Sunday, March 02, 2008

Tuesday 8th March 1938

At 9:30 I went across the road to where Zephyr was parked – in the lane. It was foggy. Zephyr was lifeless; no response to my frantic efforts. I felt exasperated. Delay and expense! Then suddenly the old fatalism surged over me and I didn’t care a damn. I got my stick and walked to Kent Elms Corner. The fog cleared as I went and within a few minutes I was in warm sunshine. Found a garage on the Arterial Road, obtained a mechanic and a large car. We reached the sad little Zephyr. “Impossible to start her” said the man, “We’ll have to tow her in.” But the large car had broken down also and neither pushing or cranking was any use. Irony! It struck me as beastly funny! So eventually we got Zephyr’s engine bellowing and I drove the mechanic back to his garage.

They got to work on the poor little thing whilst I sat peacefully in an adjacent café. Poached egg on toast and tea. I wrote a letter to Lois; wouldn’t have had time normally. Talked to the girl who served. About music – she loved “Maytime” – and life and things we had in common. Rather dangerous topics to discuss with an attractive young widow… Instinctively friendly. At 12 o’clock I heard the verdict. The car would not be ready until evening. Various adjustments necessary but I eventually managed to cut down the repairs to topping up and charging the battery, and new points. Repairs to the back axle may be necessary later on. Oh well! I thought, a days holiday is obviously “written”. So I strolled back to Eastwoodbury, whistling loudly so that dogs barked at me from cottage gardens.

Spent the afternoon writing letters and in office work. Now it’s seven o’clock and I’m going to the garage to see if Zephyr is ready yet. Repairs came to 11/6 Estimate for work to the back axle is about £4 It must wait. This is ruinous! However, within half an hour I was at night school, and the troubles of SJD were forgotten, submerged in the character of Noah Boomer, manufacturer of death.

Sitting in the car on a mouldy piece of waste land I became bitterly unpleasant.
“I almost hate you”. “That hurts” she murmured. “I’m glad”. “That hurts – too.”
And suddenly I didn’t feel horrid any more. I laughed and drove to Eastwoodbury. “You have got to be taught to kiss” I said, “And I’m going to teach you.” And I slowly kissed her in various different ways, on the lips, on the hair, on the throat, explaining why, and laughing. “You’ve not kissed my cheek though.” she suddenly said and then showed me how to do that. Next I said, “Put your arms around my neck and kiss me” and she did that quite well. I congratulated her on her ability. Instead of sitting still she snuggled her head against my neck and whispered, “You do tease me”. That is the nicest thing she has ever done.

We presently sat in the car outside no. 218. “I feel I know you much better. You seem ten times nicer.” I said we would not be meeting this Friday, as planned, (Having had a stupid tiff yesterday). She wrinkled her nose then abruptly leaned closer and said “You will – won’t you?” I realised that I was at her mercy, when such a method was used. “Yes, alright” I said.

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