the belief that Mike would not be back till later; he came back just as it was ready, but tried the gravy and decided (not surprisingly) that it was too hot. Also said he is moving out, hoped I wouldn't be offended - what funny people Poms are, offended if one expects them to put one up, offended if one doesn't...


Tuesday, 8 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Up again late, and had a bath, in the middle of which I heard a strange noise, which proved to be coming from the fridge. On further inspection, it proved not to be working, so had a crap, which reminded me forcibly that piles and Vindaloo don't go together, and then arrived Sue just as I was about to go and ring up the fridge people. Up with her, meeting her grandfather (just arrived) in the car, and got on to some people in Exeter who said they would send somebody around about next Tuesday - and that was emergency service! Got onto the SWEB, who said Friday, and so thought it might not be a bad idea to see the bloke in North Tawton, and see if he could do it. Back, and cooked up what was left in the way of food, and Mike eventually got himself a bus into town. Hanging about later in the lounge, found a funny looking blue car, only too obviously a 2CV, pulling up outside the house, and on further examination, this proved to be Paul Snow, come to sell me said 2CV. Discussed this at some length, while Paul told me he was not at all keen to get rid of it, but one might be persuaded to twist his arm at £85 - and this is why he had come all the way out to Bow. Still, Mike Hadden might like it, so decided to write him a letter, and that was about as far it it got. Back in the evening to meet Mr. Fortescue Sr, a fairly nondescript suffers of cancer of the throat, which makes him talk in a continuous stage whisper.


Wednesday, 9 September 1970 Bow, etc
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What a bugger a buggered fridge is! Completely spoils something for me, I'm not sure quite what,

The food?

but the fact that I can't store food somehow spoils the house delights (such as they are in Comp Cottage) for me, and as a result keep me out of the place. Sue into town in the morning, and I started to cook a curry, while everybody else in the world seemed to busy themselves with stealing aeroplanes, and then, after the news, to the station to pick Sue up, who was not feeling too well; showed me what she had bought: magazine, red material for her dress, green pullover for me, red underpants for me, old Spice shaving lotion - all this for my birthday, which is hardly yet immenent. Then Sue to bed, and I hung round a bit trying to revise, and spent most of the afternoon thus; foisted myself on Sue's parents for makan, which made me feel curiously tired, and so home and to bed around 2130.


Thursday, 10 September 1970 Bow, etc
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For some inexplicable reason woke round 0400, dry as a bone, and could not get back to sleep. Went down and had a drink, then back upstairs and tried again in vain to go to sleep, and so finally down to the lounge, lit up the paraffin stove and set to work on chemistry and catching up with a more-than-usually neglected diary; carried on like that at length, and finally over to Sue's place for a second breakfast and to get her up; back home and to bed again, and after lunch into town and picked up her ring, which, rather to my disappointment, proves to be a “large synthetic spinel” (MgO.Al₂O₃), this on basis of refractive index tests. Rather disappointed by this, off home again, wondering if it was really only worth £30, and at 1700 to Sue's place with many belongings to stay the night, also had a look down at the village at their one and only tape recorder, which Mr. Fortescue decided to buy, probably more from desperation than any real conviction that it was any good. Back home, where we messed around for a while with it, then sat up and looked after Granddad a while, and finally to see the “Jungle Book” in Okehampton - far cry from last time.

It seems that I didn't realise that this was almost exactly a year after the first time.

Friday, 11 September 1970 Bow, etc
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God, this loungeroom sofa of the Fortescue's is uncomfortable! Thank God they are getting rid of it. Sue woke me with the news that her mother wanted her to stay at home all day so that she could practice her horn - this after we had agreed 3 days ago that she would come over to Comp Cottage to wait for the SWEB man. Swore violently at Sue's mother [presumably in absentia] then off home after breakfast and sat down for a bit of last-minute revision, which occupied me, apart from when the SWEB man (!) came, gave the fridge relay a kick, and went again, making some comment on Sue's camera in the process - he apparently knows something about them.

Off after a bath to the Uni, where I had lunch with Mike Yeomans and a couple of other blokes I know, and then in for the exam, after a lot of foot-cooling waiting outside; the exam, however, was much easier than the last, and so felt that I might have done better, and especially as I answered my full quota of questions (almost - thermodynamics is still a mystery to me). Out early, giving my slipstick [slide rule] to Mike Yeomans in the process, and over to see John Boyle, who called me into his office, I thinking he would tell me not to use it, but he gave me a PDP-12 handbook and asked me to write a program, so spent all night there, since I could not see Sue.

From recollection, it was a simple subroutine to limit (clip) readings to two limits, something like:

int limit (int a, int upper, int lower)
{
  if (a > upper)
    return upper;
  else if (a < lower)
    return lower;
  else
    return a;
}

It was triple precision (36 bit) arithmetic, and in PDP-8 assembly it was quite a challenge, one that I never got working properly. Strangely, I still can't think of how to do it cleanly. Memory issues and parameter passing make it far more complicated than it should be.


Saturday, 12 September 1970 Bow, etc
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And on goes life - now 3 free weeks with no particular worries (apart from that of not getting back into the Uni) to take up my time. Cris Manners in to wake me round 1030 and to take my lenses, with which he wanted to take photos of his new AC; had a chat about cars, then he was off, and I sat at some length writing up my program LIMIT, for John Boyle, and also worked a bit round the house, though with little obvious result.

Later down to the phone box to see if the Fortescues could give me a lift into town this evening to the Devon County Youth Orchestra thing, without all too great success, and all I did get was a couple of phone messages: one from the Shaws, to the effect that if I wanted the storage heaters I had better get them out of Sticklepath by Monday or someone else would have them, and the other from Mike Hadden to the effect that I should buy the 2CV first and ask questions after, so rang Paul Snow, who was out, but later got on to him and beat him down to £80, and not a penny more or less (his opinion), which baffled me. In the evening to the Youth Orchestra to see what I could - not up to much, and was not disappointed when it was over. Had a bit of a mess about before we could get away, Sue with rebellious lips,

I suspect that this was a reference to difficulties playing the horn.

and to the 3 Horseshoes in Cowley, then to the Ganges for a makan more worthwhile than they serve at lunchtime (the only other time Sue has been there), and then back home to tell each other how much we loved each other.


Sunday, 13 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Over to the Fortescues yet again for Sunday lunch, and this time the place was really packed, as Dodo and Auntie Heather had arrived in the morning - as Sue had got me to expect, a great deal of not-too-friendly rivalry, though amusing to 3rd parties, went on between Dodo and old Mr. Fortescue. The younger Mr. Fortescue told me that he would be prepared to help transport the storage heaters (in his car) if I could arrange the necessary manpower, and so did a bit of phoning round, to little avail; could not even get on to Mike Hadden, who had apparently given me the wrong number,

This doesn't make sense. I had called him previously.

so rang Paul Snow, who was prepared to come and help, and wait a while for news about the money.

Back home as soon as possible after lunch, and then to bed, and did little of any practical importance for the rest of the day.


Monday, 14 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Thinking it over, decided against taking the car in to Exon today, thinking it might be handy to keep until after the storage heaters were here. Slept in thus in the morning, and Sue somehow (with Auntie Heather) found her way over here and told me that Auntie H. had gone hammer and tongs (not to mention sickle) to sell Australia to her - funny: as soon as I met her I was reminded of Australia. Maybe it is just that she is rather like Auntie Fried [my father's sister].

Did little after lunch until it occurred to me to ring up Cris Manners to see if he could help, which he could, and would, and then decided to do a bit of furniture shifting to help get the heaters in, and in the process considerably tidied up the place; eventually arrived Paul, and we hung around considering cars at length until Cris arrived in his AC, so put Sue in beside Cris and headed off in both cars to North Tawton, and there showed the car to Dodo, who was not too terrified by the sight thereof, then to the Shaws in Westminster and 2CV, and put one of the 3 kW jobs into the former, not without great difficulty, though this was nothing compared with getting it out, so decided to get the other 3kW job in my car, and run any risk I had about the chassis; noted also that one of Paul's [2CV] suspension arms is bent: must talk to Colin about that.

Back and got the heaters in much more easily; then everybody off home before I could buy them a drink.


Tuesday, 15 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Up earlier today and into town to the Uni, where I found John Boyle, and did a bit of work on the LIMIT and EDITOR programs, though had a bit of a problem with the former; proved to be, after a lot of examination, an assembler error: JMP .-1 was somehow assembled as 200 too high in PMODE, with a resultant exit from the program; had to assign a name to the previous cell to get round it.

This is somewhat puzzling. The PDP-8 paged memory into pages of 0200 words, of which only the current page and page 0 were accessible at any one time. JMP .-1 could only address the current page, so it's not clear how such an error could work. I would have thought it could have been a misunderstanding on my part: if the instruction were in the last word on a page, . would be on the next page. But then the workaround wouldn't have worked either.

Took the car in later on to Exon, and then walked round town for a while, hoping to catch the 1530 train, but did not make it, as I had just too much to do, resulting in a 1 hour wait at St. Davids for the 1735 train. Sue and father were there to meet me at the station, which was just as well, because I was exhausted, and back home for makan, though I was feeling like death warmed up, and went to sleep on Sue's bed.

Parents took me home later, and found a telegram from Mum and Dad congratulating me on our engagement.


Wednesday, 16 September 1970 Bow → N. Tawton
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Up round 1030, and dressed up, etc, into Okehampton by thumb, which seems a rather chance business, but found a lorry in a layby near the Burston who gave me a lift all the way in. To the post offices and sent Sue a telegram: WILL YOU ACCEPT VACANCY BY MY SIDE FOR REST OF NATURAL LIFE PLEASE REPLY URGENTEST, and then did a bit of shopping and rang Sue, who already had the telegram, after only 18 minutes. To the surgery to meet her father, and asked him for her hand, which was quite acceptable to him, though he stipulated that she should finish her university course before marrying me; I said this was a matter for her to decide.

Not quite by chance, today was her 18th birthday. At the time, age of majority in the United Kingdom was 21, and her course was 3 years long, so she would have finished before she could marry without her parents' consent.

Back at the house, everybody thought the ring was a diamond, and there is obviously no reason to let them think otherwise. Had a glass of sherry on the occasion, then makan, and after that Sue and I, as frustrated as hell, out to find a suitable field in which to relieve ourselves, and then back again in time for tea.

Out in the evening to the George Inn in Hatherleigh, and very nice it was, too, everybody somewhat happy on the way back, despite the rather lolly-water like Spumante. After all that, found I had lost my wallet; long walk to see if I had left it in the field, but it was not there.


Thursday, 17 September 1970 N. Tawton, etc
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Up of neccessity early, though it is almost impossible to sleep in that sofa thing anyway, and early down to the cop shop to report my lost wallet, which was placed through to Okehampton, where it proved to be, so back a lot happier, to find Dodo heading into the village, followed avidly by a black kitten which would not take no for an answer. Rang up Mr. Fortescue, who said he would get it and give it to Mrs. F. to bring back for me; seems I left it in the phone box yesterday when I rang Sue. Talk about nerves!

Mrs. Fortescue back in due course with my wallet, and then had lunch, after which we were taken for a short period only to Comp Cottage, and took the tape recorder with us to, inter alia, record the noises we made in bed, which were strangely unerotic and offputting. Then did a bit of music recording and did a little bit of tidying up and packing before going home again. Did little in the evening about from Dodositting, watching TV and a quick stroll down to the Copper key.


Friday, 18 September 1970 N. Tawton → Bexhill on Sea
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Up early again, and spent all morning trying to placate a fussing and more than slightly verbose Dodo; there was a bit to do, but not as much as she imagined, and eventually we set off, not without our problems. Finally we found the place from which we were to hire the car, only to find that they had let it out to us [sic], so they tried to give us another, which proved to be suffering from a rotten distributor cap, so we were given a mechanic's Vauxhall Vista, which pleased me little, especially as it was so old. Took the PDP-12 manual up to John Boyle, and then set off along the well-worn A30/A35/A31/A27 route, stopping on the A31 near Ringwood for coffee and sandwiches, then on to Bexhill through lousy traffic, and finally got there at about 1920 (ETA before 1900), and off for a walk and fuck on the beach while Dodo entertained her gentleman friend, a Mr. George Mathews; back as he was about to leave, and took him home, were given some cooking sherry, and then to the club, where Dodo showed us off to everybody, and then Sue's ring (still believed to be a diamond by most), and finally with Uncle Jack, Dodo's brother-in-law, a 78-year old who looks more like 50, home to Dodo's, and subsequently took Jack home.


Saturday, 19 September 1970 Bexhill ⇄ London
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What was that Dodo said about letting us sleep in as long as we wanted when we were down here? Was woken up at 0930, and I gather Sue had not been able to sleep much beyond 0800, which must have been fun. Had breakfast in no uncertain manner, and managed to get off and en route for London pretty quickly - I am rather getting the hang of this car now, though it still does not seem to be as willing to slide as the Zodiac, though in all fairness, I suppose this is in its favour. Arrived in London round lunch time, and after a bit of thought decided that there was little we wanted to do apart from go and get the stuff at Henry's radio, so parked in the card-holder's thing - this seems to be the logical thing to do if one is not going to make repeated visits, as they only put a sticker on after it has been left there several times.

At Henry's, things were not so rosy - yes, they did HP and yes, they had what I wanted, but the two were not compatible, and so I gave it up as a bad job and went down to Lasky's, where they were a bit more helpful (and expensive), and ended up buying a Sinclair Stereo 60 and double Z30 set, 2 Wharfedale Speakers (Unit 3), and a tape deck (RSC, I think), also a couple of microphones, and, at Henry's, a Sinclair Micromatic for Sue.

Then back out of town as quickly as possible to see Larry [Greaves, in Tunbridge Wells], still rejoicing in his lost virginity. He off, and left Sue and me in his room, which we used to advantage, then he back, borrowed £1, and down to buy some booze for some party tonight. Back to Bexhill, had makan, and then set down to build Sue's Micromatic, which, as the Slimline, I built many years ago, was mainly a matter of cramming a quart into a pint pot - though it worked quite well, and everybody down at the club seemed interested: another evening of “This is my granddaughter and her fiancé - they got engaged on Wednesday. Show them your ring, Sue...”.

On one of the occasions we visited the club, maybe this one, a number (> 1) of old men told us to enjoy “it” while we may, greatly impressing us in their different attitude from that of the next generation.

Sunday, 20 September 1970 Bexhill, and around.
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At the usual waking hour it was today suggested that we drive around and admire the Sussex countryside, which left me wondered what Dodo proposed to do in our absence, and so packed up a lunch, fussed around all over the place, and eventually out into quite delightful weather, and, at Sue's suggestion, off in the direction of Eastbourne. Went past their old home there, and then off in the direction of Brighton, and turned off after a while to see what we could find in the way of secluded spots on the Downs - though as the weather was good, these were few and far between. Finally parked in a disused quarry and headed in the direction of a light wood to satisfy our desires, and then took some photos of Sue, and later, having suitably admired the weather and the insects, decided to head back again and ate in the car the sandwiches which Dodo had prepared for us. Then headed north with intent to look at Herstmonceux castle, where various parts of the Greenwich (sic!) observatory are, but it was closed to the public today, so ended up back in Bexhill, and then found another wood, and lay there at some length. Back eventually, had some food (why is Dodo's food so uninteresting? Poor Sue has been here 3 days, and already her spots, so carefully dieted away, are back in full force), and then over to uncle Jack's, and saw Macbeth on the TV, and after that down to the club for the usual.


Monday, 21 September 1970 Bexhill ⇄ Folkestone
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Dodo had this morning an idea of going and visiting a friend of hers in a hospital near Folkestone, as she was rather unwell, and might not last much longer. Didn't have much else on my agenda, so thought we might be able to do something about it. Set off accordingly, Dodo alternatively going on about how much fun it was to make a spur-of-the-moment decision like this, and snapping inexplicably at Sue. Poor Sue - I feel she is rather getting the wooly end of the cookie here, as Dodo is scared (somewhat) of me.

To Folkestone, saw where Mr. Peirce's grave was (no stones allowed), then to a restaurant for makan, and after that out to see Dodo's friend, who, it turns out, is a clairvoyante. Did not take this too seriously, until she looked at me and said “You like to travel - you're going to go abroad ... to Australia or New Zealand”; she went on with a lot more stuff, some of it quite fantastic, but none of it completely impossible. She said that I would make a name for my self in the public sphere, possibly go into politics (me? but I remember a speech by Sir Alec Douglas-Home in which he said that at this age he had not the slightest thought of going into politics). Another things I would have in common with Sir Alec would be the knighthood, which surprised me even more; she also said that I was musical, and that I should not neglect my music. Suggested that I might be a leader of young people, as I was fond of the young (am I?), and that I could well do this through music, or I might go into the Ministry (of God), which under the circumstances is more than debateable, but she was not certain of this, but intimated that I would somehow cause a following, and in this context receive my knighthood. I had passed my chemistry exam, though only at the second attempt (I didn't tell her it was a resit); but I would get my degree, and also at least one other, though she was not to sure whether it would be engineering (though possibly her lack of comprehension of more mundane things was a restrictive influence here), and in any case my engineering would not be what brought me fame (hardly surprising. How many engineers have become famous?). Sue and I would marry after I got my degree, and Sue would have to be more diligent if she wanted to do well, but she could do very well if she were not so “lacksical daisy”. Dodo is apparently to remarry, which sounds interesting.

At the time I was interested enough not to discount these prophecies completely. But clearly they were no more accurate than any random collection of statements. In particular, less than 18 months later Sue and I broke up.

Back, and to Romney, where we had a look round the village, and had a drink, and then back to Bexhill, and did little in the evening.


Tuesday, 22 September 1970 Bexhill ⇄ London
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Supposed to go to London today, but could not start the car, and had to call in the Marina garage to tow start me, which cost the phenomenal sum of 26/-, considering that it took all of 10 minutes. Did nothing to improve my mood, and I think I must have scared Dodo somewhat.

Off eventually London, and once again to Henry's radio, where I bought a lot of stuff, and then to the bank to cancel the cheque, which I am doing mainly because they were so slow to send me the catalogues.

Now that's a reason.

Then to Bryanston Square and found Ali, and as a special concession were allowed to go up to her room, which was freshly painted and smelt to the point af nausea. Hung about and decided after a while to go and see a flick, “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice” this evening, and in the meantime had a bite to eat, and I a bath - I seem to have got myself of some insect or another, which has done me little good.

Finally off to the Elephant and Castle, and then in to see the flick, which was interesting, though not as good as it might have been. The thing that struck me about all other was how similar Ted (Eliot Gould) looks to Dave Rozalla - when we told Ali this, she said something to the effect “Where can I get my hands on him?”.

It seems that she narrowly missed meeting him on 26 June 1970. And this wasn't the first time that this similarity had struck me.

Took her home, then back, and we ran out of petrol right outside Buckingham palace, and discovered that I had to go all the way to Victoria Station to get a phone to ring the AA; finally got some petrol, and back home, stopping near Hildenborough to do what we cant at Dodo's - this is driving me mad.


Wednesday, 23 September 1970 Bexhill.
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Off before breakfast to pick uncle Jack up and take him fishing, as the buses are on strike; looked for somewhere to have it on the way back, but could not find anywhere. Back and had breakfast, and then messed around a bit and into down to look for some 2,2 Ω resistors, as Henry's had given me 22Ω instead. No luck, so back and had lunch and hung about in the house to wait for Larry, who was due to arrive here round 1500, but did not. Round 1600 off to pick uncle Jack up, and finally found somewhere to have it off. Picked Jack up, took him home, and home to tea; Larry showed no signs of turning up, though he did just as we were finishing tea, and Dodo off round then to the club; spoke at length with Larry about computers and sex. Finally he left, and gave Sue and me a chance to have it in bed at last - we really needed this, and it helped a lot. Then down to the club and picked Dodo up, and said goodbye to everybody.


Thursday, 24 September 1970 Bexhill → Bow
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Up as ever, and had breakfast, and then packed up all our stuff (and plenty more) to go - Dodo has given us a Hoover, and also various odds and ends. It's funny how the phrase “All the world loves a lover” applies to people who are engaged. Finally off in the direction of Portsmouth, nothing much of any great interest happening; arrived at Portsmouth somewhat after 1400, and parked the car, then rang Paul Hallett up and on to the Isle of Wight ferry, reading this month's Science Journal, a special issue about computers. Some quite interesting articles.

Finally across, met Paul, and back home, where we had little enough to do; spoke at some length about cars and electronics, bout of which are causing Paul sufficient trouble; his car is falling effectively apart, front suspension has tolerances the likes of which I have never seen. He is still messing around with IC 10's, and seems to burn them out with monotonous regularity. He had some idea that we were staying the night, and was rather disappointed when we decided against - would not mind if they were prepared to let Sue and me sleep together. Felt bad about that, but there was little enough we could do about it. Went in and watched TV for a while - they have a colour TV, and it is interesting how much improved the effect of some programs. Saw Marty Feldman after that, and that was good.

Finally off, and back home, where we quickly bedded down for the night.


Friday, 25 September 1970 Bow → N. Tawton.
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Up none too early today - decided that there was no tearing hurry to get the car back after the way the thing has been treating us; in any case, we couldn't be bothered. Over to Sue's place after unloading my stuff, and ran out of petrol just as we got there; got a gallon at Blogg's, and then had some sort of snack, though lunch was not in the offing. Finally off again into town and did a bit of messing about while we still had some transport. To the bank, where I found that I was overdrawn, and my cheque to Lasky's had not been honored. Took the car in, got my 23/- [why not 26/-?] back, and then to town for tea. Back on the train, and had a bit of an argument with Sue, as her parents had invited us back for makan, and were not prepared to supply any transport; ended up getting out at Bow, poor Sue very upset, and back home, where we resolved everything, dropped my shopping and then thumbed over to North Tawton - had makan, and stayed the night.


Saturday, 26 September 1970 Bow, etc
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The thing I hate more than anything else about staying the night here (apart from the unattainable proximity of Sue) is the fast that the bed is too short, and the covers invariably fall off.

Up for breakfast, and messed around after that, and eventually, after much sorting out of stuff, off home by thumb, and were about outside Boswells before we got a lift all the way into Bow with some bloke in a Viva.

Did very little at home - to bed, left Sue there and down to do some tidying up and cooking, and in general finally relaxed from the events of the past couple of weeks. I love Sue. Parents round to collect her round 2200.


Sunday, 27 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Sue and father over round 1100 to take me to there house for lunch - I am getting just vaguely fed up with this, though obviously it is not going to be easy to refuse. It would not be so bad if I were not expected to help with the washing up and then sit round making polite conversation all afternoon. Got out today round 1500, and got a lift most of the way to Zeal with a Sunday school teacher. Had to walk from there, though it did not over worry us; Sue is madly fond of blackberries, and, of course, they are in season at the moment.

Did little enough when we got home; this split living is getting me down. All we seem to do when we get home is hop straight into bed, and it seems so unnatural; it would be so different, so much nicer if we could just live together all the time and not have to worry about such things.

Did a bit of tidying up after that, though not much, and then downstairs with more thoughts of programs - I have more or less finished DECODE, and would like to get it working before the beginning of term. Managed to persuade Sue's parents to come over and pick her up, though it was not easy.


Monday, 28 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Sue over this morning to wake me, brought by her mother, and with an incredible amount of stuff; gifts of socks and gloves from mother (which, come to think of it, is what I'm going to have to call her some time), and also a surprisingly good birthday card; nothing in the post, though later on, as I got up, found that a telegram had arrived from Sue: WAKE UP, IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY. Also found that Sue's mother, feeling sorry for me and my lack of transport, had decided that, if I couldn't go out with Sue for a meal, they could at least lay one on here, and had brought a goodly quantity of stuff over here. Got up and hung about, thinking how much I love Sue, and did a further amount of tidying up, though hardly much, and then back to bed again.

Finally up round eventide, and started cooking makan, and had this, along with a bottle of Sauternes also donated by Sue's parents, and though not too good, it was probably the most wonderful birthday I have ever had, made all the more wonderful by the fact that Sue was there with me; how can I ever face the thought of her going to Oxford? Parents round to pick her up, and not too early at that. [added later:] Shaved off my beard.


Tuesday, 29 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Into town this morning with intent to get a lot of things done, not too much of which came to fruition. Got a lift with a bloke who delivered newspapers, and he dropped me right at the Uni, and up and carried on working with DECODE, which started doing odd things, so tidied up LIMIT a bit, and then messing around at some length before going over and doing a few program amendments on Charlie. Somehow, along with a fair-sized talk from John Boyle, this took me most of the morning, and so didn't get into town until quite late. Thumbed back, and over to see Sue, who had various labelling jobs to do, and brought her home, where the usual ensued, also wrote a letter to Mike suggesting he tell me when he was coming, and ring me up on Thursday evening. Sue's parents apparently expected her to walk home this evening, but came nevertheless, as all the house was in darkness (we were, in fact, loading film into tanks, but God knows what they thought). Carried on, and developed the rest of the film - all came out pretty badly, and it seems that the Ferrania was copying film, which annoyed me no end.


Wednesday, 30 September 1970 Bow, etc
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Oh, what a bastard it is not to have a car! Especially in country areas such as this, motion becomes almost impossible. Eventually got Sue to come over—her mother had the car and brought her. With the immenent[sic] arrival of Mike, and spurred on by a letter from him today, decided to tidy up his room for him and get out as much of our junk as possible. That, naturally took time, and along with such other things such as bed, lasted most of the afternoon. In the evening, as ever—Sue now rather worried about the fact that she has only a week to go until Oxford, and doesn't know how she will survive. I think she will find her feet a lot more quickly than she expects when she gets there. Her parents had refused point blank to come and pick her up tonight, but she was feeling very depressed, and had no trouble conjuring up a headache, and so persuaded her father to come and get her. Carried on working into the earlier hours of the morning on computer logic...


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