Friday, March 30, 2007

Sunday 12th May 1935

Have just been planning my resources. Need not suffer this week, as regards food and smoking, if careful.

Devised two finance plans, A and B.
The first leaves me a reserve of 3d (rather close!) whilst B leaves a safer margin, 1/31/2d. Childish game, these Finance Plans? Perhaps, but it will be amusing to read about in later years!

Happy stroll in the evening with Dick and John. Two jolly good chaps. Three comrades! Wonder how long we’ll be together?

Saturday 11th May 1935

Still that cold, northerly wind.

Three hard up young men met at the Bells of Ouzeley at 7 o’clock. Each had a glass of mild (nasty stuff) Total expenses for the evening – 2d!

Friday 10th May 1935

Sunny but a cold wind. Trees and hedges very green; the Medes have a yellow buttercup sheen.

Incidentally, my old friend, Stoney Brokeness, is visiting me next week.

Thursday 9th May 1935

Soon I shall be moving into the stores, at the factory.

Perhaps my last works department? Jove! Won’t it be wonderful when the unsettledness is over and I have a responsible job!

Just been reading the notes I used to make in the first few weeks at Egham. How lonely I was, then!

Rehearsal tonight, at Maidenhead. Went with Hose in the car, as usual. Also Dick Young. I’m afraid we made rather blasé soldiers! Got my uniform tonight.

Wednesday 8th May 1935

Nearly closing time at the pub. Had a free evening and have been writing until now.
Not very tired after it all! What a Jubilee!

Money seemed to shower upon me. Marvellous to spend freely and yet have some left!
Have just bought myself a new tie and shirt.

Jubilee now over! Next the Pageant!
Life is swift.

Tuesday 7th May 1935

In the evening – town again –

I had dinner with old friends, at the Strand Palace. Wandered in the streets. Crowded, gay, but far more sedate. A dance band orchestra was playing in Regent Street. In the Mall, I cheered a crowd of hardy revellers. “Hail! Hurray!” Singing people in Trafalgar Square…

But the unique Carnival spirit had diminished. It was, indeed, too unique to last more than a night. Came down again by the midnight train.

Monday 6th May 1935

Jubilee Day!

Blazing hot. Spent a lazy, restful morning. Sat in the garden, talking to an intellectual, uncouth old Irishman.

The Sports at Egham. Paripan won the first round without much effort. “Heave! Hold! Heave!” We’d won. In the semi final we were defeated by a team of gigantic labourers from the gasworks. “Hold it, hold it!” All was over!

A cosy tea at the Kings Head. Young phoned me. I went up by the 8 o’clock from Staines and met he and John on Hungerford Bridge. Each of us wore a red Turkish Fez…
HMS President was like a fairy ship – ablaze with lights from stem to stem. A dance in full swing. Blue jackets and women in evening dress on the decks…

Along the Strand, arm in arm, into the midst of the Carnival. The gay laughing incidents! I can’t write of them all! …Charging along Regent Street – “Up, Daventry!” – a girl snatched at Dick’s hat –“Hail!” – “Hurray!” – The gay old ladies…
Tightly packed crowds at Marble Arch… frightened boy with a cycle, hemmed in – “Why don’t you ride it?” – laughter, cheers. Struggled into a pub – tired, harassed attendants….salt sweat hurt my face… Hyde Park, a roaring bonfire… Young picked up a board and held it aloft. We marched behind – “Please keep off the grass”!

Strode through vast crowds outside the Palace. Cheers, “Hail, Caesar!” People followed us down the Mall and were scattered by a rival army of students. “Long live the King!” Songs. Trafalgar Square. Cheering. Whitehall and the Cenotaph. Orderly quietness. Then noisy happiness again…

It was time for us to return….Climbed into the 11.58 at Waterloo – still with the notice board – tired and a little sad, now it all was over. Parted at Staines. “Hail, Athelstan! Hail!”

Sunday 5th May 1935

This is being written in unusual circumstances; I’m on a bench outside the Red Lion; time, nearly midnight i.e. nearly Jubilee Day. Around is the sense of the night country – just distant, vague sounds. Heavens, how hot, how sultry, it has been today!

Brockwell, Young and I, met Joan and her two girl friends when the Nottingham excursion reached Marylebone at about 2 o’clock. We were standing near the barrier, with half glasses of beer, having just dashed from the refreshment room!

Wandered in the sultry streets. Wonderful colours and decorations. Oxford Street was packed with people – no traffic. A sea of faces. Tea at the Popular in Piccadilly. Walked along the Embankment, past the RNVR ship “President”, which as usual, sent out it’s thrilling appeal to me. Had a look round St. Paul’s – packed with sight seers. Went to Elephant and Castle by bus and came back by tube. Drinks and supper at a pub near Fleet Street – the Cheshire Cheese. In a little alcove for six.

Saw them off on the 9.30 from Marylebone. (“Hail, Athelston, Hail!”) Left Dick and John at Waterloo. They were adventurously staying the night in town. I couldn’t because of the tug-of-war. Nearly broke my heart to leave them!

(Incidentally, we had the last tug-of-war practice, at the works this morning, at 10.30. Dashed from there to the station.)

How hot it has been! Even now, late at night, in the country, it is still warm.
Have just had supper (everyone else in bed, of course) and thought I’d sit and have awhile, in the quietness before turning in. I’m smoking some Balkan tobacco which Joan gave me. Very contented end to the day.

…Thorpe church has just struck twelve! This is the Jubilee Day!

Saturday 4th May 1935

I am writing this at 5 o’clock in the deserted bar room of the pub. Feel sleepy and stiff. Had a long tug-of-war outside the works at lunchtime.

This morning, I overslept and did not reach the breakfast table until twenty to nine!
Had bacon and eggs, tea, marmalade. Smoked a cigarette and read my letters on the way to Egham. Even so, I was only two minutes late! Fast work.

Evening. Just after a cheery and silly ass evening with Young and Brock. I’ve got to have a good time and yet be fit for the sports. Yes, almost too busy to enjoy myself! But only “almost”.

And now for Jubilee! Probably no time for more diary writing until it is over!
Now for the Whirl!

Friday 3rd May 1935

From cheeriness to joyousness in a day!

While at the hairdressers this lunchtime, I made my first sale! Having advised Parslow about a colour scheme for his salon, I sold him a quart of Egham paint!

When I opened my pay packet I found two pound notes inside. I’d had a 10/- rise and could now be independent!

Half expected to be dropped from the tug-of-war team. I wasn’t. Tonight’s training was much more successful; we won three pulls out of four. Feel very proud to be in the team.

Had many things to do, today. I did them all.

Thursday 2nd May 1935

I was (accidentally) aroused by the alarm of my clock at about 5a.m. Half-light and concerted song of many birds. Felt too ill to appreciate it, however.

At work I was careful with the strained hand. Sick feeling gradually went! They hoisted the Union Jack to celebrate Jubilee and there was a great argument regarding the proper way to fly it. Pulled in the tug-of-war, as usual. Not too good.

Dashed home, had dinner, met Hose and went to Maidenhead. Rehearsal under Holly on a quiet lawn at The Wilderness. Strange place; many pathways, bushes, old buildings.
Rehearsal OK. Young and I as tough Saxon soldiers.

From depression to cheeriness in a day!

Wednesday 1st May 1935

Cold – not at all like May Day!

Rehearsal on Hose’s lawn, Ashford tonight. Quite good. Young and I have to make a desperate dash and seize the Epimenal (?) – Hose, of course.

Either here or during the tug-of-war, I hurt my left hand. Painful. Result, a bout of worrying.

Cycled to Bells of Ouzeley with Dick.
Came back feeling quite sick. A very small supper, then crawled groggily to bed.

Tuesday 30th April 1935

Just smoking my tenth cigarette!

I am in the Works tug-of-war team for the Jubilee sports. First practice tonight. Good fun. I’m pretty busy now. Almost too busy to enjoy myself! Anyhow, after the Pageant I’ll be free to seek laughter and adventure!

Monday 29th April 1935

No smoking at all today! It was agony.

Young and I came down by the last train; reached Thorpe at 1 o’clock.

Sunday 28th April 1935

Much happier.

Windsor, with Brock. And Young. Tea at Dick’s. Comradely stroll in the gardens afterwards. Smoked a pipe but no cigarettes. (No sticky sentimentality.) Afterwards we wandered in the Park. Did not wear coats, almost warm.

Saturday 27th April 1935

Still fed up.

Afternoon: Rehearsal and tea at Deerbrooke.
Evening: The Ship at Windsor. Wish Dick and I did not have to talk such sentimental rot. Sets my teeth on edge. (I had nothing stronger than cider and grapefruit. Also, one cigarette!)

Friday 26th April 1935

Turmoil upon me! Confusion and too much to do.

Went to the Convent to see the Easter Garden. Too irritable to appreciate it. Afterwards saw a beautiful film at Egham, with Maddison. “One Night of Love”

Thursday 25th April 1935

Fed up, for several reasons. One, is that I’m only 50% fit. Smoke too much; must cut it down. Also beer drinking – a fatuous habit.

The first Pageant Rehearsal at Maidenhead, made me feel better. Gave up my part in the Elizabethan episode. (Cannot afford time or money.) Am a Saxon soldier in the Maidenhead episode. A little “acting” to do. Good part.

Wednesday 24th April 1935

Comforting force of routine around me. Evening, wrote letters and performed various little odd jobs of tidying up. Looks like being too busy in the near future.

Five days at Nottingham

Joan, with the blue grey eyes and serenity. Twenty–two. Sudden rainstorm near Newstead. Thunder, too. Carelessly, we sheltered on the lee of a tree trunk. (Laughing eyes.) Two comrades, alone in the house, talking at the fireside.

A train rolls out of a station, out of a haze of waving people.

Morning Mist and Shimmering Haze 1935

J.S.Dawson, Red Lion, Thorpe, Surrey.

“Ah fill the cup – what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our feet:
Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday –
Why fret about them, if Today be sweet!”

Notes - Before Vigil 1935 - (Written 3.2.35)


Our Father. For this wondrous life. That adventurous spirit.


Are you more manly than you were in March 1932?
Are you coolly self-controlled at all times?
Are you courteous through kindness or to suit your own schemes?
Are you courageous, morally and physically?
How often in the last month have you failed to be clean in thought, word and deed?
Are you loyal to your family? Your employers? Friends? Those under you?
Are you a deceiver? A snob? A poseur?
How many black, deliberate lies have you told in the last month?
Does your life seem a glorious adventure?
What strange new experiences have you had in the past year?
Have you the coolness, manliness and courage to get what you desire, in the face of difficulties?
Or to deny yourself comfort and happiness and peace?
Do you still wish to climb or are you content now?
Have you suffered, in the last month, say?

Special request for 1935:

“With laughter then I’ll go to greet
What fate has still in store for me”

Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th April 1935

Hard work at the factory. Stayed late, came home tired and did various little jobs – i.e. packing. The doldrums and upsetness before holidays. Happy, nevertheless.

Dawn now merges into the mists of early morning!
Endeth Dawn 1935.

Monday 15th April 1935

Late up; therefore no breakfast. Lunchtime delicious bacon and eggs at Magna Charta café. Station re train fares.

Phoned Peggy. Chatted in quick, jerky sentences with Maddison, on the river bank.
…Virginia Water at dusk. Smell of wood smoke and night noises.

Told Pegs we had come to the last page of the book “Unfulfillment”, a story of an unfortunate love affair. Then I picked her up and threatened to drop her. A long walk back along the lakeside. We shared my mac in the drizzling rain. Good comrades – “cousins”. Sat on a fence under a tree, smoking cigarettes. A noisy streamlet just below. I enjoyed it all. At Wood Haw gate I said, “Cheerio. We won’t say goodbye”. We didn’t. Good companions.

That really was the end of the first love affair. But not of the friendship which grew out of it. Actually, this episode reached it’s zenith in July last.
Gradually declined ever since, as the sun moves downwards, cooling gradually, after midday. “When love has changed to kindliness” It has. The poignancy, agony and sweetness went with the first rapturous glamour. Hark to the Swan-song of first love!
I write coldly, without emotion. Have become liking!

Sunday 14th April 1935


Marjorie came for lunch and thought the village delightful. We went to Windsor – to the castle. “Band playing on the terrace”. We might have been in that fictional land, Ruritania. Military music; people in a sunken garden, palace windows above. Fragrance of many wallflowers. Red coats of the Guardsmen, moving in the crowd. Sunshine. The National Anthem – that wandering populace was still. Marching, gigantic soldiers.

Stopped to look at some ruins near Virginia Water. Marjorie said they were pagan remains. (Actually they are Georgian.) Tea at the Sundial, Chobham. (I was enjoying many pipes of Waverly. One does on a day like this.) Stopped to gather white thorn blossom on the Common. Back to Thorpe. Walked over the Hill. A little stone throwing ceremony at the wishing well. Golden Grove, with the French hostess and Latin atmosphere. The Italian musicians came and played again – vilely.

Came back over the Hill in the dusk (Red sunset glow ahead, through trees). As the clock struck nine we got in the car again; I went as far as Staines Bridge with her. Saw the car turn away and disappear in the traffic off High Street. An idyllic day!

Jolly sequel. Two semi-drunk men stayed at the pub and insisted on standing drinks until about midnight.

Friday 12th April 1935

Dashed into work full of enthusiasm. The colours seemed less sticky, the tinting less difficult. It was a happy experience, telling people, “Oh, I passed the exam!”

Amusing incident when my instructor Barwell made a mistake as he was tinting up for an Egyptian green. Wanted 20 gallons but produced 100! Put in too much ultramarine. Result a very deep turquoise! Told him I’d make the most of his fall from grace.

Yes, a happy day.

Thursday 11th April 1935

A happy day – almost!

Went up late tonight – last day of the P.V. and E. session.

Surprise meeting with Pegs at the station. She looking breathless and more adorable than ever (if that’s possible). Mad Willy arrived and was introduced. Travelled as far as Richmond together – Pegs was going to meet one of her entourage there. Afterwards Mad Willy said, “ I don’t know how you had the strength to finish it!”
Simple words…

We went into the lab. to hear the exam results. Two passes! I got 64% marks and was forth. Mad Willy was just one mark below me. We shook hands enthusiastically. The lecturer, Browning, took the remnant of his class down to the refreshment room.
Eight, out of the original twenty five students.

…Mad Willy and I sat beside an open window on the way down, talking about the sky and space and the stars. “It’s been a good evening”…

I was expecting Peggy to return by the late train, alone. Gloomy walk home for a girl, by herself. So after a hasty supper, I dashed back to Staines station and watched the trains come in. She arrived by the 11.30, with a young man. Unfortunate! My presence was, therefore, superfluous.

Got back to the Red Lion – all asleep. It is now nearly 1 o’clock and I’m writing this in the taproom beside a dead fire. Silence except for the ticking of my alarm clock, beside me. Only illumination – my cycle lamp. How many times have I sat in silence, writing about Peggy? And still, though it’s eighteen months since I met her, pages of disappointed bilge flow from my pen!

Well, I’ll remember the night when I knew I’d passed the first technical exam!

I’d arranged to see her – just once more – on Monday.
Shall I? Don’t know.

Tuesday 9th April 1935

After a scanty lunch beside the river, I cycled to the village to post a letter.
Found Peggy at the Medes and, waiting for me in the rain. (Hair wind-blown, eyes a-sparkle) Had I been trying to avoid her? Oh, no! (She is the perfect woman – except she does not love me)… Saw her remove a glove, perhaps to shake hands in parting.

Couldn’t say goodbye there, so miserably. So I’ll see her just once more – weakling!

Monday 8th April 1935

Alternate sunshine and heavy rain – a typical April day. Last Chemmy class before Easter.

I was silly and wasted valuable money foolishly, during the day. Now I’ll be hard up. Damned idiot.

Must finish the evening with a more tranquil thought than that! (I’m sitting in my bedroom, smoking the last of many cigarettes.) On the way up I pondered over the “Six Great” –

The Dreamer
The Intellectual.
The Unusual Situation.
The Emotional.
Madam, The Proud.
The Tranquil Mother of Peace.

That’s better! Much more unchaotic and clear!

Sunday 7th April 1935

Morning stroll with Ron. (A long life and a dull one, is his motto – poor blighter. “The gentleman obviously doesn’t believe”.) Then it began to rain.
Young and I had tea at the pub then went up St. Anne’s and sat in a shelter there, yarning.

The rain stopped. We walked down through wet woods to a pub – “Golden Grove”
Saloon bar, with many dark, oil skinned Italians. Didn’t seem English. The hostess was French, and Young and I were immediately infatuated. (Forbidden fruit more attractive than blossom.) “England in the winter –eet ees a nice place to come from”.

My usual toast “The Six Great Loves”, and for once, Dick responded! Enthusiastically!
(Banjo and accordion strummed, “Boulevard of broken dreams”.) We stood at the bar all the evening. (Dark young Italians, danced as Latinos do.)

Came back along Old Coach Road, both very cheery and speaking with Continental accent.

Saturday 6th April 1935

Motor-cycle races at Brooklands, with Mad Willy. Screaming machines, lapping at 100mph. Stink of exhaust pipe fumes. Hurtling black specks in the distance.

Afterwards, tea and supper at a nice house – Willy’s. Introduced to his sister Kathleen, in a twilit room. Teas there in the shadowy firelight…

Left very late and came home along dark, rain swept roads, household asleep, clock had stopped. Glass of cider beside my bed.

Thursday 4th April 1935

Mad Willy and I walked into a room marked at the door by a card – “Paints, Varnishes and Enamels Exam”

Glanced at the first question – Coal tar distillation, naphtha and naphthalenes – and my heart sank. Looked at the second question – making a Copal varnish – and my heart rose again…

A hard paper, on the whole. Worked until 9.21, then Mad Willy and I came away, both cheerily pessimistic. God! I hope I haven’t failed!

Wednesday 3rd April 1935

Bought a new pipe today – I could just afford it.

Had a bath in the evening, which gave me a nice, clean feeling. Lazed about; did little studying. Think I’ll be alright.

On Sunday in a pub at Windsor, we were discussing life and love. I told of the six love affairs I desired at some time. Jotted them down on a cigarette packet; I’ve got it with me now.

These are the six women, or situations, I wish to meet:

An imaginative dreamer. (“And then, you suddenly cried and turned away”)
Sophistication. Emotionless. Intellectual.
Intensely romantic affair, i.e. unusual and strange.
Very passionate and emotional storm.
Madam. i.e. the queen and her subject. Proud, except with her lover (I love you very much, Madam)
Mother of Peace – (“And take my tiredness home…”)
The six great loves! (The cynic: “Quite an ambitious programme, what?”)

Tuesday 2nd April 1935

Lunchtime: cycled along the river side to Bells of Ouzeley. Cheese sandwiches, cider and beer, cigarettes. Wrote a gay letter home, using the bare table as my writing pad.

Evening: tried to do swotting for Thursday’s exam. But the wireless was too noisy.
So I’m scribbling this instead. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to work later in the evening. Hardly the digs for studying – but – summer is coming!

Monday 1st April 1935

Just before reaching Ashford, Brockwell, Dick and I had a wild paper battle in the carriage. The train stopped but we did not. Hurling bits of newspaper and laughing madly. The platform crowd saw three young maniacs… Later on, I lost my pipe (old friend) but not my self possession. Also lost my railway ticket but fortunately, the collector was kind.

(Moral: To be healthy and happy, one should play the fool three times a day)

Sunday 31st March 1935

Morning: quiet stroll with Ron, in the sleeping sunlight.

Afternoon: Tea at Young’s, with John Brockwell. Afterwards the three of us rode madly down into Windsor. To the Ship. Brock’s bike had a loud horn and a very feeble lamp! Stayed at the Ship until closing time.

Felt much better today. Apparently, the cure for a cold is, beer and gaiety!

March 28th to March 30th 1935

Went to town on Thursday by tube and road.

Caught a cold somewhere; bad head on Friday – cigarettes lost their savour.

Saturday, met Young at the Bells of Ouzeley. Sat in the bar window, waiting for him. (The road below, and the river with a faint sheen, in the dusk.) On the table before me, a glass of bitter and a book of poetry…

Spent the evening with beer. Think it did me good. Forgot to play the invalid.

Wednesday 27th March 1935

Got a new suit of overalls at the Works. Felt clean and less greasy. Hands clean and no longer sore.

A glorious day, and I hoped I’d see Pegs at lunchtime. I did! Long, happy talk beside the river. (If only things could be different!)

Had no lunch, just a smoke. Didn’t need anything.
Evening – swotting.

Tuesday 26th March 1935

Spent the afternoon in tinting undercoats. Made a filthy mess of myself.

At present, My Colour Shop mates are Sergt. Sid Gale, the foreman, Bugler Woodward, Privates Barwell and Hallsworth, Jack Wooders, Bill Hopkins and Vic Howard. (The latter is my “boss” at present, being the department boy, in charge of canning up and tank stirring.)

Thank heavens! The winter is past!

Plans for this summer –
Much laughter and sport in the sunshine.
Quietness, sometimes.
Many friends to play the ass and adventure with.
No love affairs.
A little more money to spend than I have now.
These are my desires for the summer that is coming!

After writing the above, I attacked my homework.
Did my chemmy. Calculations – a mathematical idiot like myself gets great satisfaction from plodding through calculations successfully – and then began writing out some P.V. and E. notes. Interrupted by a loud Yorkshire voice – Brockwell! Wanted me to move into his digs forthwith, while there is a vacancy. I’d like to – but not until the autumn.

Glad one of my friends is neither emotional, sentimental nor a dreamer.

Sunday 24th March 1935

Morning stroll with Ron beside the river across the green Medes. (Racing fours on the river.) Just like olden times – that is last summer. Ron has not altered much.

Evening; I took Dick to Ashford and introduced him to King Eric. Pleasant night but –
The golden minutes of the day were just before teatime. I had been working at my notes a long time and felt tired. So I lit a cigarette and walked down the garden. Sat on an old seat at the end, idly scanning old diaries. A cat and a dog beside me. Warmth and quietness. I heard the tinkle of the Convent bell – the Angelus. As I turned towards the house, Mrs. New was just coming to call me for tea.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saturday 23rd March 1935

Raining hard. Gloomily I donned my old clothes and met Dick at Staines Bridge. Called on Brock. And stayed to tea. Dick and I then went to the Pictures – dashed hot.

A drink at the White Lion, then we met Withey. (An old friend, Secretary of TocH at Staines.) A strange meeting, late at night on the Causeway. He’d been to the Pictures, alone. Went as far as the Bells of Ouzeley with Dick. There we stopped for a last talk and cigarettes.

When I turned to come home I faced the huge, just-waning moon, low in the eastern sky. It was nearly midnight.

Friday 22nd March 1935

I now have a hot meal at night when there’s time. Should give me more energy. Did homework tonight. Although I don’t mention it there is a definite quota of homework, writing up etc. to be done. Incidentally the technical exam is nearly due.

Thursday 21st March 1935

Mad Willy and I both felt tired so slacked at the Poly.

I cycled idly home in the late afternoon of a summer-like day; washed, changed, had a snack of tea.

Went to Norlands home at 6 o’clock and waited, sitting on a gate with a book of poetry. “…Songs and dreams are better than the truth…”

We caught the 6.31 up and did not do much practical work. Reached Staines again at half past ten. Mad Willy said that clouds before the silver moon were like “wind swept sands”.

A beautiful day and a beautiful night. Delightful change, strolling down “tube” passages, in no hurry. We could have caught an early train up, by sprinting over the bridge. “Shall we catch it?” “No”. Simultaneously we both said, “Beneath our dignity!” We let that train go without us!

Tuesday 19th March 1935

Vigil Day

Trivial things irritated me. My dirty, sore hands, tired feet.

At lunchtime I found Pegs on the Medes. (Wish she would not make it harder for me!)
I carried her shopping basket. She looked lovely.

As I was tired I did not go far for Vigil. (Much quicker than usual – less exhilaration – but very sincere. That was my special request for the forthcoming twelve months – Sincerity.)

Watery moon, faint breeze. From a seat below a stone wall, I looked towards misty darkness. The future, also like that. There were people in the woods around – lovers – but I was strangely alone, aloof. For some time I sat there smoking my pipe, drinking it all in.

Since returning I have been in the bar at Red Lion. I’m sitting in a corner now, writing this; a glass of beer beside me.

Monday 18th March 1935

I was too idle to cycle to Hounslow. Went by train and had a generally expensive night. For lunch, I had a shillings worth of beer at the Kings Head and a pleasant talk with a complete stranger who did not like discussing the weather. (Which is topping.)

Sunday 17th March 1935

On the summit of St. Anne’s, Brockwell and I wrestled whilst Dick lounged nearby smoking. Strange scene; our struggling, panting figures in the bright moonlight; trees around. No result, though we fought for ten minutes or more. I could feel our evenness of strength at the first grapple. Good scrap!

When I said “cheerio” to Dick outside the Bells of Ouzeley, I felt sad. Back to routine! First time I’ve felt that regret since coming here.

Saturday 16th March 1935

Evening of pub crawling with Bob Young. (Symbolic of the new chapter.) Drinks at the Red Lion, Pack Horse, Angel and Swan. At the Pack we took our glasses onto the river veranda. Leaned over the rail, happily. The night was warm. At the Swan we tried two rooms – lounge and saloon bar. The latter was very noisy but cheerful.

We were both cheerful as we walked back to Thorpe along Chertsey Lane. The beer seemed to make us happy and witty.

(Symbolic of the new chapter. Yes, it’s better than the art of introspection)

Friday 15th March 1935

At lunchtime I had no tea but had three stale cakes. Glutton!

Thursday 14th March 1935

How weary and weak I felt when I set out for Hounslow! Usually feel pretty listless. Not lack of sleep; lack of food. At Ashford I had a bar of chocolate and 3 cups of tea. Thought that meant no lunch tomorrow!

Instead of going to Hounslow Central Station I turned aside to one slightly nearer – Hounslow West. Would the fare be too much?… It was the same and the cycle storage was 3d cheaper. Leaves me 4 1/2d and a few cigarettes! Reached the Poly. Early. No lecturer. Slacked about – made a coter varnish – until 8.30, then left.

“Mac” incidentally had not been gossiping (nor had I) so doubtless the scandal was a result of Colin’s vivid imagination. What a stupid, petty business!

Hounslow West, 9.25 Home along Great West Road, 10.10p.m.

Wednesday 13th March 1935

Peggy again met me on the Medes; alone this time. Came to give me a book which might interest me. (Either she is heartless or she doesn’t understand.) I said she was a devil and she said, well, I shouldn’t be so silly. She liked me very much and enjoyed going out with me…

Afterwards, I found Mad Willy sitting quietly beside the river. Lit a cigarette and talked to him, In the sunshine. (Cold sunshine – early dawn.)

Last night I was in bed and unconscious by 8.30. Eleven hours of solid sleep! Glorious!

This week, I can go to the Poly in the orthodox way and miss one “lunch”. Alternatively, I can have the usual snacks and cycle part of the way. I’ll do the latter. I’d love a square meal!

Tuesday 12th March 1935

7 o’clock. The sitting room at the Red Lion.

When we got to that side gate at Wood Haw, in the very early hours of this morning, - I kissed Peggy. Then with her in my arms, I told her… Why? Whole thing impossible and so forth… Interval… I kissed her again and cursed and came out of the gate.
She came out too and gave me her hand. I kissed it. Her last words – “Don’t forget to phone me, will you?”

It had been a very happy night – one of the best we’ve ever had. If only I could have met her in 1937, not 1933! But perhaps I shall. Who dares guess at the future?

When I awoke this morning, I was very tired; I’ve been tired all day.

Out of the works at lunchtime. Green, sunlit Medes. She was riding nearby, with someone else and came across the meadow with me. Again she said, with quiet serene certainty, “Don’t forget what I said, will you?” I went into the Coach and Horses and had a drink.

It is 7.10. At 7.30 I’m going upstairs! Read in bed awhile, then – sleep.

Monday 11th March 1935

At 7.30 I left the chemmy lecture theatre, signed the lab. register and went down to meet Pegs. After a drink at the Duke of Wellington we went to see “Lives of a Bengal Lancer”… Damn the details!

It is just 2 o’clock and I’m alone in my room, still wearing my coat. ‘Tis cold.
Wonder what Peggy is doing now? I think she has just fallen asleep. The ashes of love were cast… as planned.

Blast it! I cannot write of the thing just now. Some other time.

Sunday 10th March 1935

Tea with Bob Young at Windsor. In future he is to be called by his second name – Dick – which I like better.

This time we parted at the Copper Horse – 10.30p.m. and a windy night. Examined the thing by flashlight. Then a crazy mood seized me and I climbed to the top. Rush of wind. I could just touch the horse’s belly, as I stood below it, with my out stretched hand. More tricky journey down, in the dark. Took my shoes off and Young directed the way with the aid of my flash. He thought I was mad. I was!

Diary entry, March 10th or following week;
“Ashes of love to be cast to the four winds of heaven”

Saturday 9th March 1935

As cold as black midwinter.

Bob gave me his birthday present this evening; he took me to see a play in town. Seats near the front in the upper circle. Pleasant atmosphere of a theatre. “The Wind and the Rain”

Came down by the 11.58. Home 1 o’clock.
I’ve never had such an intimate friend before.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dawn 1935 First Day

"With laughter then, I go to greet, what fate has still in store for me”

Friday 8th March 1935

Grey, bitter day. Did some colour tinting at work and got myself in a filthy mess.

Spoke to Miss Walmsley – a rare occurrence. She said Colin wished to see me. Rather savage about some tittle-tattle he’d heard from one of the Poly. Students, (Mac.) whom he works with. Arranged to see him at Staines Bridge, 8.30.

Described my feelings when I remarked to Maurice that I was “bloody tired of it” “perfectly ridiculous.” Waited at the Bridge. Very cold, flakes of driving snow. Smoking a pipe, nervously. He was smoking a cigarette. We went into the Swan and talked things over, gradually becoming more friendly. Later I told him I was thoroughly ashamed of the midwinter episode; that the affair was utterly ended as far as I was concerned; and that my conscience was quite clear about the gossip he had heard. All true. Glad to get it off my mind. Felt cleaner. We had drinks and cigarettes together; talked an hour or so. He’s not a bad chap and very much in love.
We shook hands outside the pub. “Cheerio”

Awfully pleased we met. I hated not being straight with him.

So Stillness and happily, on a snowy night.

Tuesday 5th March 1935

I’ve arranged to see Peggy next Monday, March 11th. Our last outing. Doubtless I shall feel very miserable – before and afterwards.

We went for a stroll tonight. In one of her most charming moods, which makes the thought of next Monday much worse. Shall not be able to drown my sorrows in lots of artificial gaiety either, for I’ll be hard up. Bus to Chertsey. Along the Old Coach Road, through the woods. Sometimes trees seemed to close in on us, hanging over.
Stars, no moon. We paused at romantic spots but I never kissed her though she was often in my arms. Saw nobody; we were very much alone. Came, later. To the old power station (gaunt and sinister) and I pretended it was strange to me.

Delightful evening – and I felt sad instead of happy. (Her hand often stealing into mine as we walked.) “Race nearly run”

Monday 4th March 1935

Monotonous, uninteresting day’s work in the Colour Shop; chiefly, canning out.

Coming down from town, Young and I sat opposite a girl whom we thought to be Brocks’ girlfriend – “the landlady’s daughter”. We made comments about her in my notebook. Young asked her if she objected to the window being open; her voice tallied. She got out at Staines, - I overtook her outside the station. “I say, are you Miss Deering?”

She wasn’t!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sunday 3rd March 1935

Steady, pleasant studying during the morning.

Young and I went for a stroll; through St. Anne’s Hill woods until we came to a strange old building, almost ruinous. With a great chimney rearing out of the roof; some disused power station?

Evening: visited King Eric of Sweden (Mr. Hose) Had supper and many Turkish cigarettes. I like King Eric. Just my luck, to have met him. I walked into the wrong room once, accidentally.

Saturday 2nd March 1935

Worked in the colour shop. Tiring labour, stirring big tanks of paint.

At lunchtime, Mad Willy came into the Red Lion to discuss some Poly. Prep. We sat in the parlour with our notes (+ cider + cigarettes!)

Evening, met Young at the Ship. Drinks there and at the Swan (ultra modern and cold). I felt hungry; sausage and chips at somewhere “cheap and cheerful”. Back to the Ship until closing time.

Bob and I parted somewhere in Windsor Park. Leaned on our bikes talking quietly for some time. How utterly silent and dark and peaceful! Vague shapes around. Glowing ends of cigarettes.

Got home at 12.30. Late again! Supper in the bedroom. I had no matches for my “nightcap” smoke, so went downstairs to the taproom and lit it at the dull-glowing fire. Then read in bed for an hour or so.

Friday 1st March 1935

Long, busy days! Topping! A.B. Simpkins was taken on at the Works again. I am to move into the Colour Shop tomorrow. Fresh venture! Most important place since the Making House.

Had a note for Bob but nearly forgot it. Just caught him as he passed through Staines by the 5.31.

Back to the pub. Wash, tea, wrote a letter. Phoned Peggy and arranged a meeting two hours ahead. Shopping in Staines. Called at the library to apologise for my absence.
Back to Thorpe. Bath, changed; a cigarette. Cycled to Egham.

As a clock struck 9, I was waiting on the riverside for Peggy. Flood water racing down. Those few minutes with her – well, I won’t be morbid or introspective. Back to Thorpe.

As a clock struck 10, I was taking off my mac. Now it is supper time. I’m hungry!

Thursday 28th February 1935

Long day. As I was dragging a pot of hot oil about the yard, I was called to the phone. Marjorie! Surprise. Arranged to see her after Poly.

Lunchtime, Bell Weir, Mad Willy. Discussed girls. I made an entry in my diary and showed it to him. “Ashes of love to be cast to the four winds of heaven” March 10th or following week.

Cycled home easily at 4.30 Cup of tea, cigarettes, changed. Cycled in a leisurely way to Staines and caught the 6.11. Reached the Poly at 7.10 and made a rosin-linseed oil varnish.

Met Marjorie at 9.30 and she took me to a snug little Russian Restaurant near the Circus. “The Troika”

Afterwards we went to her flat at Paddington, for coffee. Fascinating modern decoration. Left at 11.30 and just caught the last train down.

Home at 1 o’clock. Happy day. “Efficient” feeling, with no plans going astray.

Wednesday 27th February 1935

Not much to write about, except that I went to the Pictures with Peggy.

Also, it was a pretty wintry day. Rain – and I rode to the Works in the morning, through drifting snowflakes.

(The gentle, soothing bell of the village church has just struck – twelve o’clock. Only sound in the silence.)

Monday 25th February 1935

Rained hellishly all day. Feet wet and cold, clothes clammy most of the time.

Lunchtime; sandwiches under a tree on the riverbank with “Mad Willie”, i.e. Jones of the lab. the fresh air fiend and crazy person generally. But quite pleasantly mad!

I still half plan, half dream. Re Pegs, I’m going to get as much happiness (perhaps I should say “enjoyment”) out of the next few meetings with her. Then finish. Why not? We’re in different worlds; she is gay (candle entices fluttering moth) whilst I am a dull dog in a transitional, educative stage. Not as though she loved me particularly; she has so many admirers.

Yes. I’ll end it quite soon. But never a hint until the time comes! Rather amusing how we continue coming together and parting! While things are - as they are – it would be fatuous to keep it up. N’est ce pas?

(All right, you clever maker of plans! See that your plans are fulfilled!)

Sunday 24th February 1935

Rainy afternoon. Bob and I were to take a walk but eventually got no further than Pat’s at Staines, where we had tea.

After tea we returned to Thorpe! Sat in the back room and talked in our usual intimate way. Must record however that before going to Staines we went into St. Mar’s and wandered around. Silence and the fascinating odour of incense. Aloofness of a Catholic Church. Surely, it should be so? Worship, not love?

Saturday 23rd February 1935

Did my homework at high speed during the afternoon and found myself with nothing to do after tea. A year ago, I’d have taken a lonely walk and brooded and been (probably) miserable. Tonight, I walked into Egham and spent the evening in the Kings Head; talking around the lounge fire.

I am not broke yet! Until I have reached the Combat stage, I’ll enjoy myself and snatch as much carefree happiness as possible.

Friday 22nd February 1935

Went to town with Peggy. “Barretts of Wimpole Street” by the Poly. Dramatic Society. Don’t think I was happy once in the whole evening. Silly ass – in more ways than one.

I am writing this in bed, 2a.m. Some sandwiches and a glass of cider were laid out for me when I returned. It’s bitterly cold.

Thursday 21st February 1935

Brief chronicle of foolishness: Reached Waterloo by 5.20 and decided to walk to the Poly. Had had no tea at all. A whisky in the Strand. Went into a select underground bar at Oxford Circus called “Harry’s”. More whisky. Very nice but I couldn’t afford it and needed some food in any case. Hasty cup of tea and a sandwich at the Poly before going into the lab.

Did not do much work. There is little to do in the paint lab. Nearly everyone slacks. Jones and I later, climbed a step ladder onto the roof. Met by cold, hard wind, lights of the City below and around us. Ended the evening hard up and with a head ache.

If I had to spend it, why not on food? I could manage a decent meal, heaven knows!

Wednesday 20th February 1935

Spent the evening in (so to speak) clearing up. Had a bath, wrote several letters, did some reading and studying. As I sat, making notes of a book – “Personnel Administration” – I subconsciously weaved fantastic dreams in which adventure and ambition blended. It was an American book and my thoughts went to that country; home of industrial psychology.

The fantasy: I go from making house to colour shop. A summer on “Colours”, then, my training over, I go into the office as assistant to Mr Lever. (I like him) Then I am able to live almost comfortably and without help from home. A winter of advanced paint study of industrial administration at the Poly. Then – glorious summer. Follows – big changes at the works and I’m one of the lucky ones! Now I am virtually Ascot Works Manager. Years follow. Happiness. Responsibility and salary gradually increase. Until I reach the farthest point possible… Still under thirty, I leave. Go to America. Personnel work in a big paint firm. (And do I take an English girl with me?)

The fantasy goes no further. Success is looming! The dream ends at that.

Tuesday 19th February 1935

A letter from Audrey on the tea-table. A sweet one, which made me feel happy and sad. Especially the PS; “It is the stirrups which are missing from the Copper Horse.”

Plaintive, inconsequent reference to an old argument we had. Phoned Peggy. Not in; she’d gone to the Pictures (alone). Apparently however, she hadn’t changed her mind about our next meeting. Gave her the chance, anyhow! When I first spoke to Wood Haw, I was mistaken for some other young man…

Dashed to Windsor, cycle running beautifully; met Bob and went to Datchet. Pageant meeting was diverting but made us both feel quite disgusted. Petty bickering. We conversed by scribbled notes, as follows –

Y. There are no young people in this Group.
D. Not yet!
D. Is Langley too far for you?
Y. No.
D. Hose entourage?
Y. Yes, if you think it would be thrilling.
Y. Dashing young men in doublets etc…


D. Much “misunderstanding” and the usual mud slinging.
Y. Mother speaking for her son. Very weak.
D. All this petty business! Awfully amusing. Given holly shining far above the pettifogging, what?
D. Son, now speaking, parrot-like.
Y. I understand now, why we were under suspicion of being pressmen.

Drinks in the Ship to wash away the nausea. Talk. Sentimental bilge – only it wasn’t bilge. Another late return to the Red Lion.

Combat is coming, I know, but meanwhile, I am seizing as much carefree enjoyment as possible and am not being too mean with my money. Why should I be? Unhappiness is sure to come – and it will come much sooner if I deny myself the everyday pleasures.

Monday 18th February 1935

As the train from town drew into Staines I made a hasty arrangement to met Young tomorrow night. We’d go to the Pageant meeting at Datchet!

Sunday 17th February 1935

With Audrey. Met her in Datchet. Walked aimlessly beyond Slough, through strange country, until we reached, at dusk, a quiet little church with many graves and a huge monument nearby. It was Stoke Poges and here the poet, Gray, wrote his “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.” Sunset in the west and the moon newly risen in the east. (“Isn’t it sweet!” said Audrey.)

Caught a convenient bus to Slough and from there to Eton. Late tea at The Red House. Back to Datchet in the clear moonlight, strolling as we used to. Told her it was our last outing; she did not ask why. Went to the Manor Hotel for a drink. White Horse and Sherry. “Our respective futures” Said goodbye outside her gate. Kissed goodbye. Our first real kiss – the others, last summer, were without feeling.

Cycled home alone in the clear moonlight.

Saturday 16th February 1935

Young introduced me to another delightful place – this time the lounge of a Windsor pub called The Ship. White jacketed waiter, cosy corners, happy atmosphere and in one corner, a pianist and jazz drummer.

More beer at the Castle with Hubbard; then the three of us went back to the Ship until closing time. I had quite enough beer but not too much.

Leaving Windsor, I hurtled back to Thorpe, a very strong wind behind me. Seemed to fly effortlessly. (My mind and body were alert yet somehow, my eyes did not seem able to concentrate.) Silver moon, nearly at the full, made the world as light as day, only the light was of that strange whiteness that one does not get with sunshine. Clouds raced past the moon, shadows raced along the road.

At the Red Lion supper table I still felt semi-tight! Went to bed to sleep it off. I did.

Friday 15th February 1935

Hail to the new Tangle approaching in the distance! I’ll give this one a different name, for the sake of change and call it the Combat.

Combat! Applicable enough. A desperate fight to make both ends meet and yet enjoy life!

Called at Mr Beach’s, in the evening of a rough, windy day. Quietness by his family’s fireside…

As Thorpe Church clock struck ten I was going through the lytch gate. Eerie and pleasant, there. Silent, significant gravestones; the dark tower and the rough wind.

At periods a restless yearning for adventure comes to me. A desire to go and seek “pastures new”. Wanderlust. Adventure lust. That mood is on me now. If only I could give way to it! Were I always to obey that reckless impulse, where would it lead me – happiness or misery, success or failure? If only we knew! However I always fight it down. Have to. To “go into the dark” would make many people who love me unhappy. Also there is the responsibility to those who set me on the ladder of everyday ambition. “stick to the job you have been given…” (The last phrase rankles; it shouldn’t).

Wednesday 13rh February 1935

My twenty second birthday (quite unofficially!)

An uneventful day. Rained at lunchtime. Making the new “synthetic” varnish at the Works.

Evening, homework, letters and the wireless.

I had been feeling disconsolate, foreseeing only trouble to come. Then a wireless programme of 1921 put my thoughts into a different channel.

How long and changeful is life! Everyday troubles are just part of it and insignificant!

Tuesday 12th February 1935

I drink whisky (“White Horse”) now. 50% affectation, 10% because I like it…

Peggy. Seems as though the affair might become quite a deep one this time. My emotions, unstable. Also my pocket. (Sublime to practical!)

Peggy is very different. Why? The eternal question mark! Perhaps that’s her attraction.

Monday 11th February 1935

Straight from work; caught the 5.2 from Staines. Brockwell and I in a “ladies only” carriage. We removed the labels. Came back with Young, on the 9.47.

Met so many interesting people, this evening; many intriguing sights. My luck.
An expensive, reckless night, too.

Sunday 10th February 1935

Pleasant weather returns!

…By way of a sleepy field, the three of us came to peaceful Braywood Church. No houses in sight; only green fields, bare trees and the grey church…

Tea at the Trivet, Maidenhead. Brockwell still very Yorkshire. Tramped through silent lands under the moon; talked of eerie things.

Discontentedly happy.

Saturday 9th February 1935

Icily cold still.

Evening – plodded doggedly through my homework whilst the wireless sang. And when I’d finished – a glass of homemade wine and a cigarette. Only two free evenings from homework, this week.

“Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight,
And fight and die is death destroying death,
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.”

Friday 8th February 1935

Colder than before in the making house.

Lunchtime – no lunch. No cigarettes.

Afternoon, a little more bleak than the morning. On leaving work (meagre pay in pocket), I had hot pie and coffee at the snack bar. Later, bought ten “Capstan” and a box of matches. (Reckless devil!)

Back at Thorpe, I had hot tea, cakes and toast. Later a bag of potatoe crisps. Now I’ll smoke another cigarette!

Thursday 7th February 1935

Cycled from the Works to the Poly. Spent 3d at a snack bar, and returning, got a bar of chocolate from a machine by inserting an Australian penny. Smoked what I thought was my last cigarette whilst I waited for the class to assemble. Actually however, I had two offered me, later in the evening. Did not refuse.

A dull night’s work and a cold day’s work.

“Courage… the ruddy watch fire of cold winter days…”

Wednesday 6th February 1935

A wild NE wind made us shiver in the exposed making house.

Bleak meeting by the river at lunchtime – Peggy. (Yes, I’m seeing her again!) My unstable emotions have let me down and I’m not in love. However… it’s simply that my emotional energy is directed to ambition rather than love, at the moment.

Bitter afternoon.
Evening; did not stir from the warm, comfortable house.

Tuesday 5th February 1935

Peggy was as unexpected, surprising and charming as usual. Also less reserved. She looked tired, though. From Waterloo, I rang up the New Vic. (Peggy with me in the box) to ask where it was! The clerk gave me vague directions. Then the phone operator rang through, apologised for listening in, and gave me clear, concise instructions. Courteous telephone service!

In a crowded District train Peggy and I were next to a couple of yodellers, one with a banjo.

Mid balcony at the New Victoria. At the interval – a Spanish tango orchestra, on the stage. All my favourites. (I was happy but discontented, a strange combination.)

After a snack in the Waterloo buffet, we caught the 11.58 down. New experience, to be in London with a girl – and a jolly attractive one at that!

After seeing Peggy home I walked to Thorpe. 2 o’clock.

Monday 4th February 1935

Sunny, spring like. Larks singing above the green Medes…

I sat on a fence at lunchtime with Jones, eating sandwiches.

4.30. Straight to town by road. Stopped for a snack at Hounslow; reached the Poly. at 6 o’clock and had time for a thorough wash before the lecture began.

A pretty girl student in the class. Newcomer. Blue eyes. As we waited for our sodium sulphate solution to crystallise, Duffy (my partner) and I discussed her. I wagered sixpence I’d speak to her first (no easy matter in a chemmy class). As I slapped my stake down on the bench, the lecturer came along and asked what the bet was. Squarely I told him it was a little wager about the crystallisation. He then called the new student across to see the experiment! Two minutes later I had redeemed my stake.

Sunday 3rd February 1935

Afternoon, tramped to Chobham with Young and Brockwell. Rough but very warm wind.
Had tea at a cosy place with “atmosphere” – The Sundial. Up the road into the blustery darkness; to the clump of firs. Then by Albury Bottom, we wandered, seemingly lost, away from paths and roads. Straight across the Common until we reached a path near Graciouspond – a few short yards south of the spot I had aimed for!

Got there by luck or instinct but not by judgement.

Saturday 2nd February 1935

Worked (hard) until 2.30 in the making house. Rest of the day spent aimlessly, or in doing homework.

NB Hard-up from now until next Friday. Reason, heavy entertainment expenses.

Friday 1st February 1935

In the making house once more, crouching over the fires, as a thermometer crept higher – tugging cumbersome pots about – the hissing roar of the burners in my ears...

Met Audrey from the 7.45 at Staines station. Gossip. She was well dressed and looked pretty. We went to Pat’s and had coffee and rare-bit. Talked long over the table. She caught the 9.50 to Datchet.

Thursday 31st January 1935

Doings at the works. Arthur Simpkins of the making house thrashed a lorry driver who called him “lazy bugger”. Both suspended for a month.

Cheese and beer in the bar at Bells of Owzeley. Sat in a bow window overlooking the river.

Afternoon: In the White Room painting can lids and thinking how dull it all was. Paint and cans and brushes – no thrills. “Mr Lever wants you…” “We want you to go back to the making house, Dawson, for a month. We’re short there…”

Wednesday 30th January 1935

A letter from Mr Hox (Runnymede) was delivered at the works. He wanted to see me about a certain matter. Went to his house at Ashford. Sherry and bitters, dinner, beer and music. He wished me to join his retinue in the Elizabethan episode of the Slough Pageant (this summer) Yes! “Every things coming my way!”

Pageant again! Oh! Glorious! The first warning of approaching summer.

Monday 28th January 1935

Still in the White Room and I find it rather dull.

“Hullo Peggy” (once more!)

“The barrier at Waterloo, Tuesday, 7.30”. Young showed me a short cut to the Poly. From Waterloo along devious streets and over the river. I found my way back by the same route. Good path finding!

(Lights on the embankment, the rippling Thames, hurrying city workers; still dark boats on the water.)

Sunday 27th January 1935


A pleasant surprise just before lunch, Brockwell called to see me.

Walked half way to Staines with him, through the boisterous wind (gloves, stick, scarf). Striding back along the lonely Norelands Lane I met two girls but only noticed one. We looked straight at each other as we passed. Greenish eyes, deuced attractive. She fitted the hard sunshine and wind. Afterwards I turned round; she was also looking back. I hurried through Thorpe, pretty in the sunlight. I sang tunelessly.

Who’s been polishing the sun? Brockwell, Peggy, Young and the Girl in the Lane. And the rough wind, which whips the blood into your cheeks.

Dark evening, Callow Hill. Young and I hurried down the road through driving snow – a sudden squall. We sought shelter in a little beer house – two good friends who talk much. Sentimental asses. Sometimes our sentimentality strikes the wrong note.

Saturday 26th January 1935

“It’s a wild night!” A friendly voice called in passing as I strode through the darkness towards Egham. A wild night and a happy one. I went into the King’s Head for a drink; all my old friends came in and we sat around the fire. A letter from Peggy was there, for me. Read it twice in lulls of the conversation. The first feeling was the old upset one. The second, just happiness…… ”Years before I saw you again… awfully glad when I saw you that morning in Egham High Street… don’t know why – it shouldn’t make any difference… should it?… I’ve wanted to speak to you ever since that morning… I’m not engaged yet!… I still go out with whom I like… I hope you will write…”

Left the King’s Head at closing time. A few flakes of snow fell as I marched back to Thorpe.

Irrelevant note: The Tangle (the old, grim Tangle) is now officially declared ended.

Friday 25th January 1935

Helped at Staines library as usual. Walked back through the darkness, a rough wind in my face.

I live in the country now!
Delightful feeling!

Tuesday 22nd Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24 January 1935

On Wednesday at lunchtime I struggled against hunger for just over half an hour. Then I began to spend the eighteen pence which would take me to town next day.
So I had lunch snacks every day and did not go to the Poly on Thursday. Feigned headache at work.

Monday 21st January 1935

Called in the twilight at 7.30 I heard the twittering of many birds, near my open window.

To the Poly via Hounslow at night. Feeling very hungry when I reached Staines again, I stopped for a snack. Have 6d. left for lunches until Friday!

Sunday 20th January 1935

First day of stillness.

Rambling with Bob in Windsor Forest – a happy afternoon and evening. Through bare woods, windless.

Stillness and Dawn 1935

J.S. Dawson, The Red Lion, Thorpe, Near Chertsey, Surrey.

“The great difference between men… Is energy, invincible determination”

Saturday 19th January 1935

Should have been “Daily Round” Day, when I keep a detailed note of all my doings.
Did not have any time however and in any case it was not an ordinary day.

Breakfast at Kings Head, lunch at Red Lion. All my kit is at Thorpe now. Each time I move there is more kit to be transported.

This book has covered a rather chaotic period. At this time I might have been on the way to engagement to a girl at the Works! What a damn fool! (As Young told me at the time!) At Thorpe I hope for a nice quiet time. Strife at the Works, peace at home – that is my idea of a happy life.

In the evening I cycled to Hounslow. Cinema again; I enjoyed their musical programme. Discovered there was more “guts” in classical music than in jazz.
A desperate race back, with a speeding bus. Just beat it to Staines Bridge. Arrived at digs 11.40.

Cheese and pickles for supper!

Wednesday 16th January 1935

Having a cup of tea at Cliffs Wonder Bar I noticed a book with a striking title, “Covenant with Death.” I asked for and was handed the book – actual photographs of the stickier side of the War. Ghastly… And people talk casually about “the next war…” (All the time a wireless set was throbbing a jazz number – “Walking in the winter wonderland.”

In my head now, the two are inseparable – the rhythm of that song and the horror of war.)

Tuesday 15th January 1935

No news or notes of events but just a little reminder… ”Straight and clean and deep” – I’ve just remembered that, it seems.

NB Honour, Chivalry and Straightness – these things are not to be sneered at, even in love affairs. The practice of these things is a reward in itself – and pays.

Monday 14th January 1935

To the Poly. – via Hounslow, thus saving 1/6d. Wasted so much time in the tubes (carelessness) that I arrived very late and did not attend the lecture at all. Loitered about until the lab. was opened.

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th January 1935

Saturday evening: A lone walk in the cold starlight towards Colnbrook. Bread, (a great hunk) cheese and beer in the public bar of Ye Olde Punch Bowl.

Sunday: Out with Young for a walk in the greyness. Eventually reached the Mill House for tea again! The place to ourselves – except for two whispering sweethearts in a corner.

The bill was presented – 37/3d. I was able to pay 27/3d and then gave notice. (Moral courage!)

Friday 11th January 1935

The first plan failed; the second has been abandoned. I’ll receive the bill but won’t be able to pay it!

A stormy night with a high wind and much rain. Cycled into it, wearing a coat and macintosh. Soon the rain stopped and I was racing along drenched roads. At Hounslow I tried to sell my overcoat to a pawn broker but he “never dealt in coats”. (It was nearly closing time.) Came from the pledge office with a nasty taste in my mouth.

Went to the Dominion Theatre and gave my mac. to the car park attendant (he was glad of it). When I got inside, a girl on the stage was singing “I’ll string along - with you” Typical 20th century jazz! I enjoyed it all, very much. Jack Halbert in “The Camels are Coming” sang “Who’s been polishing the Sun?” OK.

Left there 11 o’clock, home as the clock struck 12.

Thursday 10th January 1935

My working overalls being nasty and ragged and slimy, I bought a lab. coat last night. It was delivered at the Works this morning and I proudly donned it.

At lunchtime I suddenly realised I was broke again! That is, I had about 6/- left and 20/- was due from home on Monday. (The quota!) On Saturday my bill here will be about 36/6 or 37/- On Friday I shall receive my weeks wages – 30/-
It sound rather obtuse so I’ll tabulate:

In hand - 6s 1p; Wages - 30s 0p = Income until Monday - 36/-

Digs (roughly) - 37/-; Laundry - 1/1 = Expenses until Monday 38/-.

Additional expenses, lunches and pocket money for Sunday. Therefore there is a deficit of at least 2/-.

Having considered all this I went to the Runnymede Snack Bar and puzzled things out –without gloominess this time. Eventually devised a plan – and if it fails I have a second (desperate) plan to avoid receiving the bill before Monday. (There was music, the Tango, “Argentina” and I whistled it gaily as I strode back to work.)

The time is 9.25; so far I have successfully resisted a weak impulse to write home for the necessary money. The last possible post goes at 9.45!

10.45p.m. I did not write home and I am not worrying about things.

Wednesday 9th January 1935

Spent the evening at a party at Mr. Beach’s house, Wraysbury Road.

(1982 - Who was Mr. Beach, occasionally mentioned in these books? I cannot visualise him or his home.)

All very bright and cheery. Then the old Tangle was upon me with a crash! It is hardly a Tangle now but just a nasty obstacle.

Tuesday 8th January 1935

Bitterly cold weather. Warning to myself! I am becoming emotional again as I was before the time of Volume Two. Reminder: I must cut down the emotional business and concentrate on practical things. I mean “emotional” in the sense of weak willed, loose tongued silliness.

These diary books are more capacious than the old ones, so shall reduce the number of books per year. I will use only eight titles instead of twelve: Dawn, Morning Mists, Shimmering Haze, Lengthening Shadows, Sunset, Twilight, Midnight, Stillness.

Monday 7th January 1935

Working so near Joan, I am tempted to spend my slack moments in profitless gossip with her. Unfortunate and unwise. Must stop.

Am learning pale tinting and my efforts at matching usually end in a ghastly colour many shades off the one required!

Beyond my quota this week. However, there’s no need to worry, for the Tangle’s happy ending is in sight. When I move….

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday 6th January 1935

With Young and Brockwell, through quantities of mud to St. Annes Hill – at dusk. Somehow managed to find the way up the slopes and through the dark woods.
Visited the Well and threw in stones. All of us fairly light hearted. The top. We contentedly smoked our pipes in the failing light. (Contented as only men away from women can be.)

Showed them the Nuns Grave which did not impress them. Young examined the masonry by the light of a match and pronounced it gravel and cement – of a recent date. Brockwell said “Aye” with his inimitable Yorkshire way. Wandered through the quarry and so to the Mill House. Thoroughly enjoyed it and lingered long over the table, effortless and at ease.

Coming back, we spent some time in the Red Lion tap room playing darts. Brockwell is unemotional and ambitious, Young is a sentimental ass (like myself).

Saturday 5th January 1935

Bitterly cold today and dry. When I get up in the morning I look eastwards and see red sky, as the sun rises. Sometimes it is a yellow dawn but not often. As I cross the Medes, just before 9 o’clock the White Works are before me.

Last night at dusk I saw red sky behind the bare trees on Coopers Hill; and across the yard rose the dark silhouette of the Making House chimneys – gauntly against a blue-grey sky.

A lonely walk in the afternoon. Stayed for tea and cakes and a chat in the Runnymede Snack Bar. Music – “I love you very much – madam.” Tango rhythm is bewitching. When I can dance, I must have a shot at the Tango! Aesthetic appeal!

Soon after writing the above, Bob Young arrived and spent the evening with me.
A jolly evening, sitting and drinking and talking to Jones and his wife; the Cinema manager; Messrs. Wren and Broome – all the usual crowd. After closing time, Young and I had supper. OK! A happy evening and if expensive, I’m still within the safety margin!

Strange, it made me feel more fit than the brisk walk I had, in the fresh air just before. Shows that physical unfitness can have a mental origin. Perhaps lonely strolls for the sake of health, defeat their own object.

Thursday 3rd January 1935

Beginning of Moonrise

I am quite happy nowadays. Must not let the old gloom about money troubles return. Will try and see it as a topping chance to improve my moral courage. As regards physical courage, I have long considered that each little fear overcome makes me more brave.

Glancing at my notes of a year ago, - on the whole I was much more unhappy then. Life was so dull and – somehow – bleak and wintry.

Wednesday 2nd January 1935

Warm, awkward work in the White Room – chiefly canning. Sore fingers.

The weather is still very warm and damp. The Thames is running fast and high.

Evening; went to the quiet little village of Thorpe, two miles away, in search of digs.The Red Lion, a country pub. “Country folk with quiet faces”; No bath, live with the family; supper provided; low ceilings; a wireless set; kettles on the hearth… A delightful change and only 25/- with some laundry done also! Next month – there would be nobody to know me; no snobs; The people are not a bit curious about me – Engineers from the gravel pits sometimes stay there… Like pages from a book!

It is nearly 12 o’clock. Smoking a cigarette, I am just going to read a few minutes before going to sleep. And –

Here ends Midnight.

Tuesday 1st January 1935

Morning in the Edge Runner Dept., still scraping. Then told to move into the White Mixing Room, to learn pale tinting. After lunch I said goodbye to Hiley, Howard and “Ascot Lad” (name unknown) and joined Bowdey, Gunner, Tom and Miss Walmsley.

My sixth department. Why the sudden hurry? I have an idea but it may be wrong… Miss Walmsley’s fiancé has just applied for a position in the lab. Perhaps his application has made the Office consider the possibilities of a student already in the works..? Incidentally Maurice has told me he is very keen to get a vacancy which may shortly occur in the lab. Thus, I know everything! (Or think I do.)

The financial system is now written out neatly. For the rest of the month I set myself a quota for expenditure – cigarettes, digs, cups of tea, laundry – everything. If I can keep within the quota – a hard one – I’ll end the month about 6/- in hand. Must not have any black moods! A good test for moral courage.

Monday 31st December 1934

Back to discipline, orderly routine, and glad of it! In the Edge Runner Dept. at the Works. All busy, scraping a machine. Nothing else to do.

After a cheery evening I am alone in the lounge. Everyone else gone to a dance. The time is 11.40p.m. The old year is nearly gone. Will light a “Craven A” and play the piano, there’s nobody to annoy!

12.01a.m. As 1934 became 1935 I was (still alone) trying vainly to play the refrain of “Sweetheart Darlin”.
The bells of Egham Church just against the pub, are ringing the New Year in.
Hail, 1935! You have begun!

Sunday 30th December 1934

Nottingham 6.2 Waterloo 9.53p.m.

Thursday 27th December 1934

In the Matlock district. Via Gellia. Roadside cave, full depth unreached for the second time. And above the high woods. And High Tor – Fern Cave. Four years ago, at dusk, I dare not enter Fern Cave. Today I went through it twice, fascinated and afraid. A deep, deep cleft in the rock, slippery and wet.

At night, in Nottingham, “T.B.2,” “Trip to Jerusalem,” “Albert” and “Wellbeck”.

Monday 24th December 1934

Car to town. Breakdown. Xmas Eve in the slums. Then, 4 and a half pints B and B and 4 gin and its.

Xmas morning; dancing in the hall. Wireless music from Poste Parisien.

Friday 21st December 1934

Holiday Jottings

Last day on the Super Grinder. 4.49 Egham, 6.16 St Pancras. Girl (28) Fog. Fog. Deserted coaches in the train. Empty guards van behind the engine. Fog signals and stoppages. Trent; two teas.

Due Nottingham 8.38 Arrived 11p.m.

Thursday 20th December 1934

Went to bed hungry last night. Feeling miserable at work in the morning; head aching and worried. Eventually decide to cycle to Hounslow, leave the bike at a garage and then say I’d lost my money.

Lunchtime – a registered letter from home – 30/- Oh! The relief! Was able to collect my laundry, and shoes from the repair shop. Buy cigarettes and a Xmas present for the maid.

Had a snack before going to town – by train. The white enamel I had made seemed a brilliant success (best made in the class, said the lecturer).

Visited a café in Soho with Maurice between lab. And lecture time.

Topping. Plans completed, packing nearly done. OK

Tuesday 18th December 1934

Bought cigarettes today. Then in the evening I was hungry and spent 6d half penny.
So have 1/1d left. And must go to the Poly on Thursday. Interesting problem – how?

Monday 17th December 1934

Have not gone to the Poly tonight; first time I have missed. Reason, could not even afford to cycle. Am in possession of 2/2 half d. Must not be absent on Thursday. A silent walk over Cooper’s Hill just now. Mud and moonlight.

Sunday 16th December 1934

Had been talking, quietly with Young beside the river, then we parted and I walked home over the Medes. Dusk and beauty. It is far, far, more beautiful in the summer. But then there would have been hundreds of noisy, sweating trippers there. In winter it is cold, wet, black yet peaceful.

Saturday 15th December 1934

Uneventful, happy week is past.

The Tangle is much easier now, of course. (ie. My problems concern only one person – myself – instead of two.) The worry of making both ends meet is still with me, however. Every little plan, every idea I conceive is met with the same gigantic barrier – money. And almost always, that wall is not to be surmounted. Worry… worry. My face is beginning to show it and even my general fitness.
The old inevitable question keeps facing me. “Can you afford it? No”

Tonight, now, I feel hungry, I cannot afford anything to eat, so must wait until breakfast. My bill for last week – 36/- This is a topping place; it will be hard to return to working–mans lodging.

Tuesday 11th December 1934

"Loves young dream is ended!” That is the message I left for Jackman in the evening.

Morning. Joan minus ring and quite different. Said Wednesday was “all off.”

Lunchtime. Single roller machine. One eye on that whilst I talked to her and asked questions. She had made up her mind. (Obviously against me) I gave her the brooch, saying it was silly and sentimental when there was no feeling. Asked, had he played fairly? The blighter hadn’t! He forbade her to keep tomorrow’s engagement, to mention one thing. Feeling tough, I described the Sunday morning business, painting poor Colin as less than dust, “Winning her as a woman wins a man, not as a man wins a woman” (neat phrase, that). Requested that she give him my compliments and would he meet me, instead of her, tomorrow night at the stile below the woods? She immediately said she would come out with me, after all. We finally arranged to meet in the High Street tonight – she and I.

She gave me the brooch again. “Please keep this” “Do you want me to?” “Yes.”

Evening. Ready to keep the appointment, I sauntered in High Street, wondering what Christmas present she would like. Returned to the pub for a glass of port. Glorious…Then… I saw something that ended the attraction – put it out as a puff of air extinguishes a candle. She was coming towards me – with him. One of my charming moments! Obviously she had changed her mind again.

No need to detail out little conversation, standing on the wet pavement. He was blustery, she tremulous and upset, I cold and nasty.
I wanted to see him in a quiet place and he refused. Called him “Coward” and he flicked cigarette ash in a nervous manner. Insisted his fiancée stay with us. Said good night to them.

I am now wearing my ring again. Hope it does not feel too insulted. Feel a smug satisfaction because I chose my words well and was not afraid. “First love – worst love” Quite true. How miserable I’d have been a year ago! Wish he’d been willing to fight though, then there’d have been no ill feeling between us.

(1981 As we both continued to work for the Company, there were frequent encounters with Joan in the next few years. She married Colin in due course. After a long lapse, I met her again, socially, at a Company function, about 1951 or 52. I was divorced, she was a attractive widow. We talked. There was nothing between us, not even nostalgia, then.)

Monday 10th December 1934

Joan was wearing the ring and with a sparkle in her eyes.

A talk with Mr Randall. Moving into the White U/Cts Room after Xmas. I specially asked to be put in there next.

Cycled to Hounslow in the evening through thick fog. Back brake defective; eventually it gave way altogether. No accidents however. Saved a shilling.

Sunday 9th December 1934

Having written the notes for yesterday and Friday I now reach today’s.

Just as a prologue; I am seeing Joan on Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday I go to the Poly. Other certain expenses will be, lunch snacks and postages. Cigarettes? I have 3/6d left – no reserve.

My front piece is a fitting one. “…Known life and love…” A young man came into the lounge where I sat alone. Tall, fair, blue eyes, sensitive. Liked him at first glance. Something told me he was Colin and – he was. I introduced myself; we had drinks together, cigarettes. Talked for nearly two hours. She had told him every thing. How he loves her! If only he was someone I could dislike! But I was at once attracted to him – and he to myself. When he went, we shook hands – he has a firm clasp – and said “all the best”. As I remarked, all our tastes are in common and we’d be good friends. If only Joan could be “twins”, (as he remarked!)

Now, on Friday she may say “yes” or “no”, it’s even chances. A girl of her age is easily moved and may incline to the romantic, new unknown rather than the steady, deep affection. The decent thing to do is to decide for her – on Wednesday. I told Colin that if I kissed her on Wednesday it would be goodbye. And I meant it. But shall I have the pluck? He said, “I shouldn’t do that. Leave it to her and if you’re the better man…” An amusing little trick of fate! Very amusing.

Written 11.30 p.m. Have told Jackman all about it. Good to get a cold, unbiased view of the situation. He says, wait until Friday and he’s right. Of course, I began that talk at lunchtime, feeling in the wrong and anxious to make amends. Hence the sentiment. That’s that!

Question: 1933: I wrote “What will all this mean to me, a year hence?”
Answer : Nothing.

Saturday 8th December 1934

I have told a third person of my past history of failures. In other words, the truth. Bob Young. In the public bar at “Bells of Ouzeley” He told me his dark chapter. Far, far darker than mine. My troubles seem very small beside his!

(Oh, how glad I am that God has made me sympathetic and understanding enough to receive these confidences) He had never told a soul before.

Friday 7th December 1934

This is written two days later; Sunday afternoon. I could not write before – notes would have been too chaotic. Sweetness is becoming bitter-sweetness. The “kicks” I get out of things are still delicious but a little sharper. However, on Friday, it all seemed rather delicious still.

At 7 o’clock on Friday I met Joan (looking adorable) and we came here to the Kings Head. Vermouths. We talked over the fire and it all seemed the usual delightful flirtation. Her fiancé, Colin, is in the lab. At a rival paint firm. Well, next Friday, at 4.30p.m. in the Grinding Shop she will meet me and say “yes” or “no” Colin or myself. We exchanged tokens, my silver ring, her brooch.

All very charming; I thought, I’ll cut the blighter out! We went for a stroll in the night – yes, that favourite walk of mine, through the woods of Callow Hill.
Came to a stile and sat down and I held her in my arms and kissed her. She was breathing quickly and deeply… When she said it seemed unreal, when I said it was a dream come true… “Miss Walmsley” – “Mr Dawson”. That gurgling deep laugh of hers!

It was really filthy in the woods; great pools of water and I carried her through each one. Near the hill top we leaned against a gate and looked towards a big dark house. Her delicate, dead white face. She said it was burning hot though… I kissed her eyes and throat and hair.

We did not get back until midnight.

Thursday 6th December 1934

Beginning of Midnight

It is actually midnight! The church clock is booming twelve now! Good luck to the new chapter! Audrey, Peggy, Magna Charta, Richmond Road, TocH, The Making House – all in the past. Even as I write, the present becomes the past.

And the future?

“With laughter then, I go to greet
What fate has still in store for me….”
A year ago I was saving up for an outing with Peggy and denied myself cigarettes. I did not smoke yesterday but today at lunchtime, in the Runnymede Snack Bar, my resolution broke down. Ten Gold Flake. There are now five left. A year ago I had 7/half d. Now I have 8/10d. an increase! A year ago the Making House foreman showed me how to run my first gum. Today in the White Grinding Dept., we canned 353 gallons in gallon cans. Sore, dirty fingers.

It rained steadily all day. Coming down from Town I told Jones that Miss Walmsley and I had arranged to see each other tomorrow night. Said it suddenly, after letting him think it was all without any foundation. Oh heavens, his face! I seem to have lots of happy moments from this affair, before it has begun. However I must not let her interfere with my work; nor must I with hers. At the Works, Miss Walmsley and Mr Dawson!

Saw Audrey just getting in the train I had left, at Staines. Went behind her, pinched her arm and said “hullo, you.” We had about 30 seconds before she went. Topping to have a girl-friend like her – actually a friend.

Wednesday 5th December 1934

Went into the White Room at 4 o’clock, with Gunner. Tinting creams, smelling different whites and so forth. Dashed interesting and useful. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a vivid splash of red, where Joan sat in her office. We did not speak throughout that hour, though within a few yards of one another. Just one quick, laughing glance passed between us. Oh, a delightful end to the Tangle Extension!

At lunch time, broke, I called at the Midland at Staines and closed my account, thus drawing 11/6d. My only reserve is now in currency! Spent sixpence at a stall on Staines Bridge but did not buy any cigarettes. How I have longed for one!

I have decided to end my TocH career from tonight onwards for the rest of the winter at least. Perhaps for ever.

Well, I stuck to this resolve. Before the meeting began, Taffy and I discovered an old bottle of ginger wine in a side room. We speedily put it away. One thing we drunk to, was, “Our respective futures and the decisions that govern them.” Then the meeting, with myself as the incompetent chairman. And I took Light.

When the business was over I wrote in the log book, “My last meeting for a long time. D.” Then I told them so. Surprised when they realised it. I could make no sentimental farewells because there was a lump in my throat, now it had come. I told them this, also. Then went away, leaving them still at discussion, in the old way. Good blokes. As I passed through the door, a yell, “So long, Steve!” and a great chorus of goodbye. I said “cheerio” or something like that and came away, upset. By leaving suddenly I avoided all the questions and recriminations that were in their eyes.

Au revoir to TocH. The saddest parting in the whole series of partings which I have had just recently.

(Cheery talk at the Kings Head, hot supper, a few pipes and bed.)

Conclusion of Starshine

Tuesday 4th December 1934

White Mixing Room, White U/coat Room, White Finishes Dept. Three interlinked departments without a manager or foreman to hold them together… The three departments are run by three charge hands, Gunner, Hiley and Jones.

An idea… Solved the Tangle Extension gloriously – a good beginning. Asked Gunner, without any unpleasantness, if I could spend the spare hour in the White Room, under his eye. So I will kill two – no, no, ALL the birds with one stone!

Half an hour in the Lab. With Daly, at lunch time. His voice and mine, sleepy and soothing. Amongst many other things we discussed my spare hour; I said that I preferred to spend it learning something. At half past four he found me in the Grinding Shop, just finishing the painting of a tank – Joan beside me. The first time he passed, Daly half-smiled; the second time he grinned. The third time he paused to ask if I was learning, as I wished? Delicious moment.

Rainy day. For lunch 1 cigarette, 1 cup of tea. Have no matches left now, so have to light my pipe at the fire! (But what topping meals are served here! And what comfort!)

Monday 3rd December 1934

Hard days work at the Super Grinder – I can now lift the half cwt. bags up from floor to platform, without using the stairs.

…Yes, Charge Hand Jones had also heard the rumour about my romantic episodes in the spare hours. Apparently it has all originated from Gunner of the White Room, a nosey person, who saw us together. So here’s a little extension of Tangle on top of me already.

4 o’clock. The men went; and I’d go at 4.25. Took off my overalls, leaned against a desk tapping with something – a brush or perhaps a pencil. She came – Joan – smiling as she passed. She was wearing a delightful brown dress. Put down the thing I was tapping with and followed her to the end of the shop.

My cool calculations all crumbled. Presently I said, “The gossip has started.” Silence. Joan said “Well, I suppose this must be the end of all our talks.” “Yes.” Silence. I said, “Move back, so that the light falls on your face.” She did. We looked straight at each other; Sincerity and Untruthfulness. I think my eyes turned away first. Strange, that nearly always happens with her. Silence.

“But perhaps I can see you after work, sometimes?” The carnal request. She laughed, looked away… “All right,” very softly.

(I have two pennies left, two cigarettes, about five pipefulls of tobacco.) There is nothing spiritual about this love. No, it’s a physical attraction. The way she walks, her shape, eyes, voice; the way she stands. Her youth – young – young. Colour that comes and goes… I could continue ad infinitum. I want to kiss her throat and eyes and hair…

No schemes remain.
Except the Tangle.
It is nearly midnight; will go to bed and smoke – one cigarette.

Saturday 1st December 1934

The Kings Head. Written beside the fire in the lounge, 10.45p.m. Luncheon OK, Served well, not with the usual boarding house style. Napkin, for instance. The lounge is a large, tastefully decorated room with two fireplaces; willow pattern plates; a clock. It’s been an expensive day though, which has brought the Tangle much closer. Foolishly gave an order for visiting cards…It does me good to write about these things.

Dodger Jones of the Distemper Dept. came with his wife – two pints of beer. A good deal of smoking too. Oh, it seems mean to mention these things but – Tangle. I’m beginning to like the word. Symbolic of the mess ahead, not exactly unhappiness but just a mess. Tangled skein. We discussed work and Dodger remarked that “he’d heard I did some courting”, between 4 and 5 o’clock in the afternoons. So the gossip is beginning!

It’s been a jolly evening on the whole; plenty of people to talk to. Different sorts – Not like the often lonely evenings at digs.

What will the Tangle bring forth? I, what will the unravelling of the skein reveal?
Meanwhile, I’ll have another cigarette!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Starshine- Midnight- Moonrise 1934-1935

J.S.Dawson, “The Kings Head”, High Street, Egham, Surrey

“…know life and love…”

Friday 30th November 1934

Last evening at Magna Charta. Have transferred most of my kit to the Kings Head already.

Spent about an hour today at work, talking to Green Eyes, telling her she was delightful and so forth. This wasting of working time must soon end. She’s deuced attractive because she is so young, un-cold and un-retreating. (Un-retreating, a new word.)

Meanwhile the end of the chapter and the sinister Tangle looms closer. This has been a comprehensive volume! Summer to Winter.

Thursday 29th November 1934

Cycled to Hounslow Central Tube station this time.

Arrived back there at 10.20. Swift ride back, through patches of fog. 10.40 again found me at a wayside snack bar (eating bread, cheese and pickles!) but several miles nearer to home than before. In my bedroom at digs by 11.20. Total cost 2/half d. Saved, 8 half d plus supper!

Before finishing today’s notes, I must mention the little Incident of the Looking Glass. Crossing the White Room I looked into the small “office” where the Green Eyed Girl sat. Her head was turned away; I glanced beyond and saw a looking glass on the wall. Her dark face reflected in it, looking at me. Seriously, for an instant, then we smiled. But into the mirror, not directly at each other…

NB A year ago I was writing about the “agony of thought”!

Wednesday 28th November 1934

Nothing to report.

Tuesday 27th November 1934

Sultry weather for the time of year.

Called at the “Kings Head” in the evening, making final arrangements. How cheerful and happy is the atmosphere there! Shall therefore stay as long as the money lasts – which perhaps will not be long.

Lunchtime, working a single roller grinder in the dry fast room, with Miss Walmsley beside me. All the men at dinner. Her name is Joan, she is 18 in January, her eyes are green and she is the only daughter in her family. Educated at Chertsey. And so forth. As we talked the machine kept running, not un-naturally. Just before she went, she pointed to the receiving skip and said “What happens when that –eh -?” I turned. It was brimful! Did several things at once and just avoided a ghastly mess! I still laugh when I think of it. Lord, how funny! Leaning over the machine looking at her green eyes whilst the skip got nearer and nearer overflowing!

Monday 26th November 1934

Written in a tube between Piccadilly and Hammersmith, 9.40p.m.

Tonight, adventurously and economically, I came to town a new way. Left Egham 5.20 cycled hard (lorry chasing) to Hounslow and on to Hammersmith Tube station (6.20) Poly 6.50. Now I’m on the return journey, a night ride still before me. Calculated have reduced expenses by a half. 2/9 – 1/4d.

In a snack bar on the Great West Road 10.40p.m. I’ve got a head wind – slow journey. Spending 7d on refreshments I am still below quota! Cosy in here; glad I thought of this scheme.

Reached digs 11.45. - am now sitting on the bed, smoking today’s eighth cigarette. Think I’ll be able to afford just one more packet this week.

As I sat in the snack bar and later as I rode home, I was dreaming dreams. However I will not say what they were about; they may never come true.

NB Said “cheerio" to Audrey this morning.

Sunday 25th November 1934

Met Audrey 9.45 (a.m.!) and we went to Thorpe Church. A quiet, scattered village (within two miles of Egham!) Catholic Church, with that lovely sweet smell. I enjoyed all the ritual; wish I understood it. Audrey was well dressed and I felt acutely conscious of my down-at-heel shoes.

The immediate future, with it’s chapter-changing, seems a Tangle to me. For one thing I’m going to be deucedly hard up if something drastic does not happen. I shall also be confoundedly lonely if –

Again, if.

Probably the two will be together; if I’m hard up I shall also be lonely. Shall give up TocH for the rest of the winter, incidentally. Come along Tangle! I’ll get through somehow!

Saturday 24th November 1934

Back on the Super Grinder. Admiralty Contract nearly done. It has been a cold and hungry week – typical of Magna Charta in fact. Have spent much of my meagre savings on snacks and hot drinks at coffee stalls.

Nearly missed the 9.57 (first stop Staines) at Waterloo last Thursday. Jones and I met on the platform as the train pulled away; and just managed to scramble into the guards van.

Whilst waiting for bath water to get hot, I fell asleep in my easy chair by the fire. Delicious! Quite a cheery fire tonight. Cosy.

Wednesday 21st November 1934

Before going to TocH I met Audrey and we talked ever so much. She leaves the district this weekend. Farewells crowd upon me! Obviously the present chapter is soon coming to an end. When does the new one begin? At the end of the month I say “goodbye” to Jackman who is being transferred. Then I say adieu to Magna Charta and move into my new quarters at the Kings Head.

Oh yes, certainly the finish of a chapter!

Tuesday 20th November 1934

Working in the upper grinding shop today with two others. Distemper for the big contract. Hardest days work I have had here! 8.30 to 4p.m. with 30 minutes for lunch.

Thick fog today. History repeats itself, for last year at this time I began a (rather emotional) day's notes with the word, “Fog!” It rather upset my plans on that occasion, until one “opened the window… and saw Peggy walking by.”

Co-incidentally I met Pegs tonight, in the fog outside her gate. Went to the Pictures – front balcony row at the Empire. Coming along the foggy Causeway she told me we must meet no more as she had decided to become engaged to “someone she was very fond of” When we reached the little gate (scene of several sentimental partings) I laughed and kissed her, then turned and came away into the fog.

Monday 19th November 1934

Phoned Audrey at Windsor to arrange a reunion. She was not surprised as the same thought had occurred to her. Indeed, a letter is in the post for me! Two minds –

Saturday 17th November 1934

This time last year I “seemed to have lost all my calmness and serenity” Now it seems to have returned!

Discovered glorious digs. (Too glorious) “Kings Head” in Egham High Street. Have arranged to move in there in a fortnight’s time. Heaven knows how I’ll be able to pay my way! It is 35/- a week. Wages plus family allowance, 35/- a week, also. The comparative splendour and comfort led me astray. In the first place I went into the saloon bar for a drink. Liked the place, made enquires and liked it still more. Ho! For a new adventure!

All this happened yesterday, by the way. Today is a bleak grey day.
Am sitting as close as possible to a feeble, smoky fire.

Thursday 15th November

A short stay at Magna Charta this time! I have already arranged to leave and am looking out for fresh digs. A place needs to be warm – in the full sense of the word. Magna Charta is precisely the reverse.

It is 11.15 and I write this in bed; supperless, except for a snack at Waterloo. My shamrock shaped window is open; buzz of traffic on the main road below. One advantage of this place is that I have more sleep. The brutal fact is, one receives no encouragement to remain out of bed in the evenings. It is too cheerless!

Travel up and down with Jones every Thursday. Perhaps he and I will still be together, twenty years hence – who knows?

(1982 I last saw Maurice Jones on September 19th 1963. Thirty years with Paripan and for sentimental reasons I made the excuse of a business trip to Egham. How sad, since the take-over by Carsons. Mr. Randall is dead. Daly and Branford sacked – the 19th was their last day – Maurice at last becoming Works Manager but soon to be sacked himself. I only had two months to go myself and guessed it, when I saw what happened to better men.)

Work still remains my chief interest and I’m happy. The only cloud is being so hard up, waiting for the time when I shall not be..

Tuesday 13th November 1934

I had arranged to go to TocH meeting at Windsor. I had planned to say “good bye” to Peggy, next time I met her. She sent a note round at tea time. I did not go to Windsor; I did not say “good bye“ to her.

(This is written in bed,11p.m.) I glance at my journal for Tuesday November 14th 1933 “… saw Peggy…fresh sunlight morning…” etc. A year ago I was becoming awfully infatuated.

These digs are cheerless and there’s a hostile atmosphere

Monday 12th November 1934

First fog of the winter delayed the train down from town.

Sunday 11th November 1934

I was walking along the Causeway, just approaching Staines Bridge, when the signal for Silence came. It was silent – except for two men with noisy shoes, who walked stolidly on.

First Evening at Magna Charta

The electric light failed just now – as it always used to! – and whilst I waited, watching the red coals in the grate, I thought what a splendid opportunity this winter return gives me. A chance to test myself by 1933 standards. Have I really grown older? Am I more balanced now? An opportunity to test the change every day, if I wish. A chance to avoid old errors and make up for them – and in the old environment! Everything is the same except that Harvey is gone.

Saturday 10th November 1934

(Am writing this by the fire at Magna Charta – back again!)

The alarm awakened me at 4.15 and I heard rain driving at my bedroom window. In the kitchen I fried bacon, made some tea, filled my thermos. A quiet meal, smoked a cigarette, then out into the saturated darkness. Saw two people only, on the way to work. Sometimes seemed to be riding through water.

Jones was already at the works; met him in the sodden yard. We filled the mixer – fifty gallons – zinc oxide, litho oil.. Then the noise of machinery obliterated the drumming on the roof.

Later, I solemnly turned a little wheel. Huge belting shifted, shafting revolved, grinding rollers began to turn. Jones opened the valve, and a white, lumpy liquid flowed from the mixer into the grinder. The contract was being fulfilled! Work had commenced!

By lunch time we had done 400 gallons white enamel. In the afternoon I helped clean up and left at 4 o’clock. Moved the rest of my kit to Magna Charta and now here I sit by the fireside. My bedroom; at the top of the house with a shamrock shaped window. It is already looking pleasant yet neat, methodical and tidy.

Such things please my orderly mind.

Friday 9th November 1934

It’s been a week of rushing and idle pleasant talks at digs. Today a rush supper. Am trying to slow myself down now (it is 11 o’clock) so that I may sleep. Starting work at 5 o’clock in the morning.

The Admiralty Contract. Hundreds of distemper kegs keep pouring into the works – van load after van load. Two lorries bought 300cwt. bags of lithopore and I helped unload it in the drizzling rain. One driver fell asleep, exhausted. There is, to me, something romantic about all this.

Lunch time, hastily mended a puncture and had a snack at a coffee stall. A man inquired the way to “the Paripans Works”. A load of cwt. kegs. Still they come! We start work on the Admiralty White tomorrow morning. 64 bags of zinc oxide are stacked against our machine. A few minutes of idle talk with the office girl. (Only non-rush period.)

Evening; dashing to and fro between Magna Charta and Richmond Road, with kit. My last night here. I can hardly be so comfortable as I am here.

(1982 - So why did I return? My folly still puzzles.)

A hasty spell of work at the library. Yes, all rushing.
All is prepared for the early morning – two alarms beside the bed, set for 4.15.

Summary of today;
Rush – Admiralty Contract – Hard heavy work – Rain – Rush – Methodical things – Rush…

Tuesday 6th November 1934

A year today since I first met Pegs. I was out with her this evening, too.

Afterwards I sat until 3 a.m. talking to Jackson at the digs. (Imaginative young man, kindred spirit.) For the second time I was indiscreet enough to tell of my past. Discussed his aim – love, and mine – success, and arranged to have a reunion by post in a years time. Exchanged addresses – Plymouth and Nottingham.

Am working with Jones and Paine this week on the Super Grinder – a large machine which grinds white only. Hard heavy work which I enjoy and dash about energetically, throwing half cwt, bags of zinc oxide up the stairs to the mixer. A big contract has come from the Admiralty – white distemper and white paint. So we shall be busy!

Monday 5th November 1934

"The making house is on fire!”

If I had written this at the time I fear my notes would have been awfully boastful and self-satisfied. However this is several days later and my exaltation has subsided. Any how, I was not afraid, kept my head, dashed about and did things and got slightly scorched. Climbed onto the roof with a fire extinguisher whilst an aeroplane circled overhead. It was a furious blaze and my puny efforts were hopeless. Flames leapt into the wind – from one chimney stack to another. Pieces of the roof sheeting cracked and fell through. Molten lead splashed onto the Foreman’s cap. With a clang the fire brigade arrived – too late!

Things looked nasty when I first ran into the making house – flames, pots of hot oil, and hot lead dripping from the roof! Catastrophe! It thrilled me! Shouts of men and hiss of extinguishers; roar of fire!

Saturday 3rd November 1934

Last morning in the Colour Grinding Shop. I remember this as a fairly, free and easy week, when I made myself thoroughly dirty. My instructor, Collier, being away most of the time, I was left to my own devises – with a machine of my own!

At that old garden gate by Knight’s Bridge… Moonlight filtered through the leaves… a fish splashed in the river…

Her in my arms again, lips against mine, that subtle fragrance – just the same. Yet different, happily. And we’re together again!

Friday 2nd November 1934

November here again! The weather looks it - and feels it.

Looked at a house in the evening, with Vickery (of the digs). He is getting married soon. An empty, desolate cottage by the Colne. It would be homely with decorations though. Tramping through dark, damp rooms using my flash.

Eleven o’clock. I’m going to bed. Early night!
NB Actually, I sat by the fire, talking, until 1 a.m.

Wednesday 31st October 1934

Last night, after supper was over, I worked long and hard at my homework. When the sitting room was bitterly cold I went to bed and worked at my notes there, in the silence. Past 4 o’clock before I switched out the light and went to sleep.

A cold day at work. Half past four in the silent grinding shop. Silent inside but rain drummed on the roof above. Miss Walmsly of the office (Seventeen and sweet) and Davis, he fitter, talking lazily with me.

Tuesday 30th October 1934

Now yesterday. It’s bedtime but I will give a very brief resume.

9a.m. Arrived works. (I allow myself an extra half hours rest nowadays!)
Lunchtime: met Peggy on the way, and all’s well.

4.30 Writing up notes in the silent grinding shop. Enter one of the office girls – we introduced ourselves and chatted pleasantly.

8 o’clock. Dining in the Café Royal, Regent Street, with Marjory and her sister.
10p.m. At the Polytechnic Theatre.

11.30 In the buffet at Waterloo, sipping coffee.

Midnight. Coming down by the 11.58 and talking of Pageant memories with the old British Chieftain.

1a.m. at digs. Beside a dead fire. James, of the Customs and Excise, eating his supper. (cold sausages.) Have now some homework to do and think I’ll have a sausage too!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sunday 28th and Monday 29th October 1934

It is 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning so I will not mention these two happy days but pass on to;

Saturday 27th October 1934

Did my homework and wrote letters – including one to Peggy which might have any or no reaction.

Cycled into town – racing up the Great West Road with the wind behind me. Flying towards a great red blur in the sky, which was London. The night clouds above London are nearly always a dull red. Had hot sausages and onions at a coffee stall outside Hyde Park and was home again by midnight.

By the way, I moved into the Colour Grinding Department. Shall spend a week here, not very important.

Friday 26th October 1934

A letter from Peggy which began: “I’m afraid this will be rather an awkward letter, ‘cos I’m not sure what your feelings are towards me…” A nice letter, signed “Pegs”

Later, I used the envelope for writing down the best selling paint colours.
Had a haircut on the way to work. Luxury!

Wednesday 24th October 1934

(“N. nasty piece of work!” said Haig, stepping back as he laid down his paintbrush)

TocH Annual General. I tried to get a new set of officers put in – and failed. The three main positions are the same. I am chairman now, however. That won’t help Runnymede much but will do me good.

Tuesday 23rd October 1934

10 o’clock at the works today! Sunny and warm – only the brown tinged trees show the season. But enough of that…

Walked to meet Peggy at the old place. I still can see the scene as I waited, leaning on the bridge rail. Behind me, the cold river, with trees on the farther side and a silver full moon climbing above them. In front, among dark trees, the garden gate through which she would come. Delightful setting for a happy reunion and everything was ideal – until she came.

For Peggy is the same as always and with her, I too, am the same as always.
Strange to have my arm around her as we walked once more. I know as much about her as I did before tonight, which isn’t much. If I had suggested it everything could have been “the same as it always was.” Because I do not want that, I suggested nothing. That is the phrase that sums up tonight’s fatuous meeting, “The same as always…”