1968: WEEK 7
Monday, 12 Feb
Wore my ancestor pendant and about 7 people said how gorgeous it was.
What should come today but a letter from the French boy Camille! I felt like a C16th lady receiving a letter from a 'Compte'. The writing on the envelope is the most exotic I have ever seen, and the letter begins 'Mademoiselle'. He writes "je fais 60 kilos" (big thrill), "je suis né en Afrique au temps de l'Empire ("he must be 100 years old," said Ma!) "et mes chanteurs préférés sont Anglo-Saxons"!!! I nearly died laughing. But he sounds so keen on me: "J'ai tellement envie de vous connaître depuis que je sais que vous êtes belle"! Showed it to Claire at break - she thinks he sounds very nice. His friend Henri is, anyway. At least he's tall.
Anya back at last. But God, I can't even speak to her without Martha coming up and trying to edge her away, nervously. How Anya can bear it I don't know.
After school we went to see 'Belle de Jour'. Coach cost 5/-, seats 3/6! Got there too early so we walked around the Curzon Cinema district looking for a coffee bar. At last found one and ten of us filed in. Over half smoked, even Ruth. It looks so tarty somehow.
Belle de Jour was in sub-titles. We were all expecting it to be frightfully pornographic but the girl was so sweet and was so well-off it wasn't. She dressed beautifully and had a gorgeous house. Also you're aware all the time there's some deep psychological meaning behind it all (somewhere!). Thinking back over it actually I think it was lovely - beautiful in a strange way. It was about this girl who'd been married for a year to a nice doctor chap who suddenly found she couldn't live without working in a brothel. Why she had to she didn't know - perhaps she felt she couldn't make love to her husband and it would be easiest to try it out with men she didn't know. Anyway, she met this foul chap Marcel and it ended up by him shooting (just wounding) her husband and then being killed himself. We had a hilarious time going home talking about what Owl, Mr Pinkerton and Mr Walker, who came too, would have made of it.
Then it was so funny: I asked Christa to explain the meaning behind the film and she replied, "it's to get from the Toby Jug to the South traffic lights". We roared and roared with laughter - she thought I was asking how to get home!!!
At Epsom I got a taxi. Felt like a girl in a film. I stayed with the Reids, played Pelmanism, and had a super time.
Tuesday, 13 Feb
Tree Trunks sickens me - I forgot to see Mrs Dossitor on Friday and she gave me a lecture on it. I've had enough of her going on about dinner money as it is. But what really gets me, when I think about it, is that I hate being out of anybody's favour.
I've come to the conclusion Martha is extraordinarily childish. Funny I've never noticed it before. She still has a crush on Anya (Pam's word) and constantly hovers around her!
R.I. interesting as usual. We discussed the second-formers and how children at that age can be cruel. I remember how when we were 10 we got a sort of hate-thing against Margaret. One girl starts it and you all just gang up and tag on. We played a game at Rosemary's house where we tied Margaret up in the garden and left her there. I cried in bed that night.
Went to Book Stall and bought a book by Margaret Drabble, A Summer Bird-Cage. It's just the sort of book I like but I wish I knew what she was getting at - lack of communication? I just don't know. How I wish publishers would have the sense to write a little bit at the end of a book by the author himself explaining exactly why he wrote it. What strikes me about so many books by modern authors is that the characters are so complicated. They're always trying to work themselves out. I'm sure I don't get so complicated as they do - they seem to act as though they're on the stage. I suppose I do sometimes, when I'm pretending to be someone else, which I like doing; perhaps that's why I want to be an actress.
Am I speaking an awful lot of rubbish? Quite likely, that book makes me feel rather dramatic.
Someone's bound ask me if I got a Valentine card tomorrow. I shall have to make it up and say yes.
Wednesday, 14 Feb
At last, a letter from Francis - Frédéric's friend. He doesn't sound all that nice. He wears "classical" clothes including blazers, which sounds revolting, and he hopes we'll be more than just pen-friends - humpf!
No-one mentioned Valentine cards, thank God. Pam got one from Roger, of course. It said "To Bonny from Clyde"! Anya showed me Emmanuel's letter - I never realised they were so intimate. At least, he is - he wrote "I should be studying, but before work comes l'amour". She's a bit worried because he's invited himself over to England. Why would a 21-year-old be interested in her?
Debby and Joanna have come up with a marvellous idea - a debating society for the Juniors! Miss Lack was very enthusiastic.
Thursday, 15 Feb
On the notice board outside the Library there's the most ridiculous letter from this mother about the Unit. Why, she says, does the Gov. waste money spoiling 6th formers with unnecessary luxuries while there are thousands of primary schools without proper lavatories? I see her point but it's such a mean attitude to take. The worst thing of all is she doesn't realise how vital it is to show children what a high standard of living is. Perfectly true, they'll probably never come into contact with such a high standard of living again, but that's precisely why the Unit is there. They will go away realising how shocking normal living standards are, and in the future they may do something about it.
Watched The Newcomers. Ellis has died. I nearly cried. I don't see how they can do the programme without him, he was practically the main character. If Daddy died like that I'd cry for months and months.
Parents went out. I watched far too much TV. Manfred Mann on Top of the Pops with 'Mighty Quinn', and fabulous Amen Corner. Portrait of a Lady was horribly sad - Ralph (Richard Chamberlain) died. Television has been pretty depressing today.
Friday, 16 Feb
Martha made me so mad. She asked me if I'd like to come to hers on Monday as she's having a few friends round. "Have you got a boyfriend?" she said. I couldn't stand any more so I quickly said, "well Martha, I'd rather not - you see, I'm having a few of my friends round and I'm not sure what day yet." I agree with Vanessa, to use the word 'boyfriend' is revolting but what's worse, she uses it in its horrible meaning, as though you 'get' boyfriends - either you have one or you haven't. She is so possessive about friends. Not so long ago she was dreadfully worried abut moving into another class, thinking she'd have no-one to sit next to. She's obsessed with the idea of friends and boyfriends and pairing people off. She takes it so seriously, it makes me so sick. As a result I felt frustrated all morning. Ugh.
We got the La Fontaine projects back: three people got starred excellent and I WAS ONE OF THEM!!! I can hardly believe it!!!
Tree Trunks annoys me more every day. She's nice and sensible and responsible and dull. Just like Martha.
In the evening I wrote letters at last to Camille and Francis. But I'm a bit worried about having boy pen-friends - they sound very keen to meet me. The chances are 99/100 that Francis is dead-beat (he wears "classical" clothes), and 80/100 that Camille isn't fantastic. I've been looking through the whole of Salut les Copains and I only saw one or two boys who I would be pleased to have as pen-friends.
Boys can be judged entirely on appearances as far as I'm concerned; not just on length of hair and style of clothes but on the look and expression of the face. For example, the boy in the advertisement on p.18 has got it, the boy in the advertisement on the opposite page hasn't. It's as simple, unfortunately, as that.
Saturday, 17 Feb
Ma finished making my yellow curtains today - heavens, they do cheer my room up! She's also cleared the Nut Walk so you can see the crocuses.
I looked up all the stuff I could find for the foul English project, and read all the criticism I could find on King Lear. Once I get to see all the thousands of bits of genius in a Shakespeare play I get rather a superiority complex and feel frightfully intellectual! Can't wait to see the play.
Pa loves my curtains so much so that he, Chump and me went to Reigate and Northovers, to look at materials for the office. Gorgeous surprise - that fab chap from the 2nd of Jan was there!! He definitely recognised me - he gave me a fab stare as we walked in.
I'm 17 and a half today. What a depressing thought.
Sunday, 18 Feb
Didn't sleep very well because of periodic pains. Didn't feel good in the morning either.
The Alexanders came round to play tennis with Ma and Pa. Then they went out to lunch with the Goldmans. I feel fed up that I never do anything at weekends, and they do.
Anyway, Chump and me had a gorgeous walk after lunch on the Heath. The weather!! I didn't wear a coat or anything!! We spoke French continually and I felt pretty French too, with my fringe to one side in a clip, très français. There were tons of golfers around. Once we lay down in a warm dip and looked up at the sky. But the best bit of our walk came near the end. We were just about to cross the main road, which was terribly busy as usual, when a blue van came along and gave us a huge honk! Inside were two gorgeous boys (the one driving was especially fab; he had a moustache) and they grinned like mad. Because they were such nice boys and because it was a gorgeous day, I grinned back!!
Did some German homework, read The Uses of Literacy, and began on my French reader (Marcel Proust). Horribly difficult. About 11pm I started to make a draft of all the English lectures we've had this year. All in order - terribly useful.
It was so sunny today and I felt much happier for it.