1968: WEEK 17

1968: WEEK 17

 "Fantastic weather at last."

"Fantastic weather at last."

Monday, 22 April

Started off fab. Then it went and rained the whole day.

Got a letter from Anya! I had to write straight back. Told her about everything that's happened since I last wrote, and also told her how I feel about artistic people! Finally I got down to work. Finished off Byron and Chaucer.

My slides of the cruise have come - all five films. It was so utterly exciting - the best ones are of Venice. Showed them after supper. They're much better on the screen. 

I hate being short-sighted. 

Tuesday, 23 April

Dutch Grandma rang me in the morning and was on the phone for a good half hour. It was all about John's wedding and Monique - she never stops. Wish I'd gone though, it sounds fabulous, tons of Austrian customs and things. Monique couldn't find the bouquet and at the very last moment snatched five red tulips from a boy in the crowd and had them instead!!

Washed my hair and wished I hadn't because it went all frizzy after tennis-coaching and I looked perfectly hideous. Chump and me ('The Dynamic Duo') had a rather super coach: very young, quite a snazz, lively and encouraging. 

Rang up Lucy. She's so lucky - while I was away she had two fab weeks going around with crowds of French. They went up to London every day, and went to Birdland, the discotheque. 

Wednesday, 24 April

 "Chump posing in the daffodils"

"Chump posing in the daffodils"

Fantastic weather at last. 

While Ma was out Chump and me tidied up the whole house - to Otis. Did the beds to 'Knock on Wood' and cleared the dining room to 'Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis'. It was hilarious!

Then Chump washed her hair - first time for a fortnight. I set it for her in a curly style and it turned out really good. Took a photo of her in the daffodils, posing, and then she took one of me sitting in the blue carpet of speedwell and daisies.

Depressed in evening because of Daddy - the office gets him down.

Thursday, 25 April

Put the new sheets on my bed and helped Ma with the housework. Then sat out on terrace and did the last German prose. 

Practised tennis with Mummy at tea, and at quarter to six the Dynamic Duo were off, to tennis coaching! When the snazz arrived he said, "I look forward to this lesson: three pretty girls!"... and when he was holding me to show the positions I should be in he said, "I'm only doing this so I can put my arms around you!" But he is a very good teacher. We did serves; I learnt I must reach more for the ball. He was hilarious with Chump though - he said when she was waiting for the ball he caught her nonchalantly "doing the Charleston in the middle of the court - legs, arms and raquet waving in mid-air!"

Who should be No. 1 but Louis Armstrong, with an ancient song but I love it - 'What a Wonderful World'. 

I'm still in a miserish state of mind. 

Friday, 26 April

 The "moderately ok" Jannifer Lowe Summers, a 22-year-old secretary from Whitley , winner of Miss England 

The "moderately ok" Jannifer Lowe Summers, a 22-year-old secretary from Whitley , winner of Miss England 

Started learning my part, Mrs Webb, and did all of Acts 1 and 2. I've only got 11 speeches left! Chump helped a lot. We went down to the speedwell patch, where we could hear the gardeners on the other side of the hedge larking around - one gave an imitation of an Indian wail. My legs and arms got pretty brown. 

Did volleying at tennis-coaching. Learned to (1) use both hands (2) keep racket tilted up (3) keep centre grip (4) bend knee for a low ball (5) keep left foot in front. I've learned a lot in three lessons.

Watched Miss England and honestly, well really, I still can't get over it. Each frump was worse than the last - Chump and me were gasping with horror! The faces nearly killed me, but the figures, well, if I had a figure like those girls, I'd commit suicide. Not one of them could ever wear a mini-skirt! There was only one girl who you could call moderately ok, and she won. 

At last I decided to read a book, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. Miss Brodie is a sort of sophisticated Mary Poppins.

Saturday, 27 April

Anya rang which cheered me up. She said on their way back from Denmark a little boy fell overboard... luckily, the ship hadn't left the port. 

Ma and Pa went out to Sir and Lady Gibbs.

Us two watched Alan Whicker's 'Bird's Eye View', an interesting programme where he interviews three girls from different classes . Well, I've leant just how cronic the human race is. One girl was Lady Caroline, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland. She was OK till she said, "the war in Vietnam is so frightening I try to completely forget about it", but she became unbearable when she said capital punishment ought to be reintroduced because "it's ridiculous when they let a man go because he's found to be mental, that's even more reason to hang him, and by the most brutal methods possible." The second girl I hated from beginning to end, she was a factory worker's daughter who was trying frightfully hard to get in with the right people, and her mind was completely one-tracked - money, money, money. She went out with doctors' sons etc, she wouldn't even go out with someone earning less than £25 a week. "I spend all my money on clothes: now is the time you're looking for a husband so you've got to look more attractive now than at any other time of your life." Honestly.

The third girl was a factory-worker and the nicest of the lot, only she was so uneducated I could hardly get over it. "What nationality was Hitler?" Whicker said. "I don't really know anything about him," she said. "Was he German?" One thing he asked them about was sex and to the third girl he said, "how many of your friends at 17 were virgins?" "None of them... I've known 14-year-olds sleeping around." As Daddy said, we are no different from animals. The working-class live as though they're on a farmyard and the other two were no better. None of them had been educated in a liberal, modern way like we have. 

I've never ever appreciated my friends so much. We are one of the incredibly fortunate 5%. It's education that counts every time.

Sunday, 28 April

I've stuck in here a thing out of Look and Learn. The similarities between Abraham Lincoln and Kennedy are so fascinating I just had to.

Wrote to French pen friends and Jean, and after supper did some La Fontaine. Otherwise I did nothing all day.

I cannot stand living in fear. Fear of the future and fear of death. 

I haven't got anything to look forward to.

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1968: WEEK 16

1968: WEEK 16