Thursday, September 2, 1982

Bleak moments

Robert and Carol gave me a lift into Easterby. I renewed Wolfe and Naked Lunch at the library and took out Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and a biography of John Clare.

As soon as I got back from Tesco, I detected an atmosphere and unspoken tension in the house. Mum's face was a drawn and lined mask as Dad spelled out that their bank manager had stunned them with the news that with Dad's retirement their outgoings will now exceed their income by a massive amount each month. Mum had been in tears and in bitter, negative tones Dad outlined their desperate position.

He's annoyed that the probation service, the usual route open to retiring policemen, has been closed only in the last 14 months or so. “I joined the force for security,” etc. Now they prepare for the worst and seem destined to scrape by on Dad’s pension. Prospects look bleak indeed: “You will just have to manage on your grant without help from us.” University now looks like it will be a long grind in poverty, heightened no doubt by my fellow students' affluence.

Dad says he's giving up smoking at the weekend. This will only make the despair and blackness worse, and I was silently thankful that I'll be away from the expected scenes of domestic aggro which are sure to follow. It’s all slightly frightening.

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