Thursday, July 31, 1980

Thursday July 31st

Robert went home just before I got up, leaving in a bad mood and greatly depressed over his housing arrangements. When I got up Mum was upset over it all. Apparently Robert had been short with her, almost as if all his worries were Mums fault. Last night I noticed he was depressed and he kept going on (unfairly I thought) about Dads lack of interest in his plight. He really wants the Penistone flat but has to give a £75 deposit. Since he hasn’t that sort of cash available he had to say that he’d take it, if available, in two weeks time. Mum offered to lend him the money but he said he wanted to manage on his own and when she suggested he approach Dad personally he said it was impossible. I thought he was making Dad out in a bad light.

Anyway, words were exchanged between Mum and Robert this morning and Mum cried when she was telling me. She said tearfully that Dad is often hurt that none of us ever approach him as head of the house.

At 11 o’clock, I went into Easterby with Mum, primarily to go to the Main Library. Mum got off at William Street and the ‘bus arrived in Holdsworth station at 12.10.

The next hour I spent happily browsing round the insect books on the third floor. The books I chose were, “Studying Insects: A Practical Guide” by R.L.E. Ford; “Insects” by B.H. Cogon and K.G.V. Smith; “Pleasures From Insects” by Michael Tweedie and a book by Asimov, “A Choice of Catastrophies.” I also renewed “The Ape Within Us” and returned the other two books I borrowed without having read them.

After visiting the library I went to Queensgate “Smiths” where I bought a book called “Biorhythm” by Bernard Gittelson. It was this I looked at all the rest of the afternoon. It is a fascinating book.

I watched the Olympics, read books and generally drifted around. Tony Wright, Andrew’s mate, rang and arrived shortly after on his brand new Honda 500-4. They played records in my bedroom while I busily built a baited pitfall trap for ground dwelling insects from a truncated petrol funnel, a marvel tin and a piece of wood (as shown in “Insects” (Cogon & Smith)). This, when sunk so that the top is flush with the soil, is supposed to attract beetles and others, which fall through the funnel and are trapped in the tin. This I finished at 9.30 and planted it by the rhubarb over in the garden’s far corner.

For the next couple of hours, Andrew, Tony Wright and I sat in the dining room looking at the “Biorhythm” book and talking generally. Tony Wright has a terrible stammer and it can be quite embarrassing sat waiting as he desperately tries to utter a word.

At 11.15p.m I went out with a torch to check my trap and, wonderbar!! – there sat a specimen of the Mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitar). At least I now know the trap works.

Wednesday, July 30, 1980

Wednesday July 30th

I got up mid-morning and after playing Robert at Scrabble (I won one and lost one) and having tomato soup for dinner we went into Knowlesbeck.

Robert said he wanted to go because he has started collecting stamps depicting birds and he wanted to look round. We parked up in one of the many car parks and went to Sweeney's, a Smiths like store. I also wanted to look for a good insect identification guide (preferably the Collins one) – they had the Collins Field Guide to Trees but not the one I wanted.

We also stopped at Knowlesbeck Library to look at the sale of second hand library books (no good ones) and then just wandered around Knowlesbeck to the Knowlesbeck Bookshop (a pathetic selection) and an antique shop.

We got back around tea-time. In the evening Robert had to go view two flats at Rotherham and Penistone and at a quarter to seven Andrew and I set off to Cardigan Park to see Athletic’s first home match of the season, a friendly against Moorwood Town. Athletic played them last season too and got beaten 3-0.

It was good to be back at the Park after the disappointment of last season. The crowd was pathetic (250+), and the first half was conducted in pretty pedestrian fashion. To say Moorwood play in the Northern League and Athletic in the Northern Alliance, the former played crummily. Don Meyers scored after 39 minutes.

The score remained 1-0, and half-way through the second half, Robert arrived in suit and tie. Apparently he had driven like a lunatic from Rotherham to get to the ground in time.

Robert and Andrew went to the pub’ after dropping me off and when they came home they brought fish and chips. Before going to bed I watched “Guyana Tragedy” (Part 2), about Jones Town, Guyana and events leading up to the suicides of 913 people in November 1978.

Tuesday, July 29, 1980

Tuesday July 29th

I did absolutely nothing, apart from feel bored and think about how I’m wasting my holiday. Robert went to Dardray again and I didn’t get up until one o’clock.

Everybody is grumbling nowadays. Dad moans about immigrants, weather, cricket, politics, the Olympics, the criminals he deals with, how tired he feels – in fact everything; Mum moans on about Dad moaning; Andrew looks depressed; Robert is sick about his moving situation and I’m pissed off with everything. How mundane my life is. There is just nothing to do except read, watch television, or listen to music.

In the evening, Robert and I played darts and I identified a moth. It was large and yellow and was attracted to my window by the light. It was a Swallow Tail moth and I had three separate sightings either of the same one or three individuals. The largeish moth I spotted on the 27th was probably a Swallow Tail too. On checking my moth sugar outside I found a mealworm beetle eagerly feasting off the droplets on the Weeping Willow tree.

Monday, July 28, 1980

Monday July 28th

A remarkable day in that I did much more than normal. I awoke at 1.40 a.m. to hear voices going downstairs. Robert had arrived. He had set off at 6 p.m yesterday and had had to drop a mate off at Liverpool. Mum was already down making herself some tea and when she heard the door go she had rushed upstairs to raise Dad. Apparently she had thought that it was the masked rapist who has been in go recently.

Because of the humidity I hadn’t slept and I felt really active still so I read “the Ape Within Us” for twenty minutes (2.05-2.25 a.m) until I felt drowsy.

I eventually got up mid-morning. Robert and Dad were already up. I half-intended going into Easterby to look round for a good insect identification guide but as it happened, Robert asked me if I wanted to go to Dardray with him. Robert had to see about obtaining a flat where he and Carol can live until they’ve bought a house.

We set off and drove to Dardray via the M1. We parked on a private car park (fine £1.00) and wandered round Dardray town centre. There wasn’t a centre as such, merely a conglomeration of main streets lined with low buildings and shops. I was quite surprised to see such an amazing Church in such a dump.

We visited three estate agents but either they didn’t have any vacant flats to let or they didn’t deal with them. At the final place (“Merriweathers”) we were given a map and this helped us to find the building housing the S. Yorkshire Housing Authority (or something similar). Unfortunately, they couldn’t help us either, but while Robert was being dealt with I sat in the waiting room and conducted a cardboard conversation with the secretary there (who I liked because she talked to me).

On to Dardray's plush new Civic Buildings where we were passed on to Dardray Council Housing Department. They told us that they couldn’t do anything until the Education Authority was contacted and a letter sent to the Housing Dep’t from the above. The Education Authority have recently (two weeks ago) moved to Marsh Road we were told after much hassle. These situations are so soul-destroying and impersonal – an endless succession of sob stories, desperate pleas and lost hope.

We paused to regain breath, having a pint at the “Green Lion,” looking round a book shop and having something to eat (three sausage rolls at 19p each and a cup of tea).

We then spent a frustrating half-an-hour or so blasting around round-abouts and up and down Whinborough road looking for Marsh Rd. This we eventually found and after further confusion about where the Education Authority buildings were (we had to drive round Dardray again) we eventually parked up and Robert repeated his pleas for the hundredth time today.

He was provided with a bit of hope by Mrs Cotton there. She gave him the address of a bloke who rents out properties. He lived at number five, Melton Green (nr. Swinscoe), but he was on holiday. Robert really did seem depressed and utterly pissed off by this time – it seemed as if Fate was determined to make him suffer. He left a note and we left.

We drove back home in sweltering heat and near silence. I felt shattered, my eyes were heavy and I could’ve gone to bed. We arrived back at 4.58 p.m., and after watching Alan Wells get a silver medal in the men’s 200m final, I set off to the E.A.S.

After forking out 58p in bus fare I wasn’t pleased that I had picked my first wrong night for 3 yrs. I felt thoroughly sickened. To save my pocket I walked back via Buckingham Road, Three Locks Road and Farnshaw. I must admit I quite enjoyed walking back because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I got home at about 8.30 p.m.

I spent the rest of the evening in my bedroom listening to Robert’s records with Andrew and Robert. Later on, I watched Clint Eastwood in “Two Mules for Sister Sara.” I was made to feel selfish when I didn’t let Robert sleep in my bed. I didn’t refuse point blank but I made noises because I didn’t like Mum making me feel obliged. I suppose I am pretty selfish really.

Sunday, July 27, 1980

Sunday July 27th

As Grant Riley would put it – a negative day. I did nothing worth mentioning all day. Mum and Dad went out for a run at midday leaving Andrew and I to watch the Olympics all afternoon (Britain won a few medals again, mainly bronzes).

After watching Brendan Foster come 11th out of 15 in the 10,000 m race, we had tea and in the evening I didn’t do a thing.

The only really profitable thing to emerge from today was my moth attracting experiment. Using the brown sugar I acquired yesterday and black treacle and one teaspoonful of rum I mixed a lethal mixture. Dad seemed greatly interested and in the gathering gloom we daubed (via brush) the potion onto four separate locations – the big fir tree, the cherry tree, the weeping willow and a bush over in the corner by the greenhouse. We must’ve looked strange wandering around in the dark, paintbrush at the ready. I was glad to see that there were many moths flitting and drifting over and among the trees and plants. One I saw was enormous – at least 3 inches across the wings – but it was too far away to catch. Unfortunately, my mixture seemed to repel moths rather than attract them because not one settled. If I had had a net I could’ve swept them down and caught them. I came in at elevenish after wandering around, watching Green lacewings, spiders, and hundreds of moths yet unable to identify a single one (except the lacewings). My fascination with entomology is still strong and perhaps I could buy some tackle and take it up seriously.

Saturday, July 26, 1980

Saturday July 26th

My cousin Susan got married at Kerforth Church this afternoon and I attended. I had to get smartened up for the occasion (I actually wore a tie). Both Andrew and Dad were wearing suits and Mum was dolled up to the eyeballs, so we must have looked quite a weird bunch in the car when we set off at 1215.

The wedding was scheduled for 1 p.m., and we parked at the other side of the roundabout to the Church. There were four weddings that day, so we all congregated in little groups outside the Church, waiting in the background until the previous wedding had been swept away. It was like a conveyor belt of happiest days.

The ceremony was as expected – “Praise be to the Lord . . . . . . .” – “Do you take this man to be . . . . . . . ,” although there were fewer guests than I expected.

Susan Rose Martindale is now Mrs Peter Andrew Kelly. After the wedding I noticed one person (the best word to use in the circumstances) who really fascinated me. He was obviously a total queer. He was dressed in a complete leather outfit – tight fitting leather trousers, jacket which he kept open to show off his unmanly chest – and had an incredibly feminine face and the most cliché’d homo’s voice ever. I just couldn’t stand him (and with a name like Chris Peacock who could!).

The fifty or so guests gradually filtered off to the reception which was held at the “Kilnfield” Hotel in Nunstead. This was a real disco, boozing, eating occasion till 5.30 – not really my thing. Ms Peacock was very much in evidence, doing dances on his own in the middle of the floor to Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park.” What a git repulsive person he is. P.A. Kelly’s three sisters and young brother were sat about two tables away from me in the corner. I kept looking at his youngest sister – she looked about 15 – and she cast frequent glances at me – no real acknowledgement just a blank look at me. I start feeling sorry for myself in situations like that and after. I start wishing that I had a good thing going with a girl – any girl – one who understood me. Why can’t somebody I really like suddenly hit it off with me – I’m 16 now and I’ve still yet to have a girl-friend. I must seem a real creep to girls in those sort of circumstances.

Afterwards, an informal chat/booze session was held at Uncle Arnolds during which I again became aware of Miss Kelly. By the time we left I had had enough, my head was throbbing from the music, the pint-and-a-half I had downed and the alcoholic atmosphere (enough also of Peacock’s inuendos). Andrew stayed at the revelry but I was glad to get away. I was looking forward to seeing the highlights of the evenings 800 metre event in which Ovett thrashed Coe.

During the evening, whiling away the time to Olympic highlights at eleven, I looked at several books on natural history. The fires of enthusiasm have suddenly become rekindled, especially for entomology (during the reception I nicked some brown sugar with which to mix with rum and black treacle (to make a moth attractant when smeared on a tree trunk).

Today Britain won 5 medals at the Olympics (2 gold, 2 silver and a bronze) and the test was rained off. The weather was abysmal.

Friday, July 25, 1980

Friday July 25th

I went to Grant Riley’s today, on one of my regular visits. First though, I watched cricket. England started at 235-3 and got to 269 before Boycott was run out for 53. At 303 Gatting went for 48 (b. Croft).

I spent the morning in and out of the garden. The sun was shining down from a clear blue sky and I wandered around the flowerbeds, enthusiastically identifying insects. I identified a drone fly and a species of hoverfly (Syrphus ribesii). I could get keen on entomology. At about 1245 Dad got the car out and we set off. He dropped me at Lodgehill (Lyndale) and then went on to work, while I wended my slow way up to G.R’s at 44 Fearnfield Dr.

Grant Riley is one of the few real ‘close’ friends I’ve got (in fact the only one), because he is the only person who I am capable of speaking truthfully or deeply about some subject concerning my character. With Quinn for instance, it is different. He operates on a different level to me – he rarely reads books.

Grant is very much an art-type person – he is a great believer in individuality (or so he tells me) and apparently hangs out with a weird bunch of ‘outcasts’ at Hanson. He likes new wave type music, writes poetry and is generally a pretty mixed up person. Whenever I go see him I operate differently to ‘normal,’ everyday life – perhaps I live a sham, I don’t know. But as if to try create an image I deliberately put on my threadbare faded grey cords and put on my decrepit Nomad. It was as if I were acting almost.

When I got to No 44, Grant R’s mother and sister Amanda were sat out in the sun at the front of the house. I met G.R. himself in the hall – he was dressed pretty predictably – black cords, extremely arty slippers, and a starvation-emphasizing blue jumper with a P.I.L. badge on (!).

We went into the dining room where we stayed until their dinner was ready. I had had mine so I went into the other room to watch Gatting go. After dinner we almost immediately went out. For no particular reason we decided to go to Hainsworth Hall (to look round). We wandered round there awhile, before leaving the park and going to Duncan Verity’s for no other reason except to annoy, and then back up through Lodgehill, Castlebrigg and adjacent playing fields to sit talking at the top of Glenbank Lane. Here the heat was stifling – like an oven without any wind and plenty of haze. We then went to Ashburn, where I bought a can of orange, and then back to his house.

All the while we talked – about trends, politics, girlfriends, sex, music – in fact anything (I’ve suddenly realised that I seem to be making more out of this than is necessary. All it is is a visit to a friend yet I spiel on, as if the event is of the most important significance – I suppose this is because he is one of my only close mates, and my days recently have been boring).

Tea was very informal – we had sandwiches and strawberries and cream – and then we went out to see if Craig Hewitson was in. He used to go to Lodgehill Middle School and he is a great friend of Grant’s. I questioned Grant a lot on how all the Lodgehill Mid. people were going on – what they looked etc. I wonder what they’d think of me now or if they ever do remember me. Apparently Fiona McCaffrey is quite good looking now too. Unfortunately Craig was out so we wandered through the woods eventually ending up at the large open field below the allotments. Resting on the bank there I was surrounded by flies attracted by my sweat – the heat was oppressive and suffocating, like a cloak.

We then sauntered back to slump awhile in his bedroom in the heat, feeling bored. At eight I went, saying goodbye to Grant for another few months or so, probably.

On the way back (I walked through the woods to the main road and on over to Glenbank) it was sticky in the heat. I surprised a couple kissing on a grass bank nr. Yew Lane (I surprised myself more) and I felt quite uneasy after.

I then watched television all evening. (Andrew got me a cleaning arm for my birthday).

Thursday, July 24, 1980

Thursday July 24th

All I did today was watch television and generally lounge about. I got up at about eleven. Mum had gone out at 10.15 for her second driving lesson and she didn’t come back until 12.15. I watched the fourth test match on the television. Unusually England got to 156 before Gooch went l.b.w. to Holding. At 157, Rose went for 50 and Larkins went for 7. England, at close of play, were 230 odd for 3.

It was another humid, warm day, the temperatures climbing above 70°F for the first time in months. I watched the Olympics till tea and then television all the rest of the evening.

In a way I decided my future today, because late-on I watched “All About Books” (with Russell Harty). One of the books featured was by a bloke who went round the world on a motorbike.

That made my mind up. I am determined now to go when I leave university. There is just so much to see. Andrew said that he too wants to do something like that so perhaps we could go together (when I leave university in July 1985 Andrew will be 28y 5m old and I’ll be 21y 0m old).

Wednesday July 23rd

The days are already becoming monotonous – each week will blur into the next in a seemingly endless succession of empty, boredom-filled days until September.

Today I got up earlier than the last two days because I intended (last night anyway) in going to Easterby. Instead I read “The Ape Within Us” by John MacKinnon, which I began yesterday. He traveled around Malaya watching gibbons and siamongs and Central Africa trailing chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos. It would be quite easy to do something like that – just follow a particular individual or group around every day noting down every activity, and would I reckon, be more enjoyable than wandering round the world without purpose or direction.

It was another sunny and warm day (the thermometer on the landing was at 70F at nine thirty, as it is now at 1230 in the evening.), and I read my book intermittently all day. Mum went into Easterby to, among other things, put £7 in my Deposit Account (I now have £43.00).

In the evening, Mum and Dad went out to Nanna B’s to deliver Susan’s wedding present (she’s getting married on Saturday and I’m going!!), and I again listened to music in my bedroom (after watching the Olympics and “Porridge”).

Andrew felt depressed. He told me so while we were listening to records. He said he looks forward to coming home but after a few days he realises how boringly staid everything is – Dad making the same predictable arguments – Mum countering with her old favourite “Well, us arguing about it won’t do any good.” He said that next summer he’s going to save up some money and do something different. I know how he must feel, that life lacks something here – there must be a stifling claustrophobia about things when compared to life ‘away.’ He said he just feels demoted again to one of the children, like it was before he went to college.

When I get older I am determined to see the world. I know it is the corny cliché but I really am. I’m going to save up a few hundred quid and just go. I’m going to get as much pleasure out of life as possible. Maybe on one of the Appeals – but I’d prefer to go with a friend (Grant Riley perhaps?).

Tuesday, July 22, 1980

Tuesday July 22nd

Yet another lazy day. The sun shone brightly today and although it was quite windy it was sweltering outside.

I got up late again and I was really angry with myself. Apparently Mum and Dad had been trying all morning to raise me without success because Dad had been going to start building me a shelf above my door for my speaker.

After Dad went to work at one and with Andrew at Cole’s I had little to do except read. I lay on the rug from the kitchen on the lawn, reading “My Family and Other Animals” (I finished it today), inbetween watching Carol’s tortoise to make sure it didn’t escape. It was too hot lying there. I soon became warm and clammy and had to go inside.

Robert rang late afternoon with the gloomy news that his plans for accomodation in Dearnelow while looking for a house had fallen through. He is coming up yet again on Saturday (he must know the M1 backwards by now).

At teatime I watched Duncan Goodhew win a gold medal in the 100m swimming event before going upstairs to play records and have a bath.

I came down at nine o’clock and Dad had just come home. Soon Mum, Dad and I were embroiled in an argument about the Gov’t. Today it was announced that unemployment had reached 1.89 million. Dad said in his opinion the Tories were doing alright. Mum asked for facts to back this up and soon he was heatedly bellowing on about Mum speaking rubbish. “I find I can get on better with magistrates, policemen – all people with right wing views.” Heil Hitler!!

I get really angry about the way the world is being mismanaged by a set of mindless turds. Because Easterby’s Labour controlled council has overspent by £2m, they have the presumptuous nerve to send new rate bills round asking for another £7. Why the fuck should people pay the extra if they’ve paid the yearly amount already? I would rather go to prison. There is just nothing – nothing at all anyone can do. It makes me feel violent.

Monday, July 21, 1980

Monday July 21st

Total boredom. I got up at twelve and did nothing all day except (predictably) play records, eat, and watch television. The only real highlight to the day was Grant Riley’s ‘phone call at five-thirty.

I really should try to make more of my day. I was feeling bored even when I got up – a few years ago I would’ve happily wiled away the hours calculating various things concerned with astronomy but now all that seems of no consequence. I should do something profitable like writing an article.

G.R’s call cheered me up a little. It is good knowing that somebody regards your company highly enough to actually request it. He really does sound adult compared to me. His voice is deeper and he seems to have several real good friends. He in a way is my only true friend, because he is the only one who I know I can confide in and feel easy with.

It was another superb evening, with a lot of high, white cirrus about making the sky pale and yellow and the sun twice as bright. With Hendrix blasting out and the sun shining, I could really look forward to Friday afternoon.

Andrew went out with Keith Patchett and in the late evening I watched TV till 11.15.

Sunday, July 20, 1980

Sunday July 20th

I heard Dad go at five thirty this morning. When I eventually got up at ten, Mum was already up. I gave her the bath-foam which I had bought her for her birthday (she is 46) and wished her many happy returns.

Andrew got up shortly after and gave her a big box of chocolates and we spent a good-natured morning reading the ‘Sunday Times.’ It didn’t seem like a Sunday today somehow. Usually they have real atmospheres (perhaps it’s because I’m on holiday). Mum went out and did the privets while we played records downstairs. Writing it down like this makes Andrew and myself seem harsh and thoughtless letting Mum do work on her birthday but what else can I say?

We played Jeff Beck (‘Final Peace’ is superb), Al DiMeola and also Santana’s “Caravanserai.” Unlike some other music (eg Al D.), you don’t have to be in the right mood for Santana – it is fab whatever the weather.

Dad came home at two and went to bed for most of the afternoon. Andrew and I were watching the Olympics when Uncle Kenneth rang (fresh as usual) to wish Mum happy birthday. He also said that they could be coming round for a ‘birthday drink’ (all this, we later found out, on the instigation of N.P.). Mum really didn’t want them to come but sure enough, at about four-thirty, Kenneth, Shirley, Janet and her husband Trevor and Nanna P. rolled up. Lots of false sentiments and alcoholic laughter.

It was quite ironic in a way because just before, we had been talking about Uncle Kenneth and Dorothy and so-on, and according to Mum, my Uncle Kenneth had bought Shirley a house at Royden while he was still married to Dorothy, and when S. became pregnant, Aunty Dorothy walked out on him. I really feel sorry for my Aunty Dorothy although she’s past caring now. It really made me think though when Shirley, thick, false and oozing hypocrisy came wafting in.

Everybody had drinks and I sat in the corner content to listen to the conversation. Kenneth, fueled by a lunchtime pint (or two), bellowed on about politics. “I’m a socialist” he said proudly. Two-faced lying bastard!! He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. As well as being the biggest racialist ever he goes on about Scargill, making excuses for his wealth saying “Well, he’s bloody well achieved it through sheer hard work.” As if that was an excuse for owning four houses or whatever. It made me bloody incensed and I had to forcibly bite my tongue. Hypocrite. I’m glad Dad was in bed or there would’ve been a real battle (Hitler v Andy Capp cum Tony Benn or something similar). “At work they call me ‘Red’ Ken.” Silly sod!

After N.P. and co. went at five thirty, we had tea and then I played records all evening. I love music – without it I’d go mad.

Saturday, July 19, 1980

Saturday July 19th

I had to go into Easterby again today to get Mum a birthday present. I went with Dad at about twelve after a morning where I was sickened off totally about taking back that Stan Clarke record. During dinner, everybody kept saying that they thought the chances of me getting it exchanged were slight, so that eventually I felt utterly pissed off with the whole thing. To exchange it would be a humiliating experience, I was sure.

Anyway, I decided to try my luck, and I took the LP with me when I went back to Easterby with Dad at dinner-time. It took me ages to pluck up enough courage to go to the counter and ask. I stood for ages, pretending to flick through records, while all the time I was pouring with sweat.

Eventually though, when the counter area cleared a bit, I went and asked. What a relief! The bloke was really quite decent about it and said yes, I could go choose another record for the same price or above. I chose Jeff Beck’s “There and Back,” which was good (better than S.C’s effort anyway).

I embarrassedly went into ‘Boots’ and bought Mum what I thought was soap (it turned out to be bubble-bath stuff), which cost me £2.50, and after wandering around looking at posters, I came home.

Andrew had watched the Moscow Olympics opening ceremony, which was quite spectacular and colourful (or so he said). Mum told me that the “Protect and Survive” what-to-do-in-case-of-a-nuclear-attack booklet which I bought yesterday had been torn up by Dad this morning because he thought it had come through the door. He’s stupid sometimes, and he really makes me annoyed. If only he didn’t act so hot-headedly all the time. Mum gave me the price of it (50p), yet when Dad came home and I told him I didn’t even get a bloody apology! It rucked me did that – tears my bloody stuff up, comes home and blasts on in typical fascist manner and I don’t even get an apology.

I played records most of the evening (correction – all of the evening) and tidied up my bedroom (I can’t tidy it up properly because all Robert’s and Andrew’s records are in my bedroom – some 300+ LPs all together).

Friday, July 18, 1980

Friday July 18th

We had a 1½ hour assembly today, which was as boring as ever. We all sat on chairs in long rows lengthways down the sports hall, while Barkston rambled on, toadying to the Americans who are over here on this exchange visit. Prizes for good work in the Arts and Sciences were given to the third and fourth years although for some reason, none were given to the fifth year.

The assembly ended at 10.30 approximately. All 6 0/A people went up to the Common room and stood around talking. Most other people seemed to be handing in their U.I. reports, exceptions being Richard Beetham, Matthew Knight and Adrian Westcott. I was terrified of being approached by Elson or Ingham for my UI reports. I had no excuse whatsoever (“I couldn’t be bothered” wouldn’t sound too good for a potential university candidate – I could imagine what they’d say – “You’ll be no good on an A-level course without motivation” . . . . . etc.).

I decided to make good my escape and I got home at about 11.15. Dad and Andrew were home and I sat in the dining room for half-an-hour until we went out. I felt guilty at coming home and I half-expected to hear the ‘phone ringing and Ingham or somebody saying that I was to go back to school.

At about 11.45 Andrew and I went into Easterby with Dad. Dad dropped us off at William Street and went onto work. First we went looking round camera shops and by the time we reached “Lindsey Spencers” (the third), I was quite bored.

I thought we must’ve looked pretty scruffy wandering. I was in a red T-shirt, my mucky old jeans and my decrepit old Nomad, while Andrew was wearing a shabby brown jacket.

Then on to HMV, where I was predictably racked with indecision as to what to buy. I lent Andrew £2.79 to buy Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman” (a decision I later regretted) and then he went off to get Mum a birthday present.

I then made a decision to buy a record for which I spent the next 24 hours kicking myself. The album was Stanley Clarke’s latest (6th), called “Rocks, Pebbles and Sand” and it cost £3.99.

When I got home at 3.30 I discovered it was utter bilge, pure, unadulterated disco. He really has gone down the nick since “Journey to Love” and “School Days.” I felt really depressed and disillusioned after that, and I vowed to take it back tomorrow, although Andrew cast some doubt on whether they’d exchange it.

The rest of the afternoon and evening I spent listening away my troubles. It’s amazing what good (in other words ace) music can do to make you feel good again. After “Moonflower” Side two I felt in high spirits once more.

I also talked to Andrew a lot in the evening. I showed him that “Know Your Own Personality” book, and he seemed really a bit upset when some of the tests showed him, like me, to be a bit neurotic. It seemed to disturb him a good deal (although he laughed about it).

He told me some things which surprised me. When I read one of the personality questions – “Would you like to see a pornographic film?” – and said that I had answered ‘yes’ because I truthfully would (only ‘soft’ porn), because it’s only natural, he admitted to me that he had seen some. This is all he said and I didn’t press him further.

One thing he told me which amazed me was that he had experimented with drugs. He had smoked marijuana at a party in Knowlesbeck once and although one of his mates had been violently sick as a result, it had no effect on him. He pledged me to secrecy. I can well imagine Dad doing his nut if he knew. I’ve often though Andrew did more than we suspected which is, I suppose, only to be expected, because several months ago while rummaging I found two copies of “Mayfair” in his drawer. They were cut up so I expect they were for his art course.

Thursday, July 17, 1980

Thursday July 17th

What a total waste of time today’s school was. When I got in at 8.30 for registration, Gledhill said that as far as he was concerned, we could go home. Seven people (including me) turned up and the rest of the day – from 9.00 to 2.30 was spent just sat in the Common Room.

To pass time on I talked; to Beaumont, Hoy, Sharon Ashton and Angela Reid mostly. I felt conflicting emotions because I can get on comparatively easily (as far as other girls go) with the latter, and so can Quinn. To be totally honest, I found myself really jealous when Quinn got talking to them and I was loathe to go away and leave him talking to them. Utter puerile crap I know is this, but it’s what I felt at the time.

I kept saying I was going to sign out, but since I would only be bored at home I decided to stay. I like Sharon Ashton because she is one of the only girls who actually acknowledges my existence. She is also pretty good looking.

I came home after doing F.A. most of the day – looking at Angela Reid’s photograph albums, listening to the incessant jive of D. Verity’s Diana Ross and The Supremes tapes (boring) and messing around generally.

It was raining when I was walking home, another foul, blustery day. I’m really just waffling now because the rest of today was spent playing records and talking etc., with Andrew. I felt incredibly bitchy and irritable when I came home – I hate predictability and the boring, orthodox conventionality of news caster on television – and I let off criticising everything. I really do detest the Daily Express too.

One slight blot on the horizon. Of the seven ‘Understanding Industry’ reports, I’ve only done one and they’ve got to be in by tomorrow. If I get bollocked I get bollocked but I just cannot be bothered to do them – it is all so utterly pointless and dead. And tomorrow we have a two hour assembly.

Wednesday, July 16, 1980

Wednesday July 16th

I didn’t go to school today. Since I had nothing timetabled, and Dad and Andrew were going to Withenkirk, Mum said I could give school a miss. I got up at nine o’clock, and spent the morning doing nothing in particular, except feeling generally at peace with the world.

Dad went to the Bank at eleven-thirty and when he came back, we all set off. Andrew had been kicking himself most of the morning for not setting off to go to see Yorkshire v Kent, and I really didn’t want him to come to Withenkirk. Just before we had set off he had said to me how boring Withenkirk was – I really didn’t want him to come because he had little else to do, it would’ve made the outing seem worthless.

When we arrived in Withenkirk, everything was identical to every time we’ve been in the past. It is a really timeless place – more like the preserved mummy of a village than a living community. The ubiquitous tourists were, as expected, greatly in evidence, lapping up the cheapo-gimmicky shops (“Stuff and Nonsense,” bric-a-brac (!!)), and making Andrew and myself really angry. God I detest them. I’m sure they come to Withenkirk through no real love of the place but through an obligation to its reputation. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that most people are morons.

We went to a small second-hand book shop opposite the Church, where I bought a book called “Moscow 1979” (1st Ed., 1946), a speculative-fiction story about life in Moscow in the late seventies. Most of the prophecies were completely wrong – according to the two authors the world had already suffered three more wars by 1979 and was awaiting WW6.

We also bought fish and chips for dinner and went back to the car to eat them. I love fish and chips – my idea of sheer heaven Utopia.

After wandering on to a pub (where I had a pint of cider), we traveled to Earnton to look at the railway station. The cider had made my eyes unwilling to focus, and with the heat I felt really drowsy. At Earnton we stopped to look round the station (Winner of the 1977 “Best Preserved Station of the Year” Award) and waited half-an-hour to watch a train pass through. Steam trains are brilliant things, and I really wished that they were still in go nationally as the noisy, smelly, steaming black loco’ trundled slowly past the platform.

When we got home Mum had come back from work. Until tea we watched cricket and I slumped around lethargically after tea, watching television, listening to music in my bedroom and generally just wasting time. I watched a sickening programme at about ten, called “Front-Line.” It was all about a cameraman who worked in Vietnam for eleven years filming the war from the V.C. and South Vietnamese sides. The sequences were bloody horrible – bloody being the operative word. One clip showed a Viet Cong man being executed by a South Vietnamese general. The general raised the pistol to this blokes head and fired. I didn’t want to watch because I had thought his head would’ve exploded into millions of tiny pieces at such close range, but instead the VC just fell onto the floor, a thin jet of blood spurting from the side of his head like a fountain, gushing red all over the place.

They were also sequences showing the horrible, open warfare it all entailed – no cover, just dashing out into the open, and letting fly with every barrel. I would definitely refuse to go and fight in somewhere like Vietnam. The sheer, utter hopelessness – no, sheer terror at being shot at would put the shits up me. War is a stupid thing.

Tuesday July 15th

I had no difficulty getting up – I kept waking at regular half-hourly intervals. After washing and refolding my bed clothes I went down to the Great Hall for breakfast, which started at eight.

I still felt uneasy among all those older people; self-conscious and ill-at-ease; and I was very wary of what I did as I ate my meal, desperately hoping not to show myself up to be ignorant. For the first ‘course’ we had Rice Crispies (yes, Rice Crispies!), then Bacon and egg and toast. I couldn’t say it was a filling meal: I was too bogged down with observing etiquette (or trying to observe it) to eat heartily.

We finished breakfast at quarter-past, so we all had an hour to waste/spend until the tours of the various colleges and lab’s began. I read Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals” on my bed in 19-11 until the appointed hour, when I made my way down to the Porter’s Lodge. I really did feel stifled appearance-wise because most of the others there were dressed really informally (one lad had a mucky old combat jacket and ancient, patched up jeans on) whereas I felt like I was going to a wedding (or a funeral!).

Both Science and Art-interested students set off together. We all trooped out into Turl Street and along to the Bodleian Libraries. We didn’t actually go inside but stayed outside in the courtyard. Here we all split up – we (the Arts inclined) followed Mr Young (a typical 1920s Oxford-don) around the various colleges – Christchurch, etc, the Deer Park, the Cathedral; and it ended up being really quite interesting, Oxford reminding me of a cross between Canterbury and York.

We got back to Jesus at eleven dead up. I wouldn’t have minded going round Oxford, looking at all the book shops if I had been on my own or with a friend (a close friend), but since I was with Vicky M., I didn’t want to impose my will on her, so we stayed in our rooms until twelve. I read my Durrell book. It is superb; really evocative of colourful heat-haze days on Corfu doing dreamy things in warm, sweet-scented olive groves.

At midday, round to staircase XVII I went; up all the flights of stairs to room number 12. I managed to get V. M. to come out only after several knocks (“I thought you were knocking on somebody else’s door – I didn’t know it was you”), and after giving in our keys at the Lodge, we said Goodbye to Jesus College (perhaps for ever) and went straight to the station.

We got there at 1230 (our train left platform 2 at 1300), so we sat in silence until it arrived.

The journey was quite boring (they always are) and we arrived in Whincliffe at 5.10 approx. The Easterby train was already in (an Inter-City 125) and it left at twenty past. It felt good to be going home and in no time at all we arrived in Holdsworth Station, Oxford all just a memory, as if we had never been.

I got home at about 6.30 I would say. Andrew, Mum and Dad had just had their teas and after answering the obligatory questions about the trip (and the inevitable jibes and comments about ‘romance in the air’ and so on), I had mine.

I watched television all evening (Dad and Andrew went to N.B’s) and after supper, we all came up at 12.00 p.m.

I don’t feel I’ve particularly enjoyed this visit – I haven’t loathed it either. It’s hard really to describe your feelings about such an event. I suppose I found it much as expected.

Monday, July 14, 1980

Monday July 14th

The day I’ve been dreading for a month! It started early – I was woken up at twenty past seven – and I don’t mind admitting I felt sick with anxiety and sheer nerves. I was quite reluctant about setting off at 8.15 because that would mean facing up to all the EGS people who trail past our house every morning in my new jacket with my slick grey trousers on.

Dad volunteered to take me down in the car (he was on at nine), so I slipped into the car when the coast was clear. He parked near Farnshaw market place (by the Squash Centre) and walked down to the station with me. I felt like a condemned man as I walked into the train station. I’d never been to Farnshaw station before (I wasn’t missing much) and I had a fair wait till a quarter-to when I went across to the booking office.

Sure enough, Vicky Miller and parents were there – her mum is a small, brown-haired woman (I quite liked her) and her dad looked oldish (in his fifties).

We walked up to Platform 5 where the train was due. I didn’t speak much; I just sat there staring across at the opposite embankment where two small rabbits were hopping in and out of the blackberry bushes.

The train for Whincliffe came at 9.05 and we boarded. It was full of early morning commuters so I had to stand. We arrived in Whincliffe at 9.47 and we immediately went to the Passenger Information office where I found that our train to Birmingham left platforms 8 a, b at 10.48.

So we sat in stony silence for one whole hour – just near enough to show we were together but too far away to give the impression of intimacy. I bet people thought she was my girl-friend and that we had fallen out!

The train came at twenty five past so we sat in until departure. We didn’t speak at all during the journey down. Vicky sat by the window and stared at the passing scenery so I took stock of the people around me.

After calling at Sheffield we got into Birmingham at about 1.35. I don’t like train stations anyway, but Birmingham was really big, dark and unfriendly. After wandering around hopelessly looking for somebody to ask where and when the Oxford train departed from I asked a porter.

The train came into platforms 10a, b at 1.45 and after a similar journey we reached Oxford by about 3.20, after 4½ hours of train journeying.

I queued about twenty minutes for information about train times back (a one o’clock through to Whincliffe leaves tomorrow) and then, after a bit of chaos, we finally found Jesus College, Oxford. I had a bit of a surprise – all the other blokes there were wearing normal clothes – one lad had a faded khaki combat jacket and patched up jeans – while I was there in really stiflingly smart outfit. I stuck out a bit. Most of the other forty-odd were at the end of their first year at A-levels so age wise too, Vicky M. and I were odd. We felt a bit overawed I suppose and left out when we had informal tea in the Junior Common Room.

Some of the tutors talked to us though and introduced us to other people. We had a talk about admissions procedures, Dinner in the Great Hall, and then a talk about courses available at the College.

The College itself seems pretty good. It is quite small (about 280 undergraduates) and probably really intimate. Architecturally it is superb (especially in comparison to U. York) and Oxford itself (eg. narrow streets etc) reminds me of the latter.

Anyway, at least today is over – I’ve got to get up at eight tomorrow and with a bit of luck we’ll be away by 1230.

One thing that struck during the last lecture was that I’ll really be homesick if I go to University. I know I will. To lose forever that home situation that I’m in now and suddenly be thrown into the adult world – I take it too much for granted.

As I write this, it is 1024. I’m in my room (19-11) laid on the bed (which needs covers and sheets putting on), listening to the sounds of other people outside. I can’t wait to get home again.

Sunday, July 13, 1980

Sunday July 13th

Everybody (except N. P.) was up when I awoke about nine – Mum, Dad, Carol, Robert and Andrew. It was one of those typical Sunday mornings – quite good weather (sun) and the “Sunday Times.”

Robert and Carol went at about 10.30. Mum said they didn’t want to go. It must be rotten living somewhere that you hate like they do.

Dad was on at two, and when he went I spent the afternoon playing records and watching tele’. It was just like old times again. I got terrible butterflies in my stomach about this Oxford do tomorrow. Mum was a bit peeved that I hadn’t found out fully where to meet Vicky Miller so she cajoled and nagged me into ringing all the Millers in Farnshaw. The first one, on Fletcher Road, was a wrong number (an old Scottish woman), so Mum went across to Mrs Jackman's (the School Secretary) to find out Vicky's address (and phone no.).

I rang and arranged to meet her outside Farnshaw station at 8.45 a.m. How much better I felt after clearing that up!

Mid-afternoon I watched the British Grand Prix on TV (Alan Jones won it) and then I played records with Andrew all evening. I also had a bath and had my hair washed, letting it dry while watching a film about the last bridge over the Rhine at Rejmagen.

I went to bed feeling really worried.

Saturday July 12th

I had to go out again today. Mum and I took the bus at the bottom of the road and we got into Holdsworth Square station at about 1115 a.m. We immediately went to the ticket inquiries place to get me a return train ticket to Oxford for Monday. The price was £11.55p with my Railcard. Mum was going to meet Dad at 1.30 p.m. so she gave me my bus fare back (36p) and I went off to the Main Library where I spent a happy hour or so leafing through books.

I went to the Social Sciences floor where I looked at several of the Brontë books there. I eventually chose “Gods, Graves and Scholars,” a book Dad has often recommended. I also chose “The Ape Within Us” and then, off to the third floor. Because I’ve read all the astronomy books I want to from the Main, I chose “Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War.”

Then I went to Smith’s on Queensgate where I was torn between an urge to spend money on a book for spendings sake and an urge to buy something I really did want. I chose the latter and didn’t buy a thing.

I got home shortly after dinner. Carol was sat in the front room reading a Gerald Durrell book and it was here we both sat until Mum, Dad and Nanna P. came home.

Things became hectic thereafter; Andrew and Robert rolled up around three and I helped Andrew unload all his baggage from Robert’s van. He is up ‘till September now, and has got a part-time job at Cole’s, where he worked before going to College.

Robert and Carol gave me my birthday present – a blue T-shirt with “Santana – Europe 1980” written across the front. My supposed image (at least my recently wanted image) of literary recluse and fanatic came into direct conflict with this.

Andrew remarked upon the length of my hair – I don’t feel it is particularly long but obviously he’ll notice the difference more. I’m now ½ an inch or so taller than him – I must be 6’ 5” now at least.

I spent most of the evening playing records – “Caravanserai,” “Borboletta" (Santana), and talking to Robert, Carol and Andrew. I really do like having people to talk to on a similar level. That doesn’t mean I find Mum and Dad too adult but I have obviously more in common with Andrew or Robert; we have similar musical tastes etc.

Later on, Mum and Dad went to Liz’s farewell party (she’s off to Hong Kong) and Carol, Robert and Andrew went to the pub’. They came back about eleven and all went to bed shortly after.

As I write this I’m sprawled full length on the floor. The time is 0055 tomorrow morning and Mum and Dad are due home in two hours. My diary entries are lacking in something lately, they are becoming a mere reportage of events instead of an unburdening place for my mental anxieties.

Friday, July 11, 1980

Friday July 11th

Mum woke me at eight, but predictably I fell asleep again and finally got up around 1150 a.m. I watched the cricket a bit (W. Indies reached 67-4) before going into Easterby at half-past one (I was anxious to go before the EGS opened its’ gates). Incidentally, I have been at home today because there is a visit to London to see “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” and most of 60 and 6A are going. Those not going were allowed to stay at home.

Arriving in Schofield Street I went immediately to HMV record shop where I intended (appropriately) to buy an L. P. with my birthday cash. After browsing unsuccessfully I went to WH Smith’s to see if there were any decent books for sale – there weren’t so I went back to HMV.

I left again and immediately went to the Main Library, where I handed back “Revolutionary Guerilla Warfare” (unread); “A Guide to Marxism” (partly read); “Socialism in Britain” (unread); and Malcolm Smith’s “Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians” (unread). I wondered, as I gave in the above, what the check-in operator thought of me handing back such left-wing literature. No doubt I looked the typical pseudo communist-type in my faded and battered khaki Nomad jacket (earlier on in the week Mr. Ingham said I looked like an urban guerilla – a comment I took with mixed feelings).

I then walked to Holdsworth Square Station where I purchased a Student Railcard. I handed in my application and photo’s and my (or Mum’s) £8 and duly receive a Railcard. I was really hot and sweat was dripping off me – I’m pathetic in dealing with Authority.

By this time, I had more or less decided to buy Santana’s double album “Moonflower,” which contains the superb “Dance, Sister, Dance” track. This I did (I was torn between a Hendrix, the Santana or Mingus’s “Me, Myself an Eye”) and I got home at about four.

I had spent £6.99 on the LP, 52p on four batteries and my 36p bus fare so I now have £9.13p of my £17.00 birthday money left.

I immediately played Side 2, the best side ever made, and it reminded me once more of old times. Carol arrived at about tea time (she really does liven things up – always laughing and joking), and I spent the evening playing “Moonflower” and downstairs, listening to what Carol had to say.

She fits in perfectly with the family.

Thursday, July 10, 1980

Thursday July 10th

There are too many periods of sitting around doing nothing on this sixth form induction course. Today was another stereotype of a day – sitting about talking to people, listening to conversations and feeling bored.

Our “Industry” talk was first because yesterdays did not take place (the speaker failed to appear), so today we had a repeat run. An ex-naval officer was in to tell us about management personnel and structure. This talk really was the pinnacle as far as sheer boredom was concerned. I filled up reams of paper with caricatures of the speaker and little drawings.

The rest of my time was spent (as mentioned earlier), doing nothing useful. I got involved in a card games session with Louise Taylor (?) and company – we played “Cheat” and a game involving spoons. Each person had a set of cards (number depending on how many people are playing). One card is put down on the table and passed to the left – this is done simultaneously by every player so cards constantly circulate round. The object of the exercise is then to get a complete 4 card set of, say, threes, Kings etc.; the first person to do so grabs a spoon. Everyone else grabs one too and the person left without (there’s one too few spoons) has a letter given which eventually makes up the word SPOONS.

I also partially settled my Oxford trip details with Vicky Miller. She came up to me just after registration and asked me if I had got a student railcard yet. I told her that I hadn’t and she then asked if we were going to go to Oxford together and what time did the train leave the station. Yes, and 9.05 a.m I told her, as far as I knew. She seemed quite friendly and who knows – I may end up being really communicative with her on this trip. I feel a bit easier now anyway.

One amusing event happened today concerning Trevor Woodrow. Apparently, a Danish girl knocked on his house door last evening and asked if she could stay at the house in return for free cleaning and scrubbing etc. Amazingly enough, this commonplace request was accepted by TW’s parents and there she is. It so happened though that the same girl had been knocking on peoples’ doors all over Egley with the same request and that – steps back in horror – she belongs to the Unification Church (Moonies). Nigel Creek really got TW worried by going on about brainwashing and communes etc.; he eventually rushed off to ring up his Mum to see that everything was alright.

At 1.30 p.m all 6A people had a careers seminar – a talk by Duckett and cronies about Further education courses. At 2.30 Robin Quinn and I went up into the B.16 area where we messed about on the computer there till 4.00. We played one of the games on the computer – governing Ancient Sumeria for 10 years. Between us, RQ and I managed to get a population of 100 (year 1) down to 35 (year 7) and at one time we actually starved 85 people of 100 to death in a year by not providing them with enough grain.

I’m still infected with Literaturemania – well, perhaps not that bad but I’m certainly more interested in old books and the Brontë’s than I was prior to yesterday. It’s a good thing if it persists, because I will need to do a lot of Literature reading if I take A-level Literature next year.

Cricket (England 150 all out, W. Indies 30+ for 3).

Wednesday, July 9, 1980

Wednesday July 9th

Mum wished me Many Happy Returns when I got up. Sixteen. To think that I could get married now!

I got to school late and we had an assembly. The UI system had reverted back to Group A – 9.55-11.15 and Group B 11.25-1.00 so I wasted time sat talking and just sat in the common room. Today was so like all the other days that it is hardly worth mentioning – the first week went slowly but now that the novelty has worn off the days are racing by. I have this dreaded Oxford visit soon (next Tuesday), and since I’m not going in on Friday I’ll have to arrange everything with Vicky Miller tomorrow. I’m going to absolutely hate it. I don’t even know her to speak to and I can well imagine the long, strained silences on the train going down.

One thing that troubled me slightly when I analysed things was the fact that Oxford is a public school and I don’t agree with them There is no harm in looking round but I think if things came to the crunch I’d refuse to go. I reckon I’d be constantly having to live up to the place’s reputation.

During the late afternoon when I came home from school I read (well, flicked through) some of Dad’s Brontë books. I really can see how the Brontë’s have such a fascination for people – they have a sad life story.

During the evening, after discussing education/immigration/integration problems with Mum (and coming to the conclusion that the whole issue is unresolvable), a strange, literary passion developed.

I got a sudden urge to read every book and poem I could lay my hands on and I was stricken with enthusiasm for English Literature. I think the Brontë bug had bitten me because I felt really strange. The sisters had such short lives and I felt that they must have been really superb people. I can’t explain. It’s hopeless to even try but somehow I longed for them to be alive or just to find out more about them. This must seem like delirium to some but I felt really sorry for Charlotte especially when she had lost her sisters and brother within 8 months. I think it is sorrow I felt (and feel). I just can’t explain adequately.

Enough of my inane ramblings for today.

Tuesday, July 8, 1980

Tuesday July 8th

Today was similar to other days, the only real difference being that Group B had their U. I. talk first instead of vice-versa. The lecturer was a bloke (Mark Snyder) from Keating Engineering which has factories in Farnshaw, Doncaster and Halifax.

These talks on industry are, in my opinion, profitless in that they defeat the object of their being held. They are intended to de-mystify industry and associated things, yet the inefficient “high-powered” industrialists (who don’t really seem to know what they are talking about) only make the topic seem dull and complex (which I bet it is!).

At 1115 we went back to the common room where we had a wait till dinner at 1200 and then, at 1.30, we had to congregate outside the 6th-form block because we were going on a trip to Pennine Audio in Farnshaw.

We were taken to the firm in a City bus with Mr McIntyre, Mr Elson and an ex-lab’ technician looking after us. The experience of visiting a production line factory proved a real eye-opener for me.

The company makes speakers which are supposedly pretty good, although to look at the production methods you wouldn’t think so.

The main factory was a big building – an enormous single room which was cluttered with rows of tables, piles of components, materials, checklists etc. At the tables worked the employees. Most of them were women (about 35-40) and the tasks they had to do were so repetitive, so soul-destroying that I was struck by the sheer waste of employing such an incredibly talented piece of biological evolution to do a task which could be done quicker and better by a robot. Most of the jobs involved things like glueing speakers’ parts together, coiling wire and so forth, and I would feel utterly suicidal if my life consisted of that. Our guide (typical rags to riches managerial type) insisted on explaining every assembly stage in minute detail so Lee Hoy and I talked between ourselves.

He really does have me in stitches; the comments he makes about peoples physical appearance are really funny and a lot of the time I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

After this we were taken round the carpentry department. The noise there was incredible. I’m sure the operators of those wood cutting machines must be deaf because the volume of the noise was brain-jarring. The atmosphere was full of sawdust – dusty and dry – and quite warm. It was like a living hell. One comment made to us by a labourer in that dept. made me smile. He came up to us and asked us which remand home were we from – it was obvious how he regarded his job.

Next we were taken to a plush management/reception block where all the office staff and managers work (nice, quiet, comfortable – twice as much brass) to listen to Pennine Audio’s range of speakers. We sat there for 15 minutes listening to Blondie etc., blasting out over different banks of speakers.

The weather was pathetic when we got out. It was throwing it down and the sky was that pessimistic, unbroken grey which heralds a whole evening and night of rain.

I quite enjoyed the visit. It was certainly informative and made me loathe to ever work in a factory. The unrewarding jobs involved – doing the same things over and over again every day, yet never seeing the beginnings or the end of the process. A cog in a vast, profit-making machine is all the average worker there is.

In the evening Mum and Dad gave me five pounds apiece and Mum also gave me £5 from Nanna P., because tomorrow is my birthday, and my immediate thoughts as to what to spend it on are say, “Moonflower” (Santana’s double LP) and a book.

Monday, July 7, 1980

Monday July 7th

I had to get up earlier than usual (7.15) and I set off to school at 7.45 approximately. When I got to school the coach was already waiting in the ‘bus turning circle with most of the people on board.

I sat at the front with L. Hoy (Beaumont and D. Verity behind) and we set off shortly after eight. The journey to York was pretty boring (the seats are just too small for me!) and we got to the University at mid-morning.

R. Q. and I wandered around the campus – the University was a massive place and quite well designed I thought – all the buildings and facilities being arranged around a big central lake with a fountain. The atmosphere was pretty much “inner city”; acres of brown, impersonal concrete and characterless grass verges reminding me of a cross between Regent’s Park and Easterby’s Queensgate or Law Courts area.

At 10.30 the EGS lot (plus a few hundred others) filed into the Central Hall, a futuristic looking building in the middle of the campus. Inside there was a stage surrounded on three sides by seats – the building rather reminded me of a TV studio. We were given an introductory talk by Ian Smith (not the Ian Smith) and then at 1100 a talk about applying to University by Mr. Francois Inglehearn. To apply there are thousands of different forms to fill in and procedures to follow – it was like being thrown in at the deep end – a month ago we were all doing what we were given and happily (!) following instructions. Now we are really having to think for ourselves. Most of the students there were apparently a year older than us so that probably explains it.

At 1145 we had a panel answering questions at the front. The only member of the panel without a tie was the President of the students’ union. He was quite a humorous bloke (he reminded me a bit of Mr. Scott) and made out that much of university life involves boozing, going to specially laid on concerts and generally having a doss – an image the other panel members desperately tried to rectify: “As far as engineering students are concerned . . . . . (groans from audience) . . . . “the university involves jolly hard work . . . .” etc.

At one o’clock or so I went to the Snack Bar and bought a can of Coke and a few edibles before RQ and I went off to our sessions. First we had to find the Politics talk, which was held in room 013 on the Ground floor of Derwent.

There were ten people there (including me) and the lecturer waffled on good-naturedly about politics. He also gave us all two booklets about politics courses (“Mexico and Cuba,” “Marxism, Social Science and History” etc.).

We then went off the Computer block where I almost immediately decided a Computer Science degree would be bloody hard! We were shown various VDU’s Computer banks and all the works.

We then went back to the coach and had a boring journey back (during which I got involved in an embarrassing little game with Crabtree, Dawn Jagger and a few other lasses). Jesus!

I got home at half-five and forty-five minutes later I went out to the Society. I went on the bus (46p).

Phillip Clarke had made one of his infrequent appearances and delivered a talk on ‘Soviet Unmanned Spaceflight.’ I was quite surprised to learn that he ranks No. 3 in the world in his field. Peter Garth was also installed as President. Bob Hoyle had regretfully had to resign due to work etc., and Peter Garth was appointed in his place. In a way I suppose I was a bit jealous – he’s been going about a year and is President whereas I’ve been going since Jan 10th 1977 and I’m still only an ordinary member. Not that I’d want to be President it’s just that I’m not pushy enough. He looked quite at home.

I also got “Astronomy” (June 1980) and a long-awaited copy of the ‘Rules and Constitution.’

When the meeting ended I went round to Nanna B’s where Dad, Uncle Arnold and the latter’s vicious dog were waiting. I don’t like dogs that growl.

I’d better stop now because I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Sunday, July 6, 1980

Sunday July 6th

We got up at the usual time – around nine o’clock – and after having breakfast we all got changed by the minibus and went off to do Eglin’s and Low Eglin’s Holes, the entrances to which were only a couple of fields away.

We walked from the campsite to the Stean road but I had to go back to change my battery and light, which were faulty. Truswell, Helen, Robin, Westcott and Armitage were waiting for me by the whining bloke’s house. As I approached they all laughed – I must look a real berk in that too small boilersuit with my trousers protruding at each leg.

We paid the bloke down by the café and after a bit of hassle, found Low Eglin’s Hole in an adjacent field near our own campsite.

The entrance was a small (18 inch) hole in a stream bed covered with a grill. Quinn went first and I followed. The way in dropped about four feet and straightened out into a narrow keyhole shaped passage. Robin got stuck virtually and said that the way ahead was too narrow so we all went back out and let Mr. Armintage go first.

Unfortunately for me he negotiated it easily (comparatively) and he was followed by Wendy, Robin, Helen, me and then Ade Westcott. I found that bit pretty hard, for as well as being tight to manoevre in, the passage’s shape meant that your legs kept slipping down the gap and getting wedged.

Fortunately the passage got deeper so that soon we could stand/crouch. The cave continued in a similar fashion for a few tens of yards until obstacle number 1 – a 15 foot ladder pitch. I negotiated it with difficulty because the lace hooks on my boots kept getting entangled in the electron ladder.

The passage after this was extremely jagged and sharp with bony projections sticking out everywhere. It was like walking through a corridor of razor blades. After a fair way of awkward walking/stumbling we came to a point where W. Truswell wrenched her back and so Armitage decided to escort her out again after giving us instructions about continuing on.

After they’d gone, we four continued on to an 8-foot waterfall (down) which heralded the start of a wide, wet passage section. We eventually stopped at a fork in the passage where we sat for about ten minutes before turning back. The two ways ahead were apparently blocked.

We had got back to the waterfall when we had to wait for another party traveling in the opposite direction. Up the waterfall we soon met Armitage coming back so we all turned around again! After stopping again further on to let the party which passed us return, we eventually got back to the Y-junction. The right fork ended in a pool of water so we turned left on to a few hundred feet of terrible cave.

I hated that bit. It was really narrow and low yet we were crawling through inches of sand, mud and freezing water. Not my idea of fun! It got muddier and muddier until it eventually petered out into the water.

We returned. The way back was really strenuous compared to the outward stretch because I was wacked! Bent double most of the way I was totally knackered when we eventually reemerged. We had met a party of about ten cavers by the ladder pitch coming the opposite direction so our party had to crawl up into the roof and manoevre ourselves along above the heads of those beneath (I managed to stand on somebody’s head).

I was done, but managed to drag myself to the top of How Stean Gorge where Westcott and I plunged down a slimy waterfall into a 6-foot deep pool of clean, cold water. We all then staggered, swam and slid our way down the Gorge (pausing to do How Stean Tunnel – a simple walk-in, walk-out cave). My boots had had it – the soles were near to dropping off altogether, and we arrived back absolutely soaked and cold. I actually wanted to do this trip!!

After changing we packed the tents and our clothes and came back home. I got back at eight and Dad had just completed the greenhouse. Everyone was affected by the strange, sad atmosphere in the house. Apparently Mr Tillotson had been taken back into hospital nearly dead. He was rambling apparently.

I had a bath and got to bed quickly because it’s an eight o’clock start tomorrow.

Saturday July 5th

After getting up at nineish we had breakfast and then five of us – Armitage, Wendy, Robin, Westcott and I – went off caving. We took the road up to the Reservoirs (turn left at Lofthouse I think) and eventually stopped by an old bricked-up railway tunnel entrance. We put our caving gear on and then went down the side of the valley to the entrance to Manchester Hole. It was a Grade I cave and also a group of nine-twelve year old kids from Grimsby had just done it so I was quite relieved.

The entrance dropped down under a rock overhang and eventually got very wet. For most of the way we were walking along easy (wide and high) passages up to our knees in running water. About 2/3 of the way in we went past a narrow oxbow entrance and eventually the cave petered out into a 150 foot long sump connecting Manchester to Goyden Pot. At that point we were on hands and knees neck deep in freezing cold water. It was so cold that I couldn’t breathe at one point – I kept drawing in my breath. We then turned around and on the return trip deviated up the oxbow which was really muddy and slimy; I got blathered in thick, tea-coloured mud; and then we continued back out.

After resting a while on the river bank (the country side around us made me yearn for hiking trips with Mum and Dad) we went 300 yds round the river to Goyden Pot. To get in we had to climb down over big boulders, which were wet and muddy, into the riverbed. The ceilings of the passages were covered in twigs and other debris, proving that when the reservoir sluice gates are opened, all the caves round here flood quickly and completely.

We had to turn back on this one too, because the way around the sump into which the main passage sank (a 20 foot climb), could only be done with a ladder to be safe. I wasn’t sorry either because the passage forward was a miniature fissure and, according to the book, the passage continued in a similar manner.

After reemerging from Goyden, Wendy, Robin and I stripped off our equipment and waited for Armitage and Westcott who had gone off along a passage to the left (as you go in), which was really muddy and choked up with rotting flood debris.

Getting changed into nice dry clothes is a superb feeling. When you are wet and muddy you feel as if you’ll never be clean and dry again but it never takes too long to make the change.

We continued along the road in the minibus to the reservoirs where we stopped. We walked along to Scar House reservoir, crossing the parapet and back, before going ‘home.’

One thing I was pretty sickened over was the fact that my boots (which were repaired on Thursday) were just as bed as they were when they were taken. The sole had been nailed in! (it should’ve been screwed). I felt sad too because not only had they cost Mum £15 only a year ago, but I have been all over in those boots.

After tea we (Westcott, Quinn and I) went exploring the Gorge. Quinn had all his caving gear on but me and Westcott were just in normal clothes. Unlike him we didn’t fancy a soaking so we tried to keep out of the water. We had to be ‘rescued’ once by Quinn when we got into a little corner and couldn’t get out. He dropped us the ladder down and we climbed out (only about 8 foot).

Eventually (inevitably) though, I ended up going in; I rolled my jeans up to my knees and waded out. Westcott and I kicked off at about 9.30 (the sun had just set), leaving Quinn to swim down the Gorge.

We went to the pub’ in Middlesmoor in the minibus, where we stayed until closing time. I had 1½ pints of Tetley’s (I drank them really because I didn’t want to feel left out), and we all sat talking and solving little mathematical problems. Quinn arrived later and we had quite an enjoyable evening.

Back at the campsite Westcott, Quinn and I had beefburger sarnis (at midnight), which I thoroughly enjoyed. We then turned in.

Saturday, July 5, 1980

Friday July 4th

I didn’t take my rucksack as planned – I left it at home and decided to come home at 1.30 to collect it. The first lesson was a deadly boring talk about some new courses at Farnshaw College on Law or Accounting. We had to listen to one bloke rabbiting on for an hour about the two above and I imagine everyone was as fed up as I was.

I then had to wait till 1125 while Group A had their UI talk. At the appointed time Group B trooped down to the F. E. Lounge where Miss Cunningham gave us the most informative talk yet. She was supposed to speak about Personnel problems etc., generally – this she didn’t do, speaking only about her own particular firm, “Thompson Packaging” where she is the Personnel Manager. Although what she said was not in our booklets, she spoke to us in a more down-to-earth manner. Perhaps it was because she was comparatively young – she realised better how to communicate with us.

I had a dinner (unusually for me) and then, at about one, I went home for my rucksack. I got back at about a quarter-to-two and sat in the Common Room feeling anxious. I really regretted my decision.

At two-thirty, Wendy Truswell, Robin Quinn and I went down to the minibus (it was parked adjacent to the corridor to the Maths block). Susan Mathers and Mr. Armitage were already there and we helped load up the ‘bus, listening to the tennis on Mathers’s trannie.

Adrian Westcott arrived shortly after. He had forgotten about the trip and had had to go home after the lecture to pack his gear. We sent off about three and went to Egley Middle School to pick up somebody (or ask somebody something – I can’t remember which) and then on to Meakin Court, where a ‘girl’ called Helen (- I think she’s 21 but she seems like a 15-16 year old), was waiting to be picked up.

I felt really homesick. It sounds really corny and insipid I know, but I did. I felt like an outsider among the other six; shy in my conversations with the girls and unable to crack jokes etc. .

After picking Helen up we blasted cross-country (over Green Howe) to Nidderdale. We eventually found a campsite adjacent to How Stean Gorge (“The Little Switzerland of England”!), near Middlesmoor and Lofthouse.

I shared a tent with R. Q. I was glad because I wouldn’t have been able to erect a tent on my own but regretful because it would be hard to fill this diary in. I didn’t want to do it in front of him.

We unpacked all the food. We had brought tons of it (we called round to Wendy Truswell’s grandma’s to take on extra supplies) and soon tea was ready. It was cooked on a little Calor Gas stove by a tumbled down brick-wall near Quinn’s and my tent. It was Spaghetti bolognaise – or spag bol as it was referred to. I found it revolting; the spaghetti was tasteless (and cold) and the bolognaise too spicy and oniony.

I can’t remember exactly what we did to be honest but I do remember that RQ and I went to the Gorge (we climbed over a wall without paying) where we looked for caves mentioned in the “Northern Caves” book. We found How Stean Tunnel and crawled part the way in until the crawl ended in a 5-10 foot drop into a stream.

We went back and told the others and we all trekked off to explore the Gorge.

Unfortunately we got caught by the ticket man as we walked past his house. He was a whining sort of bloke and he half-seriously threatened us with the dogs if we tried to get in illegally. We ended up going round the Gorge – a dark, gloomy green place – and through Tom Taylor’s Cave where Robin and I had gone earlier. After this we went down to the stream/river where Westcott, Quinn and Armitage went climbing around. I wasn’t too sure on my feet although eventually I followed them when they went upstream. I am really pathetic at things like that and I was terrified of falling on slippery rocks – I must’ve looked a real nancy.

We went back to the ‘bus and then later on Armitage, Mathers and Truswell played guitars and sang until we all turned in at approximately midnight.

Thursday, July 3, 1980

Thursday July 3rd

An almost identical day to yesterday. At nine we (English A level) had a meeting in C10 with Miss Hirst. She gave out two books (plays) by Arthur Miller – “A View from the Bridge” and “All my sons,” and “Death of a Salesman.” In the A level group for next year, assuming we all take it, is Beaumont, Duncan Verity, Lee Hoy, Richard Houlding, Fiona Langford, Michelle Cliff, Deborah Blakey . . . . . all the expected.

Group B had a long wait again ‘till 1125 when we had the U. I. talk on “Marketing.” The lecture (and lecturer) was the worst of the three so far – bumbling, apparently inefficient and waffling. I sat on the front row with L. Hoy and Beaumont. I’ve talked to them a lot just lately – the conversations (usually pretty ridiculous) – have somehow more substance than those with Quinn. Since they are doing history (D. Verity and Beaumont) I expect I shall be ‘talking’ to them a lot.

I made a slight tactical error in telling L. Hoy about the June 16th incident – he told Duncan Verity and the little creep kept making pathetic jokes and making fun of me over it. I’ll never hear the last of it now.

After the lecture I had dinner and then we (Richard Houlding, Beaumont and I) signed out. I watched tennis (Chris Lloyd beat Navratilova 4-6 6-4 6-2 (I think!)) and then watched TV through the evening until about half eight when I went up to get my things ready for tomorrow.

I’m pretty nervous about the caving trip – especially the 160 ft pitch – and somehow felt like a condemned man packing his things for the last time. I followed the check list given to me last Friday, checking off each item one at a time. I’ve to take the rucksack in to school tomorrow morning.

After that was done I went back down and watched “Uncle Sam’s Backyard” (Puerto Rico). Amazingly enough (and only rightly) Dad agreed that P. R. should be given independence from the USA, because the two peoples are poles apart culturally and everything.

I didn’t do my “Marketing” report – and because of tomorrow I won’t be able to do “Personnel” either, which means I’ll’ve got 2 4/5 of 4 reports to complete. The same old story!

Wednesday, July 2, 1980

Wednesday July 2nd

We had an assembly today which was really the most interesting of today’s proceedings. From nine o’clock until 11.25 I (and the rest of Group B) sat in the Common Room. I for one was pretty bored. I read Quinn’s “Book of Lists” and then, after he went to the talk on Finance at 950, I talked to Jeremy Beaumont and Lee Hoy. Although I profess to dislike Beaumont, he really is OK once you get talking. He is a bit pompous and egocentric but then I suppose that’s how he’s made.

He had brought a tape recorder and a cassette of his (and Duncan Verity’s) five minute Saturday morning satire programme on Radio North. Some of the sketches were really funny – they had tears streaming down my face. A big crowd, including Tracey Booth, Lynn Norden, Sean Laxton, Andy Briscoe, Adrian Westcott, Mark Pittock and Richard Houlding gathered as Beaumont played the tape. He seems to naturally enjoy playing up to an audience.

The Understanding Industry lecture was on at 11.25 in the F. E. Lounge. The speaker came from Midland Bank on Beck Street, Easterby, (Mr. Gladden) – typical business executive type – neat, side-parted graying hair, metal-rimmed glasses, three piece suit etc . . . . , and as yesterday gave a pretty uninteresting talk. It was slightly more absorbing than yesterday though because the speaker was much more efficient and professional.

After listening to 90 minutes of cash flows, accountancy and capital, we had dinner. I went instead to the Common Room where I slumped until 1.00 when Lee Hoy, Richard Deakin and Richard Houlding and I decided to go home. We didn’t have anything else timetabled although to be strictly legal we should have got Ingham’s permission. We signed out anyway, putting in the ‘permission’ coloumn Ingham’s initials.

I got home at half-one and Dad was still home, He was to have been at work for 2 pm. Farrar had been coming to do the windows and Dad was willing to leave him on his own until I came home but when at 9 two Polish blokes turned up – Dad had never seen them before – he rang into work and got a days annual leave. He couldn’t leave two complete unknowns in the house unattended.

The windows had been fitted and it is good to have clear, undistorted views of the sunsets. One trivial thing I’ve noticed. When I’m sat at my table, the putty-smell strongly reminds me of the smell of a freshly painted model aeroplane kit.

I watched Wimbledon until tea (Tracy Austin got beaten by Evonne Cawley) and then went upstairs to write my reports on “Commerce & Industry” and “Finance,” inbetween listening to Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland.”

I got the “Industry” report written and just managed the first paragraph of “Finance” before nine thirty came and I went downstairs for some soup. I watched television (“The Good Old Days”) until “The White Tribe of Africa,” about apartheid.

It was the same old story. Dad and I ended up arguing. I’m sorry but I just cannot agree to anything he says. I was itching to say something, to call him by his real name but I felt that no, that would be really inflammatory. “Black men lack initiative.” Shit! “The Afrikaaners want to preserve their identity.” True, but under apartheid black S. Africans have no bloody identity to preserve! It’s like talking with a pre-programmed brick wall.

We came to bed in glowering mood. I decided to think up a question for tomorrow on Personnel in Industry. I’ve got some good ones involving the use of the ‘law’ of supply and demand and also one about reducing industrial disputes by having no management as such – workers manage their own affairs and vice versa – managers become production workers too! Then everybody gets equal shares of the profit from the goods he/she produces. Knowing my pathetic/unsociable timidity though, I won’t dare ask, for fear of being laughed at.

Tuesday, July 1, 1980

Tuesday July 1st

The first “lesson” today was an A level English meeting in C12. After registering in C6 we went up to the Common room and then the people who were interested in taking A level English had to go to the meeting.

My immediate impression after Mrs Bastow had given us the blurb was that it would be a pretty hard course and also quite dull. We were given four books to read by September – two Shakespeare: “Julius Caesar,” “Anthony and Cleopatra” and V. S. Naipal’s “A House for Mr. Biswas” and also Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.” The last book especially seems extremely boring. I was given some encouragement though when Mr. Giles said that I had made the right decision.

From about 1000 to 1125 I hung around in the Common Room because Group A was having the ‘Understanding Industry’ talk on “Commerce and Industry.” I hadn’t read the first booklet (we were given seven), so I supposedly read that. I put my name on the list for the ‘Film Society’ - £3.00 (50p per film) and spent a lot of the time dossing about reading catalogues of films available and talking to Sean Laxton. He’s alright once you get talking to him.

At 11.25 Group B trooped down to the F. E. Lounge for the Industry talk. It was given by a manager or somebody involved with Barclay’s Bank in Lockley. It was absolutely devoid of interest – another six talks like this !?

That talk finished at a few minutes to one and I talked to RQ in the C. R. about the caving weekend. According to him, one of the three pots we are doing contains a 160 ft pitch!! The 100 ft one down Bar Pot was bad enough – I was totally shattered.

For the last lesson we had Games and RQ and I ‘played’ tennis. I am dismal at the game; my standards have really lowered because I’m out of practice.

I got home at three and Dad was in the garage. I watched Wimbledon until tea at four when Mum came home. Dad showed me the lean-to greenhouse he’s erected against the east-facing garage end wall. It’s small – so small in fact that I’ve got to really bend to get through the door.

At five Mum’s driving instructor came and I sat watching tennis ‘till she came back at seven. She said it hadn’t been as bad as she’d expected and she had driven about at 20 mph permanently. I’ll still have to see it to believe it.

I couldn’t write my report on “Commerce and Industry” because I’d left Book 1 at school, so I watched television all evening. At about ten I went upstairs and sorted loads of my papers for school.

Mr Farrar is coming to fit new windows in tomorrow so I’ve got to get up early to move all my bedroom furniture.
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