Monday, May 30, 1983


Bank Holiday Monday. At dinnertime, Pete, Barry and I set out in stifling weather for our appointment with the owners of the flat. We walked to Jubilee Drive, off Old Priory Road, about a quarter of a mile along the Wickbourne Road, and discovered our destination was another bookies identical to that in Jervis Terrace.

We had to wait a while inside; it was crowded and smoky, full of old blokes sitting waiting for the results to come over the tannoy, and younger men intently examining the pasted up newspaper pages for the form of the horses or dogs. At one end of the small room was a glass partition behind which a man chalked up the latest odds in response to the tannoy.

Barry asked for Colin and about ten minutes later a head popped round from a side door and we were told to go out & in the other entrance. A loud Alsatian barked excitedly as we were ushered upstairs and into a bare & dingy living room.

Colin took our names and subjects and told us that we were expected to pay thirteen weeks rent in advance, plus £50 deposit—I added it up in my head, a pretty impossible £258 all told. He seemed fairly reasonable about everything else: “I don’t mind what you do so long as nothing is damaged and no neighbours complain” (a veiled reference to what?). “It’s a fairly quiet area and the only hassle you’ll get is the noise from the tannoy downstairs.”

We asked him if we could have until Wednesday to think about it. . . .

Walking back we discussed the looming problem of £258, which is a bit steep, and I’m £40 overdrawn already! There’s also the problem of signing on. If I want to go home for any length of time then I’ll have to commute back down here to sign on every fortnight. Also, what about the holidays? Pete seemed reluctant to give up his holiday of two months and I don’t really want to stay down here. The only way I could raise that amount of money would be to maybe ask Mum & Dad or ask the bank for a loan (they’d be certain to get the money back from DHSS who’ll pay my rent for me every week if I sign on).

Maybe I’ll have to stay down here and try get a job? Hassles, complications. . . .

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