Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday 10th November 1938

I ordered (and paid for) a really decent Harris tweed jacket today. Never had a good tweed jacket before. My Bank balance then stood at £25.

Having made a few calls, I called at St. Helens Garages and eventually obtained an order worth about £2. It was to represent my total days turnover, also…

I asked them to adjust the brakes on the B and AV. They discovered the brake cables were frayed and might part at any moment. I agreed to have new ones fitted; went away for lunch. Came back to find B and AV still jacked-up. It seemed like being a long job, so I went out again. Returned at 4p.m. Something being wrong with the wheels, they’d taken them down to find a nail, a steel splinter from the axle piece, and broken springs in the brake shoes. It would cost at least £3 and take two days…

(My mind whirled. Probably Lois and I would be going to Aunt’s at Wolfhampcote – anniversary of our first meeting! Three pounds… more money trickling out for an old car. Precious money. How long is it going to continue? Months ago I suspected one damn thing after another… My God, I was right! Sell the bloody thing, get rid of it. That means a year or more of hire purchase payments; you couldn’t get married then, could you?) I telephoned Lois. She had a say in the matter anyhow! It did me good to hear her voice. Minutes ticked by. At last she said, “Don’t sell it yet, Stephen. Get it mended.” So I told 'em to go ahead. Walked to Victoria Circus. Made a (fruitless) call. Caught a bus as far as Bentall Estate.

When I reached home two more hurts awaited me. A) Lois had driven across to the garage, got there too late, heard I’d walked home, then driven along the Arterial Road looking for me. B) A letter from Aunt said yes! It would be lovely! She’d expect Lois and I this weekend. I did my work, had tea, wrote to Aunt explaining we couldn’t come after all. Just before I left the house – a bright spot! Lois appeared again.

She’d seen a second hand Morris that seemed decent. Why not have B and AV “bodged-up” and then buy the Morris? The Morris seemed very nice and attractive but it might be simply exchanging one trouble for another. Might as well have a new car when I do buy. “Well, don’t consider me” she said, “Buy a new car as soon as you like. That’s a necessity. I’m a luxury”. Personally, I’m not quite sure that I agree there…

She drove me into Southend, where I met Ted Tutton. Tutton and I went to the pictures and saw two “gripping” melodramas with ample blood and revolver shots. Had supper afterwards, at The Blue Room. He left me at Roedean about 12 o’clock. It is now 1 o’clock. I’ve clarified my mind by writing. Must go to bed now. Must do the “locals” on foot tomorrow. Have taken all superfluous literature out of the suitcase.

Oh hell! How remote and far away Lois becomes when things like this happen. I don’t mean she moves away. I mean that it all makes marriage, and her, seem distant and impossible, economically. Still do not feel sleepy. I’ll go to bed – and read. “Village Wooing”. It seems like being an idyllic village story of a nerve-racked man who found peace…


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