Saturday 24th April 1937
He suddenly grinned, looked at my RNVR scarf and said “Well, how are things nowadays? I guess you’re Killick?” I laughed. (Anne had told me of him) The ice was broken. I went in and he talked of his naval days, showed me photographs, cups and medals. Stayed to tea. His wife would perhaps have been prim and proper with a visitor. She certainly laid tea in the front room (the “best” room) instead of the kitchen. Jack and I however, were just a couple of rough, lower deck matlowes.
Leading Seaman Giles, of “Veronica,” “Comet” and “Frobisher”.
Called on Mad Willy at Chertsey and talked shop. Amusing how rumour carries! He had heard the story of my trip to Birmingham and knew of my encounter with the jovial grocer who flourished a knife. Selling! On the road! It is thrilling and I am going to succeed. The last of my boyhood ideals has followed others – fatalism. Of necessity I am no longer a fatalist. I believe – really believe – that nothing – except a lenient Deity – is stronger than the human will and determination.
NB1: Cigarette smoking gets worse. Selling involves nervous strain, so smoking increases. From 15 – 20 to 30 – 40 cigarettes a day. I’m developing a splendid “smokers” cough. Sometimes feel a little sick at bedtime or in the mornings. My lungs and “wind” deteriorates. Enjoyment of the individual cigarette is less than it used to be.
NB2: Money troubles return! Somehow I have to get myself a car – and run it. Hire purchase and running expenses out of 30/- car allowance! Have exactly five shillings in the bank. Perfectly ironical!
NB3: This journal is becoming more lengthy! Symbol that life is more interesting.
I can’t start “Shimmering Haze” in April – that would be fatuous – so I’ll insert another number to follow “Morning Mists”. I’ll call it “High Noon” as I used to before.
Record of change of signature and order of Christian names, March 21st 1937
Old style: J. Stephen Dawson
New style: Stephen J. Dawson