Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sunday 27th November 1938

Mrs Stephens called me at 9:30 with a cup of tea. She’d brought me one, although “the others weren’t favoured”. Had the usual jolly good breakfast downstairs in a warm room. Read the paper, found I’d won nothing in Vernon’s Football Pools. Three interesting blokes at breakfast. Mrs Stephens has always collected Types, without ever having known it.

John called just as I was getting the car out. Went to The Golden Grove at St. Annes Hill, with his cousin Betty (a sporty girl) and Betty Armstrong (synthetic little devil and a member of Rookery, the club I contacted through Peggy of Wood Haw). In the public bar of The Golden Grove is a framed record of darts matches during 1937. It was summarised by the brief, proud phrase, - “Played 26 Won 26”.

John and I had a game with the locals – who were obviously scornful and thought we were easy prey. I had an inferiority complex, but after scoring 115 with three darts (a fluke) I became optimistic and we eventually won! The scorer immediately selected a mate and challenged us. Two pints were bought for the victors. We’d hardly sipped the froth before we’d won again! I put in the final “double” in the first game, John in the second. We left them, undefeated, amid a chorus of farewells, “Come in next time you’re passing” cried one of the champions, “Maybe you won’t be so lucky!”

After lunch at “Melville” John and his cousin went with me to Cobham Common. We left the B and AV near the high clump of firs and walked across the rough country. Through the marshes, by Queen Victoria’s monument, through dead heather, over the hills. We walked along the railway line (now, alas, electrified) and John and I, reviving the old custom, climbed a railway signal.

Hurried back to B and AV through squalls of rain. Betty dozed in the back seat, wedged among my baggage, whilst B and AV dodged happily in and out of the evening traffic.

Supper at Hawthorn Court. Father, mother, Robin and I sat comfortably at the table, three of us smoking. Richard came in later, wearing his Sea Scout uniform. He did half his undressing in my bedroom, chatting excitedly.


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