The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – December 1963

M was 21 this year. He didn’t do much celebrating because he broke his leg playing football for Express Lifts and was in plaster for 13 weeks, not that he planned to do much anyway. He couldn’t ride his scooter so he had one or two mates with cars who ran him to his darts matches and down the bookies, but he is planning on learning to drive himself when he can. His lessons are booked with Dennis Slinn, a local at The Castle Inn where he plays darts, at 17/6 a go instead of the guinea he usually charges.

I went on holiday with M and his parents to Clacton in a caravan in July. His brother came too so it was a bit squashed. I’m doing well at Tech and passed my Shorthand & Typing exams again this year. I enjoy my one afternoon a week there, it takes me out of the office and I’ve made more friends. M is also at College to learn Engineering during his apprenticeship, until he’s 22 at least.

My uncle got married in September this year and I was one of two bridesmaids. M was an Usher and the wedding was at St. James Church. This means we have one less living in our house but he was always out ‘courting’ or with his mates, so it’s not much different. I miss him though. He’s 10 years older than me but more like a brother. He moved in with us when his parents (my grandparents) died. Not quite true as we moved in with him really as their house was bigger than ours.

We’ve had a telephone installed. It came to a head when dad was ill recently and mum had to go across the road to the public telephone to call the doctor. It’ll come in handy to call her brother in Leeds and if I miss the bus home I can let her know. Dad can give me a ticking off over the phone rather than face to face then.

Every Saturday night we go dancing at The Salon in Jimmy’s End. They have some big bands there and it’s great to dress up and dance. The only problem is that M often gets a nosebleed during the evening and I sit out like a lemon waiting for him to recover.

On Sundays we alternate. One week I go to M’s house for tea and we go to St. James church then on to the working men’s club until my bus comes. He comes to Heyford (the terminus) on the bus with me, then goes back on the same bus, sometimes after sharing a pint with the conductor and driver, although on Sundays the pub shuts at 10:30. He’s not the only one who does this either. The following week he comes to my home for tea and mum buys a tin of meat and a Battenburg cake, we go to the village church then cross the buttercup field to The Old Sun until he takes the last bus home. It works well.

Christmas will soon be here. My Christmas list so far is hankies for dad because he gets through loads, and face powder for mum. My cousin will be with us along with my aunt and uncle but I’m not expected to buy them anything. I think I’ll get M a pen as he’s always looking for something to write with and I could get his mum and dad some fancy biscuits. We’ll play games like snakes & ladders and cards in the front room where dad will light a coal fire. Trouble is you sit round it and your front is warm but your back is cold. The living room is always warm because of the rayburn but it’s traditional at Christmas to use the front room. Other times of the year it’s a
waste of space.

I may not see M for Christmas day or Boxing Day as the buses don’t run much over the Christmas period but he’ll keep.


First published in The Prattler Edition No. 445 – December 2021/January 2022

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