Monday, June 30, 2008

Saturday 5th August 1939

Jacko called at the pub at 11 o’clock, for a lift to Town. It still rained. Slinky still stood miserably in the yard. There have been horses in the garage this week, as luck would have it, so that Slinky has not had a thoroughly dry hour for several days. Could not possible grope our way to Ealing through rain so there was nothing to be done except pray for fine weather; this I did.

Jacko and I went to the saloon and played several very good games of darts. We had tots of rum to keep out the cold. At 1 o’clock, the rain, which had been gradually lessening, ceased. Slinky took the road!

Jacko had intended to be deposited somewhere near a tube station, so that he could push on to the West End but he eventually said, oh, it didn’t matter. We had lunch at a massive BDC café on the North Circular. Efficient mass-production service. Later we played darts in the games room, using a fascinating automatic scorer. This was the Ace Café. Must go there again.

Stayed at home awhile. Father in, rest of the family away.

Rushed down to Staines and Egham. Took out a skiff and went down stream (by the rollers at Bell Weir). Rowed up the Colne – a struggle, with such a heavy stream running – as far as the Mill Pool, explaining to Jacko that it was a point of honour to make this trip. The current threw us around in the Pool, then we commenced the downstream drift. I explained to Jacko that it was also a point of honour to attempt to drift downstream. He got out of control on the last bend but one but, becoming enthusiastic, went up to the Pool again and made another attempt.

By jove! He did it! As we drifted gently around the last bend, stern making a clearance of two inches, Jacko gave a shout of triumph! I must mention that he “fluttered” the rudder continually so am not sure that this is a legal record.
Afterwards, we went around Witchery Island and then upstream to Runnymede. Jacko learnt to “feather blades” and to “ship sculls”.

Supper at a little café below Staines Bridge, at a window that overlooked the river. No sign of rain, now. After a hell of a big supper we returned slowly to Town, singing. Saw Jacko off at Ealing Station.

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