Sunday, October 3, 1982


I got the eleven-fifteen train from Easterby. There were times I had to steel myself and choke the lump back down in my throat before I set off. I took a final look round my bedroom feeling stupid and sentimental but I couldn’t help it. I said to Dad we should go for a hike at Christmas. “It might all seem so unimportant to you,” he replied and seemed subdued.

Just before I boarded the train Mum kissed me and I got a hug from Dad. Then they were gone and I felt sick inside as we chugged to Whincliffe: a last glimpse behind of St. Cuthbert’s hemmed in by city blocks all smiling in the sun, all that’s been my world, slipping away.

I kept thinking of Mum and Dad on the moors.

I bucked up a bit on the train to London but still felt miserable by the time I got to Watermouth. I trudged up the path towards the University and everyone seemed to know one another. No big welcoming party as Mum had reassured me, just a grey empty expanse of concrete and trees dotted with hurrying people. But I eventually found my way to the Porter's office in Wollstonecraft Hall, picked up my key and found my room up on the second floor. My room is dingy and contains a bed, a wash-basin, a desk, bookshelves and a wardrobe. I unpacked my stuff. No more neatly pressed and clean clothes. I’m on my own now.

I spent the evening feeling thoroughly homesick. I ventured out a few times only to blunder about feeling lost and lonely. I don’t know anyone or know where to go.  This won’t get me anywhere!

I rang Mum, and her voice sounded clear and near, that familiar hallway at the end of the ‘phone, a world away now. I have to do this.

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