Tuesday, October 12, 1982

Living and dying

Dr. Herring’s tutorial was yesterday afternoon at 4.30 and I was dreading it because I had to show evidence of the notes I'd taken on Bertrand Russell. I reckon I overestimated what was expected because we merely had an interesting discussion about the passages we’d chosen. My melancholy selection gave me a chance to go on about the tragedy of living and dying, which sounded contrived and contemptible coming from my eighteen-year old mouth.

It was supposed to be a work night and I really had to knuckle down and do something, but Alex and I instead spent the time rushing to and fro searching for booze to complement a bottle of Sainsbury’s wine that he, Catrin and I ended up polishing off. We crashed in on illicit looking huddles in rooms and more late-night bustlings in the kitchen. We even tried to find our way up onto the roof and found a trapdoor but it wouldn’t open, so we went back below for more tea and, eventually, a mad pillow fight between six of us.

So I didn’t get to bed until three-thirty again but not before an eye-weary attempt to write notes on the US Indian practice of self mutilation.

I didn’t feel too hot on waking up today and my eyes ached whenever I shut them. In the hour before my seminar I rushed off the notes for Herring. That girl from Knowlesbeck was in Palfreyman’s tutorial again and she fascinates me. Her name is Jocelyn Watson and she's small, slightly on the plump side, and wears her hair pinned up in plaits on top of her head. She has broad cheeks, an interesting nose, a really nice laugh, and I love hearing her talk. She was wearing a high-necked grey and black billowy dress, patent leather lace-up shoes, and purple stockings which made her look fashionably Edwardian.

Twenty four of us share a kitchen but there are only about fifteen who use it at all regularly. I'll try describe my fellow housemates. Alex from Cambrige is friendly and genuine enough: most of the time he wears dungarees or wide shapeless jeans with turn ups, red shoes, collarless kaftanesque shirts and a baggy yellow jumper, and his long hair is cut short on top making him look like a throwback to the mid-70s Slade era. He also has quite a lisp. I like him.

Bland bespectacled Russ from Colne, his loud and slow Lancashire drawl liberally sprinkled with “fucking”-this and “fucking”-that as he tells rugby or beer exploits, is a bit on the brazen unsophisticated side but he's funny.

Stu is tall and brutish-looking, wears DMs, has spiky orange hair, and his finger nails are long and curved like talons. Then there's Susie, with deep cutting eyes; Pete, confident and easy; Barry, fresh-faced, with a gangster-look; Catrin, (she ignores me); Shelley; Penny; a few others. . . .

I’m much happier than I was this time last week. I got a letter today from Dad; he saw Athletic lose 3-1 to Tidebrook on Saturday. The tree by the gate has been chopped down and the newts are being hibernated.

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