Another wet, cold day spent finishing off the fence. Linda helped out for a while but it was so miserable that I told her not to come back out after lunch. Had dinner with the Hastings’ in the evening¹
¹ Beef is supposed to be eaten rare. However, the definition of “rare” does not mean squirting uncooked blood from the cold, raw interior of the meat. Mrs Hastings, as well as being mad (see tomorrow’s entry), was no cook. To this day we always compare the rareness of meat to the virtually uncooked slices of red, bloody beef we were served that evening!
SUNDAY We met Jen at the Colton Arms at 11:30 and had a beer there with Gunner [I have no idea who that is!] then drove out to East london to see Louie. We spent a couple of hours with her catching up on all the goss, then drove round the North Circular [motorway] and dropped Jen off at Jo King’s flat. With nothing further to occupy us in London we drove back to Charlcutt, stopping for tea at a Granada [motorway service station] on the way.
I was awake at 6.00am as usual and read for a while before rising and having a bath¹. I went in for breakfast [I ate all my meals with the farm owners] but the Hastings’ were having a running battle² over some small point so I left as quickly as possible.
I stopped in Wootton Bassett to register the car then headed for London on the M4. I had told [our friend] Karen that I would pick her up at 12:00 but made good time into the city, arriving at her place at 11:30. She had gone for a swim so I decided to go for a short drive then return. I got back an hour later having gotten lost in Clapham and then being stuck in traffic!
The traffic was horrendous going out of town towards Gatwick Airport on the M3 so by the time we hit the M25 (known locally as “the largest parking lot in Europe”) it was getting on towards 2:00, which was the time that Linda and Jen were due to land.
Eric Escort came to the fore, however, by cruising at 70 mph all the way to Gatwick and when we got there the plane had been delayed by 20 minutes anyway so we had time to recover our composure over a beer.
Around 3:00PM Linda and that “Damn Yankee”³ Jennie Bell came out of the customs hall and we were reunited.
That night, after searching all over Earl’s Court for a room, Linda and I ended up in a non-luxury hotel on Cromwell Road.
¹My quarters for the duration of my lambing job were a caravan parked in a hay barn with an attached kitchen and bathroom.
²More about these mad bastards coming up in a day or two!
³ After dining in a restaurant In Doncaster called Damn Yankee, we’d adopted this as a temporary nickname for Jennie.
I spent these four weeks working as a lambing shepherd at Tuck’s Farm, near Charlcutt in Wiltshire. My diary entries for this period are sporadic, consisting mainly of song lyrics and wistful little poems that I composed while sitting amongst the hay bales in my lambing pens.