Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday 12th May and Thursday 13th May

I left for Town soon after lunch. Fell asleep near Laindon and awoke when someone in the carriage cried, “Oh, look at the flags!” We were passing through Stepney I looked down into rain washed slum streets, gaily decorated.

Reached Charing Cross soon after 6 p.m. The streets were wet but the rain had stopped. Margaret, Anne, Dick, John, Pep, Lucien and Matt Lisle. The latter four all saw the procession and seemed quite OK except Lucien who had a head ache. Strange to see Anne with the Blacksheep. Seemed quite happy. Margaret looked after her when I did not.

Dinner at Schmidt’s. After the soup course we all rushed down into the shop, to hear a broadcast of the King’s speech. We stood among German cooked meats and sausages. There was probably a majority of foreigners in the group. A taxi load of shouting young men drove along Charlotte Street as we came out of Schmidt’s. We cheered. “See you in the Circus!” they yelled. (“By jove!” I thought, “It is going to be gay!”)

We reached Piccadilly Circus soon afterwards. Rain had started again. A thin grey drizzle. Arms linked, we marched up Regent Street. Sometimes we met people coming down; a Rugby scrum usually ensued. Once, a huge crowd pushed us back 20 yards and finally scattered us but usually we sent our opponents back or went through them.
At Bond Street we were joined by a friend of John’s – Tony Turnbull. Stout laddie, seems the right type.
Anne and Margaret forgot their usual reserve, bought red-white-and-blue noise makers and were as gay as the rest. At Marble Arch, where we struggled into a pub packed tight with hot, wet people, they both drank beer!

Through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace, where there was a dense crowd. The steady rain began to damp our spirits. Our feet were wet, we were mud splashed to the knees.
Dye from their paper hats had given red streaked foreheads to Lucien and Lisle.
An intoxicated girl outside the Palace seemed attracted to Tony. Her attentions however, left him unmoved.

Walked to Charing Cross. Saw les autres on the train. John, Tony and I stayed. First we had a stand-easy and some tea at a low café in Villiers Street. Then we strolled around Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus among the cheering crowds. Turnbull observed that most of the “what-have-you?” was “already collared”. Saw some priceless sights. At the Circus for instance, was a young gentleman without any trousers. Suspenders and socks stark on his skinny legs!

Tony left us about 1:30. John and I went to a news theatre. He dozed a little, but I didn’t feel sleepy. We sat there for some time. After seeing the show twice, the third time became kinda monotonous. We began to guess what was coming next.
Came out. My feet were getting warm, but soon became cold and wet again. Still raining. Went to Lyons for a jolly good breakfast. Tomato soup, sausages and chips, tea.

When we came out into the streets again, we found not darkness but twilight. Parted at Charing Cross, 6 a.m. had to change trains twice on the way to Southend, so I dare not sleep much. Dozed between each station and awoke with a start as the train stopped.

Southend 8 o’clock. Had breakfast, washed and changed, and went on the road. Fell asleep during one bus journey but was otherwise OK. Felt kinda lazy in the afternoon and business was bad, so I went to the pictures at 3 o’clock. Tea at 6 o’clock. Report writing. Bed 8:30 Deep slumber.


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