Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday 9th December 1933

Horribly cold at work. We were clearing up – little else to do. No fires roaring cheerfully. Sweeping the dirty floor, cleaning old buckets, odd jobs to pas the time away – clearing up. My chilled fingers. Extravagantly, I bought cake, hot tea and chocolate at the coffee stall. Now will follow another “economical” week with nothing to spend. Suppose I shall have to seek less expensive digs – perhaps a bed-sitting room. Have just counted my money – 11/10d farthing of which about 8/- will be needed for next weeks digs. 3/10d threefarthing remains. Perhaps. I could afford a few cigarettes! TocH will be 6d. The rest for Peggy. Maybe I couldn’t have cigarettes, after all. We’ll see.

Harvey and I, during a little swordplay, smashed a glass jug and tumbler. Must pay my share of that too. The time is 9.30 and I am alone, beside a dying fire. This the conclusion of Starshine. Sometimes I think of what might have been…. And regret. Sometimes I think the hour has not yet struck. Fate said “not yet”. Must climb higher first… The other day I gave Harvey a Zulu name – “The man who lies down to shoot”. On the contrary, he thinks I am the one who shoots hurriedly and without taking aim. Probably right. When he talks of her, it hurts, and I smile cheerily. Cold starshine and winter’s night. Awhile I watched the stars and dreamed and shivered with cold. Then the starshine was gone in the FOG.

(2006 Looking back. Mah Jong. Yes, I remember that evening. Where Harvey and I invited for inspection by the family? The main event was the arrival of Peggy. She came late, slowly descending a long staircase, pausing halfway down to make sure that all eyes were upon her. She did it well, wearing a beautiful gown, appearing shy and vulnerable. A first class performance.

Magna Charta was a substantial old house , detached, with a small triangular garden. It stood beside the Egham-Staines road. On the opposite side of the road was Wood Haw. Beyond the Wood Haw gardens was the river Thames. Our digs were run by two spinster ladies, decaying gentle women. It was all very genteel; we were paying guests, not lodgers. It was all very “refaned”. For instance, hot meals were served under heavy silver dish covers, but the food below was sparse. On one occasion, to prove this, Harvey put his whole breakfast – toast, butter, marmalade and bacon into a single mouthful. The coal for the evening fire was also rationed. I eventually left for a professional boarding house in Staines, where I fared much better. Harvey and I saw a lot of each other, sharing a bike – and a girl friend – and lending each other money. Both students, he in a poultry farm, and I in a paint factory. Yet when we parted, we never saw or heard of each other again).

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