Thursday, October 30, 1980

Thursday October 30th

I went to Easterby today. I hung around all morning and most of the afternoon trying to make up my mind when to go. By the time I finally got going it was nearly four o’clock. One thing I did; on the way down I saw and talked with Claire Pearson and Deborah Blakey who walked down our road earlier. They were hanging around the telephone box and C. Pearson said that they’d been up to Bates’s but he was out so they came down our road to see where I lived. They were going to call but “daredn’t” and so decided to ring me up but had no 5ps. Would I have minded? Funny way to spend a Thursday afternoon I said so D. B. said that they were bored. I said goodbye to them until Monday and couldn’t stop thinking about the incident all day. They’d actually bothered to call round to see me – they were going to ring me up!

In Easterby I went to the Library and got four books out – “Prince Rupert of the Rhine” for Dad’ “Lenin and the Russian Revolution”; “First Blood” (about 1905) and “Battle Royal” (About Simon de Montford and the thirteenth century).

I spent the evening watching television. The US Election is on Tuesday and things are really hotting up now. I hope Reagan doesn’t get in – imagine! A B-grade cowboy as President! The US President is in a similar position to English monarchs of old – so much absolute power in his hands.

Wednesday, October 29, 1980

Wednesday October 29th

I was supposed to go down to school today to meet Giles because I’d unfortunately put my name down to go see “The Emperor Jones” at Manchester Exchange Theatre.

I say unfortunate because when I woke up I really didn’t want to go. I stayed in bed hoping to fall asleep and not wanting to look at the clock because I knew if I got up I’d have to go. When I finally arose it was eleven o’clock – I was due to meet at 12.30 down at school – so I sat around reading newspapers and eating biscuits, bread or cereal. As the hour approached I had a sneaky feeling that if I didn’t turn up Giles would probably come round in his car or something, so I ‘hid’ upstairs in my bedroom reading the Church magazine.

Then, sure enough, a car drew up and I unwillingly answered the door. It was Giles who said, “You’re in the wrong place mate.” He went to get some petrol while I quickly got ready.

In the car was Laura McCully, Julie Walker and Halyna (I can’t even say her second name). After an uneventful car drive over on the M62 to Manchester we reached the playhouse at about five past two. Mrs Bastow and her teenage daughter rolled up after a while and we duly seated ourselves in the theatre.

When the play started I was really quite glad I’d gone. The play, set in a remote jungle area, was about a self-styled Emperor and ex-slave who is eventually hunted down through “de forest” and killed by the very “bush niggers” he ruled. The whole thing was done with the minimum of sets or scenery and was really good; good lighting; good sound effects and good acting. The second play, although I didn’t enjoy it as much, was still pretty good. It was called “Chairs” and just starred two people; Frank Thornton and an old woman.

We got back to Easterby at six or seven, I’m not sure which. When I got back home “Welcome” by Santana was waiting for me. It is ace, especially “Yours is the Light” on Side 1 with Flora Purim on vocals.

Tuesday, October 28, 1980

Tuesday October 28th

The heavy rain had gone and was replaced by heavy wind. I had half intended going into Easterby today but as the weather was corny and since my hair really needed washing I didn’t bother.

Instead I just did my leagues all day – starting on season three and the cup competitions. And that was how my day passed – just sat in the dining room messing around with dice and little pieces of paper while listening to Hendrix, Mike Oldfield and Focus.

In the evening I watched “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World” about strange showers of frogs, walnuts and mustard seed, before finally getting to bed at eleven. Athletic lost again, at Haley Hill Celtic – 3-0 I think. Bloody typical.

Monday, October 27, 1980

Monday October 27th

What can I say about today? Weather once more crummy – it was so bad today that areas of North Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire were badly affected by floods. In parts, 6 inches of rain fell in 24 hours and Cross Green Bridge was closed to traffic because of the danger from flood waters.

I just couldn’t get up and I dozed fitfully all morning until 1.40 p.m when I finally aroused my bulk. It was pointless getting up – rain outside making it all the more depressing inside – and so I messed aimlessly around with my leagues while listening to Hendrix, Mike Oldfield and Santana. Dad came home at five and we had tea in the front room.

My evening went as the afternoon and I eventually came to bed at midnight after beginning my third season. One good thing – I saw some of the latest Voyager Saturn pictures – they are incredible and I found it hard to comprehend that it was an actual photo’ I was looking at and not a Don Davis painting. This inspired a slight revival of interest in astronomy, especially after seeing Robert’s enthusiasm for everything (it’s quite infectious) and looking through the “Astronomy of Southern Africa” which Robert bought me over the weekend.

Andrew rang mid-evening and Mum said he seemed in a good mood and to be enjoying life. When he asked how I was she told him that I was in a “silent mood” – if I am I’m certainly unaware of it. She even said that Robert had remarked on it.

Sunday, October 26, 1980

Sunday October 26th

The clocks were put back an hour at 3 a.m. today so we are now in Greenwich Mean Time again. We got up at about half-past eight and after Carol had prepared some sandwiches we set off, catching the ‘bus down the road and on the opposite side to the ‘King’s Head’ pub’.

The weather had broken down again and reverted to the usual leaden skies, rain and slight wind. The bus journey was quite long; through all the worst areas of Swinton and Mexborough. I would hate to live there – one perpetual slum.

We got off the ‘bus next to a large powerstation with three chimneys and two small cooling towers and after a fair walk along a road amid reclaimed slag heaps and canalways we reached the belt of trees which marked the reserve. Denaby Ings is quite small as sanctuaries go and consists of two smallish lakes separated by the road. The lakes were flanked by trees and bushes. On the lake’s shore were several wooden hides, in which we ate our sandwiches. The hides were quite large with room for around half-a-dozen to ten bird-watchers. There wasn’t much going on although there were plenty of birds around, mainly Blackheaded Gulls, Mallards and Coot. We did see a pair of Shoveller Ducks which, Robert said, are not all that common. We also walked ¼ of a mile along a superb bush-lined path.

We walked briskly back to the ‘bus stop after spending around an hour or so at the sanctuary and got back to Robert’s at about two. We had pork and Yorkshire pudding for tea later and Robert and I played dominoes until 4.40 when we had to go.

We very nearly missed the bus because Mum was busy kissing everybody goodbye. An uneventful journey later and we reached Easterby at 7.30 p.m. I was quite glad we were getting back early as Dennis Potter’s “Rain on the Roof” was on at ten starring Cheryl Campbell in quite a sexy part. After enjoying the play I came to bed at my usual late hour.

Saturday, October 25, 1980

Saturday October 25th

We set off in the car, Mum, Dad and I, at about nine or so. We were alright until we got to Purswell, where we started to get lost. The morning was superb – cold but a clear blue sky with the odd patch of altostratus/altocumulus around. Along Lockley Lane by Woodhead Park all the trees were backlit so the leaves showed up vivid yellow and copper-browns and all round it was the sort of morning for setting off somewhere superb.

We blundered in Purswell and ended up driving along rural roads near Coalscar. Mum was surprised at the sight of so much countryside so near to Dearnelow and Dardray – she’d always had the clichéd vision of pit heads and gloomy factories stretching for miles in S. Yorks. We joined up with the A637 eventually and although we blundered a bit through Dearnelow town centre we got to Robert’s at about eleven.

For the next four hours we sat around drinking tea, talking and watching Robert and Carol’s miniature black and white television. Dad wanted Mum to go back with him – whether he didn’t want to be on his own or whether he wanted Mum just as a navigator I don’t know – but Mum said she couldn’t as she’d promised to stay – anyway, Robert had bought in special food and two sleeping bags for Mum and I.

Dad set off home at about four and afterwards we went for a short walk up the road to Woodhead Roundabout and right, down the road I went down last time and then right, into a field and through an area known locally as “Pottery Ponds,” with a smallish weed covered pond in which frogs live. On the way back we stopped at a newsagents to buy some sterilised milk (Rob and Carol drink fresh) and we spent the evening in front of the television. I played Robert at ‘Knockout Cricket’ and at dominoes (fives and threes and Maltese cross).

Tomorrow we are going to Dardray Ings bird sanctuary near Swaithebrough but meanwhile I’ve got to sleep in the living room on the floor; Robert is on the sofa while Mum and Carol are sleeping in the bed.

Easterby Athletic drew 1-1 at Keddon after leading. Jimmy Newlands scored in the 30th minute.

Friday, October 24, 1980

Friday October 24th

I had to rush off my Biology essay in the half-an-hour before setting off. Luckily it wasn’t too hard and I managed to get a side and a quarter of A4 out of it before 8.15.

After all the usual boredom and frustration in Biology and History I was glad that Beaumont was giving a rehearsal of his play in the Drama area. I went along to watch and it was really quite good. They’d got all the set completed, done up to look like a 1930s style living room with tasteless lamp fittings and gruesome furniture yet they needed a radio from which the tape of Duncan impersonating Thatcher is to come. Since we had one I volunteered to go home and get it. I was really glad that I could help so that I’d feel involved.

At home I hunted around in the garage for the radio – I couldn’t find it – so I took Robert’s from my bedroom instead. Dad was just about to set off to pick Mum up, so he gave me a lift down to school. It was really strange in a way. Normally, I live almost schizophrenically in that the two worlds of school and home are completely different. I act and speak differently in each and really the two very rarely intermingle. Yet just for one moment as I carried the radio in through the rain to school and I saw all the things I’m used to during the day, Dad revved the car up and for an instant, the two overlapped.

The radio fitted in very well and after half-an-hour of rehearsals and messing around the sweeper bus came and we all set off home.

Although the intention was originally for me to catch the bus to Swinton in the evening, the weather was so foul, and I was so tired that I just couldn’t face it. For the rest of the evening I was troubled by guilt and pangs of conscience but when Robert rang later on and Mum explained, it was all O.K.

Thursday, October 23, 1980

Thursday October 23rd

The weather today was the worst it’s been for weeks. The rain was really heavy and the winds so strong that it was hard to walk against it, and the entire school car park flooded to a depth of about half-a-foot.

We did nothing in the library except talk and doss around generally, Beaumont and I saying that to do journalism we’d have to do shorthand and typing. I was hoping that the rain would continue, giving me an excuse for sciving off Art.

It didn’t, and after mundane English (at least “Persuasion” was a bit funny) we all trudged off to Farnshaw College. I finished my chimney painting a bit unsatisfactorily by blocking out the lower half as roof – one uniform brown. At least it was the brightest (colour wise) picture there and from a distance looked OK. It wasn’t the worst anyway!

My evening just disappeared. I should really have done my Biology essay for tomorrow but somehow I just keep putting it off. Instead I watched most of “The Taming of the Shrew” on Beeb 1.

Mum seems to reckon that journalism’d be a good idea for me to aim for and she meanwhile showed me some of the shorthand she remembers. As far as I can see, that and typing could be the only obstacles.

Tomorrow I’m going to Robert and Carol’s flat at Swinton for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 1980

Wednesday October 22nd

We had the assembly in the Common Room and unlike normally I found it quite interesting. Mrs Newsholme talked to us about VSO – she went to Ghana for two years about six years ago – and I quite fancied the idea. If I ever get selected though, I’d probably end up teaching.

I had no lessons until English at 12.30 pm. For the whole of the three free periods everyone concerned with English packed the 6th form library, slaving away desperately trying to get Slicer’s essay finished. Lee Hoy accused me of preventing him from finishing his essay by keeping his book – I accidently forgot to give him it back after borrowing it yesterday – and since Duncan wouldn’t lend him his, he couldn’t finish it.

After dutifully handing in the required I had to suffer two hours of absolute drudgery – boring and sleep-inspiring. My God, why did I choose English?

The only real decent event in the day was the after-school rehearsal of the play our form is doing on November 5th for assembly. It is ‘starring’ L. Hoy as Norman Entwhistle, D. Verity as the mother, J. Crabtree as sluttish Sheila, J. Beaumont as Rodney and M. Cliff as grandma, and has been written almost entirely by Jeremy. The theme is Britain’s unpreparedness in the event of a nuclear war and it is full of deliberately feeble jokes, unsubtle innuendos and snide references to members of the sixth form and the staff. It is hilarious. Members of the English department kept dropping in as I watched and making various comments. They tried to incorporate reluctant me into proceedings by suggesting I rushed on during the line . . . “here we have a news flash . . . ,” in my great coat, wearing only a strategically placed balloon, give the audience a quick flash and rush off again. I doubt whether I’d actually be able to do it (staff-censorship etc . . .).

When I got home I played a couple of games of ‘Scrabble’ with Robert before having tea and setting off in the rain for Athletic v Purswell, who are second in the table. We both agreed that if Athletic could win this match they’d really be on their way. Shirley rang – she’s got “Welcome.”

The game started lively enough, with Athletic stringing several classy three-four men moves together on the edge of the box and McArdle shooting wide several times before Purswell closed down on Athletic’s attacks entirely. The ‘Farriers’ looked much sharper and tighter than the corny Easterby blunderers and after looking dangerous several times a cross was missed by Newlands and was blasted in to Robert Hudson’s right from 15 yards. In the second half, Athletic, playing towards the Easterby End, looked crap and after surviving loads of near misses and blunders went 2-0 down after 87 minutes. It was basically Easterby’s totally inept defence and midfield (and particularly David Littlewood) who were to blame – also they are all old men now, all over 30. This game really brought it home to me that Athletic won’t go up this season. Oh well, next year could be better.

I played Robert at ‘Scrabble’ again on getting back before coming to bed.

Tuesday, October 21, 1980

Tuesday October 21st

Because we didn’t do our ‘Duma’ test yesterday for History, we did it first lesson instead. I was quite pleased because I managed to finish the essay this time and squeezed 2½ sides out of it in an hour. I feel that I would be physically incapable of writing any faster. I should get better than an E (which I got last time) at any rate.

In the free periods in the afternoon I racked my brains about the Literature essay which is due in tomorrow and which I felt really overwhelmed by. I really wasn’t looking forward to it. I also sat opposite Andy Briscoe, who I detest. He is just such a big head and loud mouth; “I’m a real man,” type. God, he makes me sick.

At Art College in the evening I continued with my chimney painting which the tutor, Mr Hine, said was quite good. He said I had an “interesting” style – what he meant by that I’m not sure. After general dossing about with Beaumont, Hoy and Verity (L. Hoy had some imitation blood which he blathered all round his mouth and dribbled down his chin; he then wandered out around the streets with it on – it was quite funny seeing peoples’ reactions) I got home and had to plunge straight in at the essay for Slicer.

Robert and Carol went into Easterby today to the weekly flea market in the Durham Buildings. Michael bought quite a few old Athletic and Albion programmes (all for less than a quid) and I was amazed to hear that the 1926 Easterby Albion programme that Dad gave to him is worth £10!!

I didn’t get properly started on my essay until nine o’clock and ploughed on, waffling, repeating myself, stating the obvious and padding out with quotes until one o’clock in the morning. My essay now stands at 1395 words long, that’s about five and a quarter sides.

Monday, October 20, 1980

Monday, October 20th

Mr Ingham forgot about our history test on the Dumas first period so we had two periods free as normal. I really quite enjoyed today socially; everything seemed to go right for once.

In History we were discussing Stolypin’s agrarian reforms between 1911-14, and how he tried to create a class of landed peasantry to stave off revolution. The mess which Russia was in before the War was amazing – it seems to me that what happened was the only way out of the tangle – things were too complicated and involved to resolve peacefully.

Biology was another inept display from Wade; she ended up waffling on about bridges, the Eiffel Tower and giraffes when she was supposed to be telling us about bone cell structure. In her lessons we never get a thing done and I suppose that is why I prefer History so much. At least Ingham is a good teacher.

The Debating Society after school was debating unilateral nuclear disarmament for Britain. Proposing the motion was a little third year lad, Stephen Bottomley, with a squeaky voice. He was hilarious because his speech was approximately 60 seconds long and consisted of a plea to save our “hospitals, newspapers, roads . . .” etc.; all read out at a painfully slow speed. He kept referring to “nuclear disarminate” so that Beaumont and I could hardly do a thing for laughing. There was the usual emotive tirade from Scott which I bet swung a lot of votes. The vote went; votes for: 10; votes against: 3; abstentions 2. I voted for, as did Deborah Blakey, Michelle Cliff and Robin Quinn, while Beaumont and Bates finally abstained. So much for me being the big Lepidus. Next weeks motion is about private medicine. I enjoy debating society so much that beforehand my legs are actually trembling with excitement (sounds absolutely ludicrous I know but it’s true).

I set off for the EAS at 6.15 p.m. after spending the time talking to Robert and Carol, who went for a walk down by the canal today. Apparently they saw a Kingfisher down there, and now Robert is going to get up at six tomorrow morning to go bird-watching.

The weather on the way there was horrible again – fog this time and drizzle and cold – so I wore my big great-coat for the first time. Jack Greaves gave a talk on the latest Salyut 6 flights, communication satellites and women in the space programmes. It was illustrated with slides and I found part two especially dull. I remember saying once about EAS in my journal that I was concerned with feelings of “inadequacy” while there – well tonight I just couldn’t care less. I sat there, bored by the lecture and wondering why I find astronomy/spaceflight so unstimulating now. I suppose there is a limit to what can be learnt from books and I’ve just become saturated with the subject. Peter Garth announced that the Society’s fiscal year for 1979-80 had turned out at a £22 loss so the subscriptions are going up from £3 to £4 next year – it’s still only 16p a meeting. I bought a back issue of “Arcturus” (in which, I later found, was an anagram of my name being used in a competition) and borrowed two issues of “Sky and Telescope.”

When I came back, we discussed things instead of watching television – Mum said to R. & C. that I was an “anarchist” and anti-monarchist. The latter’s truer than the former. I was quite surprised to learn that Robert is pro-monarchist, especially since I’ve always regarded him as somewhat socialistic.

Sunday, October 19, 1980

Sunday, October 19th

I got up at 9.15 a.m. and after grabbing a quick look at the “Sunday Express” (The “Times” are on strike again) Robert and I set off for Moxthorpe to buy a “Yorkshire Sports” but mainly for the walk. It had been raining earlier on so everything was wet and it was cold and fairly cloudy, but it was still quite pleasant for walking.

When we got back I made a couple of puny attempts at starting my English essay for Hirst before packing in and saying I’d do it after dinner. Shortly afterwards, we all set off for Gilpin Terrace (‘we’ being Robert, Dad, Carol and I) where Robert wanted a souvenir from Albion’s ground – They’re demolishing it this week.

It was a sad sight. Even though I’d never actually seen a game there, it was still sad. There were several vehicles parked up on front of the main stand on the pitch, which was unbelievably overgrown. The demolition men were smashing up the main stand, breaking up the wood and throwing it down onto the pitch, and they’d obviously been at work on other parts of the ground too. The covered terrace section had half the corrugated iron sheets missing off the roof – they were all stacked up neatly waiting for removal. The shed opposite the stand had collapsed and was just a mangled mess. Everything was overgrown, trees sprouting from the terracing, and all around lay bits of wood, pieces of metal and waste papers. The ground itself must’ve been a superb one, a kind of miniature Alconborough Stadium.

We wandered round the back of the main stand where all the old Albion signs were still up – “DIRECTORS ONLY” and “TEAROOM” etc., - so Robert pulled off a sign which said “E. A. S. C. MEMBERS ONLY.” We then wandered back round the front where we got three seat backs with Directors’ names still on, and, from the back of the Supporter’s Club hut, two of the old scoreboard numbers, one which said 2 and 0 and the other 1 and 0. Robert also got two old seats which he’s going to incorporate into two buffets.

The final kind of epitaph came as we walked out clutching our pieces of debris. A bloke, using two walking sticks and who could hardly walk, hobbled slowly in. He said that he remembered, as a lad, coming to see Albion play in the old Yorkshire League Second Division. He was only 8 at the time and as he said he was 82 that made that the 1905-06 season or thereabouts. “We had a real football team then . . .” “I’ve supported them for 75 years and now it’s ended like this . . .” etc. He even told us the team he used to know – including names like Sives, Walmsley etc., really sad. I just couldn’t visualise football being played there ever, and they’ve had 12, 300 there too.

After coming home, and having dinner, Dad went out to pick Nanna B. up and Robert and Carol went out for a walk. I pretended to do my homework in my bedroom – I listened to records mainly – so that by teatime I still hadn’t got anything done.

I finished it all in the evening when Mum, Dad and Robert and Carol went out to the pub’ (Nanna B. having gone back) and after watching “Shoestring” and “Blade on the Feather” by Dennis Potter I rounded it off about elevenish. Three essays down, one to go.

Saturday, October 18, 1980

Saturday, October 18th

I got up mid-morning and after doing nothing I set off for Easterby at 11.30 a.m. Firstly I went to Smiths where I looked at the books there (I bought Dad “The Saxon and Norman Kings" for £1.25p) before setting off to look for some shoes.

I wandered self-consciously into the entrances of several shoe shops before giving it up as a bad job and sauntering up to the other Smiths. There were quite large crowds milling around the new Mini Metros, two of which were parked in the central are of Eastgate Centre; old women gazing at the engine, stroking the doors and little kids sat in the drivers seat etc.; and I decided to have a look before embarking on another attempt.

I eventually bought some Doc Martens at Stead and Simpsons – big, shiny, aggressive boots – and afterwards I felt almost guilty. Lowering-myself-in-other-peoples-eyes type philosophy I suppose, but then the boots are as loutish as the person who wears them.

When I got back, Robert and Carol had arrived – they seem as normal – and then, at two-fifteen, Robert and I set off for Cardigan Park and Athletic v Ryburn United.

The match was quite entertaining but pretty pathetic as far as skills were concerned. Athletic scored through a Newlands header after about 31 minutes and then usual Easterby defensive blunders allowed Ryburn to score. Just after half-time, Ryburn conceded a penalty and Newlands made it 2-1. With Easterby you just can’t rest easy when they’ve got a goal, or two, lead. They’re so capable of cocking things up that it’s a constant test of nerves to stand there as counter attacks and break aways send shots whizzing close. Athletic will never be good – they’re just too inconsistent and unreliable.

I wasted all my evening ‘watching’ television and talking to everybody. We didn’t want the thing on really, we just sat there moronically gazing at the picture. Dad nearly caused an argument by going on about Healey, Foot and Benn all being “communists or ex-communists.” He makes me sick. It was all done deliberately and provocatively I think, to try stir Robert up into a fight, so I said that having “communists” in power was better than having fascists.

An English Literature essay for Hirst on Monday tomorrow!

Friday, October 17, 1980

Friday, October 17th

In Biology, we did an experiment to determine our breathing rate before and after exercise. It proved just how unfit I am; before exercise my rate was 2.20 litres a minute, after running once up to the bus turning circle and back down through the car park it had risen to 22.21/min. whereas everyone elses was about seven or eight litres per minute – In the theory lesson we were doing some incomprehensible work on Krebs citric acid cycle. Why have I taken Biology?

In History I handed in my four-and-a-half side essay. Sometimes I really do wish I was less shy and nervous in my conversation with people – more open like Beaumont. I suppose I should just face truths.

I’m looking forward to seeing Robert and Carol. They’re coming across tomorrow and staying until Thursday because Robert wants to see Athletic v Purswell on Wednesday night.

Tomorrow I again want to go into Easterby to buy myself some new shoes and maybe a record or a book.

Thursday, October 16, 1980

Thursday, October 16th

I spent the entire day wrestling with my essay for history. Since the school was partially closed and I was off, I had the whole day free to compose it. I was woken up at eight or so and although I got up intending to make a start, I felt so lethargic and so daunted by the prospect of what lay ahead that I didn’t get behind the first couple of lines until half-one. I find it really difficult to get started – once I’m beyond the first couple of paragraphs I’m OK.

The weather was foul – really strong wind and heavy, continuous rain – and I kept getting splashed with water as it was raining in. The weather was so bad that I just couldn’t face going to Art college. Mum and Dad didn’t come back until half-nine – they went to Nanna B’s I think – which gave me good time to get on. Even so, I had only a couple of sides done by the time they came home.

After watching “Question Time” I rushed off a side-and-a-half or so on the fundamental reasons for the failure of parliamentary Government between 1906 and 1917. It proves how much I regard History in relation to my other ‘A’ levels because my Biology essay took me about half-an-hour at one o’clock in the morning. Robert rang at teatime.

Wednesday, October 15, 1980

Wednesday, October 15th

After a normal school day I went to the film society to see “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as co-reporter Karl Bernstein. It was based on the Watergate scandal and although mainly dialogue, I quite enjoyed it. There were about thirty people watching the film which finished at about five.

We spent our free periods drawing caricatures of each other and I managed to write two lines on Hirst’s essay. It is impossible to get a thing done in the library nowadays. English was as fascinating as ever. I was quite cold today – I’m not actually wearing a coat yet and the thermometer on the landing reads 62°F tonight.

There was a thing on the television about Albions ground, which they are finally demolishing, and also a thing in the paper giving a ‘phone number to ring if free “mementoes” (ie seat backs) are wanted. I might just ring. Jim Callaghan also resigned as Labour leader this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 14, 1980

Tuesday, October 14th

A clone of Monday really. Two History and one Biology lesson again. Beaumont and I were going on, only half seriously, about going to University in the USA. He doesn’t want to go to university really, and has hopes of becoming a journalist.

I am struggling here for things to put down. Nothing of note happened at all – totally mundane and as expected. At Art College after school things were much as normal – crudity, insinuation, general toss around.

I’ve become much more aware of the sheer volume of work I’ve got to contend with nowadays. Over the next few days and the coming weekend I’ve got a Biology essay for Newsholme due in on Friday, a History essay for Friday and two English Literature essays, one for Hirst (Monday); and one for Slicer (Wednesday). It’s a good job I’m off on Thursday. [Hastings 1066]

Monday, October 13, 1980

Monday, October 13th

How could I have been so bloody naïve! The first girl to actually show the minimal amount of interest in me and I go over the top, making corny fantasies – trying to convince myself. I’ve had enough of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity.

The first lesson was supposedly a free period – instead, we had a history test on the 1905 revolution – 45 minutes is all we get to write an entire history essay. My last one took nine hours. I didn’t do very well really – I managed to get to the various political opposition ‘parties’ which grew up in 1902-03, about one-and-a-half sides. My free period was spent, predictably, in the 6th form library talking to Jeremy Beaumont, Duncan Verity, and Deborah Blakey.

In History we were finishing work on the Third Duma and the failure of liberal constitutionalism. Verity cornily accused me of looking at Carol Lancaster. No foundation at all. Biology was more work on cell specialisation with Wade, who must be one of the most inefficient teachers in the school.

Today, the Iraqis advanced to within a few miles of Abadan, and they say that if the Iranians don’t surrender they will destroy the town. The Russians have been two-faced – they’ve switched allegiance from Iraq to Iran and have started supplying them with arms. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Apparently there aren’t many casualties in the war as the battles are being fought between tanks and long range artillery, and also in the air.

Sunday, October 12, 1980

Sunday, October 12th

All day was spent finishing Divisions one and two of my league. Forest finished as the League Champions for the second successive season. Nanna P. has been here for this weekend – she is rapidly becoming an invalid with her arthritis, injured arm and short-sightedness and slight deafness. She also possesses some really repulsive attributes, such as farting whenever she gets up out of a chair and belching every few minutes. Going up and down stairs, and even walking a few yards leaves her wheezing and sounding like a pair of leaking bellows – Her mind is still quite good though, and the only reason she’s like she is is because of self-neglect.

The sunset was pretty good, in fact the whole day was superb – not a cloud to be seen, bright sun . . . . I whiled the evening away by playing “Moonflower” Sides 4, 1 and 2. I asked N. P. to get Shirley to order “Welcome” from Michaels.

Saturday, October 11, 1980

Saturday October 11th

I intended going into Easterby today but since it was raining heavily when I got up I decided not to bother.

I hung around doing nothing in particular until about two when I went with Dad in the car to Moxthorpe Library. I wore my new jacket for the first time. We went to Farnshaw first, where we wandered for a while around the market, looking at the usual “antique” stalls.

At the Library we got three books; Dad got two – one about Charles I's execution, the other called “Guide to the Battlefields of Britain & Ireland” which is really quite good. I got a book to help me with my “Russia on the eve of WWI” essay – it is called “August 1914.”

After the library, I regretted not getting Dad to drop me off at the barber’s, because I wanted my hair cutting. As it was however, he ran me back on.

I had the usual done – “trimming and thinning out, please” – and its quite short now. After having my hair washed I spent the evening watching television or doing my football leagues.

Well, I’ve finished four months of my diary now. That’s 125 days in all, or 18 weeks. I felt much better, not so depressed today, which proves really how superficial last week was.

Friday, October 10, 1980

Friday October 10th

How I hate Fridays! With triple Biology I’m given a horrible feeling of being left out of something. Mrs Newsholme told us in registration to be thinking of an assembly to do for a week next Wednesday, and J. B. immediately thought of doing a play similar to one they’d done last year. In it was J. Crabtree, L. Hoy, D. Verity and Tommy Whelan. At first he wanted to rope me into it – I declined. Doing a debate is one thing – actually acting would be virtually impossible. Everyone was discussing it in last lesson (Ingham was away), and Duncan Verity quite held the stage, telling jokes and being cynical in front of Lynn Norden, Carol Lancaster, Michelle Cliff, C. Pearson, D. Blakey and Beaumont, making them laugh.

I feel quite low. It’s an awful feeling I’ve had this evening – a combination of circumstances. I know I’m being highly irrational and fantasising wildly – a petty, immature infatuation. It really is making me feel listless. I look forward to school but on the other hand I don’t – I don’t like coming home, I feel jealous when I’m in a lesson and everyone else has a free period. I make myself appear boringly mundane and hopeless.

Tomorrow I’ve got to go into Easterby for some new shoes; I also want my hair cutting and I’ve got to buy a new book for this journal. Mum kept saying that I’ve appeared miserable these last two days “normally a cheerful soul” etc . . . . . , as did Nanna P. who arrived today.

Thursday, October 9, 1980

Thursday October 9th

I felt in a bad mood today, especially at home. The day passed off uneventfully, as did Art College, yet at home in the evening I felt grumpy about what I’ve no idea (well, I have).

In the afternoon, as Jeremy B., Hoy and Verity and I waited in the common room before setting off for Art Mr Ingham gave me back my History folder from last year containing my American West 1840-95 and my Arab-Israeli conflict work.

In Art, my picture of chimneys is coming along quite well – it is a bright, garish red and yellow sky and I’m quite pleased with it.

On the whole, though, today was a day when I felt restless, yet listless and dull-minded. Perhaps it’s my cold as Mum suggested, or perhaps it’s the weather, which has been very changeable just lately.

Wednesday, October 8, 1980

Wednesday October 8th

Three free periods until 11.59 a.m. and English Literature. Today is one of the only days when we all (by ‘we’ I mean L. Hoy, D. Verity, C. Pearson, D. Blakey, J. Beaumont and I) have free periods together.

I spent my time in the library as usual, doing my Biology homework for Wade which was due in on Friday, 3rd October. Nothing much was said – everyone was too busy working.

Of all the sixth form girls, Claire Pearson is – how can I say – the most bitchy. By bitchy I mean she is less inclined to smile, and sometimes seems in a cold mood. Deborah Blakey on the other hand smiles a lot, seems warmer occasionally, yet it is the former I prefer. I must have a childish infatuation with her or something, because I look forward to my free periods and to dinnertimes. Yet I bet she never gives me a thought. I’m so bloody presumptious. If only I knew.

“Anthony and Cleopatra” with Mrs Slicer was as expected – tiring – as was “Persuasion” with Ms Hirst. Sometimes the English lessons are so dry that I wonder what I’m going to do in the exam. If the lessons are anything to go by I’ll sink without trace.

At home, I fell asleep on my bed while listening to “Moonflower” Sides 1 and 2 and consequently, I had a slight headache on waking up.

I did my drawing for Art later in the evening, two closeups of one of my shoes while listening to “The Swing of Delight” and Charlie Mingus – I may get to like it.

Tuesday, October 7, 1980

Tuesday October 7th

I enjoy school; the conversations and the company. I almost regret going home. Today was another foul one (weather wise) and it occurred to me that our debate victory had angered the gods and we were paying for it today.

I got my 1905 essay back in History – I got another A- - and I also got a bit of a reprimand in Bio. from Wade for not doing my homework. Of my 4 A-levels I enjoy Biology the least (pretty crummy considering that the entire History-Biology timetable was altered just because of me and Tracey Booth), English next and then Art. History is my unchallenged favourite.

I spent my free two periods indulging in crude conversation with Jeremy Beaumont and Duncan Verity (elite of the school?) before messing around in the common room with Beaumont, Hoy and Verity until 3.30 p.m when we were given a lift to Art College by Mr Ingham. As a result we arrived early so we all walked over to Michelle Cliff's with Deborah Blakey, who had just finished her Social Work course and was going for tea. After waiting for her (M. C) to unlock the front door in vain we decided to go when her Dad arrived (seeing as we were uninvited and all). We ended up in the library.

Art class was as corny as usual – painting pictures based on upon chimney sketches – and after walking home in the pouring rain I slumped in front of the box all evening.

Monday, October 6, 1980

Monday October 6th

Foul weather all day long – torrential rain, gale force winds and cold atmosphere – the only highlight being our debate.

After a pretty mundane day in school, the twenty-odd debaters assembled in the common room, where we were to give our speeches. We sat behind a desk facing the rows of critical minds - quite nerve racking I suppose. I felt shivery at the thought of giving a speech – would I break up like I had done at Art College that Tuesday? I surprised myself really. Apart from the odd nervous twitch here and there, I managed to deliver it quite well. As usual, Quinn turned his speech into a politically-oriented one – religion preserves the place of the bourgeoisie in society, etc. . . . – and when the votes were cast, they read like this” “This house believes that God/religion is a figment of man’s imagination”; Votes for – 7; votes against – 6; abstentions – 10. So we narrowly won. (C. P. voted for the motion – I was wrong).

It was absolutely diabolical outside – I got soaked, especially since I was only wearing pumps. I passed my evening by watching tele’, reflecting on the debate and generally having an ego trip.

Today, Hattie Jacques died aged 56, the Iraqis captured Khorramshahr and Chancellor Schmidt was reelected in West Germany.

Sunday October 5th

The whole of today spent fretting and struggling over my history essay and tomorrow’s debate. I started my essay at twelve, and what with planning and writing it I didn’t get it properly finished until eight-thirty this evening. I find the writing of essays relatively easy – it is the formation of the thing that gets me. My essay ended up exactly four A-4 sides in length. Mum and Dad went out for a run in the car, so I had the afternoon quiet at least.

After finishing my essay I watched “For services rendered,” a W. Somerset Maugham play on TV all about the effects of WW1 on an upper-middle class family. I really enjoyed it, but by the time it had finished it was midnight and I still hadn’t completed (or even started) my debate.

I got into bed and set to work with bits of old paper and a pen and I succeeded to get quite a logical, reasonable argument down all at one go, based mainly on the fact that scientifically, gods shouldn’t exist. It was only short, only about five paragraphs long – but all in all I was pretty pleased with it.

I really did look forward to school today. I’m finding that the sixth form set-up is so much more enjoyable than all my previous schooling, the circulation among people is so much wider. Everything is better.

I went to bed both apprehensive about the debate and excited almost over school.

Saturday, October 4, 1980

Saturday October 4th

A dissatisfying day. I went into Easterby, as intended, with Mum and Dad in the car. We had to trail down to Burton’s to buy me a jacket – Mum has kept nattering on to me about my lack of adequate clothing – and although I was pretty impatient at first, and quite embarrassed, it was alright really. Mum bought me a short, brown corduroy jacket which is OK, and I got a jumper (blue and claret stripes). I’m really not short of things to wear now.

After leaving Mum and Dad I went into Smith’s where I bought Edward de Bono’s “The Happiness Purpose” (“. . . if I had to invent a religion this would be it . . .”) for 95p. I then trailed round five different record departments looking for “Welcome” – the two Smiths, Michaels, HMV, and Aymers – but it was nowhere to be seen. After looking at scarves in C & A (why didn’t I buy?) I went to the library to look mainly for a book to help me with Monday’s debate. This I did (“the Survival of God in the Scientific Age,” by Alan Isaacs, 1966), plus four others; “Marx” by David McLellan; “Latin American Thought” by Harold E. Davis; “The Russian Moderates and the Crisis of Tsarism 1914-17,” by Raymond Pearson and “Russia in Revolution 1900-1918” by Lionel Kochan.

For some reason I then went to HMV and bought Mingus, “Me, Myself An Eye” for £3.99 – a spur of the moment decision – and when I got home I really regretted it. “Rocks Pebbles and Sand” all over again!!, only this time could I fuck but find the receipt. I can’t return it now! It is really mainstream jazz in places.

I didn’t go to the Athletic today – don’t ask me why, I just didn’t bother getting off the bus at Cardigan Park – and just as well really. It was another defeat. Athletic were leading 1-0 at half-time (Broome in the 38th minute) but Elmfield pulled one back, Broome was stretchered off the field with concussion and then Elmfield scored again.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening wrestling with the debate. I got a couple of paragraphs down but nothing really substantial. I have really got to work now!

Friday, October 3, 1980

Friday October 3rd

All work today, and no rest. After English with Giles, I had triple Biology and then History, and all the time I felt I was missing out on something.

In Biology we did a chromatography experiment to determine the different amino acids present in grass; we won’t know the results until Monday. There were only five of us present; Mark Pittock, Tracey Booth, Jill Davey and Evelyn Aylott + me.

At dinnertime I had intended asking Mr Scott what the title of the debate was to be, but predictably I just didn’t get round to it. I now have to write a debate whose title I’m not even sure of! It’s amazing how quickly you start to feel bogged down by work; already I’m behind-hand with my Biology notes and over the weekend I’ve got to write a History essay, this debate, and rewrite two Biology essays. I also want to go to Athletic v Elmfield, yet I know I can’t afford the time. One thing I definitely intend doing is going into Easterby to buy “Welcome” by Santana, and I also want a scarf.

I felt satisfied today with everything except this oncoming debate – I suppose I should learn to orate well in public – I find it nearly impossible.

Muhammed Ali failed to regain the WBC Heavyweight Title for the fourth time today, he was beaten by Larry Holmes (TKO 10th). I wanted him to win. He’s just too old now, and unfit.

Thursday, October 2, 1980

Thursday October 2nd

After another routine day, both at school, college and mentally, I watched “The Greeks,” the last in the series, which reinspired me, just as programme number one had done, so I ended up vowing to do a P. P. E. course at University (Mum encouraging me) with a view to doing political journalism.

Firstly though, was school. I could draw up a timetable of a typical school day, and each day would be virtually a rerun of that timetable: I get to school late, at about 8.40 a.m. and usually stand in the registration room, talking or being threatened by Darren Busfield.

Then, unless we have History or something first (in which case the situation is reversed), I go up into the 6th-form library along with Jeremy Beaumont, Duncan Verity, Lee Hoy, Deborah Blakey, Richard Houlding, Tommy Whelan etc.., with whom I talk. I suppose strictly the library is for working, although we use it as a kind of watering place, where we generally doss about (That is why the seventh form don’t like us). We have a pretence of reading, although generally we just talk, laugh, criticise and abuse (verbally) each other.

At 12.00, I normally go down into the Dining Hall where we all sit at a table, no doubt looking very pally and smarmed up. At 2.30 I walk home, occasionally with Laxton and Chris Steedman, getting home at 2.40 p.m.

This evening I had my Art course so I stayed at school messing around on the computer terminal with Quinn, before setting off to Moxthorpe. We had a lecture today, a series of 72 slides of “visually interesting” images which Mr Hine called either “exciting” or something similarly exaggerated.

Most of my evening went struggling over the Biology essays, before downing everything for “The Greeks.” Since it was the last programme of the four, it was concerned with summing up. Again I was spurred to rush down to the Main Library to get every book on Greek philosophy available and I started actually looking forward to presenting my argument against religion on Monday. I was particularly taken with the quote, done very dramatically right at the end against a backdrop of solar flares about the “question before us is no ordinary question. It is – how should Men live?”

Wednesday, October 1, 1980

Every chimney has a personality

Another general discussion day, in the library with Beaumont, Pearson, Michelle Cliff, and annoyed seventh-years.

(Claire Pearson - triviality here - I’m sure she keeps staring at me, perhaps I’m imagining things. It makes me start feeling almost hopeful. Yet how can I sit here and write this; she probably loathes me).

By the time the third lesson came I really didn’t want to go to English. It was to be an English Tutorial with Mrs Bastow, discussing the origins and development of the English Language. Tutorials are supposed to be helpful, not burdensome! I hedged and wavered, saying I wasn’t going to go but eventually I went all the same.

Fourth and Fifth periods were more English; first, “Anthony & Cleopatra” with Mrs Slicer (C9), and then “Persuasion” with Ms Hirst in P18; I become annoyingly drowsy in these lessons, my mind deadens and I just can’t seem to find the incentive to work. Lee Hoy was acting all ill, moaning pathetically and sitting there silently, for him unusual. By the end of the day he looked terrible.

My evening was spent drawing chimneys from my bedroom while listening to Santana’s “The Swing of Delight.” The drawings are for tomorrows Art course (“every chimney has a personality”) and were quite good, I thought.

It was a mixed day, good in that I enjoyed the conversation in the library and pretending that C. Pearson likes me, but not enjoyable in that I’m becoming more and more aware of the amount of work I have to do. I’ve got two Biology essays due for Friday, a History essay for Monday and this bloody debate, also for Monday.
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