Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saturday 23rd July 1938

Yes, it’s been a good week - £34. Today, hot sunshine.

Left Eastwood 8:45 a.m. with Lois. Reached Egham 11:30 a.m. Lois left Ma at the Works and drove the B and AV into the village for petrol and any necessary repairs.
From my general reception by Mr Lever, I gather that the Firm is satisfied with my work so far. I talked to Bolton, Daly, Branford, Pollard, Dodger Jones… There have been changes, but many familiar faces remain. After the others had gone, Mad Willy and I remained chatting in the silent lab. and I lit a cigarette. “Quite like old times” Maddison voiced my silent thoughts.

Lois returned at 12:15; backed B and AV down the yard to the stores for a load of paint (an urgent order). We lunched at the Bells of Ouzeley. I used to cycle there for bread, cheese and beer but there was a very different atmosphere today in the lounge – and very pleasant, too, with a solicitous waiter hastening to and fro.
Drove to Staines and – back! – it was Regatta Day. Punted upstream, beneath the Bridge, crossing near the Lemmas; around the backwater of Witchery Island, under Gwyn’s Bridge; up the Colne to the Mill Pool. Then we drifted gently down, whilst I smoked. It seemed strange to see Lois in these places.

Later, we cautiously paddled down the course of the Regatta. Every now and then an Eight or a Four or a Single Sculler would shoot by, followed by frantic shouts from those on the tow-path. “Go through, Kingston!” “Een –out!” We moored near the finishing line and lounged there for some time. Afterwards I punted up the course again and to the boathouse. Called at Ealing Common. No-one at home. Lois did not feel too well so I made her a cup of tea and had a bit to eat myself. Afterwards washed up our crocks and the lunch things and smoked. Meanwhile Lois was curled up on a sofa in the lounge, feeling, I imagine, like potted death. Rotten headache; too much sunshine perhaps. However, it eventually passed and we took the road again – 9:15.
Richard arrived just as we were leaving the flat, looking very fit, wearing Sea Scout uniform; very exuberant.

Good journey. B and AV ran well, although noisy. About 15 miles from Southend we overtook a girl, walking with a suitcase. At my suggestion, Lois hailed her and she came aboard. Rather interesting, and not so tough as one might have expected. “Just a rolling stone” as she put it.

We delivered my urgent paint at 11:30, in Westcliff. Soon afterwards we dropped Marie Coduri outside her apartments in Southchurch. Then, nothing more to do, Lois and I said “goodnight”.


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