Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday 13th July 1939

Jacko Franks and I went to see Sybil and Mary, two girls friends who were on holiday in Southend. Of course, I’m a bit of a cad aren’t I, having flirtations with other girls whilst I’m engaged? Well I tried not to at first but it was no use – my nature is inconstant. All these affairs give me is a spot of romance, colour and memories however. All the prettiness of discovering a girl… I don’t fall in love any more. Really I’m faithful to my Lois in my heart because that’s quite different, a sort of deep comradeship. (Thus a nasty piece of work, busily making excuses!)

Tonight was damn funny; Sybil could not accompany us as her young man (the genuine one) was coming. This made Jacko what one might call a “gooseberry”. He sat in the back of the car and bemoaned his fate. I reminded him of the time, quite recently, when I took him to Billericay, called on one of his girl friends and drove around whilst they kissed in the back. Later I’d parked in a quiet lane and left them whilst I took a stroll. Nobility!

We all did some singing. We regretted that Jacko could not drive; otherwise he could have sat in front singing – it would have been like a gondola in Venice. Supper at The Mayphill, Battlesbridge. Left there about eleven thirty. Stopped the car somewhere near Rawreth, whilst Jacko demonstrated some dance steps. Then Mary floated about the road, in the car’s headlights beam. Strange sight for midnight travellers! A motor cyclist stopped to ask if anything was wrong. Looked tough. I think he’d have thrashed the pair of us if Mary had made any plea for help!

Parked the car at the entrance to Hockley Woods. Mary and I took a stroll therein, leaving Jacko in the car. As we returned, Mary said definitely that it was now poor Jacko’s turn to get out of the car. “Shall we let him sit in the front seat” I suggested, but vainly. He was lounging comfortably within Slinky B. “Jacko” I said gently, “Do you remember the other day, how I left you and your girl in the car and took a walk?” “Yes” he said suspiciously. “That was nice of me, you know, Jacko. That was a fine thing…” “All right, I’ll go” he broke in then, seeing that further resistance was hopeless.

He lurched out, sympathetically I gave him my car rug. As he stumbled into the wood, rug around him, hat tilted, cigarette glowing, he looked priceless! I switched on the headlights so that we could see him, for a moment. Some time afterwards, he came back, subdued, and asked for a cigarette. I gave him permission to return permanently when he’d finished it! We all drove back to Southend. I congratulated Jacko on his nobility and stated we were now quits.

I tiptoed inside her bedroom for a good-night kiss (nothing more, she is not like her friend Sybil). Mary stood in the doorway, silhouetted against the hall light, as Slinky B, brake off, glided silently away down the road. We stopped for a cup of tea at an all-night snack bar then drove homewards along deserted roads. Left Jacko at his house, came back to Stock.

Cup of cocoa and pickles and biscuits. Bed 3:45.

NB: Jacko and I found we’d one quaint ambition in common – we both wanted to be smugglers!


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