Friday, July 8, 1983

The luxury gap

I was up early. Dad dropped me off at Moxthorpe so I could get my hair cut. This done, I walked home and we set off for Nanna B’s.

The weather was again very hot and muggy, too warm for comfort. Nanna B. was unchanged and  quite entertaining, but I sat there feeling uncommunicative, apart, and totally removed from this circle. She fell to reminiscing, reciting school rhymes word perfect from sixty one years previously with all the rush and enthusiasm of a little girl.

She also revealed more tantalising fragments of family history: William John Martindale, my Dad's grandad, committed suicide in Loney’s Dam early one Sunday morning in 1906 following the death of his wife Emily, leaving their three children orphans. Eldest son Ernest grew up to die in WW1, Harold became my granddad and Esther, battered by her husband, died one day in 1926: the incident was hushed up and passed off as meningitis.

N.B. gave me £2 for my birthday and with the empty fussings ringing all around, we left. Dad dropped me in Easterby. It was too warm to move.

Later on in the evening, Dad and I went down to the station to pick up Andrew but his bus was late, leaving Dad and I to wander through the station to the incongruous strains of military music over the PA. Eventually there was that familiar self-conscious half-smile, sliding in aboard the coach. He looked tanned and we settled back into our well-worn ways immediately.

Dad dropped me off at Jeremy’s ½ an hour later than I’d arranged.

We went up for a drink at a noisy crowded Kerforth pub, The Adelphi, which was filled to overflowing with beery affable groups of loud people. Jeremy and I sat inconspicuously on a bench to one side while the crowd swore and laughed and talked and screeched, the girls fashion conscious in the pastel shades of their smart ‘going out’ clothes, the blokes all in jeans, tight T-shirts, white socks and low slung shoes. A handful of Hell’s Angels hung about in the obligatory denim waistcoats, their girls in tow.

Jeremy and I reminisced and bemoaned our lack of a social circle here. He seemed to have limitless resources compared to me and quite happily bought me drinks and kept my glass filled.

By closing time I was in a sloppy mood and as we walked down Whincliffe Road we were intercepted by two flat-capped drunken occupants of a red open-topped Triumph Herald. Jeremy knew one of them. Terry and Kevin were both pissed and, as they said they’d give me a lift home, we clambered into the back of the car and roared off doing eighty at least while I shivered in my thin shirt. Jeremy laughed unbelievingly as we screeched through Farnshaw, a Heaven 17 cassette at full volume, the two in front jeering drunkenly whenever we encountered a lone figure wending his or her way home.

We stopped at the petrol station near Moxthorpe roundabout, and curses were directed at the pale-faced petrol attendant in his glass cubicle. I was persuaded to stay in the car and go down to Jasper’s, an ominous sounding nightspot in Easterby. As we hurtled along the main road I was amazed no one stopped us, for Terry drove like a madman, overtaking on the inside, screeching to a halt at junctions, cursing and laughing as the traffic lights changed on us.

Just beyond Lodgehill he screeched to a halt and threw up over the side of the car. A hundred yards or so further on it happened again, but he drove off right as rain, laughing, spitting and wiping his mouth on the imitation leopard skin steering wheel cover. Somehow we made it to our destination in one piece and Jeremy paid for me to get in.

Jasper’s a typical Easterby night club, the mating game in full swing inside, couples snogging and dancing. We stood about drinking (me on Jeremy’s money) and left after about an hour for a curry up by the poly, where our hosts entertained us with beery bombast.

Kevin enthusiastically described for us in graphic detail his day spent in the shower with his girlfriend Alison. “It were real!” he said, with a raucous laugh. I had a chicken curry and ½ a prawn curry too, and we watched an Indian film on the TV along with the intent, white-coated staff.

At two a.m. we raced back to Egley and I am writing this. . . .

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