Saturday, October 2, 1982

Back number

We took my box down to the station in the morning, and afterwards, Mum, Dad & I visited Nanna B. It wasn’t a very pleasant atmosphere: much to my embarrassment, N.B. forced gifts of pencils, pen-knives and nail-clippers on me and the air was pregnant with tension between her and Mum, which culminated in a long moan from the former about getting old, deaf, “having your face rubbed in it,” and being regarded as a “back number.”

At this, Mum rounded coldly on her with, “you’re better off than most old people.” Dad tried to relieve the situation with forced gaiety and loud laughter but Mum gave Nanna B. an icy tight-lipped smile as we got into the car to leave: I know Mum can't stand her, and she plunges into a stormy mood which annoys Dad, and so. . . .

Everything since then has been sour and grim. Dad tells me that tomorrow he and Mum are doing the walk to Tunscarr Crag again. I reckon, as I speed train-bound for Watermouth, I will want to be there more than any other place in the world.

Peter called to say goodbye and Lee rang at teatime. I’ve just now said goodbye to Grant. Jeremy even rang me from Poppleton and sounded well settled and like he's enjoying himself; this made me feel a bit less nervous and sad. I'm more optimistic already!

“You’ll never be just the same again,” says Dad and he's right, for although I'll come back it won't ever be the same. This is the last day of my childhood. I feel like I used to those Sundays when I was young and a new school term loomed the next day. I feel very sad.

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