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July 1978

Saturday 1st July

 

The start of a new month and it certainly can't be worse than the majority of the last one. Being a Saturday and being in Norfolk it was a very pleasant day, but by the end I felt very depressed about the fact that next Thursday we will be moving and cutting off ties almost completely. I didn't sleep too well and was awake early. Nevertheless it was 9 a.m when I got up. Had breakfast and set off shortly afterwards for Beccles.

 

There were one or two things to sort out there and it all took about an hour. Then we set off for Norwich. Parked on Riverside Road and walked into the centre to do some shopping. Eventually finished that and went for some dinner at the Louis Marchesi in Tombland where we had a very nice salad. Then drove home to Mums, stopping at Nanny's to take her a birthday present. Mum and Dad had just left to take her to Lowestoft. At 2.15 p.m I went to Dennis Road to see Alan and as he had some trouble with his car I ran him to see a motor engineer in Meadow Way. Then returned home and spent the afternoon watching the sport on television. Had tea and a walk down to the paper shop to get an evening news. Then drove back to Ellingham undecided whether we should go to the Round Table swimming gala as it was raining. In the end decided to go and were glad we did as we had an enjoyable evening.

 

Watched the swimming and then went down tot he Waveney and spent the evening there. Stayed in fact until almost closing time and then went to the Chinese with the intention of meeting a group of others there. In the end we couldn't find them and so drove home and went to bed. By this time I felt extremely depressed. I suppose it's the reaction of thinking about leaving everybody and everything.

 

Sunday 2nd July

 

It rained again and this present spell of bad weather rather sums up my mood at the moment - dull. It was another day for saying goodbye to people. Was again awake quite early for a weekend. Got up, however, at just past 9 a.m and had a bath and breakfast before getting ready and going to church at 10.30 a.m. It was a rather nice family service and they made a presentation to Anne to mark her work with Sunday School. Lots of people to chat to there and of course at the end I was feeling as depressed as ever.

 

We went with the intention of seeing Gordon and Heather but they weren't in so we came home and had a snack dinner and then spent a quiet afternoon reading and listening to music. The cricket on TV was rained off. Had our full meal at 6 p.m and then spent the evening watching television before going to bed at 10.30 with the thought of getting up at 5.30 a.m tomorrow. One slight change of plan surrounds a saving of about 300 miles on Wednesday when we move. I am not now coming home because Anne will probably have Dad's car and be able to get up on her own.

 

Monday 3rd July

 

Possibly one of the more enjoyable days in Nottingham and even then it was only average. It was a sad start to the day at 5.30 a.m when I got up and left half an hour later, walking out of the house for the last time. At least I vowed that someday we will return to the area and I sincerely hope that we do.

 

The drive back was without incident although at times rather tedious. In fact it was just past 9.30 a.m when I arrived. There were plenty of things to be picked up on the calls and they seemed to keep J happy because at the end he said I had done a good day's work. It's bloody marvellous. I went to Nottingham today with two resolutions. Firstly to be harder and if necessary tell him where to go and secondly to try to forget Beccles. At lunchtime I had a sausage roll and then went to have a look round the sheet music shop.

 

There was nothing to do in the afternoon so I sat around until 4 p.m when I decided to go over to Long Eaton to pick up the key to our new house and sure enough they were actually finally moving out. I quickly got out of their way and ended up fighting my way through the rush hour. In the end reached Bobs and had tea before getting ready quickly to drive to Newark for the area Round Table meeting. The idea was mainly to meet some of the Long Eaton table. I left myself plenty of time but had no trouble finding the hotel and soon got chatting to a few people there. Eventually sorted out the five Long Eaton people and of course they were a mixed lot with some more friendly than others. It was a useful evening, however, although the actual business dragged on until after 10 p.m. At the end came home and went to bed approaching midnight after a long 18 hour day.

 

Tuesday 4th July

 

A nice quiet day at work and a very sociable evening marred only by the fact that I think there is something wrong with the car yet again. Got up at the usual time after listening to the news bulletins on the radio. Drove into work after breakfast and slotted into my usual routine for a quiet day when nothing is happening - that is simply to do the stories from the radio and police calls and then have a rest before doing a few more things out of the Evening Post. Then that leaves the afternoon free. At dinnertime I had a quick snack and then at 1.15 p.m drove over to our new home which is now empty. There was no real reason for going over other than idle curiosity to look round. In fact the main thing I got out of it was an awareness that it needs quite a bit of decorating.

 

By the time I got back to the office it was 2.30 p.m and as there was nothing to do in the afternoon I hung around until 4.30 p.m and then came home and prepared tea while waiting for Bob. Had that and then got ready to go over to John's new house in Derbyshire. The car started playing up on the ring road and appeared to be cutting out everytime that I stopped. I put it down to the timing being out but the clutch made a strange noise and I became worried.

 

Nevertheless decided to carry on to Johns and arrived at 7.45 pm. Andy was already there. John's cottage is extremely pleasant and spacious and has a lot of character. After a quick look round, the three of us and a chappy lodging there set off for a pub in the country. Had a couple of drinks there and then moved on for a third before going back to Johns for coffee. It was just on midnight when I set off for Nottingham hoping that the car would hold, which in fact it did. Arrived home at 12.30 a.m and went straight to bed.

 

Wednesday 5th July

 

I should have felt a lot happier today than I did. The reason is quite simply that tomorrow sees the long wait for Anne to join me ended. But I still feel depressed. I suppose my main worry is that at present I have had the weekends to look forward to when I could relax in Norfolk and well and truly forget everything. Now, however, the weekends are threatening to run straight into the weekdays to make a working week of seven days. Well that's not how I am going to let it become as if it did I would quit immediately. The other thing is I felt very languid today and I'm just trying to avoid work which is something I've never done before.

 

Got up at 8 a.m after listening to the radio news. Had breakfast and went into work with Bob as I didn't trust the car although of course I will have to take it in tomorrow. In fact when I got into work I phoned up the Datsun dealer in Long Eaton and they are taking it in on Wednesday. It's a good job Anne will be bringing Dad's car down. I then sent over a couple of stories before walking down to the Allied Carper place to leave the key so they could measure up for our carper. Then returned to the office and by lunchtime had put over nine stories and J had come through to say I had done a good morning's work and he couldn't alter one word of my stuff! That's as maybe but there is no satisfaction from re-writing radio and newspaper stuff.

 

Had a quick snack type lunch and then went to Smiths to get a couple of books on car maintenance. Then spent a completely wasted afternoon sitting around doing nothing - what a bore. At the end came home at 5.30 p.m with Bob and had tea and then spent a quiet evening. Had a shower and quick look at the car and spent the rest of the time reading. Rang Anne up and had a quick chat at 9.30 p.m before going to bed nice and early to make up for the past two nights.

 

Thursday 6th July

 

A rather disruptive day of moving into the new house, but mainly hanging around waiting. I suppose it could be termed the start of a new era. Well not really because I'm sure it is an era I will eventually be glad to put behind me. Got up at Bobs for the last time at the usual time and, after having breakfast and packing, I set off for work at just after 9 a.m, a little bit worried about the car. Luckily I made it in okay and, although I was hoping for a quiet day so as to be able to get over to Long Eaton early, there was plenty to do. In fact I think by the end of the morning I had sent over something like 11 stories to Derby and that included going to an inquest that turned out to be two. At the end of all that I got a sandwich and then left the office at 1.45 p.m to drive out to Long Eaton to be at the house in time for Anne and the removal people to arrive.

 

In fact I misjudged the time and it was around 5 p.m when Anne got there and almost an hour later when the removal people arrived. It took them a couple of hours to unload and during that time I walked into the centre and got some provisions from a late night supermarket. Then after the men had gone I went to get some fish and chips and we then spent the remainder of the evening sorting things out. The main problem was that our carpet is not available yet and so the lounge is not habitable with all the furniture stacked up in one corner. It wasn't too late when we finally got to bed.

 

Friday 7th July

 

Tried to mix business and private life today and it didn't really work because it meant I was on edge throughout the day. I really should have taken the week off when we moved because there is so much to do. Trying to work as well didn't help matters. I had no intention of going into the office today, having worked yesterday when I originally wanted the time off. Didn't feel too well either when I woke up to take down the early morning news. Made the calls and put over some early copy and then decided to start the gardening chores by pulling up some weeds and cutting the grass.

 

At 12 p.m we drove into the centre of Long Eaton to do some shopping and found quite a nice restaurant to have dinner. Then returned home and started the afternoon by watching the Wimbledon Ladies singles final in which Martina Navratilova beat Chris Evett. Then I had an awkward court case to pick up from Newark and that took some time. After that it was time to try to get the carpet in the main bedroom down. That meant getting all the furniture out and struggling away. Eventually we got most of it down and then had a break for tea.

 

Then back to work and at least by the end of the evening the place was beginning to take shape a little bit. At least the bedroom is livable in and indeed with the lounge resembling a tip we have to spend most of our leisure time in the bedroom. We eventually finished work at about 9 p.m and spent the rest of the evening watching television. Had a bath before going to bed. One slightly depressing fact was a phone call in the evening from Eric Brookes of the Beccles Samaritans. Once again it reminded me of home and that's something I have got to put out of my mind.

 

Saturday 8th July

 

My first Saturday in Long Eaton and I can't say that I enjoyed it all that much, mainly worrying about whether I should be working and not knowing what I was doing. I got up at just after 9 a.m and, after having breakfast, put over a piece of copy that I picked up off the radio. Then it was off to the centre to get some things for the house. On the way stopped to koin the library and then wandered around a number of shops before coming home for dinner. Ate that in the bedroom while we watched the start of the Wimbledon men's singles final.

 

Then go to work cutting carpets for the spare room and unpacking more stuff. Indeed that took us right through to the end of the afternoon and tea time. Had tea and a bath and then got ready to drive over to John's home near Derby for his house warming party. We set off in the Volkswagon at 7.30 p.m and arrived about half an hour later. We were the first to arrive but eventually plenty turned up, although we sepnt most of the time talking to Andy Knowles. There was plenty to eat and drink and it was quite an enjoyable evening. We left around midnight feeling very tired after our two days of exertion. Arrived home and went to bed just after 1 a.m.

 

Sunday 9th July

 

I can't remember the last time I felt like today. Totally tired and depressed and I just didn't want to talk to anybody. I feel at the moment that everything is building up on top of me. The one good thing about it was being able to get away from sitting at home waiting for the phone to go. The worrying thing there is that when I get home in the evening I don't know whether anybody has phoned and I bet I get the lug ache tomorrow for not being around. I must then explain that I am not going to be tied at home seven days a week.

 

I slept through until quite late and it was about 10 a.m when I got up and had breakfast and then at 10.45 a.m set off for Yorkshire in the Volkswagon. First port of call was Joan and Peters and then we went off to have dinner before carrying on to Knottingley. Stopped at a pub at Wentbridge, but as they didn't do food we went to a cafe nearby and had quite a nice meal. Then finished off the journey. Spent the afternoon feeling very depressed (that seems a feature of Sundays) and watching the cricket. After tea I fell asleep for an hour. Then we decided to set out for Long Eaton and arrived home at 9.30 p.m. Had supper, watched some television and went to bed.

 

Monday 10th July

 

An extremely busy day and a better one than of late. I was a little worried about going into work in case something came up from yesterday. But all was clear when I got in. Got up at 8.15 a.m and had breakfast. Went into work later than usual as I had to take Anne to the job centre to sign on. That took quite some time and, as she was coming to Nottingham with me, it was about 9.45 a.m when I got in.

 

Started the day by doing one or two things that I picked up on the radio and also a story about a woman besieged by bees. The main story of the day was a press conference on housing by Government Minister Reg Freeson. It was scheduled for the council house building at 12.15 p.m and I duly arrived on time. But he was well over half an hour late and when it did start I couldn't understand what he was on about. There's nothing worse than doing something that goes over your head. At the end I phoned over some copy and then had to do an Evening Post story for the Evening Standard. Then I had time for lunch.

 

I had planned to meet Anne in the Bell pub but didn't have time, so instead I got some chips and ate them in the office. By the time we had done some shopping and I had sorted out some stuff it was 3.30 p.m. Waited for the 4 p.m news and then came home and had tea after a trip to the library.

 

After tea set about tackling the garden which is completely overgrown and larger than it appears. It was very pleasant in the early evening sun and we worked through until after 8 p.m. Then it was time to put up more curtain rails before finishing at about 10 p.m. Watched television and went to bed very tired.

 

Tuesday 11th July

 

Another bloody depressing day and especially the evening this time. Up after listening to the news on the radio. After breakfast went into work for another boring and depressing day. Spent the first part of the morning doing very little of significance. Then at around 11 a.m had a visit from Rob Kirk of ATV. He's the guy that used to work for Eastern Counties Newspapers. We had a chat and later I had to meet him at the Nottingham Forest Football ground to get Peter Shilton's reaction to the European Cup draw. So at 12.15 p.m after having lunch I drove to the ground. It was a very easy job as Peter Shilton was very co-operative. Indeed after putting over some copy I was back in the office fairly early. Nothing much to do during the afternoon, although I had to hang aroun until 4.30 p.m to get a story about a doctor who wants the time lengthened for getting sick certificates.

 

After that I came home and we went straight to the Long Eaton DIY shop to get some more paint for the ceiling. On returning home we had tea and then I felt as depressed during the evening as I had been on Sunday. Spent much of the evening painting the ceiling in the lounge. Had a bath and then went to bed fairly early.

 

Wednesday 12th July

 

The first day that I have come anywhere near enjoying living here. Everything went well at work and I had my first evening out with the Long Eaton Round Table and it was memorable by any standards. Up at the same time and into work. The one bad thing about the day was having to mess around early on taking the car in. I took it to the main Datsun dealer only to find out the repair shop was two miles away at Toton. So I had to get Anne to follow me and then run her back to Long Eaton before I could go to Nottingham.

 

Later in the day I got a phone call to say the clutch had gone and also the crankshaft. God knows how much that is going to cost. At work I had three hours of constant work on two stories. One a straightforward accident and the other about the Duke of Edinburgh cancelling a trip to the Evening Post. That took quite some time but at the end J said he was pleased with a good job. At lunchtime I had a quick snack and then at 3.30 p.m he said I could go home. So I was home by 4 p.m and able to get some gardening done before tea. Then had a bath and got ready and at 7.15 p.m walked to the centre of Long Eaton to pick up the Round Table bus to go to the beer celler at Sheffield.

 

It all started slowly with the long journey, bit once we got there and had a few pints the evening became very zany and enjoyable and by the time we left it was about midnight. On the way home at least three blokes were sick and we had to stop at a service station for coffee before completing the journey home. Arrived at past 1 p.m and walked home and went straight to bed.

 

Thursday 13th July

 

A day of hard work at home and not much at work. At least J seems to be more happy with my efforts now. The blot was the car. It seems to be a long three day job. How much is that going to cost? Woke up with the expected hangover, although it could have been worse. Anne came into work with me and left to do some shopping.

 

I didn't have much to do until 11 a.m when I walked to the railway station to see the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh. Then, through listening to the radio, I was able to piece together a story. Also put over a couple of pieces from the post before going to dinner.

 

John and Andy were down from Derby and so the four of us went to the Bell and stayed there until 2.45 p.m. Returned to the office and cleared up one or two things before leaving at 4.30 p.m. Got stuck into the gardening before tea. After tea I continued well into the evening. It's bloody hard work but pretty enjoyable and I seem to be breaking the back of it. Knocked off at 9.30 p.m and had a bath and then went to bed an hour later.

 

Friday 14th July

 

An up and down day once again and especially in the evening when I felt very irritable and short tempered. Up at the usual time and into work on my own today. There didn't appear to be much doing at all and after doing a rape and accident from police calls I had a rest until the Evening Post came out. Picked that up and there was plenty of sport to send over and that took me through to 1 p.m. Had a snack and then the usual afternoon sit around until 3 p.m. Then I had a few things to do before leaving the office at just after 4 p.m to drive home.

 

Picked Anne up and went to Toton to get the Datsun back. It cost 106 which really hurts because even now its probably got plenty wrong with it. What we have decided to do now is get it through the coming MOT and then sell it and possibly buy another. We drove back with the two cars and parked them in the town centre. Went to the supermarket and, while Anne continued with the shopping, I went to get some fish and chips but the shop was shut and I had to go to another one. Had tea when I got back and an argument with Anne over the car.

 

Spent the early evening hanging some curtain rails and putting up some cabinets. Gave up at 9 p.m and decided to have a walk along the tow path by our house to find the pubs at the end. We came across them after about half an hour and had a very pleasant drink before walking back along the road. Picked up some fish and chips and then went to bed on arriving home.

 

Saturday 15th July

 

Finally started getting sorted out today at home. That means the carpet came in and we were able to get the lounge in some semblance of order. In fact this wasn't a bad day at all as there was a pleasant evening at the end.

 

I got up at about 9 a.m to listen to the news but as there wasn't anything of real note happening I decided not to do any work. I don't see why I should work Saturdays and Sundays as well as the rest of the week.

Later in the morning J phoned up to say nothing was going on anyway. So for work the only thing I did was to phone over some copy to the News of the World.

 

Spent the rest of the morning finishing off the back lawn and then, after the chap had fitted the carper, we brought back all the furniture we had put outside earlier on. Had lunch and then spent the afternoon getting everything straight, including putting my records straight. Eventually had a bath and got ready to go to Johns at Derby for an evening meal. We arrived there at almost 8 p.m and had a pleasant meal and plenty of drink before going off to the local pub and staying there until well after closing time. Then back to Johns for coffee and finally set off and drove home, arriving at 1 a.m and going straight to bed.

 

Sunday 16th July

 

Another nice day really. The weather was good and I suppose I am feeling a little more optimistic about everything now. Up at 9.30 a.m and had breakfast. Started the morning by listening to some records. At 11 a.m J phoned up with a couple of stories for me to check and I did that immediately so that there wouldn't be any more work for the day and I could relax. Then had dinner and afterwards left for Trent College on the Derby Road. The reason was a six a side cricket match between Long Eaton Round Table and Hucknall Round Table. It was rather disastrous for me.

 

I went into bat first, ran the top batsman out, scored nought and we lost. Still it was fairly good fun. At the end I drove back home and Peter and Joan and the family had arrived and were getting stuck into the gardening. So I weighed in there and then we had tea on the front lawn. After that messed around for sometime and then we all decided to go for a walk to Trent Locks. Not only that but we ended up walking along the canal for as far as we could get and then back along the road. In the end it must have been a four mile walk and I think most of us were glad to be home. Spent the rest of the evening resting quietly after they left to return to Yorkshire. Phoned home and had a bath before going to bed.

 

Monday 17th July

 

Not a particularly enjoyable day really. It was boring and I felt tired throughout after yesterday's exertions. In fact it was just like what Mondays are thought to be and not what they have been in the past. Got up at the usual time after listening to the early morning news. After breakfast drove reluctantly into Nottingham for the new week. Started the morning with a few police stories.

 

J had a couple of moans. One because I had put a story over about the quads in reported speech and secondly because Anne had put over my copy for yesterday while I played cricket. That man is an absolute moron. That took the time up to around dinnertime and I had a quick snack before doing a small amount of shopping and then returning to the office to sit around during the afternoon. In fact there was absolutely nothing to do and I left at 4.30 p.m. Came home and had tea and then it was a mixture of a bit of gardening and painting the bedroom ceiling. Soon gave up because I felt very tired. Spent the rest of the evening watching television and went to bed fairly early.

 

Tuesday 18th July

 

A very basic and ordinary day and there is going to be plenty of them over the next few months. Up at the usual time and after breakfast drove into work in the Datsun as  Anne was going for an interview with Derbyshire County Council. The morning had a fair amount of work round it. The main story was about the police pay rises. Then there were the things gleaned from the calls and at the usual time the Evening Post stuff.

 

At lunchtime I had a snack in the office and then went to the Theatre Royal to get some tickets for Friday's performance of Pygmalion. It's a kind of anniversary celebration just before Monday. Then had a quick look round the shops before returning for the afternoon. Only a couple of paragraphs to put over in the afternoon and then spent the rest of the time reading before leaving the office at 4.20 p.m. Came home and sowed some lettuce seeds before tea. Had tea and then spent the evening mainly putting up shelves in the bedroom for the books. At the end of that watched television for a while and then had a bath and went to bed.

 

Wednesday 19th July

 

A ridiculous day of hectic tearing about and sitting around doing nothing. Up at the usual time and made my own breakfast because Anne had taken the car off for its pre MOT. After breakfast set off for the office and arrived at 9.20 a.m. Then started a very hectic period. At 10.15 a.m after sending over a story about yet another rape I went off to Crown Court for the verdict on the whipping case that had been going on for a couple of weeks. Then I shot off to a phone box to put over some copy before returning to the office. There was some more stuff to do from there and then Radio Trent ordered a magistrates court case.

 

So I trotted off there but couldn't locate it at all and so returned to the office and put over some more copy before having the usual snack meal. The afternoon was dead and boring and I literally spent the entire time until 4.15 p.m reading. It's going to be bloody good for my reading but absolutely chronic for job satisfaction. So at 4.15 p.m I left and came home and had tea. After that spent the evening watching television and reading and had a bit of fun with John Andrews on Radio Derby. He had a phone in show about the closure of village schools and I phoned in and the bugger kept me talking for about 20 minutes. After that spent the rest of the evening quietly before going to bed.

 

Thursday 20th July

 

An ironic day really. About midway through the morning Anne phoned up to say she had got the careers officers job in Derby. That's ironic because it means we will be financially very comfortable and the best off we have ever been. Between us we will probably be earning over 8,000 a year. But of course that means to reap the benefit we shall have to stay around here for at least another year. I suppose that's something I must put up with for financial security. Having said that today was a deadly day at work. I went in at the usual time and there were only two things to do from the news bulletin. The rest of the day was dead.

 

I spent time writing a short story and reading. At lunchtime I went to the magistrates court just to see if there was anything decent coming up. There wasn't so I picked up a post and something to eat. Then I went to the Victoria Centre to do some shopping and eventually rolled back to the office just after 2 p.m. Sat around until 4 p.m and as J had taken the afternoon off I went home just after. Home nice and early, we had tea and then spent a very quiet evening reading and watching television and it was quite early when we went to bed.

 

Friday 21st July

 

A very varied day in as much as the morning was very quiet and the afternoon very chaotic to say the least. Got up at the usual time and after breakfast went into work. Anne was coming in later in the day. Started the day by doing a couple of basic jobs from the calls and then spent the rest of the morning trying to sort out some system surrounding the courts. This week has been so boring I think I may as well sit in Crown Court when there is nothing else on. At the usual time I went to get an evening post and sent some copy over from that.

 

Shortly before 1 p.m Andy Knowles arrived and we went to the Bell for lunch. Shorter than usual because I had a juvenile court case starting at 2.30 p.m. By the time we had lunch and I had moved the car and picked up my notebook I was a bit late for court and so I ran to get there in time. I needn't have bothered because they took two other cases before the one I was interested in. That was the final appearance of the little yob involved in the attack on a 70 year old widow. After hanging about for most of the afternoon it dragged on and on and at the end I had to run back to the office to put my copy over.

 

By this time Anne was there waiting. It was hardly the ideal preparation for going to have a meal and then the theatre. Indeed we searched for a suitable restaurant without really finding a decent one open. We walked round and round and finally found quite a nice one, but then realised we didn't really have enough time to enjoy a meal. So we decided to return after the theatre and went to a basic coffee bar for a snack. We arrived at the theatre in plenty of time. It's quite a magnificent building with plenty of old world charm. The performance was Pygmalion and I'm afraid I found it tedious and boring and was rather glad when it was over. Returned to the restaurant and had a fairly average meal that took it well past 11 p.m by which time we were extremely tired. Drove home to Long Eaton and went straight to bed. Can't help think that today could have been very much better if it could have been conducted at a more leisurely pace.

 

Saturday 22nd July

 

A bit of a disastrous day. There was nothing actually wrong with the day but the night was evil and one of the worst for many years. That was all down to the bloody Volkswagon which broke down on the M1 leading to a most miserable time. The day was as pleasant as all days in Yorkshire are.

 

I decided yesterday to get away from Nottingham so they couldn't get me. So we got up at 8.30 a.m and, after breakfast, set off for Yorkshire, arriving at just after 10 a.m. Spent a nice quiet day watching television and reading and just enjoying the rest and genuine day off. We decided to stay a little later than usual and set off for Long Eaton at about 9 p.m after supper.

 

Everything went okay until about seven miles up the M1 when the power suddenly went in the car and I had to drive onto the hard shoulder. Repeated efforts to start it were to no avail and so Anne and myself had to walk a considerable distance to the nearest emergency telephone. They took our particulars and said a 24 hour breakdown service would be coming out. So we walked back to the car and waited and waited and it was 11.20 p.m when they finally arrived without any tools or much common sense. They diagnosed it as a failure to charge and the headlights had taken the juice. They reckoned when daylight came we could drive okay. So we got them to guide us to the next service area which was only one mile away. That little lot cost us 20 for nothing and we faced a long six hours before it would be light enough to drive on. We tried to get some sleep but the time went extremely slowly and uncomfortably. Finally at just after 4.30 a.m we went to the service area for a cup of coffee and then shortly afterwards decided to try and start on our way.

 

Sunday 23rd July

 

Starting on our way was not as easy as it should have been. At 5 a.m when I tried starting the car it wouldn't and so followed a fruitless half hour trying to jump start it. By this time we were completely fed up. It had been a wet and cold night. Enlisting the help of one bloke to give us a push did no good. Eventually we got it going thanks to the help of two more good Samaritans. So with fingers crossed we set off on the M1 and everything went well until we reached the Long Eaton turn off. There it faltered again and so we pushed it well over half a mile trying to get it started and getting soaked in the rain. I had resigned myself to having to push the effing thing the final two miles home when another chap offered help and once again we got it going.

 

Luckily this time by driving carefully and going through red traffic lights I was able to get it home just before it conked out outside the house. Such a bloody reliable car isn't it? Still wet and bedraggled we were glad to get home. This weekend is going to be dominated by cars because later we intended going to see about a new Chevette.

 Once home we decided to go to bed although by this time it was 7 a.m. Got some sleep but still felt rough when I got up at 11 a.m. Had a bath and then breakfast and began to feel better.

 

At 1.45 p.m we drove off in search of a new car. Started by going to a showroom at Bulwell and the outcome was they would take our car and charge 1,600 for a basic Chevette saloon. From there we went to a second garage at Ilkeston and there got a better deal with 1,539 for a hatchback, which we settled for. Had a drive of one and was quite impressed by its handling. It will be ready on August 1st when the new registration numbers come out. From there came home and watched the cricket on television. Then had a pleasant evening when John and Andy came round. Anne cooked a nice meal and we listened to records and chatted. By the time they left and we had cleared up it was past midnight when we got to bed.

 

Monday 24th July

 

Would you believe it. If it isn't one car playing up it's the other and today the Datsun conked out and I had to call in the AA which luckily I joined at lunchtime. It's all so annoying because we trade it in next week. Got up at the usual time and started off for work  at 9 a.m after trying to get the Volkswagon to go without success. I am absolutely pissed off with both cars at the moment. This had better be a passing phase.

 

There was plenty to do t work and it got a bit of a hassle. I started the morning by doing two scripts for ATV and had intended going to Crown Court in any case. It turned out that there was quite a good case on and we had some orders. By the time I got there the case had already started. Instead of a not guilty murder plea it turned out to be a guilty to manslaughter. So I missed the prosecution and, although I picked up as much as I could afterwards, I didn't have enough to do a convincing story. Nevertheless I cobbled one together and sent it over. Then got a copy of the evening post and sent over a couple of stories from there. Then went to get a snack for lunch before walking to the AA building up Derby Road to join. By the time I got back tot he office it was 3 p.m.

 

Spent the afternoon trying to answer persistent queries from the Mail and Mirror. That effectively took the time up to 5.30 p.m when I decided to come home. During the day I noticed that my radiator was overheating very rapidly. As I set off it began to increase in temperature and by the time I got to Lenton Hall it was boiling. So I left it by the side of the road and walked to a telephone box and telephoned the AA and called them out. It was soon diagnosed as a rotted hose and he replaced it and I finally arrived home at just before 7 p.m. Had tea and then watched television for a time before having a quick walk to the bus stop. I will be catching one in tomorrow for two reasons - firstly its MOT ran out today and secondly I don't want to risk anything else going wrong when it is so near the end of its life. After a restful end to the evening had a bath and went to bed.

 

Tuesday 25th July

 

Surprisingly another fairly busy day which had a checkered start. The point was that with the Volkswagon off the road and the Datsun out of MOT I had to bus into work and that meant getting up a little bit earlier than usual. The bus eventually arrived at 8.55 a.m and it was a very laborious journey round all the back routes and it was 9.30 by the time I got in. That's when I met another problem.

 

The lock to the front door of the office was changed yesterday and of course nobody gave me a key and for the first time today it was locked in the morning. Eventually had to wait for Bob to arrive. The morning was taken up by two main stories. The first about a baby snatch at Hucknall and the second about a thwarted raid at a jewellers' shop. Then I got the morning post and lunch and was settling down for a two hour lunch break when I decided to go out on a job with Bob. Quite a simple one about a woman whose prize chihahua had gone missing and turned up in the oven! It was a bit flat but it helped pass the time. On returning to the office I walked to the Broadmarsh Bus Station to check the times of the buses for home. Then went to the sheet music shop and then back to the office.

 

During the afternoon the Mirror made a nuisance of themselves again and by the time I got away it was 4.45 p.m. I caught the 5 p.m bus despite having a chat with a couple of Christian lads doing a survey. Arrived home at 5.45 p.m and had tea and then mainly spent a quiet evening reading. Did put some copy over to the Daily Mirror. It wasn't too late when I went to bed. Two good phrases I noticed outside a church today were: "If you are down in the mouth remember Jonah got out okay" and "Service is love in working clothes." That along with "the second worst thing in life is to have no belief, the worst thing in life is to have the wrong belief" go to make up the three best sayings I have heard this year.

 

Wednesday 26th July

 

To me this was a pretty straightforward day with a good zany story. It was just marred by J who was in a foul temper and early in the morning took it out on me. Got up at the usual time and started off for work in the Volkswagon at a slightly later time as  I ran Anne down to the job centre. That was the trouble. There were a couple of quite good stories and J was on like alight to want to know why I hadn't sent the stuff over at 9 a.m. I let him prattle on completely unmoved. I just don't take any notice of him nowadays and I think that's how to treat him. When the storm had blown over I worked steadily on a number of things.

 

At lunchtime got the evening post and had a snack and then went out with Bob to Tollerton to see a woman whose house is being eaten by bees. It was incredibly funny. A house full of zany people and a load of characters. So much so that we stayed for two hours before driving back to the office. Spent the afternoon typing that story up and then at 4.10 p.m left to drive home. After arriving Anne and myself walked down to the post office and then went to the library. Came home and had tea and then spent the early evening shinning up a ladder to clean the upstairs windows on the outside. After that spent the rest of the night writing. I have picked up my journalist story again and am trying to write 1,000 words a day. I did that yesterday and tonight wrote over 3,000 words. This time I feel I am getting somewhere. The end result of it all was going to bed rather late.

 

Thursday 27th July

 

J was off today so it was much more of a relaxed day. In fact with Bob away as well it was a pretty quiet day. I got up at the usual time and as there were a couple of average type stories I decided to stay at home and put the copy over at 9 a.m as J had instructed me yesterday. Of course there was nobody there and, although I stayed until 9.15 a.m I couldn't get through. So I drove into work and spent the early morning doing stuff picked up on calls.

 

Got an Evening Post at the usual time and had a snack lunch and listened to the Test Match on the radio before driving over to Arnold at 1.30 pm. It was a silly job. The Sunday Mirror had rung up asking me to check a letter they had received. That was a fairly easy matter and I was back in the office at 2.30 p.m. Spent the rest of the afternoon writing my novel and then came home at 4.15 p.m. Had tea and then watched the television before having a bath and getting ready at 8 p.m to go to Attenborough to see Brian and Angela Westerman. We found their home without too much difficulty - a bloody great mansion. Spent a nice evening drinking, chatting and eating. In fact we stayed all evening and by the time we drove home at was around midnight. Went straight to bed.

 

Friday 28th July

 

Whenever Anne comes into Nottingham and we arrange to go out in the evening I have an incredibly busy day In which I end up rushing around everywhere. That means I end up tired, hot and flustered. On the surface there wasn't anything on today and I was hoping for a quiet day. Started by doing about five stories from the news and then, after getting an Evening Post, found a number of others to check.

 

At lunchtime had a quick snack and only about half an hour rest before things began to blow up in the afternoon. In that time I managed to go to Allied Carpets to pay the balance of our account. The main thing in the afternoon surrounded a Nottingham girl who had gone missing and later found dead in Scotland. Although we didn't deal with the story I had to put some copy over to the Yorkshire Post and BBC which took some time.

 

Then we heard that the young Newark footballer had lost her appeal to the high court and J wanted me to get an interview. A phone call established, however, that they were down in London and were not returning until about 7p.m. With an evening at the Playhouse planned I had no intention of working in the evening. I then walked to Sainsburys in the Broadmarsh Centre to help Anne with the shopping. Returned to the office and checked out and then we went to the Theatre Royal for tea before returning to the Playhouse for a drink and to meet John and Andy. The evening was spent watching the new musical Around the World in 80 Days. Entertaining drivel is probably the best way to describe it, but it was enjoyable. At the end we stayed drinking until the bar shut and then drove home. I watched the highlights of the test match on television before going to bed.

 

Saturday 29th July

 

A pretty bring day which wasn't helped by feeling grotty. It was an extremely hot and heavy day which gave me a headache. I had hardly woken up when I had to listen to the radio for the local news. Not much on that so I decided to take things easy. Anne went off to Yorkshire to pick her mum and dad up to bring them back for a holiday. I had breakfast and the only piece of work I did during the day was to check on the delay position at East Midlands Airport. Then watched the test match before walking to the fish shop to get some dinner.

 

Spent the start of the afternoon watching the television and then walked into Town to pick up some curtains that Anne had ordered. When I came back I fell asleep and felt grotty when I woke up. Had some tea and then spent a quiet evening watching television. Anne came back fairly early and it wasn't too late when I went to bed.

 

Sunday 30th July

 

Nothing much wrong with today except it poured with rain all the time and consequently it was rather boring. The main problem was, like with many Sundays, I was in theory on call. Although in effect I didn't do anything there was always the thought in the back of my mind that at any moment the phone could go. That's why I am looking so forward to next week. We are going home for Beccles Carnival. Raymonds won't be able to get me there and of course to me it will be like returning home.

 

I felt rather better than yesterday although felt rather tired. For that reason I lay in until 10.30 a.m. Had a cooked breakfast and spent the rest of the morning messing around after walking to the nearby paper shop. Had lunch and spent the early afternoon watching television and ten checked in with Derby at 3.30 p.m. Luckily there was nothing happening so I was able to relax a little after that. Played scrabble and watched the cricket on television. Had tea and then pottered around afterwards making up some more wine and doing one or two small jobs. Had  a bath before going to bed.

 

Monday 31st July

 

Yet another month grinds to a close. A very routine end as well except for more car trouble and pouring rain, although nowadays that's almost normal. The problems began after breakfast when we went down to Long Eaton Post Office with the intention of getting the Volkswagon re-taxed. But with the recent change of ownership we couldn't get it done there and so Anne had to come with me to Nottingham and then take the car back. So I was left to get the bus home. It was a fairly busy morning but I was ready for it because I taped the morning news. So the three stories I had to do came easily. Then got hold of an Evening Post but there was nothing in that so I went to get a snack for dinner. Spent the rest of the break reading and then visited the sheet music shop.

 

Then spent most of the afternoon trying to get a drugs death story from Stoke. It appears the entire Raymonds set-up is grinding to a halt. J was the only one in at Derby. One of the Stoke office has resigned and the other one is on holiday. So it's falling to pieces. During the afternoon Anne rang up to say she couldn't get the car started and it was stuck in a Long Eaton car park. So at 4.30 p.m I ran through the pouring rain and got soaked going to the Broadmarsh Centre to get the bus.

 

Arrived in Long Eaton at 5.30 p.m and got to the car park and started the car first time. Came home and had tea and then spent a quiet evening watching television before going to bed.