Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday 1st January 1938

"Auld Lang Syne”; people shaking hands with perfect strangers; snatching their caps; dancing in a ring; bursting balloons. A girl seized my hat and bolted. When I caught her she wrenched at my tie whilst her friend tore at my scarf. One in each arm until John and the others came to the rescue. We tied the scarf round one girl, yelling “A captive to Rome!”

After a hectic hour we oozed out of the Circus, located the car and drove homewards.
After leaving Dick and Pepita, John solemnly revealed that he had a bottle of rum in his pocket. But no water! So I took a stiff drink neat and for several minutes Ealing resounded to my coughs and splutters. “God help you, John,” I gasped. “I’m driving you down to Staines!” John, presumably terror-stricken, took a stiff portion himself. More terrible coughs. At Staines he gave me another (diluted this time, thank heavens!). So I arrived home at 3:30 feeling depressed and ready for bed.

Evening: Met Jack and May (Mr and Mrs Garratt!) at St. Pancras, 6:30. Conducted them to the Strand Palace Hotel. Jack nonchalantly signed the register… They were anxious that I should not leave them! So I drove them around Marble Arch, Park Lane and the Royalty district. Everything was a thrill to them. My mind swung back to the evening of January 1st 1930, when Jack and I went to Thurmaston on my bicycle and he introduced me to the Rover Crew. Eight years ago to the day!

Got back to the Strand at 9:30p.m. (“Oh, Steve”, said May fearfully, thinking of the millions of alien people in London, “Do you live far away?”) They wanted me to come in again but I said I had to be getting along. Damn, it’s their honeymoon, not mine!


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