Monday, June 27, 1983

Big ends

We spent the morning and early afternoon gradually getting organised. I went onto campus and to the bank, and then we all went to see Colin at the Crown Racing up on Old Priory Road. I gazed across at the path through the woods to campus wistfully. We got a promise that all the stuff wrong with the flat was going to be put right and then went into town, got keys cut and sorted out the electricity.

My stuff seemed to fit into the van fairly well and although it was a tight squeeze, I decided to go back North with Barry, Guy and Pete in the van. Mo went home by train. Cathy & Cheryl arrived just after we got back to the flat and we bid them goodbye and good luck. They’ll probably need the latter.  We set off at about 3 p.m.

We dropped Pete in London a couple of hours later and had chips. We were making good progress, and had just turned off the M11 into the A11 for Cambridge when a deadly thudding began from the engine, which continued for about thirty seconds—then there was a loud clunk, so Barry pulled over. Shit. Luckily there was an emergency telephone nearby. We had 1 ½ hours to wait for a garage pick-up truck to turn up and the weather-beaten mechanic shook his head fatalistically as soon as Barry switched on the engine. “The big-ends ‘ave gone; that’s about as serious as it gets.”

Silence as we drove back in the pick up cab, the car in tow behind, seventeen miles back down the M11 to Bishop’s Stortford. Barry was pretty upset.

So we ended the day marooned on a windswept garage forecourt waiting for Guy’s Dad to pick us up and give us a lift to his house in Little Bartlow, ten or so miles distant. We went to a nearby pub and Barry rang home to tell his parents about the van.

We got to Guy’s house very late; pretty big and roomy, clipped grass and ornamental trees outside. We sat in the kitchen and stuffed our faces with bread and cheese.

We're staying in nine-year old sister Wendy’s room.

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