Sunday, August 31, 1980

Sunday August 31st

Dad’s angry voice woke me up this morning. We had forgotten to put the doorstop against the fridge door last night and George, obviously feeling hungry, had raided the fridge eating bacon and meat before Dad caught him. He is a devious yet lovable cat.

Fortunately, the sun was blasting down from a clear blue sky as we set off, arriving in Buckden car park at 9.50 a.m. We were walking by ten.

We walked along the riverbank to Hubberholme and then along the road to Yockenthwaite. I felt in a good mood as we walked; the sun was warm and I was thinking about Santana and going round the world – all those sunny places you always hear or read about.

At Yockenthwaite we took an old monastic path straight up the hillside to Horsehead Gate and Halton Gill, and soon the path became really punishing. Just before we started to climb properly we stopped and I sat under a small tree right at the treeline. It was superb – hundreds of birds singing in the branches, bright sun and cool wind.

For the next mile or so the track went up at about 35°, and Mum and Dad lagged behind – the climb was really taking it out of them. The sun had a lot to do with it, searing down from a clear sky, and by the time we crested the ridge I could feel my pulse throbbing behind my ears, in my neck and at my temples. Dad’s face was a strange red colour – I suppose 50 is quite old to be doing this.

The view was worth it though, right across Langstrothdale and over to Plover Hill and Pen-y-Ghent. At Horse Head Gate we had some food before carrying on down the hill towards Halton Gill. Here I was in a good mood and at this point I think I was enjoying the walk more than at any other time. As we walked down somehow we got onto going round the world, I don’t know how, and funnily enough it was Mum who started urging us on, saying we could go halves on a bike and with the insurance etc.

Andrew and I spent the next 10 minutes or so planning our route – up through Scotland; to Norway; up to Finland and down through Russia; Europe and to Spain and then down Africa one side and up the other; through Iran etc and China and then to the Americas. He even jokingly said that I could write the book and he would take photographs to illustrate it.

Halton Gill was small (and old – most of the buildings seemed to have been built between 1626 and 1692) and we then walked the 2¼ miles along the field path to Litton, where we slumped exhausted by a waterfall.

The next mile or so up the hill from Litton was absolute agony – I was hot and really shagged and I could feel myself getting all annoyed inside. After an hour or so and many pauses we reached the summit where, thankfully, it was cool and windy.

With the sun behind us now we struck down the hill towards Redmire plantation and I nearly vanished forever beneath a bog. I was heading towards a marker post when I came across some bright green sphagnum moss. I put my foot in it – literally! – and sank right up to my right shin. At first I thought I was going to lose my boot because the power of that bog was amazing.

For the rest of the way back I was walking with one boot covered in moss and filled with mud.

We eventually joined up with an old path through a sheep pen which we did during our Kettlewell weekend earlier this year, and the setting sun was so superb and the shadow of school so near that I really didn’t want to go. I could’ve lain there in the grass all night!

The colours of the hills were superb on the way home. We kept having to stop because Dad’s legs kept seizing up with cramp, stopping at KIlnsey and Burnsall, eventually arriving home at around eight-fifteen. Robert rang just after about the Sheffield match.

In the evening I watched “The Curse of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb,” a corny TV play about 1922 and Carter, The Curse, and Caernavon etc. I also had to take the cat out.

Saturday, August 30, 1980

Saturday August 30th

I got up to be greeted by blustery, cold wind and grey, rainy skies. Dad was his usual morose self – “This must be the worst summer on record” etc . . . – complaining about the wind and cold. To say he’s a supposed nature lover he seems to take bad weather as if its done deliberately by the forecasters.

Nanna P. gave me £5 for “winning your exams” which means I now have about £6.50p.

I spent a lot of the afternoon listening to Radio North’s Sports Report featuring Cotton Bank Trinity v Easterby Athletic, (Athletic drew yet again, 3-3 this time, after being behind three times) and doing my leagues. What a boring, unfulfilled day today was. With the crummy weather and school looming near it was really depressing in the house today.

After tea I played a few “Santana” albums while pretending to tidy my bedroom up. What with all Robert’s and Andrew’s stuff piled around there’s just no incentive to do it properly.

I hope tomorrow is better (we’re doing a 12 mile hike).

Friday, August 29, 1980

Friday August 29th

I don’t think I did anything at all today, apart from stroke George, wander around, listen to records and generally be bored.

I awoke at about half past seven to hear loud voices. Apparently George had discovered Andrew’s sandwiches which were hidden near the bread bin and Dad had walked into the kitchen to find him eating all the chicken out of them.

What else happened today? I just can’t think. I watched the Test for a while until bad light stopped play at 12.45 p.m., and then I had a bath.

In the late afternoon, after thinking all about yesterday, I did a ridiculous thing. A little booklet Andrew got at June’s “Santana” concert in London has a lot in it about Carlos’s search for “inner peace and freedom” by following the teachings of Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy claims that happiness is obtainable by “meditating regularly, smiling soul-fully and loving unendingly” so, in an attempt to see what it is all about I suppose, I sat on my bed with my legs crossed, eyes closed and arms folded. I sat with my back to the wall and played “Oneness” which is becoming one of my favourite Santana albums. I sat like that for perhaps 15 minutes – I must’ve looked a real loony – until half-fivish when I was brought down to earth by Mum shouting that I had to take the cat out.

I stood in the pouring rain while George dug holes and prowled around under the fir tree. Andrew got home at his usual time and Dad came home shortly after with Nanna P. and tales of Kenneth + Shirley.

In the evening I watched a programme called “Romer’s Egypt” about a self-styled cockney Egyptologist called John Romer, his expedition to the Valley of the Kings to look for a priest’s tomb. Perhaps I could do archaeology at University?

As I write this I’m crouched on my bed. I’ve got to sleep downstairs tonight. I’m sick of it, especially since I can’t go to bed because Mum, Dad and N.P. are watching a horror-film.

Thursday, August 28, 1980

Thursday August 28th

I was awoken at about four-thirty by Dad banging about. He was on at six, and I was sleeping downstairs in the living room to let Robert and Carol have my bed. When Dad got up and went into the kitchen he woke up George, Carol’s tabby. Soon I felt his furry face thrust into mine and, purring loudly, he continued rubbing himself against me until I got up.

I had some tea until about 5.15 or thereabouts, when Dad set off. I went back to ‘bed’ and let George stay in the room with me (he sat on the window sill gazing out).

At 7.30 I reawoke. Andrew was getting ready for work, and then Robert and Carol got up. Andrew went at 7.50 and the latter went back to Swinton at about nineish, after Carol had told me how much and when to feed the cat, and how often he should be taken out.

Radio North News was full of last nights match, interviewing Gough. I can’t really believe it has happened, it all seems so distant now. Robert had said he was going to get every paper he could find.

I hung around restlessly until 9.20 when Mum and I set off for school to discuss my sixth form course. I had a few ideas about what I wanted to do, English and History ‘A’ level with, possibly, Biology or, remotely, Maths.

On the way we met Robin Quinn and Peter Wood – they hadn’t got their results yet. There were quite a few people there waiting – Sharon Ashton, Christine Wade, L. Hoy, Beaumont, Duncan Verity and Trevor Woodrow etc . . . . – and since several people were being dealt with we had to sit and wait.

Eventually our turn came and we sat with Mr. Ingham. When I told him my results he seemed a bit disappointed and said that the general feeling among the staff was that I had eased off a little in my fifth year, and that my results could’ve been much better. So there I was, feeling almost upset at my results after I had been so jubilant!

I told him about my probable choice of English and History. To do Biology would be difficult because as they’d time-tabled them they clashed and Ingham said that to keep the maximum possible number of doors open to me I should be doing Maths. Rhodes seemed confident that I’d be capable of doing ‘A’ level Maths and passing and called me one “of my best mathematicians” (!!!). I also asked Ingham about the possibility of doing Geography ‘O’ level but he said that it wouldn’t be worthwhile. If any ‘O’ levels/CSE’s should be done it should be French CSE because a Language ‘O’ level would be useful for a lot of University courses.

He filled me a timetable in for English and History, and told me to come in on Tuesday the 2nd instead of the 3rd so that I could get things sorted out.

I left school feeling thoroughly pissed off with life. What should I do for the best? I only have one life and I want to get it right first time.

Mum went off home after giving me £5 to go have my hair cut. As I walked to the barber’s (“Simon’s”) I mulled all the above over in my mind. At a newsagents near Moxthorpe I bought a “Yorkshire Standard” to read their comments about the match. They said that the result was the best in the club’s history, more famous even than their FA Cup run in 1954.

There were quite a few people in the barbers so I had a longish wait. My hair is pretty short now in comparison to what it was.

Dad came home at two and we watched the England v Australia Centenary Test (Australia reached 240-odd for 1) until teatime when the “Easterby Echo” came.

Both the front page and the back page were blathered in things about Athletic. The headline was – “ATHLETIC STORM TO WIN – NOW FOR HILLSBOROUGH” and the victory was described as “Easterby’s biggest day for a long time in the world of football. Athletic have put down the mighty Sheffield . . . . . ,” and on the back page were comments like “. . . . . . Easterby Athletic wrote themselves a page in Yorkshire Cup history by this magnificent win . . . .” and . . . “The scenes of joy and enthusiasm which greeted the unexpected goal will long live in the memory of those privileged to see them . . .” Fairy-tale stuff! Already that match is becoming legendary.

That was the only high spot of the afternoon, because for most of the time I was in the depths of depression over this mornings events. I felt desperation almost. All my supposed plans to find real satisfaction in life came to nought. Where? What can I do? Everything I think of–yes, even traveling round the world—lacks something. How can I explain clearly? Just then though, I could believe all these people who say that religion brought them real happiness; spiritualism like that of Carlos Santana and Sri Chinmoy supposedly helps you find “the real meaning of life” etc.

At this point in time I feel depressed. School hangs like a cloud over everything I do and I just haven’t a clue what to do or where to go or anything after university or even before!

Wednesday, August 27, 1980

Wednesday August 27th

Today will go down in history as the day non-league Easterby Athletic beat Second Division Sheffield Wednesday 1-0.

Most of the day went mediocrely enough, with me doing my football leagues for a while and usually just sitting. Robert had rung up at about ten o’clock to say that they’d be coming up. Robert asked to speak to me so I had to get up out of bed – he asked me about Athletic’s match last Saturday – and I told him how crummy I thought it was.

Him and Carol are coming up from London after four years down there – Robert has a job at Copley Comprehensive but Carol still hasn’t found one.

By 5.45 they still hadn’t arrived – I was getting quite desperate by this time because K.O. was at 7.30 p.m. and it would be best if we could get there early (4000 were expected).

Soon though I heard their Renault van clank into Mr Tillotson’s driveway and at about 6.45, after we had some tea (Andrew had arrived), we set off.

On the way there I sat in the back of the van with Carol. There were hundreds of Athletic fans flooding on towards Cardigan Park and waiting at bus stops – it seemed as if the whole of Easterby was going there. We parked down Wintersett Crescent – I had a look at the old house; it was hard to imagine living there again – and we joined the huge flood of people moving on towards the ground.

There were massive queues to get in – amazing when compared to last weeks game – and inside the Easterby End was packed. It quite annoyed me seeing all the once-a-year brigade down there, all the little kids with their new scarves, and the middle class types, who never go near the place normally. The whole atmosphere was different completely to normal league matches – the whole place was alive and buzzing with excitement.

I had butterflies in my stomach just before the whistle. I think above all I was worried in case Athletic made a total cock-up of things and got thrashed. Athletic started quite well but Sheffield dominated completely. They just seemed to have that extra something, the extra speed and skill. Soon after the start Athletic’s attacks fizzled out and the ball was rarely out of our half. Several horrendous moments when shots just went over the bar or wide but at half-time it was 0-0. They’d done well to last so long.

Sheffield really piled it on when the second half started and things looked pretty grim. I felt desperate. But Athletic held on, with desperate clearances by Scarborough and Hughes and Hudson saving a few. Then when Sheffield started to look a bit hasty, we got a free kick just outside their area. Garside blasted a 20 yarder at Bolder who knocked it down and Newlands blasted it home. The ball actually in the Sheffield net!!!

The next 30 seconds I’ll always remember. Everyone leapt up, arms in the air and bellowed their heads off, and I just could not believe it. The next ten minutes were agony, my knees were trembling and I felt all light-headed and each Sheffield attack brought a pain to my chest. To say Sheffield are a Second division side they don’t look all that impressive.

When the whistle went everyone leapt around again and the Athletic team rushed around with their arms in the air. I cannot describe how we felt as we walked back to the car – pride, delight, but for me, frustration that we’re in the N. Alliance. What is such a good team doing there?!

The “Soccer Special” on ITV had a match report on it, and tomorrow the papers will be full of it I bet. “Sheffield Lions Tamed” . . etc. Best day in the history of the club, and I was there!

Tuesday, August 26, 1980

Tuesday August 26th

For August 26th substitute August 25th. My days just lately seem to be passing really quickly and I’m doing nothing in them – it is almost as if I’m waiting for something to happen. Perhaps it is that I know my holidays are nearly over and work is near.

Most of the day was spent reading Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” which has really captured my imagination. Dad was on at two and Mum spent her day dyeing my camouflaged combat jacket dark brown, and tapering it to fit me.

The “Echo” was full of tomorrow’s Yorkshire Cup tie with Sheffield – manager Jack Charlton saying stuff like; “they’ll be giving their everything” and “we’ll treat them just as we do West Ham or Chelsea.” It really is going to be a night to remember. Robert and Carol are bringing George the cat up tomorrow too. They’ll be leaving London after four years there, moving their stuff into their flat at Swinton and then blasting across the border to see the match.

When Andrew came home he had bought “Oneness,” Santana’s solo album. We listened to it as we ate tea and it is ace, side two especially.

After he had gone out to see Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” I did the pots and played “Oneness” Side 2 over and over again. I felt sad somehow – Santana’s music conjures up visions of something, feelings that are so unattainable. Whatever you do doesn’t bring those same feelings as you get when listening – I don’t know, sunsets or superb sunny days and vistas. I suppose that’s why I’m hooked on this round-the-world thing, to try get that feeling somewhere.

Andrew finally came back when Part 5 of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” was finishing. Dad was home and after Andrew had gone into the dining room to play “Oneness,” he started going on about Robert having his “priorities all wrong,” and more or less implying that they could have come on the holiday if they’d really made the effort. I hate him when he’s like that – his face becomes blank and resigned and he becomes really annoying. I can see now why people love to get away from home; it is so claustrophobic and stifling here. At least I’ve got tomorrow to look forward to!

Monday, August 25, 1980

Monday August 25th

I got up late today, twelve o’clock in fact. I always feel annoyed with myself when ligging in bed so long – half the day has gone already.

I don’t know why I’m bothering to write this – I did absolutely nothing all day except do my football leagues. In the back of my mind all day was the knowledge that school is only a week or so away – it has really come round quickly. It’s like a cloud on the horizon.

Andrew came home at five, he had been given time off because it was a Bank Holiday. His roommate from college rang later and at about eight, Andrew went out. After he had gone I watched a film adaptation of a Rudyard Kipling story called “The Man Who Would Be King,” which was really good (about two British Army squaddies who go to a remote part of Southern Asia and who fool the people there that they are gods).

After I had gone to bed, I sat at my table completing my imaginary League Cup (Arsenal beat Luton Town 5-2 in the Final).

I’ve got a lot of school work to do I suppose for September 3rd, although I feel as if I can’t be bothered doing it. I’ve an essay to do for History, two books to start reading for English (“Persuasion” by Jane Austen and a V.S. Naipaul book) and I’d better make an effort to do those UI reports.

Sunday, August 24, 1980

Sunday August 24th

Dad got me up at about nine o’clock; everyone else was up and eager to go. We all piled into the car and got to York at about ten thirty, after travelling 57½ miles through Whincliffe and by Calby etc.

One of the main reasons for our visit was to let Andrew see the National Railway Museum, although we’d had this planned since before our holidays. With it being relatively early and a Sunday everything was shut, even the museums, so we wandered around a bit and then down to the riverside for our dinners. I was conscious of a strained atmosphere today somehow; Mum looking absolutely fed up, wandering about slowly, looking at things but not really seeing them, Dad constantly stopping to read plaques and inscriptions. It all seemed false somehow.

York was packed with tourists, a lot of them Italians and Germans, and after doing the same, predictable rounds; (the Shambles, Whipma-Whopma-Gate etc.), we ambled towards the Railway Museum along with about a million other people. We got to the Museum at 2.15 and started to queue. Soon there were two massive lines of people, and when the doors were finally opened at half-past, things weren’t helped by the security checks on bags. Why the I.R.A. would want to bomb a museum in politically-trivial York I don’t know!

The museum was quite good although I remembered a lot from my last visit a few years ago. By far the most interesting exhibit as far as I was concerned was “The Mallard” the record-breaking steam locomotive. Dad acted as fireman on that engine in 1945 when it went either from Easterby-Sheffield or vice-versa for repairs (I can’t remember which). He showed me the actual seat on which he had sat all those years ago.

After the Museum we went into a Model railway Exhibition opposite which was crummy (and it cost 25p) and then had a look at the Minster and wandered around. York Minster, although pretty big, isn’t at all impressive in the company of hundreds of laughing kids, and banal old women.

We found a good antique and second hand book shop which was really expensive. Admittedly, the books were good but I’m sure the prices were too high. I looked at one book – “Voyage to the East Indies” (1660-61) – which was priced at £75!! Some books there were £300. The only thing which caught my eye really was “Shirley” in three volumes by Currer Bell, 1849. Priced at a measly £180.

We left York at about four on the A59 turning off on the B1224 and then off for the Tockwith-Long Marston Road. Soon the monument at the roadside came into view, and I was quite excited. So that I could spot the positions of the different units I brought John Bowles “Charles I” book which had a map of Marston Moor in the back.

The battle of Marston Moor was fought on July 2, 1644 between 27-28000 Parliamentarians and 17-18000 Royalists. The former won and it is generally regarded as the battle which turned the tide against Charles. Although in 1644, the area was open moorland, now it is all enclosed agricultural land – turnip fields and wheat etc. – but the topography of the area is still similar. On the south side of the road is the slight rise on which Fairfax and Cromwell were stationed, whereas to the North, along White Sykes Lane, a narrow dusty path, were ranged the Royalist men. Along the Lane mentioned above can still be seen the ditch in which the Royalists fought, running E-W.

I stood still for a moment and tried to visualise the scene on July 2nd 1644, 336 years ago. It was hard, especially with the sounds of cars and people laughing nearby. Up on the hill I could just visualise the serried, colourful ranks of Roundheads, with banners and flags fluttering. It was warm, too warm really, but we sat by the car and ate the remaining sandwiches.

We drove home a long way round because it was a superb evening. After Marston Moor, which I think I enjoyed more than the whole of the earlier part of the day, Dad drove us along little country lanes ending up on a big A road. We soon diverted again, through Kirkby Overblow and then on an incredibly narrow lane towards Stainburn. The road was a lot narrower than most of the Dales roads I’ve been on. We stopped below Almscliffe Crags, a huge mass of rock which I’ve often seen from miles away and wanted to go up. The land all around is perfectly flat, and with it being sunny the White Horse of Kilburn was visible, as were the Ferrybridge powerstation chimneys at Doncaster. Even though there were many people round there it was superb in the sun. Both Andrew and I agreed that it was perfect “One With The Sun” weather.

After Almscliffe Crags we next stopped at Keddon Moor, my favourite place. John and I walked up to the pile of old clinker near Ainsley Hill and watched the sunset, which was superb because just as the sun vanished below the horizon at one side, behind us rose a full moon.

We had fish and chips for supper and I came to bed at about a quarter to ten, leaving Mum and Dad watching “Testament of Youth.”

I enjoyed the journey back from York a lot, more in fact than the actual visit itself which in parts I found boring. On Keddon Moor we saw a lot of Harley Davidsons around (there was a rally there) and this really set my mind up. To go around the world on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide would be superb. Mum and Dad seem to think that all this talk is just all a dream. Mum keeps saying that you have lots of commitments when you’re older, so I counter by saying that you don’t have to. I am determined one day soon to go.

Saturday, August 23, 1980

Saturday August 23rd

I got up at the usual time. I was still in high spirits over my results – seven ‘O’ levels!! I still can’t believe it.

It was sunny outside and in the morning Dad went out to get some petrol and a paper. When he came back he hinted that he wanted to go to a cricket match. I said I couldn’t go because I was going to Easterby Athletic, so he went with Mum instead.

Andrew came home from Cole’s at about one o’clock, and at quarter to two, just before I went out, he went to the barbers. I set off at 2.15 p.m. and caught a Yorkshire Metro bus at the bottom.

Amazingly enough, Andrew got on the same bus in Moxthorpe, complete with new, shortened hairstyle. We got to the ground at about 2.35 p.m., and stood in the Shed as usual.

What followed was the most boring, amateurish football match I’ve ever seen. Whether Athletic were unable to concentrate because of this Sheffield match I don’t know, but to say they are 3-1 Favourites to win the Northern Alliance title they were crap. The ground was silent, apart from murmurings, occasional applause and desperate comments. They really were bad – pathetic passes, slow on the ball – and ended up fizzling out to a 0-0 draw. Played three, drawn three. They are joint ninth in the table now. Although the second half began with some quite good attacks from Easterby, the game was generally terrible. I can’t understand it.

We got back at 5.30 p.m. and I tossed around the rest of the evening, watching the box mostly.

Today I had a chance to tell Robert and Carol about my results and I spent quite a long time telling them both. They seemed pleased. They move North again to Swinscoe, near Dearnelow, after four years in London (Plumstead), next Wednesday.

York tomorrow, and Marston Moor battlefield.

Friday, August 22, 1980

Friday August 22nd

We went on an 8 mile walk today, from Grassington to Conistone and back. We set off at nine o’clock – I read bits of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” which is written in the present tense – and it set me thinking about writing my diary in similar fashion. Writing in the present would give more of a sense of immediacy I bet.

It was sunny but cold as we drove through Heber and parked in Grassington Car Park. By ten o’clock we were off. We encountered difficulty almost immediately, losing the path in among various fields just out of the town. We were soon O.K. again however, and we struck out along the eastern edge of Grass Woods, among limestone scattered ridges and ancient mounds. This part of the walk was really enjoyable – there were things to see and the sun was shining – and soon we were dropping down through large fields towards Conistone. There were good views across Wharfedale towards Kilnsey and The Crag, and up the valley towards Arncliffe and Kettlewell.

We paused in Conistone main “square,” sitting by the Maypole, and then continued up a narrow, walled road called Scotgate Lane, because trade with Scotland was conducted along it. The Lane was really twisty, winding up between huge limestone scars and scattered rock. The scenery and landscapes that are missed in a car are infinite. We found an area high up overlooking Kilnsey, which was identical to the flat, limestone “pavement” above Malham Cove only better. I could’ve sat there all day.

Soon we turned southwards again towards Grassington, taking a wide green track to Bare House, a derelict farm. We got lost, and inevitably ended up becoming short-tempered. With patience though we eventually spotted the correct path leading up the side of a ridge overlooking Grass Woods and passing Bare House, which looked as if it had been lived in since the War.

At this point, we all became really good-natured, taking the mickey out of each other and joking, and all too soon we got back to Grassington. We had toasted teacakes and tea at a café there, before heading home at about 5.45 p.m.

I got a shock when I got home. Andrew gave me a brown envelope, unstamped and with my name on the front. Mum said immediately that it contained my ‘O’ level results, but I didn’t believe her. But it did. My heart went cold as I tore it open. The first thing I saw was a slip of paper which said ORD LEVEL MATHS GRADE C. Sigh of relief. I rushed downstairs excitedly. I’ve passed Physics (!) – Grade C; English – Language – Grade A and Literature – Grade C -; Art – Grade C; Biology – Grade B; History – Grade B and I got Grade 2 (CSE) for French.

Looking back I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t get higher Maths and French grades, but I suppose I should be thankful that I got all seven ‘O’-levels. So, four ‘C’s, two ‘B’s and one ‘A’ and a ‘2’ and those for the rest of my life.

I felt superb all the rest of the evening, in high spirits and jittery inside. Seven ‘O’ levels!! To think that I’ve actually got them all, even Physics!! I wonder what everyone else got?

To round off a good week, tomorrow I’m going to Athletic to see Hydebeck thrashed about 5-0, and on Sunday we’re off to York.

Thursday, August 21, 1980

Thursday August 21st

Andrew got me up at about seven-thirty because I was going to get the Sheffield match tickets. Andrew kept saying that he reckoned I was going too early, and that nobody would be there queuing, but as it turned out, the earlier the better.

I unsuspectingly walked down the road and as I turned the corner I got a shock. There must’ve been 300+ people waiting, and there were still two hours to go. I almost immediately faced a dilemma, because there were four different queues (Stand and Season tickets, Wellington Lane, Shed and Easterby End), and I wanted tickets for different areas. I could either get four for the Shed and then go to the back of the Easterby End queue and get six, or I could just get all ten for the Shed. Because I wanted to be sure of getting DK’s tickets, I chose the latter.

The whole thing was total chaos. There were loads of people milling around from one queue to the next, people queue-jumping and generally an air of disorganization. All the tickets went by afternoon. I needn’t have been worried about getting ten tickets; a woman in front of me wanted 14 and a bloke behind wanted 20. It was pretty annoying to see all the once-a-year brigade queuing just to see Sheffield obviously.

After I got my ten, I felt almost jubilant and kept a firm hold of them in my pocket all the way home. Mum and Dad went out at about eleven I suppose, to do some shopping in Knowlesbeck, and dead up twelve o’clock David Kilpatrick rang from work. At first when I told him that I’d got him 6 Shed tickets he said “Oh, bloody hell” and said that it was “bad.” Why I don’t know. Whether he thought I’d got them stand tickets or what I’ve no idea. Anyway, we arranged to meet at twelve fifteen at the top of Cairn Road, opposite Egley Lane, and he seemed really very grateful – “. . . you’re a good lad . . .” etc. – which made me feel quite good.

After all this high excitement (!) I felt bored at home, so I took back my library books (the three insect ones, “A Choice of Catastrophes” and “The Ape Within Us”), all of which were unread except for the last one, which I’d nearly finished. I got into Easterby at three, and went straight to the Main Library where I spent two hours choosing “Collins Field Guide to Archaeology in Britain” and “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

I got back at six or so. Robert had rung up about the tickets. In the evening I played records and watched television.

This Polish strike is good, and it riles me to see so called “peoples’ governments” refusing to allow free trade unions and free speech. The West, for all its faults, is at least democratic in that (pathetic) governments are elected by everybody. Why the “Communists” do this I don’t know.

Wednesday, August 20, 1980

Wednesday August 20th

When I got up Dad and Robert were already up. Robert and I listened to records and the radio until elevenish, when Mum and Dad set off in the car to pick Nanna P., Nanna B. and Jenny up, for a drive round Wharfedale. Rather them than me.

After they’d gone out, I had to go to Moxthorpe to meet David Kilpatrick for the money for the Sheffield tickets. He wanted six for the Three Locks Road side of the ground and gave me £6.00. He seemed quite grateful to me for doing this, and promised to “give me a bell” tomorrow afternoon about meeting him for the tickets.

I played Robert at “Scrabble” when I got home, and got beaten by 90 points. For the rest of the afternoon, Robert and I listened to records in my bedroom and played darts.

Mum, Dad and Nanna P. got back at about 5.00 p.m., the latter being in fine voice about “Kenneth & Shirley” and all the lovely outings she’d had with them. Apparently, she never stopped talking about them all afternoon, even when driving through superb scenery.

At about 6.45, Andrew, Robert and I set off for Cardigan Park to see Athletic v Walshey Town (last season’s result; Athletic 3-1 Walshey): Robert said goodbye to everybody because he was driving straight down from the match to London, getting back about three in the morning.

The match was crummy, a 1-1 draw. Athletic started well, and looked the better side by far, but some crowd trouble (!) half-way through the first half threw their concentration a bit. Athletic scored first just after the interval and the rest of the match was played in driving rain. Walshey equalised about 15 minutes from time.

In order to give Robert a good start back, Andrew and I offered to go back on the bus and we got back about ten. Mum and Dad had taken N.P. back. David Kilpatrick rang later about the tickets – all the Three Locks Road side are reserved for Sheffield fans so he wanted six Easterby End tickets instead.

Robert did a dirty on me a bit. As we were going to the match he said I’d have to ask Mum for £2 to cover the cost of his and Carol’s tickets. He promised to pay them back but he could have told me. Mum blasted on cynically about “all take in this house” when I asked her (I also had to ask for my pocket money in advance) and I came to bed feeling pissed off with Mum and Dad. They’re always bad-tempered lately.

Tuesday, August 19, 1980

Tuesday August 19th

A lot happened today. In the morning, Mr Moore came to do the loft insulation, and Dad and I sorted through all the junk that he brought down from there. There were several interesting things – an old TV, a thirties style vacuum cleaner, an old convection heater and several pictures, wrapped up in newspaper dated Monday 19th April 1937. I found an old R.A.F. notebook from April 1940, filled with hastily scribbled notes about various engine components or starting procedures. The name on the front was badly faded but was, I think, A. King.

At about twelve o’clock Robert rolled up. He had been to Rotherham (he arrived there about eight) and got the keys for his flat. He was full of bad news about his Renault-5 van. He had taken it in for a servicing at a London garage a few days ago and apparently the brakes were found to be really bad. The exhaust is tied on with asbestos string. He was joking a lot about it, although Mum, as usual, was worried.

After dinner, and after running most of the junk from the loft onto Shawridge Lane tip, Robert, Mum, Dad and I set off in the car for Lockley and Woodhead Park, to see the new Botanical gardens and Hainsworth Hall. Although I last went to the park with Grant Riley in July, his company is such that I didn’t get a chance to look round properly. I wanted to see the Victorian painting (“Feast for Anubis”) which was found recently in the vaults of Hainsworth Hall, and looked pretty good on television.

Although Woodhead Park is in a seedy area, it is kept tidy and quite neat, and there seemed to be loads of gardening staff around weeding, pruning etc. In the Hall itself, we saw Nanna B., her next door neighbour and my cousin Jenny.

There was a good exhibition on about Yorkshire mill architecture entitled “Satanic Mills,” and also one about stained glass window art. Upstairs we went round the art gallerys, which (or so Robert says) are well known and quite famous in Europe as good. They had some pretty famous art pieces there – an original Lowry, a Peter Blake, Andy Warhol (“Marilyn”) and several Henry Moores, plus a few other eminent Victorian or before artists.

We got home mid-afternoon and Robert and I played records (Robert played, I listened) until teatime and the Echo which was read eagerly for any Athletic news (McArdle is back after his suspension). At about six-thirty, after Andrew had come home, he and Robert went out to Whincliffe Road to see Purswell draw with North Park United 2-2. This is their first season in the Alliance Premier for seven years.

Just after they had gone, David Kilpatrick rang about tickets for Athletic versus Sheffield (I promised to get him some on Monday) – he wanted six which would mean I will have to ask for ten – a thing I’m not too happy about. I’d get plenty of sarky comments I bet. I arranged to meet him at Moxthorpe roundabout tomorrow at about 12.15, to sort out cash etc.

At seven, Dad and I set off for Dengates, to try get some newts. This is the first time we’ve been in August for years (we usually go February-March for frog spawn). Dad has been going there for years and I have fond memories of our trips to restock the vivarium. At first we didn’t find anything under any stones (except a vole or shrew under a log) but as were going, I found a smallish Common Newt under a large stone. Almost immediately, Dad found a big toad. A further search revealed four more newts (all of which we kept) and two more toads (two of which we released).

When we got home I prepared a temporary tank for them until I get rid of my tadpoles (that tank is bigger).

The only unsatisfactory thing about today was the ticket carry on, which I shan’t look forward to.

Monday, August 18, 1980

Monday August 18th

Most of the day was spent similar to yesterday, messing around with my football leagues. In the afternoon, Mum and Dad went for a 3 mile walk near Lee Cote and around Gilthwaite, and I typed out Athletic statistics for last season. I’m also keeping a record of soccer violence – 63 ‘fans’ were arrested at two matches on Saturday, and 16 policemen were injured.

At around five-thirty I rang David Kilpatrick to see if there was a Society meeting scheduled for tonight. When I rang, his wife answered and said he was out. She promised to tell him though, and get him to ring me when he came back from work.

It was getting near my normal setting off time when he rang about 6.10. Yes, there was to be a meeting.

I was quite pleased and duly set off, catching a Yorkshire Metro bus (36p) and then a City Circle (22p) to Croft Hill and Kerforth Library. All the usuals were there – Brian Cowen, Jack Greaves, Mike Wild, Brian Hudson, Norman whatsisname and his brother. I know this sounds silly but I spoke a lot more this meeting than before; to a bloke about Athletic and to D. Kilpatrick about the Sheffield tie (he wants me to get him a ticket) and to the old bloke who sits in front of me about school etc.

The main event of the night was a series of films shown by a member of Burston Astronomical Society. The films themselves were quite good (Voyager 2 Computer Simulation of Jupiter Encounter; Pioneer Venus, SCATHA, Shuttle drop tests etc.), but the presentation was up to (down to) its usual, amateurish form. There were lots of technical hitches (projector breaking down) and throughout most of the showing, the sound wasn’t working. The speaker seemed unsure of what he was saying and couldn’t be heard. It was just generally a crummy presentation.

When it had finished, I walked to Nanna B’s. Mum and Dad were there collecting some washing (Mum’s washing machine broke down the other day) and Uncle Arnold. Nanna B. seemed edgy and we all agreed later that she is wallowing in self-pity (“I can’t get around like I used to” . . . . “I never go out nowadays . . .” etc.). Mum and Dad had offered to give her and Nanna P. a run out on Wednesday but the former had stalled because she had to look after Jenny. This upset Mum a bit. Mum also told me that a girl had rung me.

Mum, Dad and I all trooped round to look at Susan’s Wedding pic’s. Peter was there and he seems a good bloke. After 15 minutes or so we went.

When I got home, the message, which was from Wendy Truswell, said “Middlesmoor, £6.00, Sept 6th-7th” and concerned a caving trip. Andrew had received it and although in a way I’d like to go, in another I don’t. Armitage’s gone off to Antarctica now, so I reckon this’ll be a students only trip. Mum emphatically refused to let me use my new boots and said that really she didn’t like me doing it but that she couldn’t stop me. I suppose I could wear pumps. I’ll have to ring Truswell soon, to settle the thing.

Tomorrow I think I’ll be going to Hainsworth Hall with Mum and Dad, and to Dengates in the evening.

Sunday, August 17, 1980

Sunday August 17th

Back into the same old routine – another dull Sunday. Got up when only Dad was up, and read the ‘Times’ most of the morning, gazing at the soccer results. Athletic’s first league match of 1980-81 (away at Midgewell) ended in a 1-1 draw, Midgewell equalising in injury time with a penalty. Hudson saved, but the rebound was blasted in. Robert rang and I promised him I would go to the Athletic ticket office tomorrow to see if I could get four tickets for the Sheffield game, or at least reserve them.

In the afternoon I did my football leagues (I finished the Second Division) and listened to music while Andrew did some college work in the other room. I’ll have to start thinking about school again soon – I go for my ‘O’ level results on the 28th and go back on the 3rd – and I’ve got stacks of work for the new term.

Mum, Dad and Andrew went out to the pub’ at about nine, so I stayed in and watched “Testament of Youth” with Cheryl Campbell as Vera Brittain. I really enjoyed it (her).

I also watched highlights of the Austrian Grand Prix, which was won today by Jean Pierre Jabouille.

Nothing much happened today, a pretty predictable and mundane Sunday.

Saturday, August 16, 1980

Saturday August 16th

Nothing happened overnight and I awoke to see sunlight streaming through the curtains. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky – typical. The day we are actually going home and it decides to be fine.

After packing at a leisurely pace we set off back at 10.40 a.m, going down the dale to Reeth and turning off for Leyburn along an A-road. We were soon out of Swaledale and dropping down into Wensleydale. It is much wider and generally “bigger” than Swaledale or Wharfedale with much more agricultural and arable farming going on.

We passed through Leyburn and continued on to Aysgarth, where we stopped. The last visit I made to Aysgarth falls was on a coach trip with Mum and Dad years ago. I didn’t reckon much to them then but today, with all the rain we’ve had lately, they were quite spectacular (especially the lower and middle falls).

We had a meal (Cod and chips £1.20 a head) at the Falls Motel and then drove on to Hawes, over Fleet Moss and down into Langstrothdale, stopping near Yockenthwaite, by the river.

Driving down through Wharfedale was like returning home, it so so familiar – Buckden, Hubberholme, Kettlewell – all these places we know from the hundreds of walks we’ve done there over the years. After stopping briefly at Barden Towers where we had our sandwiches for tea, we went home via Lowbrough. Total journey 107.3 miles.

I’ve enjoyed this holiday. Even though it wasn’t far away (a holiday is as enjoyable as you make it), it was really memorable. We walked a total of about 40 miles on five days.

When I got back Andrew and I played Santana “Moonflower” Side 2, “Borboletta” (“One With the Sun”) and Hendrix (“Electric Ladyland” and “Jimi Hendrix” Soundtrack). A week is a long time to go without ace music.

Late on I went out into the garden and found several large Common Garden Snails. Several large moths also flew into the brightly lit kitchen although I couldn’t identify them.

Friday, August 15, 1980

Friday August 15th

Our last full day in Swaledale and I am sad to be leaving. I much prefer Swaledale to Wharfedale – the former is much more natural and remote and a lot less commercialised than Kettlewell and district.

The big surprise of the morning came when I looked to see who Athletic were playing in the second round of the Yorkshire cup. Sheffield Wednesday!! I checked and rechecked – I just couldn’t believe it! Capacity crowd was expected – 4,000. Just imagine – Easterby Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday. Anyway, better luck next season I suppose.

We had selected a 7½ mile walk from Reeth (circular); so we drove in the car the six miles to Reeth. After parking we walked along the Reeth-Gunnerside road to the school, where we turned up a narrow walled lane which was overgrown. Because of the heavy overnight rain (two inches in Cumbria), the vegetation was soaking wet and soon my jeans were wet through.

We emerged onto the moors which were muddy and wet and walked on for quite a way until we reached a small stream within sight of a road, where we had dinner. High above us on the moor we could hear the crack of shotguns as the Lords and wealthy slaughtered grouse.

We reached the road and walked up for a way, pausing to watch the grouse shooting across the valley on Reeth High Moor and Surrender Moss. The beaters waving their white flags could clearly be seen, as too could the puffs of smoke from the gun barrels.

We followed a broad green track across the moor past Calver Hill towards Arkengarthdale and Langthwaite, disturbing hundreds of rabbits and red grouse as we went.

All the way along the Arkle we walked back into Reeth (we only got lost once!) and when I got back I felt sad that we had finished our holiday but in a way glad that all the hard slog was over.

Next stop was a café, where we had toasted teacakes and tea. I felt sad now – sad that I was leaving Swaledale just as I had got to know it. I wonder how long it will be before I return?

When we arrived at South View Cottage we discovered that an old buffet which had stood all week by the cooker, had been moved about 6 foot to the dining room door. At first we thought nothing about it – obviously Mrs. Calvert and co. had been in for some reason. Later though, when Mum and Dad went to pay the £60 for the week, they found out that nobody had been near. When they told Calvert’s son about the buffet he looked thoughtful and wondered if “we’ve a ghost on our hands.”

In the evening we went up Gunnerside Gill to sit for a bit and then when it was dark to the pub’ to sit outside for a while. It was with trepidation that I went back to the house – I half-expected to find the buffet in the bedroom or something – and the place seemed unfriendly. I was glad it was the last night there (so was Mum).

Thursday, August 14, 1980

Thursday August 14th

To avoid a repetition of yesterday’s cock-up, we decided to do a valley walk today, along the footpath from Ivelet Bridge to Grinton. (We visited Grinton yesterday).

We awoke to sunshine and clear blue sky. At nine, Dad and I set off in the car to Thwaite, six miles away, to buy a 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map of the Swale valley for our walk. We got back at about nine-thirty and soon we set off along the familiar path to Ivelet Bridge from Gunnerside.

At the Bridge, we walked along the opposite side of the Swale to Gunnerside, and it was a change to be walking through summer sun instead of cold, wet rain.

We took to the road at Satron and continued so for a bit until we reached Dubbing Garth Lane, directly opposite Gunnerside. This was a walled and well-defined track with hedges of wild flowers, which attracted hundreds of butterflies (mainly Small Tortoisehells, although some Painted Ladys) and it was superb walking along this track in the sun.

Eventually we met up with the river again and we stopped to have our dinner opposite a small caravan site (near Harkerside Beck). It was while we were sat here that, at about 12.25 p.m., three U.S. A-10 fighters blasted past really low (the last one so low that I could see the two pilots).

We carried on at our easy pace all day – along a little road to Low Lane, a neglected, overgrown stretch of the Corpse Way, where corpses were carried from upper Swaledale to Grinton Church (before 1580).

We crossed the river after looking at Maiden Castle and an old Roman fording place with stepping stones, and soon headed up from the road to Kearton, a minute farming hamlet. It clouded in and became quite brooding as we walked along the hill tops towards Gunnerside – through Blades and past the Dead House and many old mine workings.

We were intending to continue the walk along the valley and down into Gunnerside Gill but the skies opened and soon we were soaking wet. We abandoned our plan and dropped down into the village itself.

The walk ended up being approximately ten miles long and I quite enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 13, 1980

Wednesday August 13th

We set off in the car for Reeth after Dad claimed he had seen a ghost. He got up before any of us, about eight o’clock, and said that just as he was coming out of the kitchen after making some tea he saw a small object walk slowly across the floor and behind the settee. From its manner of walk and size, he reckoned it was a cat, but when he searched the area behind the settee he couldn’t find anything. I investigated myself later and discovered that the wall near where the object vanished was hollow so . . . . . . . . ? This set Mum off and she said that several nights previous she had heard the window frames rattling as if someone was walking across the floor and tappings at the window (moths?). Quite weird!

Anyway, we set off in the car and got to Reeth, where we turned left and up a moorland road to Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale. We parked outside the Methodist Chapel there, donned hiking boots and set off for the 4½ miles up Slei Gill and over the moor.

We walked along a narrow muddy lane before emerging on a wide green track which wound its way up through Slei Gill. Here we paused to have dinner and this finished, continued up the valley. Dad and I lagged behind, looking under stones at various ants’ nests. There seemed to be two varieties, smallish, red coloured ants which lived on the flat, drier areas, and larger, quicker moving black ants which inhabited damp slopes. In both varieties’ nests were many winged males.

On we strode until a fork in the Gill, we followed the middle tributary and then up over the moor, through heather and bracken. We were looking for a tractor track which headed across the moor to Langthwaite, but unfortunately couldn’t. My leg started aching, I was too warm and everyone was irritable. The mist started closing down too, and when we had found the track and had struck across the moor it became quite thick (> 100 yds).

Soon we were lost again – a wall in a gulley we were supposed to follow down the hillside appeared to be non-existent and after blundering around, retracing our steps and generally acting pathetically we found the wall and got down the hillside. Mum nearly cried when we got lost Dad said – she was terrified of becoming lost in the mist and sinking in a marsh. Some women are so irrational they make me sick.

After reaching the right route again we followed the path down through a wood and back into Langthwaite. Total distance – 5 miles.

After we had changed, we set off towards Tan Hill and the Inn, England’s highest pub’ at 1,732 feet above mean sea level. The weather over the top was abysmal; strong winds, rain and thick mist – why any sane person would want to live at Tan Hill I don’t know.

We missed the turning off for Keld and had to drive twenty miles out of our way, through Durham and parts of Cumbria (Kirkby Stephen) and eventually back down to Keld. The weather was crummy – rain etc., all the way back and I felt irritable, annoyed and just generally sickened off. Mum was in a mood and I felt pretty low. A washout day. The only decent thing was Athletic’s result in the Yorkshire Cup, first round, second leg – a 1-1 draw at Easterby, thus ensuring a 2-1 aggregate victory over Purswell.

Tuesday, August 12, 1980

Tuesday August 12th

We did an eleven mile walk today, from Gunnerside to Keld and Thwaite and back, and it turned out to be one of the best walks we’ve ever done.

We set off at the usual time, about nine or ten o’clock, and set off towards the bridge along the Gunnerside-Thwaite road. I was having difficulty with my feet – yesterday’s walk had given me a blister on my left foot which I covered with a plaster – and my feet felt extremely uncomfortable at first.

We walked along the river bank and along field paths to Muker, which is about two miles, pausing at the wooden bridge across the Swale before starting the walk proper. We continued up the valley, by landscapes which were very similar to those up Gunnerside Gill; very rocky and sparse, with many old derelict buildings around.

We continued on, Andrew and I pausing to climb Beldi Hill, near Keld, and watch for a feral cat which was living in a barn. Eventually, we came upon Keld, a bleak and unfriendly place which didn’t seem like normal Swaledale villages like Muker or Gunnerside, and we sat by Kisdon Force.

It was here that we got lost, which is nothing new on our hikes. Instead of taking the path along the road towards Muker and Thwaite we had followed a path back up the valley opposite Crackpot Hall, and found ourselves in a totally wrong position. Thanks to Andrew though, we soon were right again and followed the path up the hillside past a field where we saw a Kestrel being mobbed by Swallows, and on to Kisdon Hill. It was very windy here, and quite cold unless you kept moving. The path continued on between old limestone walls and over the hill to the valley head, where you were given an ace view right across the Swale valley and Muker.

We then dropped down into Thwaite, where we received sneering looks from several bearded, masochistic Pennine way-types who probably thought we were just playing at hiking. We had a cup of tea outside a café before trudging on across the fields and along the road to Muker.

Compared to Gunnerside, Muker is much better-looking, more picture-postcardy. We looked round the Church before setting off once more to the wooden bridge at the foot of the valley where we stopped earlier. Here we had our teas and by now it was pretty cold.

Retracing our steps, we walked through several fields before reaching a footpath sign for Ivelet Bridge which swung off to the right, and it was this we followed for about half-a-mile through the darkening fields before reaching the Bridge. It was fantastic – a single span arch about thirty feet across. Andrew took several pictures here and we then wandered home along the field paths back to Gunnerside.

Monday, August 11, 1980

Monday August 11th

At nine we set off in the car for Richmond, a small Cross Green-sized town 17½ miles away, and although the weather on the way was dull and dry, by the time we arrived at our destination it was throwing it down. While Mum and Dad did some shopping in Woolworths, Andrew and I wandered around the town centre looking primarily for book shops. When Mum had finished, we all went into a sports shop where Mum bought me a green cagoul which was said to be 100% waterproof. My red one was worse than useless. Mum also bought Dad one and they cost £17.

We then visited the Green Howards’ Museum, Richmond Castle and had some dinner at a café. I bought Collins’ “Field Guide to the Insects of Britain and Europe” which cost only £4.95, a pound cheaper than in Easterby.

All the time the rain shuttered down, making Mum really irritable and short-tempered. We visited the Georgian Theatre before coming home at about three. Much of the enjoyment was denied because of the rain, but it ended up alright really.

On the way back we parked in Reeth and for a time it was warm and quite bright. We visited the folk museum there before setting off for Gunnerside again, arriving back at about 6.30.

In the evening we sat round the fire listening to the radio and talking until 9.45 when Dad, Andrew and I went down to the pub’. I had a pint of shandy and we stayed there until closing time. The sky was clear when we came out and we paused for a while to watch several bright meteors and a satellite. The Milky Way was clearly visible unlike Easterby where the skies are a perpetual orange because of the street lamps.

Sunday, August 10, 1980

Sunday August 10th

After getting up early (Andrew and I took Mum and Dad some tea up), we set off for a 6½ mile walk up Gunnerside Gill. I wore my new boots which rubbed a bit and were uncomfortable. The Gill was narrow and wooded lower down. The hillsides were dotted with grey limestone and bright yellow Common Ragwort and, higher up, old and derelict mine workings. We walked up the right hand side of the stream, passing through fields and by barns and lead mines. On the way, Andrew photographed things; views; frogs etc., with his Asahi Pentax KX. We kept stopping to look at various interesting things or to eat (Mum and Dad saw a family of Weasels), and gradually the landscape became bleaker and more rocky, with many derelict and ruined buildings. As if to underline this, the weather deteriorated until by the time we reached the top of the Gill, where the valley forked, it had started to drizzle.

I hadn’t brought my cagoul so I got a bit wet, but luckily, it didn’t rain much. We were on a wide, rubble-strewn path which went straight across the side of the hill on the opposite side of the valley to before and looked as if it was still used. We paused above Gunnerside to watch several Painted Lady butterflies and we then struck off the path and down Cow Hill to Gunnerside. Cow Hill is the hill Andrew and I went up last night when it was dark. It is covered in short grass, clipped by cows and rabbits, and Common Ragwort, Thistles and Hawthorn bushes.

Shortly after we got back we all walked along the road from the village to try find Ivelet Bridge which is supposed to be superb. Unfortunately we couldn’t so we turned back (we got within a hundred yards of it but couldn’t see because of trees).

After we got back, we went up the little hill behind our cottage intending to watch rabbits. As we walked up, hundreds of them flashed away across the hillside from where they had been grazing. Andrew and I sat under a tree near one of their regular runs and although they didn’t come back in such force again, a few did venture within ten feet of us before thumping the ground with their hind feet in alarm and rushing away. Mum and Dad watched from higher up the valley and after they had gone, Andrew and I stayed until it got too dark to see, coming in at 8.45.

All in all, a good day. New things I saw today were Rabbits, Painted lady butterflies, a dead Magpie moth and Dor beetles (in a small wood halfway up the Gill).

Saturday, August 9, 1980

Saturday August 9th

We set off at a leisurely pace after having breakfast. Mr. Tillotson came out to see us off and we went at about ten o’clock. To enable us to come home via Buttertubs Pass and Wharfedale we went a long way round. The weather was poor but we were in good spirits as we drove along the Swale valley, through Reeth, Healough, Low Row and finally, at about three o’clock, to Gunnerside.

Gunnerside (named after Gunnar, a Viking chieftain) is smaller than Kettlewell and contains, I would say, about 40 houses. From the large amount of holiday-maker types wandering around with loaves of bread, bags of sugar etc., it appears that most of the cottages were rented out.

We had a bit of trouble finding the cottage (Mum and I stayed in the car while Dad and Andrew went off to find it), but eventually it turned out to be by the car park at NW edge of the village. The cottage itself was the middle one of a row of three (the far end one being derelict), and contained seven rooms: two bedrooms (double bed and two single beds); bathroom; toilet; dining room; kitchen and pantry; and living room with T.V. The rooms smelt musty at first but we soon had a coal-fire blazing away.

In the evening we walked southwards along the road towards Muker and Keld, and then along the river bank for a few hundred yards. It was still and quite warm and really superb as we sat by the river. A whole holiday ahead of us. At about ten we all went down to the King’s Arms where I had a half-pint of shandy and a packet of “pork-scratchings.” We must’ve looked really typical holiday types there in that pub and it is easy to see how the locals must look down on us.

Friday, August 8, 1980

Friday August 8th

I saw my first ‘X’ certificate films today. They were “Richard Pryor: Live in concert” and “Jimi Hendrix” and I saw them with Keith Patchett and Andrew.

First though, I went into Easterby. I went with Mum because she was going to buy me some new hiking boots (remember I did in the last ones). We arrived in Easterby at 9.40 a.m. and went immediately to “Black’s,” a shop for camping equipment in Purley Street. They hadn’t my size (or if they had, the boots were £30+) so on we went to the Army Stores in Schofield Street, next to HMV shop. There I tried on two different pairs, priced at £17.00 and £22.00. We bought the former, which were exactly like my old ones. Before I could go though, Mum made me try on loads of different waterproof jacket-type things – “Ooh I like that one – shall we buy you one for school, because you’ll need one,” etc.

Fortunately I got away, and after “borrowing” 50p for busfare home off Mum I left her and went on to W.H. Smith’s, where I looked at books. Although today I had £6.00 with me I somehow just couldn’t bring myself to buy the “Field Guide” – it was a toss up between that and the “Guinness Book of Answers – 1980.” I didn’t buy either, but went on to Eastgate Centre and Smith’s there, S.P.C.K. Bookshop and then to HMV Records.

I got home at about 12.45 p.m, and read my book, “The Ape Within Us,” until teatime (although the 5th Test started at 2.45 p.m., I couldn’t be arsed watching it). Andrew came home at about six and after tea, at about 6.30, Keith Patchett rang to say he’d be round shortly to pick us up. We’d been going to go for days (Andrew and I decided on July 30th). At five I had my hair washed.

The films were to be held at Easterby Playhouse & Film Theatre at the other side of Easterby. Admission was £1.20 and I felt no qualms about going, even though I’m two years under age. We sat in the balcony seats, which were placed so close together as to make life impossible for my legs.

The first film was “Jimi Hendrix,” the film soundtrack of which Andrew has a copy of. All the tracks on the album were featured – “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” “Machine Gun,” ‘Star Spangled Banner,” “In From The Storm” etc . . . . . . . . . . , and the film was fab apart from the cramp which I got in my right knee halfway through.

The main film featured was “Richard Pryor: Live In Concert” (R.P. was the negro-slave in “Blazing Saddles”). The film was simply a live stand up comedy act in Long Beach, California; no backing; no music; just the one bloke there on his own. Although he was a pretty foul mouthed bloke – fuck, shit etc. – he used them to good effect and had tears rolling down my face. I felt unrestrained without Mum and Dad present.

We came back on the bus because Keith Patchett had to get home quickly because he was on the buses at five tomorrow morning (also his wife is expecting a sprog in three weeks).

In the evening, as we came home, I felt really good. Mum was packing our things when we got home – lots of hassle over which pair of pants to take, what shirts to wear.

Tomorrow we set off for our holiday.

Thursday, August 7, 1980

Thursday August 7th

An air of boredom surrounded the house today. When I got up the house was in silence – Dad had gone to work at ten, Andrew was at Cole’s – only Mum was up. She sat in the dining room with the fire on (it was a few degrees colder today) and seemed to me to be depressed.

My book by Isaac Asimov; “Extraterrestrial Civilizations”; had arrived through the post this morning (it was Dad’s birthday present for me) but I was unable to get really excited about it. What with the dismal weather outside and Mum sat stonily in the other room . . . (I later found out that she was still brewing about last night – “It’s getting as bad as when Robert was here . . .” etc.).

I did nothing worth writing about all day – apart from read, watch television (fifth test rained off) and feel aimless. At this rate I’m going to actually enjoy getting back to school.

In the evening I watched “Top of the Pops” (it returned after a nine week absence through the musicians’ union dispute) and “The Assassination Game” before coming to bed at about 11.15 p.m.

As I write this, the rain has eased off a bit outside. I’ve got to get up ‘early’ tomorrow because Mum wants to get me some new hiking boots.

Wednesday, August 6, 1980

Wednesday August 6th

I was going to go into Easterby today with Mum at ten when Dad went to work, but since I didn’t get up in time I was left in bed. The telephone ringing reawoke me at ten o’clock – it was Uncle Kenneth asking for Nanna P. I told him that she had gone home. He then surprised me by asking me to hang on because “Nicola wants to talk to you.” She’s his kid by Shirley and she’s only about eight so whether she just likes using the telephone or what I don’t know.

For the rest of the morning I read (well, looked through) Dad’s book about Charles II by Antonia Fraser, which was quite interesting. Mum came home about two I suppose, and she was wet through. It rained constantly all day – not the heavy, battering variety but gentle, watering-can rain. She’d been to put Nanna P. some new curtains up.

I was pretty peeved to discover that I could, after all, have bought the “Field Guide,” because what I thought was just ‘loose change’ actually turned out to be £2.02½p. I now have £5.06½p.

Dad was on at twelve hours so only Andrew came home at six. During the evening I watched “Doctor Who” (Part 2 of “Destiny of the Daleks”!!) before playing “Moonflower” sides two and four upstairs. Side two must surely be the best LP side ever produced, and must be the nearest thing to a musical orgasm possible. It never fails to send shivers up and down my spine.

When “Newsnight” came on at about a quarter to ten it featured a thing about Hiroshima (the Bomb was dropped there today, 35 years ago) and the CND. It also discussed the arms race but I had to go upstairs. The whole thing is too frightening to contemplate.

One day I’ll join CND. Mum, Dad and I agreed, but we even started arguing over this. Dad became really hostile – it really doesn’t take much to send him up. Mum asked him what he thought they could do about all the plutonium, uranium etc., once (if) the nuclear warheads were dismantled. He got all unreasonable about it and said what relevance had that to the argument for disarmament. I just don’t believe it. He is so bloody weird at times! He also told Mum and I we were talking rubbish.

At 11.15 I watched “Sky at Night” for 20 minutes until I came to bed. A few minutes ago I could hear Mum and Dad arguing the point out again.

One thing I’ve noticed about this diary is how many fads I seem to go through – early on it was politics, now it is insects! (Looking back at June’s entries, all that blurb about Che Guevara seems so shallow and corny now – jumping on the trendies bandwagon).

Tuesday, August 5, 1980

Tuesday August 5th

Got up late again, and Dad had gone to work. Mum was doing her ironing in the dining room and at twelve, she went to “Gino’s” to have her hair done.

For the next four hours, from midday to four o’clock, I sat at the dining room table opposite Nanna Peale who talked to me in an endless flow, all about her past and family.

She told me of her mother, Annie Gledstone (née Tremewan) who was the youngest of thirteen children (she was born in 1869), She had really long grey hair which she referred to as her “pride.” It was hung below her waist and Nanna told me that she would brush it one hundred times every evening before going to bed. One of her childhood pleasures apparently was brushing her mothers hair. All this seemed so far removed from me and the here and now, and I found it hard to believe that the same person I was looking at actually knew all those times and had been good looking once (The same thing I found when I looked at the Queen Mother’s face compared to her in her childhood and twenties). Nanna also told me of her mother’s death (Mum told me in the evening that she had a painful death, crying out for water) in 1933, (she collapsed in Cross Green Road) and when, as her mother lay in her deathbed, she had said that they had “cut all my pride off.” When she questioned her Dad about this later, he said that her hair had been platted, decorated with blue ribbons, and buried with her (“she’s taken it with her” as he said).

She told me other things too, about Philip, Janet’s first husband, about Mum when she was young (her romances etc.), and all in all I was quite fascinated. What a life she’s had. Had six children, only two of which lived to maturity (Kenneth and Audrey), one was still born, two lived two days and Mary was killed in a bicycle accident in 1946 when she was 13. Her husband died when she was 33, after nine years of marriage, on November 18 1938, only a month after her father.

It was all highlighted at teatime, when the Echo arrived. On the front page was a story about a bloke who was killed last night in a car accident after being run through with a piece of steel. He was called Tiffany and apparently Nanna P. knew him quite well because he worked for Kenneth. When she saw this she burst into tears and just at that moment I realised what a pathetic, sad old woman she was. Her life has been miserable one way or another. I felt really sorry for her, and she remained quiet and reticent until she went home at about seven.

Dad and Andrew came home at teatime, and we had meatballs, cabbage and potatoes. Robert rang around then; apparently everything seems to be working out fine about his house and things.

The rest of the evening was conducted in real good humoured way, with not a proper wrong word exchanged anywhere. (Lying swine. Dad at one point told me to stop being “big and clever” when I said that prostitutes were only doing a job). Dad seemed in a real good mood too and I was glad because I like him like that. I think now, everybody is looking forward to the holiday on Saturday (we’re going to stay in a cottage at Gunnerside, near Pateley Bridge).

Monday, August 4, 1980

Monday August 4th

I got up late (about 11 a.m.) today and messed around, reading, talking and doing nothing in particular until Dad got up. The four of us had dinner (beans on toast) and Dad got ready for work about one o’clock. I wanted to go with him because I was going to buy the ‘Field Guide to Insects’ book (£5.95). But, when I came to assemble my money together I discovered I only had about £5.60 – I must’ve miscalculated the amount I had before I got this week’s pocket money.

I went into Easterby all the same, taking £5.00 with me. Dad told me to ring Peter Garth to find out if a meeting of the EAS was scheduled for tonight, and he would ring me to find out whether or not he should go to pick me up (if you see what I mean!).

I immediately went to Smith’s on Queensgate and gazed longingly at the “Field Guide,” which seems a superb book. I also looked at and bought a copy of “Jupiter’s Travels” about one bloke’s travels around the world on a motorbike. If I did that (or when I do that I should say) I won’t do it on a motorbike – too much to go wrong. Probably on a bicycle. The book, a paperback, cost me £1.50, which seems an average sort of price for paperbacks now. So today, with busfares, I spent £1.86; therefore I have about £3.74.

Mum was out at Moxthorpe when I got home and I spent my afternoon until teatime talking (or rather listening!) to N.P.’s endless sagas about Kenneth and Dorothy or Kenneth and Shirley.

At teatime the Echo and the News were full of tributes to the Queen Mother who is eighty today. The amount of feeling shown for her is enormous – if anyone ever attempted to make G.B. into a republic they’d have a revolution on their hands. It all gets a bit pathetic after so long. I rang P.G., no Society until the 19th.

In the evening, while Mum and Nanna P. watched “In This, Your Honour,” a tiresome birthday tribute to H.M.Q.E the Q.M., full of tinny regal music and fanfares, I played a record upstairs.

Later on, I was stood in the kitchen doorway gazing out into the dark garden when an enormous reddish-looking moth flew past me and into the light. It flew round and round the light shade and when it did eventually settle I identified it as some kind of Yellow Underwing type moth (Body length 23 mm, although its hindwings were orange-red).

I’m looking forward to next week when I’ll be able to buy the “Field Guide.”

Sunday August 3rd

A pretty average Sunday. Got up at about eleven and read the “Sunday Times” until dinner at one. Mum seemed in a bad mood – bored with the summer holidays already I expect. I too feel as if home life is so boring. Everything is just the same all the time; I suppose I must be getting the leaving bug.

I played darts with Andrew and listened to music all afternoon, watching an Olympics highlights programme on ITV later on (the Olympics closed today).

Mum, Dad and Nanna Peale went out to Keddon Moor in the afternoon, leaving without telling us.

The evening went in pretty much the same way too. I finally succumbed and told Andrew that I was doing a diary. He said that he wouldn’t want to do a personal diary for fear that somebody might discover it and perhaps be hurt by comments about them.

A woman from Melton Green rang and said that she had two flats for offer (£25 a week) but that if Robert wanted them he had better hurry because they were much sought after. The only snag was that no pets would be allowed. Mum immediately contacted Robert and said that they would pay the £100 refundable deposit “essential” for the flat. Amazingly enough, she also offered to take George (Robert and Carol’s cat) as from Aug 25. Robert accepted the offer and rang Mrs Booth to say he’d have one of the flats. Now they’ve got to sell their house!

I spent the rest of the evening looking at Andrew’s Asahi Pentax KX SLR camera and wishing I had one.

In the late evening I watched television until 1200 p.m when everybody came to bed and I was given access to the floor.

As far as insects are concerned, today, upon checking my beetle trap in Mr. Tillotson’s garden, I discovered six of those ubiquitous black ground beetles (Busy Pterischus?) with the red legs. Tomorrow I may go into Easterby.

Sunday, August 3, 1980

Saturday August 2nd

I got up just before 11 a.m and went out immediately to my beetle trap, where I found three black beetles and a red coloured fly. The mincemeat absolutely stank so I buried it in the garden and tried to identify the beetles. They were not meal-beetles, as I had thought but a different species of ground beetle, maybe Pterostichus madidus?

Dad got up around midday, (Nanna P. is still here) and we had dinner and then Mum, Dad and N.P. went into Farnshaw to do the shopping, leaving me at home to read etc. I drifted around the garden watching the hoverflies and bees until Mum and company came home.

I did nothing worth mentioning (it must’ve been mundane and boring because I can’t even remember what I did!), until the early evening, when I went across to Mr Tillotson’s to ask him if I could bury my beetle trap in the garden. Dad was already there (he goes across every few days) and Mr Tillotson said yes, I could. At first I couldn’t find a bare piece of earth because there was grass everywhere but eventually I buried the trap beneath some bushes by the side of his lawn. Mr T. seemed quite interested in what I was doing – it’s sad that he’s so ill.

After doing that I played “Heavy Weather” by Weather Report and laid on my bed frightening myself by thinking about the time when I’ll be dead (> c2040+). I can really frighten myself by doing that – my heart begins to race and I’m seized with panic almost.

Since it was cloudy and quite warm (good moth weather) I put out some moth sugar (on the willow and cherry tree) and spent the rest of the evening trying to identify the different moths which were attracted to the light. I identifed the Garden Pebble moth and there were many more species which I hadn’t a hope of identifying. The variety of moths is really amazing.

I am now sat in the dining room listening to the torrential rain outside and Clint Eastwood killing people in the other room. It is 0032 and I want to go to bed. At the moment I’m looking forward to Monday when I’m going to buy Collin’s Field Guide to Insects of Britain (£5.95) from W.H. Smith’s.

Friday, August 1, 1980

Friday August 1st

After getting up late I wandered around a lot today. First thing though, I checked my beetle trap and to my delight I found not one but several beetles (four in fact). These I let go and reset the trap, although nothing else was caught all day.

At about eleven o’clock Mum went into Farnshaw to do some shopping and since Dad was still in bed (he’s on nights all this week) all I could do was wander around, looking at books, or in the garden.

Dad got up mid-afternoon and about tea time I watched the Olympics from Moscow. I played records after tea while Andrew sat in his bedroom doing a description of a picture for college. I played Hendrix (“Electric Ladyland”), Santana (“Moonflower”) and “Visions of the Emerald Beyond” by the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Finally at 11 p.m I went out for a quick look at my trap, which I found was empty. For the next half-an-hour though, I wandered around the garden just seeing what was about. Everywhere I looked I could see creatures moving – slugs, spiders, worms, beetles, woodlice and snails. On the surface of the soil and from under the wall along the path were loads of earthworms just laid there. Whether this was because of the torrential downpour and thunder we had at 3.30 p.m I don’t know. Woodlice were everywhere, covering the walls and trunks of trees. Over by the garage I saw harvestmen, Garden snails, slugs and several shiny black beetles. It’s amazing the amount that goes on that people never see. The gardens just come to life (I had to sleep down because N.P is here).
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