LYDIA’S BIRTHDAY The flat came awake slowly and it wasn’t until 9:30 that we were all up and ready to go. Lyd and Linda went off to do some shopping in Kensington and Jenny and I went down to try and get Joycie (Jennie’s car) started. We tried turning it over for a few minutes then pushed it but without success so we left her and took Eric (our car: Eric Escort) for a hoon instead. We stooged around the Chelsea Docks for a while and finally ended up down at the Chelsea Bridge. We climbed down a set of stairs to the edge of the Thames and took some photos standing on a small shingle beach which the low tide had uncovered. It was a lovely warm morning and the clouds made a beautiful effect in the blue sky above the city. We spent about 15 minutes there beside the old river then drove down through Westminster and across Westminster Bridge to Lambeth then back across Blackfriars Bridge for a general tour of the West End before we headed back out to the flat. 

Lydia and Linda weren’t back from their shopping trip yet so we had another go at getting Joicey going and lo, she went, albeit a bit roughly. So we drove down the road and put some gas in her then went back to the flat.

Jen and Lyd went off to the theatre in the afternoon and Linda and I went into Piccadilly to kill some time. We window-shopped in the Trocadero and spent an hour or so having some lunch in the Rock Island Diner, then wandered through Leicester Square to the Polar Bear pub. We waited for about an hour before Jen and Lyd turned up with a friend of theirs called Peter and after a couple more drinks we set off to walk around to the Black Lion and French Horn pub where we had arranged the surprise party for Lyd. On the way down Regent Street we took a few photos of each other: a bunch of kiwi farm kids quite at home in the big city.

The party was a great crack¹ with about 30 people there, raging up and doing some serious drinking. A bloke called Murray Crawford turned up: the brother of Graeme Crawford who was in my class at Lincoln². Alex and Lucy (our nurse friends from our time at the Red Lion) were there, and Louie turned up with 3 of her friends. The party finished at about 1:30 a.m. and a bunch of us amused ourselves out on the street throwing a rugby ball around while we waited for taxis. Linda and I got a taxi with Paul and Anthony, two of Jennie and Lydia’s flatmates and when we got back to the flat we both crashed out on the floor in the girl’s room.

¹Crack (or craik) is an Irish term for something that is fun.
²Lincoln Agricultural College, where I obtained my Diploma in Agriculture in 1983.

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