September 1960


In which I finish my vacation in Devon and Cornwall, go on a short works course with Viyella and prepare to start at Reading University, I open my first bank account.


Thursday 1 September - Salcombe
We left the hostel at 10.00 after seeing the horses and hounds passing at breakfast.  We walked along the beach to the ferry across the swift flowing Avon river to Bantham.  The ferryman was nowhere to be found but two boys took us across in their boat.  Walked along the coastline and past a golf course.  As we watched a man teeing off I was willing him to knock it over the cliff and sure enough - he did.  He was very annoyed indeed when I asked him, "How are you going to play that one?"  At Hope Bay we all bought an ice cream, there were about 20 different flavours to choose from.  I had a mint one.  We had dinner on the National Trust territory in between Hope Bay and Bolt Tail.  I have been bitten by insects around the feet and legs.  This has made walking difficult and I have worn plimsols this afternoon which has been tiring because of the rough ground.  We reached the Salcombe hostel over the cliff tops via Sewer Mill Cove.  The cliff scenery is very impressive and very rugged.  We passed a Coast Guard look out post on the top of the cliffs, it was just a pole with spokes in the side. 



Looking back on Burgh Island in beteeen Bigbury and Salcombe
Terry (L) and Peter.  View in between Bolt Tail and Bolt Head.

There was a telegram waiting for me at the hostel.  It read, "Accepted Reading.  Phone Seaton 237 about 8 pm. Congratulations Mum and Dad."   I was very pleased indeed.  The nearest pub was over two miles away so we went into a very high class hotel to celebrate - much to the annoyance of the guests.

Friday 2 September - Salcombe
We spent the day at Salcombe.  It was drizzling early and with the permission of the warden we didn't leave until about 10.30.  I went into the town, or rather the village, with Dave Wright and Peter Gregory while the others went straight to Starehole Cove which is in between the hostel and Bolt Head.  On the way, Dave didn't feel too good so we took our time.  On the way back to meet the others we left Dave at the hostel.  We reached the others at about 13.15 and spent the whole afternoon there messing about.  I tried to dam up a stream that entered the cove by means of a waterfall - with no success.  Went back to the hostel via a cliff path.  Dave seems better this evening.

We have had more time to examing the hostel and grounds. It is all part of National Trust territory. The garden is planted with sub-tropical trees. The grounds are entered by means of an avenue of palm-type trees from China.  These have thick hairy trunks with palm leaves arranged in a fan.  There is also a huge plant from Chile which resembles a rhubarb plant with stalks ten feet long.  The ground floor of the hostel is a museum.  There is a magnificent panorama drom the Dining Room actoss the estuary with many tiny yachts. When the sun is out the water is a magnificent blue but is much different when it is raining.

Saturday 3 September - Strete
We had a lazy day today  We helped the warden take down some beds so we didn't leave until quite late.  It had rained quite heavily but soon cleared up so the we left the hostel in bright sunshine. We walked into Salcombe and took the ferry across the estuary to East Portlemouth.  I didn't think much of Salcombe because of the type of people that it caters for - they are very snobbish.  We had only been waking about ten minutes when a van stopped and offered us a lift right up to the end of Slapton Sands - abut a mile from Strete hostel. It was quite an hilarious journey during which we backed into a telegraph pole, causes a mtorist to back about mile down the lane (he was very angry) and encountered a flock of sheep.  We spent the rest of the day on the beach.  The walk to the hostel took some time because of the good blackberries in the hedgerows.  The hostel is a temporary one, being the village hall in winter - it is just partitioned.  We went down to the "local" and sampled some of the really rough cyder.

Sunday 4 September - Maypole
We left the hostel at 09.40 and walked quite fast through Bowden and Hemborough Post to Dittisham.  Between Hemborough Post and Dittisham there is a marvellous panorama to the north towards Dartmoor with its bleak tors.  Had dinner at Dittisham which is a very nice village which has unfortunately been spilt by a row of council houses.  We crossed the River Dart by the ferry to Greenway and stayed there until about 16.30.  There is quite a steamer tourist traffic up the Dart from Dartmouth, Paignton and Torquay, some going on up to Totnes but most turning round at Dittisham.  The Dart is very beautiful, particularly the eastern bank which is heavily wooded.  There is a gapin the trees where the railway has been driven but the tains are fortunately well concealed.  We walked up to maypool hostel which is very good.  There is a terriffic view from the dormitory window down the valley towards Dartmouth.  In the foreground is the dart with its wooded slopes. In the distance on the left (east) bank is Kingswear with Dartmouth on the opposite bank.  The Royal Naval College is just discernable on the hill to the north of the Dartmouth shore above Old Mill Creek. There are five tankers in the estuary side of the river probably laid up because of the slump in demand for small tankers (Compare two tankers at Devonport). There is also a light ship under repair just beow the tankers.  The railway comes just below the hostel, cut in between the trees.  It enters a tunnel to the left.  The maypool is just in sight down to the right.


View from Maypool hostel dormitory
Monday 5 September - Lownard
We walked into Galmpton, where we bought some dinner, then along the road to Aish and then a rough cart track to the outskirts of Totnes. We were passed by some horses and riders along the cart track and again the old familiar cry of:

"Git orf 'n' milk it!"

was heard.  Had dinner in a field overlooking Totnes.  The soil in this part of Devon is very red, indeed my boots are changing from black to reddish brown.  There seem to be a large number of huge ants, luckily I haven't been stung.  After dinner we wandered into Totnes and had a drink.  I beat Pete at a game of darts.  It was already "time"and we were going to decide it by nearest the centre after my throw.  I needed 61 and scored 20 - 1 - double 20.  He was rather annoyed.

We wandered into Totnes looking at the shops.  We had plenty of time as the hostel is only two miles from Totnes.  I went to the station for the afternoon.  It is very interesting as it is here that the bankers are attached for the ascent of Rattery Bank.  The bankers are 2-6-2 tanks of 51xx and 61xx classes,  These have one disc on the buffer beam on the left hand side, on which is the number of the banker.  The cattle side-loading bay has a concrete and brick base, the rails being secured by means of sleepers placed longitudinally.

I left the station at 16.35 and walked along the Ashburton road to the hostel at Lownard.  On the way I passed a textile mill (for tourists only) using water power.  I walked right past the hostel.  It consists of two buildings, the main one being a cottage which I walked past.  It is separated from the dormitories by a stream,  It is miles from anywhere but the food is pretty good.

Tuesday 6 September - Dunsford
I left the hostel early and walked with Terry and Dave Wright into Totnes where I caught the 10.03 train to Newton Abbot, hauled, again, by Castle No. 5069, "Isambard Kingdom Brunel".  I stayed on the platform at Newton Abbot until 12.20.  There is an old locomotive on the platform between platforms 1 and 3.  It is called "Tiny" and is the last 7' 0" gauge engine in the world (but see http://www.railways.incanada.net/Azores/Azores.html)   "Tiny" was constructed in 1868 at Plymouth, by Messrs. Sara and Co. for the South Devon Railway.  It later became Great Western Railway No. 2180 and was used as a stationary boiler at Newton Abbot works until 1927 when it was restored.

I left Newton Abbot station and walked through the town to the Moretonhampstead road where I started to hitch.  My first lift came after 15 minutes.  It was in a van as far as Bovey Tracey.  I had a look around Bovey Tracey and then carried on the Moreton road.  There didn't seem to be much chance of a lift so I decided to walk.  I had walked about a mile when I managed to stop a garage van which took me to Moretonhampstead.  It had startd to rain and I wandered around for about an hour until about 16.00 then set off for Dunsford.  It was raining heavily by then and there seemed very little chance of a lift.  I arrived at the hostel at 17.00 soaked through because I had worn long trousers.

The hostel is a kind of fishing cabin set in the woods high over the Teign Gorge.  We stayed the evening in the hostel playing cards.

Wednesday 7 September - Exeter
I left the hostel at 09.30 and walked into Exeter, arriving at 12.30, and had a look at St. Davids station.  There are several changes since I was there last.  The bankers up to Central station are now class Z, 0-8-0Ts instead of the 0-6-2Ts which performed this duty for some years.  The 0-8-0Ts sound very funny because of their small wheels.  They have very quick exhaust beats and seem to be going much faster than they really are.  There are two new breakdown unit vans in the Western loco shed yard which has a much stronger smell of stale smoke.  I caught the 14.06 train from St. Davids up the bank to Central where I stayed until 16.00.  I had a walk around town and then walked to the hostel at Countess Weir.  It doesn't seem much.  We went down to the swing bridge after dinner to meet Colin Bishop who is staying at Exmouth.  He didn't turn up so we went along to the Tally-Ho!.  We saw the sputnik on the way back.

Thursday 8 September
We left the hostel at 08.30 and started hitching on the Exeter by-pass.  We were given a lift to Scorrier which is between Ilchester and Wincanton.  We then were taken to the other side of Wincanton by a police car and a private car owner.  The lifts then ran out so Dave Wright and I walked through Somerset and Dorset in good weather to Gillingham. We then caught the 15.26 stopping train to Salisbury hauled by Schools Class 4-4-0 No. 30913.  The London train was 10-15 minutes late, hauled by a Merchant Navy Pacific.  We arrived at Waterloo still 15 minutes late despite some very good running. The driver told me that the difficulty was a long permanent way slowing past Andover.

Friday 9 September
Took some time this morning unpacking my rucsack.  It had to be turned upside down to get rid of the shingle from Slapton Sands.  I caught the 2.53 from St. Mary Cray and met David at the Bromley Library.  I beat him by two strokes on the putting green in the Library Gardens.  We went back tohis place and had tea, after which we took the train to Victoria. We met Dave Waywell and went to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. We heard the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Basil Cameron and lead by Hugh McGuire:
Beethoven Leonora no. 1
Beethoven third piano concerto
Beethoven second symphony
Ives "Three Pieces in New England"
Dukas "L'Apprenti Sorcier"
The soloist in the piano concerto was Dennis Matthews who played very well, particularly the first and third movements.  The piece by Ives was in three movements.  It was the first public performance in this country and required a large orchestra - two pianos, organ, gong and dulcima.  Although it was modern music it was very enjoyable. The second movement built up to a tremendous climax with every instrument playing as loud as possible.  It was so impressive that everyone clapped at the end of the second movement which is very bad manners.

Saturday 10 September
I spent a busy morning filling in forms and doing odd jobs.  I had to goup to marchants to order some more photographs.  David came down in the afternoon and we went to the 'Combe trials.  Of course it would have to be a blazing hot day.  I was playing in mu usual position of prop forward against a team of mainly B VX players.  I didn't do too much but should still be in the second Colts next season when I am at home.  David came back and stopped quite late.  Have had to pack my bag for tomorrow.

Sunday 11 September
I caught the 09.18 from Orpington to Charing Cross and then the 11.30 from St. Pancras to Leicester hauled by Scot 4-6-0 No. 46123.  There was some engineering work.  We slowed twice to change to the slow line and back.  We were stopped for 6 mintes at Haslington because a train in front was out of steam.  After that, we passed the offender, a 2-8-0.  Passed by Brush Traction Works at Loughborough. I changed at Leicester for the diesel to Nottingham.  We passed and were passed several times by a brake test train of 70 loaded coal wagons hauled by two Metropolitan-Vickers Co-Bo diesels with two special carriages at each end.  There was a wire running the length of the train.  Each tine they passed us the crew gave our driver the V sign.  We were delayed 20 minutes waiting for a connection at Trent.  Reached Nottingham Midland 29 minutes late.  I went straight to the YMCA where I am staying during the course.  After dinner I went for a walk down by the River Trent.

Monday 12 September
I didn't get a chance to talk to Robert Clarke, my companion on the course, until this morning because he arrived late last night.  He is a proper snob.  We went round to Viyella House and was met by the Staff Advisor, Mr. Wesson and his assistant, Miss. Miles.  After an introductory talk we were taken on a tour of the House.  It is very large indeed, I could easily have got lost.  We had dinner in the canteen and afterwards spent the afternoon in the garment factory which occupies the top floor.  The goods are actually made by hand although electric sewing machines are used.  The Assistant Manager said that girls weren't very reliable because they weren't really interested.

Tuesday 13 September
We caught the 09.00 bus into Mansfield.  The country is very pleasant once Nottingham has been left behind.  Although this area is a coalfield I couldn't see any traces of mining.  We were met at Mansfield and taken to the mills at Pleasley.  There are three, situated in unspoilt countryside. There is a large lake formed by the damming of the stream to provide the original source of power.  We were shown all the stages of yarn spinning except scouring and dyeing which is done outside.  We were taken back to Mansfield where we had the afternoon off.  I saw an Eastern 0-6-2T and an old Midland 0-6-0, No. 41712 without an all over cab.  In the evening I went down to the Midland station where I saw two B16 4-6-0s and a Standard 2-6-0 No. 78021.

Wednesday 14 September
We started off this morning with a visit to the Mail Room - I wouldn't like to work in there.  It seems to be mainly sorting, delivering to and collecting from the various departments.  Neither the Company Secretary, nor the Advertising department could have us so I spent most of the day with a Correspondent in the Men's Department.  The work seems very interesting although the filing system is most intricate.  Afterwards we went to see "Solomon and Sheba" at the Odeon.  It was well acted but a bit corny in parts.

Thursday 15 September
I spent most of the morning in the Statistics Department and found it very intersting.  We overstayed our time and didn't fill in the rest of the morning programme because the Company secretary found time to talk to us.  We spent 2 hours in the afternoon talking to the Manager of the Export Department.  I had a whole list of questions which lasted for just over an hour.  For me, this was the most interesting section.  We just spent half an hour in the Despatch Department. This seems quite straight forward.  I went down to Midand station in the evening.

Friday 16 September
It was raining this morning and didn't give up until 15.00.  We spent most of the morning in the Hosiery Department.  The first part was in the warehouse and the second in the office below.  We then had a brief visit to the typing pool, had a brief talk with Miss Miles and left Viyella House in pouring rain for Midland station.  I caught the 13.34 train, hauled by Scot 46133. The coach was old and dirty but is was very smooth running.  The run home was gloomy because of the weather.  We ran out of the rain at Luton.  I got to Charing Cross quickly and caught the 16.20 fast to Orpington.  What a difference to the journey on Sunday.

Saturday 17 September
Went up to the library this morning.  Just for a change I took out two music scores.  Beethoven 5th, 6th and 7th symphonies and mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I find I can follow fairly well though I tend to get lost and have difficulty in picking up again.  Played the first game of the season for second Colts against the extra B XV this afternoon  Our team played quite well once we had settled down.  I received a terriffic kick in the head which put me out for a minute or so.  My head is sore this evening.

Sunday 18 September
Have finished painting in the little room, all I have to do now is the wall paper which I am not looking forward to. (once the little room was decorated I was allowed to use it for my model railway). I phoned Auntie Pat just before dinner to see if it was alright to go up this afternoon.  I walked up Shire Lane and arrived just before three.  Not much has been done to the model railway. Uncle Reg was doing some wiring in connection with the recording equipment.  The people from the model railway club were there.  Richard likes his new school. They ran me home in the new car (Morris Oxford) I arrived home around 1030.

Monday 19 September
I started to put some paint on the inside of my wardrobe door when Dave Wright came down.  He has passed his driving test and he took me in the pillion seat of his Vespa over to school.  We went into the Porcupine and saw the plaster monk with our names carved on it that was presented to the "Porcky" by the sixth form on the last day of term.  Peter Collis turned up also.  We went home via Peter Gregory's.  He hasn't got a job yet, hasb't even thoguht about it yet

Tuesday 20 September
I have heard from Reading about my accommodation.  I will be living in approved lodgings in Berkeley Avenue - wherever that is.  I have also heard from British Railways about my application to purchase a number plate from a Southern engine.  The number plate is from an E1 class 0-6-0 No. 32689.

Wednesday 21 September
I have been writing my report for the short works course.  I will have to take it to school some time.
it has been quite an entertaining evening, Railway Roundabout and professional tennis on TV and On Railways and Beethoven's eigth symphony on the wireless.

Thursday 22 September
Have been doing some notes this morning until about 10.00.  I have at last fitted a new front brake cable to my bike - I'm not breaking the law any more. I cycled over to school to hand in my report for the works course.  Terry Wall and Peter Gregory were there as well.  We were received as heroes.  Nothing has altered although they have only been back for two days.  We went into the Porcupine to see the monk.  I didn't get home until 3.00 and had to cook my own dinner because Mum went up to see Auntie Liz.

Friday 23 September
I reveived the first part of my grant this morning - a cheque for 50.  This afternoon Mum and I went up to Barclays Bank for an interview with the Manager to open an account. (opening a bank account was a big deal in those days.  My parents didm't have one at that time.)
I have found a good way to get rid of my spare Castrol literature.  I have collected it all in a big envelope and sent it off to Colin Bishop.  He'll be quite annoyed when he gets it.  I went to the doctor's to get a medical certificate for the University.

Saturday 24 September
Odd jobs this morning including cutting some wood.  Had an early dinner and went to Bromley South station where I met the rest of the 'Comb Colts II XV.  I had a lift in Richard Isaac's Rover down to Mote Park, Maidstone where we played Maidstone extra B.  It was a very good game which we won 12-3.  They pressed hard for the first ten minutes but we seemed to click and did everything but score.  First blood went to Maidstone through a try scored rather against the run of play from a scrum on our "25".  We soon hit back with a try from a very good run by our fly half.  It was 3-3 at half time.  We scored three times in the second half and came close a couple of times.  Even so, we had some tough taking to do from line-outs inside our "25".  I stayed until 6.30 and got a lift back in the same car.  Stayed up quite late watching professional tennis.

Sunday 25 September
Sunny today. Auntie Vi and Uncle George came down for the day.  We went down to the Anglesey Arms before dinner.  I had a John Courage - don't think too much of it - its too fizzy.  Spent the afternoon in the front garden. About 5.00 we went for a walk up the High Street and back through the Priory where I found a few conkers.  Auntil Win and Uncle Alf came down in the evening.

Monday 26 September
I have been wallpapering the little room today, a job I've not been looking forward to.  It wasn't as bad as I had expectred, the paper went on quite well really.  The window and door walls are the red paper of my bedroom while the other two walls are in another grey [a[er.  This afternoon we went up the road (High Street) to buy a new pair of shoes.  I also went into the travel agents to book seats for Cinerama on Wednesday when we go up to London to buy some clothes.  Steve Turner sent me some beer mats by post.

Tuesday 27 September
I had a lovely job this morning.  I had to turn over the compost heap so that the unrotted matter was underneath and the compost was on top ready for use.  Another rat has been seen in the Collins' garden so I have also had to pile earth over the whole thing.  Thuis came from the old runway outside the back - I got rid of some of the stones and brokenconcrete that has been piling up for some time.  I have been sticking beer mats on the inside of my wardrobe doors,

Wednesday 28 September
Went up to Holborn with Mum and had dinner in the cafeteria at Gamages (late lamented).  After dinner we met Dad who had come up from work and bought my clothes for Reading.  Altogether I bought a lovatt green raincoat, a tweed sports jacket, two shirts (white and green), a blue dressing gown and two pairs of socks.  But the best buy was a record that Dad bought me - Prokoffief's Classical Symphony.  We walked to Charing Cross where we had tea and then went to the Casino to see Cinerama "South Sea Adventure"  It was very good indeed.  Although we were near the front the effect was very realistic.  Some surf riding shots were really exciting.  Perhaps the most impressive part was the shots of a Tongan choir singing "Behold the Lamb of God" from The Messiah translated into the native language. The views of Australia and New Zealand were also very good, particularly the scenes of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sitting in the train waiting to leave Holborn we saw a water column with a chain swinging in the breeze.  Dad said "Swinging chain denotes warm seat".

Thursday 29 September
I went up to the bank this afternoon to get my cheque book. It went without mishap.  I think I should be able to manage at reading quite comfortably.  Afterwards I went over the Knoll to see Auntie Liz - she was very pleased to see me.  It must be very lonely for her all by herself and not being able to get out.  Auntie Pat, Uncle Reg and Richard came down about 830.  It seems funny to be saying goodbyr until Christmas.

Friday 30 September
A very unpleasant day today with strong winds.  Flooding in the west country.  Auntie Margaret came down this afternoon .  She gave me 10/- to spend when I get to Reading.

 

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