October 13th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Even odder than usual (I really am scraping the barrel) – back of a Polynesian aerogramme

At last the weather has moderated a little, + we’ve been able to do some reasonable sailing.  Not that the course is any better, with the wind still from exactly the wrong place.  I was affected by different moods today.  In the morning I was fired by optimism – I suppose that was the effect of a bit of sunshine, along with a fair wind that wasn’t a whistling gale.  By the afternoon I felt… not exactly depressed, more completely apathetic about virtually everything.  Perhaps it was the pessimism of the other two wearing me down – they both reckon it’s another 4 days yet (that eternal 4 days.)  I realise it’s probably sensible to be… I don’t know, realistic, practical, whatever, but I think it was Eric (of Colorado beetle fame) who turned me on to the idea of the optimistic approach.  Anyway.  And then during the evening Doug really annoyed me.  He was rather drunk, + I wasn’t, which didn’t help.  Somehow, he really managed to rub my back up the wrong way.  I polished off another couple of books during the afternoon.  At the rate I’m going, + the rate we’re going, I’ll have finished Doug’s library when (if ) we get in.

Val cooked a smashing meal – fish pie, mash, + beans, but unfortunately it was spoilt for me because it was cold + dried out – all because Doug asked for another rum just as Val was ready to serve out, + she delayed everything to get him one.  I blame the pair of ‘em.

So, because I’m fed up, + because of being fed up am homesick, here is No 1 in an occasional series: Times I Have Felt Entirely Content And Happy With My Life.  Pretty high up on the list was a time I arrived back at Culham at the beginning of one term.  I was a day early, I think – at any rate the whole place was practically deserted.  One other early arrival was my (then) friend, Clive Morris.  We went out for a drink that evening, + went to the pub near Culham station – I forget the name.  It was an unusual choice,  being entirely unfrequented by the students, although it was only half a mile away.  I’d never been there before (except maybe once. When I came on interview) + don’t think I have ever returned since, but I remember that as a wonderful evening.  We sat in the lounge, totally deserted except for us.  It was very dark, the only light coming from a gas fire, + it was furnished more like someone’s lounge than as a pub.  There were big, soft, rather battered settees, several of them, dotted around really quite a large room.  But it was warm, + we sat together, side by side, in the dark.  We talked a bit, + drank – just a couple of pints, I remember – but mostly we sat + enjoyed the dark + the warmth + the feeling of fellowship.  I never felt so close to Clive again.  And now I don’t know where he is.  Like so many others.

More irritation with Doug. Not his fault, for he could not really have been better, but the circumstances were strained.

And then on to my rather strange recollection, possibly another result of too much time on my hands, and hankering affter a happier time. And actually, I have met Clive again since. Val and I had gone to see a production at the Bristol Old Vic which had Sam Alexander, ex-Youth Theatre member in it. but also had Kim Wall, whom I had known at Culham. We all met afterwards in the bar, and there was talk of Clive. Would I like to see him? Well yes, I said, but then was taken aback that he was actually there – I assume he and Clive are ba couple. It was a brief meeting, but good to see him again. He is still a poet, apparently.

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