THE RIDICULOUS £50 TRAVEL ALLOWANCE
F R I D A Y, 2 0 J A N
At 9.30 Maths began. Had it in J. It wasn’t as bad as the last one but it was jolly unfair. They didn’t have anything on longitude and latitude which I’d revised because it’s so important, and they didn’t have a travel graph like the one they always have, and the graph they did have had questions about it that we’ve never seen anything like before. So I think it was very unfair. I’ve worked out I’ve got about 45%. In other words, it’s exactly 50-50 if I’ve failed or not. It is beastly.
At two, in the Hall, French began. It was the best exam we’ve had yet, and terribly easy, though I don’t expect I’ve got more than 62% which is what I got last time because they mark you so stiffly and I know I came down terribly on the Dictee. Wrote about a chap called Jacques Dutronc in my compo, and his dog Antoine. Rather amusing, as the real Dutronc and Antoine are meant to be at hammer and tongs!
Pottery was gorgeous. We had to get some soggy clay from the bottom of a pail and then had to bash it into a rectangular shape. The only trouble is, Beardy is a drag and has no sense of humour. He droned on and on, and at the end said, “You can’t bring your overalls in tomorrow of course because it’s Saturday – thank God.” Shouldn’t an art teacher give a bit of inspiration to his class? Honestly.
Listened to French radio when home and heard an interview with Adamo – his voice! It’s fascinating: husky and squeaky at the same time.
We’ve now decided to get a villa in France – HOORAY – and will spend the first three days at Les Roches Fleuries. Because of the ridiculous travel allowance, we'll have to borrow money from Uncle Ernst.
In 1966 Harold Wilson’s labour government imposed a £50 per-adult limit (worth £634 today) on the travel allowance for Brits abroad - and a £15 allowance per child. Unimaginable now, this "useful contribution to the recovery of the balance of payments" led to some nifty ways of circumventing the rules. Cilla Black’s husband Bobby, a baker by trade, hid his wads of cash in a cottage loaf.