Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday 17th February 1937

Still at the works, waiting for the summons to adventure. Have given Christopher to Howard, the colour shop “boy”. Anyhow I did not barter his honour for filthy cash! It was a gift.

Had intended to spend the evening at HMS President but changed my mind as I was walking down Windsor Road.Called at a few friendly places, to mention in conversation that I was going away soon. Became almost a sentimental evening!

First, Miss Dennis, to buy cigarettes and stationary. This was where I, being taken after “I arrived at dusk”, was given the address of my first digs. An elderly man who shared my carriage from Waterloo, introduced me to Miss Dennis. His name was Greenslade; I never saw him again. A few weeks later I fell in love (and stayed in that condition a long time) with a girl who had loved Mr Greenslade’s mysterious son. I never saw that son’s face though I once passed him close, unknowingly, on the river bank at night… That time Peggy and I quarrelled “in the fading light” with blossom all around… How horribly it hurt when, in parting that night she said “He used to hurt me too, and say cruel things”. “And did he love you too?” “Yes, he did.”
So I was only the second one! And she could think of someone else at such an agonising moment! All these memories arise from a visit to a little stationers shop…

Next I called at no. 9; Koke was in, and glad to see me. Vivacious, original and wicked! I remember one of her neat phrases, “Bunken druggers” (A Spoonerism). I sat in the small, overheated kitchen. How amazingly familiar it was! She told me a good story about a man who had food injected by his arse. He complained there was no sugar in his tea! (I wonder how wrong that affair was and whether I regret it or am glad?) Koke made me promise to write from Southend and insisted that I reside in Westcliffe, the better class suburb.

Had a glass of beer at the Victoria.
Miss Clow appeared (in the usual blue jumper, with sleeves rolled-up) and talked with animation, leaning against the bar. Later, Mrs Towe arrived and talked without much animation, standing straight up, hands folded on the counter.

I had tea at a snack bar in Staines. Baked beans on toast.

Walked to “Enleigh”. Arthur Beach was there and I sat talking in the untidy sitting room. Or rather, he talked – about his sons. How Percy had left his job and was to become an insurance agent; how Ted had gone to Knutsford, to study for Matric. With the object of entering the Ministry. (What a different atmosphere from that at no. 9!) Said goodbye to him near the station and came home by the 8:35.

An almost saccharine evening! Or, just sweet.

(1983: My heart still remembers those Egham years and the Paripan Works, long since destroyed by the tidal rip of ruthless Big Business.)

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