Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday 1st January 1939

How the crowd cheered! John took flashlight photographs. (“What does this New Year hold for everyone?” I could not help wondering, “Signs of peace, real peace – or bloody hell?”)

John and I were walking fairly decorously by Lois’ side when we suddenly saw a small knot of young men struggling for possession of a sort of stick. Seeing that one – who was hard-pressed – wore an RA tie we dashed to his assistance, bawling, “Up the Artillery! Up the Guns!” The struggle was quite a serious one for the RA man apparently, and when the group broke up, John and I – most unjustly, what? – were warned by a PC and told to “Move along there!”

We were walking along Park Lane. Lois said she would break the top of her bottle of Liebfraumilch on the railings – and by God, she did! We drank the Hock in chemical beakers, standing opposite the Dorchester. Lois clutched the broken bottle until we reached Slinky – ending the journey triumphantly by taxi. John and I fortified ourselves with rum. Lois, holding her precious bottle, feigned drunkenness in the back of the car. We were in Bayswater Road. A reveller in a taxi ahead, had a burst balloon on a stick. As this taxi slowed down to a standstill, John lowered his window; leaned out as I crawled Slinky alongside. “Got it!” Slinky B dashed ahead, whilst furious reveller leaned from taxi window!

I, miraculously had managed to preserve my Scots paper bonnet. It had been torn from my head several times, but we always got it back. I wore it as we drove out of Town, tattered but proud. It had survived a crowd’s onslaughts. Lois drunkenly told John of how it would take she and I half an hour to say goo' night to each other when we got home.

Went into John’s digs for a while. Betty and a bloke were there, looking beastly formal. Lois, (actually far from tight) was not in the least subdued. She staggered into the sitting room, fondling the broken bottle, and was at once the centre of attraction. I played darts just to prove I wasn’t in the least tight. Put in some marvellous shots! Had a glass of whisky “for the road”.

Drove town wards again, more slowly. Gave a bloke a lift along the Great West Road. A shock when he left us; he’d given me half a crown! We got to bed sometime about five o’clock. I kissed Lois as she lay in bed.

And the holiday was over!


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