1968: WEEK 20

1968: WEEK 20

"Wim came for the night and he loved the garden. "

"Wim came for the night and he loved the garden. "

Monday, 13 May

Took the French exchange form to school which Tree Trunks filled in. "Ingrid is very pleasant and capable," she wrote. Anya has decided to be a car-park attendant for three weeks. She'll earn £30. 

Grogged and sawdust-ed some Thomas's Body and got as far as making a rectangular shape for my candle-holder.

At lunch time Anya and me walked down to town. Went to Dorothy Perkins where I got a fab pair of white tights. Also went to Rumbalows. Amusing as usual. Alan was there, of course. "Have you got Serge Reggiani?" says Anya. Silence. "Who?" "Would you like me to write it down for you?" says Anya, making a fool of herself, again. "I'm game if you are," says Alan with glee. 

Play rehearsal in the Unit. Hopeless, just not right. I acted appallingly.

Went home with Vanessa and Julie - great fun. Talked about how risky foreign exchanges are. Vanessa went on one where you stay with a family but do lessons in a school. She did have a nice family but said it's easy to get a foul one. "You wouldn't think they'd do it if they were a foul family," I said. "But they don't know they're a foul family," said Vanessa!

Had to walk from Tadworth in the rain and though I had an umbrella my hair got damp and curly. I was so tired and starving I could have screamed.

Uncle Wim came for the night and loved the garden. Dutch Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Luki arrived later for supper. Grandma was my age when she first met Grandpa - 17. A depressing thought. Had a fantastic dinner of fresh salmon.

Tuesday, 14 May

"Wish my skirt wasn't so short - I should have let it down an inch."

"Wish my skirt wasn't so short - I should have let it down an inch."

Sunshine for the Golden Wedding!!! 

Wim went for a walk on his own around the garden. I changed into my new navy and white dress, my new tights, and hair tied back in a French bow. At 11 we left for Meares. Wish my skirt wasn't so short. I should have let it down at least an inch. 

Honestly, I adore Meares. Not just the house and garden which are perfect in themselves but the fields and the farmland and Leith Hill in the distance. Wim was delighted with the bluebells which grow in carpets along the lane. When we got there we all had to cross the garden in a family crocodile to the Caravan (more like a trailer with a tent) where G and G received us with our presents! Grandma was wearing the most extraordinary lizard outfit which almost touched the ground. Karolina had on the most fabulous white floppy hat. Aunt Luki buzzed around taking photos. 

At last we left for lunch at The Old School House. We posed outside for a large family photograph which was rather hilarious because Roly sauntered up to this shiny Rolls and had a photo taken of him as the owner! We were split into six tables at lunch, I had to sit with Aunt Luki but moved our table up to Mummy, Schlata and two other nice women. Had duck with orange - very good. The sculpture lady has got a Citroen with a folding black roof. Karolina, Chump and me were so mad about it we insisted on driving back in it, so G and G had to squash in the front seat together! "Don't do an Isadora Duncan," said Karolina, referring to Grandma's cloak - all part of the lizard outfit.

Had close photos - too close - taken of us individually when we got back. Then at last a huge bottle of champagne was opened (by Roly) and the speeches began. They made me want to cry, they've been in love for so long. Wim made a speech and said the first time he saw Grandpa was 66 years ago doing exercises in the Gym! All the daughters-in-law got gorgeous pieces of jewellery. Then came the cake. A fabulous huge square one with yellow roses on top. 

It took ages getting everybody ready to leave. Discussed literature and films with Wim going home. One book he loves is 'To the Lighthouse'. He's mad on Jacques Brel, which I think is rather marvellous. 

Wednesday, 15 May

Said good-bye to Wim who left at 8.15.

Instead of Gen. Eng. this girl came to speak from one of these organisations which do good works. Very interesting because she showed slides. I'd love to decorate a slum house or something but at the moment I just haven't got the time. 

Tina explained the 'A' Level syllabus for Paper B and I've decided I'm going to do 'To the Lighthouse', 'Portrait of an Artist', Byron and D H Lawrence.

Vanessa was terribly worked up about the rehearsal when we went home. I don't know how she can mind so much but Christa is getting unbearable to her. She's cross the play is not enjoyable to do, and she's distraught about her work. 

Played Otis and Carla - staggering. My favourite track is 'Let Me Be Good To You.'

Thursday, 16 May

Play rehearsal much more fun as no Christa, just Miss Gately. Act 2 again. I did pretty hopelessly, I really did. But the difference is staggering: Miss G is encouraging and sympathetic. And she has had a marvellous idea, to do the play in the drama room instead of the hall as it would be very exciting to experiment with a stage on the same level as the audience. Vanessa was in a miles better mood.

What would I give to be Vanessa. She's cycling in France for three weeks with Peter. They're going by tandem and sleeping at youth hostels.

Watched Top of the Pops. 'Young Girl' by Union Gap is No. 1. Rather nice.

I've started on 'The Edwardians' by Vita Sackville-West.

Friday, 17 May

Discussed education in Current Events. I never realised this but England has a 'liberal education' - you're educated in every marvellous subject imaginable but you're not prepared for a job. This was marvellous when public school boys early in the century didn't need to earn their own livings, but now the grammar schools have taken on the same idea and perhaps they should concentrate more on a vocation education - like you get in tech. college, learning shorthand etc. Lucy and me are a bit concerned about what we could do when we leave University. It's all very well having a languages degree but what do you do with it? I don't want to teach but I do want to travel. And I've got no training to be a secretary.

Christa is the only person who's not very keen on having the play in the drama room. Claire and Jo are pleased because the curtain backdrop is orange!

I did nothing in the evening, just watched that stupid TV. '24 Hours' was on the Paris riots. French students are fab and their English accents are so super. One chap said "I think that's it!" Chump and me wish we could speak French like that. The students have taken over the Odeon Theatre at the moment, to rebel against the bourgeoisie. I must say, France seems to be a very snobby country - they're always talking about the bourgeoisie. Then saw the first part of 'Angel Pavement' by J B Priestly. Terribly good.

I wish Camille would write. I wonder if I did offend him about De Gaulle? 

Saturday, 18 May

Got to the Marina at 11. We actually sailed! Even though the weather was foul. I helped a bit putting the mainsail up but it was freezing so I sat inside the whole way and read 'The Edwardians'. It's incredible to think but 60 years ago the upper classes  were the same as they'd ever been, ever since William the Conqueror. Then I snuggled up on my bunk and thought about that gorgeous, gorgeous boy I saw on April 13th. If only I could have gone to the Scotch Club with him. 

Fell asleep off and on. Woke up when we were coming into Cowes.

After tea we went ashore for dinner. Honestly, Cowes is the crummiest place I've ever been to - like Gibraltar but worse. The restaurants - they're so depressing. Flimsy little cafe-looking places with faded net curtains and bare furniture. Had dinner at the Gloster Hotel - a hideous place and not very good food but one good waiter - tall with fair hair. I felt pretty lively in a corny-cracking-jokes mood (but not too corny!). 

Sunday 19 May

Lovely dreams about a boy. I just want to fall in love and be ecstatically happy. Woke up to a bright blue sky through the hatch. Chump and me put up the jib. Rather a snazz boy with fair hair on the boat next to us. The only trouble with the sail back was that it was freezing - I had to wrap myself right up in the rug.

Read and finished 'The Edwardians'. It's so beautifully written and so interesting, both fictionally and historically. No wonder she knew such a lot about about the upper classes of 1900 - she was brought up at Knole! It's funny that two books I've liked awfully have both been about a young man called Sebastian (the other was 'Brideshead Revisited'). Had tea on the boat, and went straight home.

Washed my hair and at last got down to some homework - 'Spring and Fall' by Gerald Manley Hopkins. I've still got to copy it out. I think it's lovely.

Honestly, Paris is in chaos. Everyone's striking and there aren't even any flights to England. Apparently the Communists are moreorless in power. I don't quite get it. I don't see why the workers decided to strike at all. Now, if Camille does write me a letter, I won't even get it.

Boulevard Saint Germain,,6 May 1968. Photo: Bruno Barbey/Magnum

Boulevard Saint Germain,,6 May 1968. Photo: Bruno Barbey/Magnum

1968: WEEK 21

1968: WEEK 21

1968: WEEK 19

1968: WEEK 19