In which I start at Reading University and begin to watch the activity at Reading General station.
Saturday 1 October
I have had a receipt for the number plate. I don't know when it will be delivered. I went up the High Street this morning and went to 10 Spur Road to say goodbye to Auntie Edie, Uncle Jim and Trevor.
This afternoon I played for the 'Combe 2nd Colts against Borough Road College - a teachers training college. They completely outclassed us and they won 18-0. It was quite a good game and I had quite a struggle in the front row.
Sunday 2 October
I got up early this morning because of the extra hour. Have been collecting my stuff together ready too pack tomorrow. I've been burning some of Dad's old trousers. I'm very surprised he parted with them. After dinner we caught the train to West Dulwich and walked to Auntie Min's. Its her 81st birthday tomorrow. She's really amazing. Auntie Win and Uncle Alf and Auntie Lil and Uncle Bill were there so we had quite a party. Auntie Min seemed a bit subdued - it may be because of her heart. Uncle Fred was his same bright self - he keeps on calling me "titch".
Monday 3 October
This is my last day at home for a little while. I spent the morning packing - we'd jammed everything into one case when we found it was broken so we had to hastily change it all over. I caught the 4.19 train from Orpington to Waterloo and the 15.24 to Reading. Mum and Dad came up with me and on to the platform. Mum was nearly in tears. I don't know why - its not for long. The journey to Reading was uneventful . I passed Feltham marshalling yard - nothing much to see though. I took a taxi to Berkeley Avenue. The house seems very good indeeed. The two students who are with me seem very friendly. Went round the town in the evening. (I used the slower Southern line from Waterloo rather than the Western one from Paddington because the transfer in London with baggage is easier - as I became more familiar with the Western line, this became mre promnent in my travels.)
Tuesday 4 October
In getting to the University today I passed over the Reading Central Goods Yard or Coley branch which I later came to know as a fireman.
3219 in Reading Central morning and evening. My interview with the Dean went off smoothly. I shal be taking Political Economy, Geography and either Philosophy or Psychology.
Wednesday 5 October
3219 in Reading Central morning and evening.
Thursday 6 October
2212 in Reading Central morning and evening.
Friday 7 October
I went along to General station in the afternoon. It is quite busy. There is a mixture of Western (Kings, Castles, Halls, Granges and 61xx tanks, Southern Us and N15s, WDs and diesels (locomotives and multiple units). The fast trains go through the through lines at a tremendous pace, the engines are swaying from side to side and the tenders seem to be going in the opposite direction to the locomotive.
Saturday 8 October
At Reading General the most unusual locomotive was a Manor No. 7806. (Station pilot?) I also saw Warchip class No. D827 "Kelly" on an up passenger train. It arrived at Reading at 12.00, 20 minutes late. The drier told me the reason for being late was that there had been cattle on the line. They had already made up some time and he hoped to make up some more before he reached Paddington. There was a vast nuber of people in the diesel's cabs. It was running in from Swindon. This took a week. Today was the last day for "Kelly". I went up to the rugger club in the afternoon and played a triel in the pouring rain. I didn't do much.
Tuesday 11 October
A new shunter in the central Goods depot. 0-6-0 tank No.9406 without its smokebox number plate.
Wednesday 12 October
Went to the rugby trials. I played in the "A" game throughout. There were three sessions of 20 minutes each. I was pretty fagged out at the end. I was playing in a black shirt.
Friday 14 October
I came down to David's (Hall) and did my fiorst lot of washing. It didn't go too badly although at the crucial moment I lost the the Lifeboy soap (no washing machines here).
Saturday 15 October
At Reading General station it is really magnificent to see a Castle going through the station at top speed with a down express of chocolate and cream coaches - the most notable sound being the tick, tick, tick of the crosshead vacuum pump. The diesels also go through at high speed but they are not so impressive as the steam locomotives. The 11.45 departure for Paddington (non-stop) was hauled by diesel No. D809. While it is normal for a diesel to be on this train, last Saturday it was a running in turn for D827.
After lunch at the Buttery I went with the 4th XV in the coach to Bracknell. We played in an R.A.F. establishment. Our opponents were mainly schoolboys. yhey put up a good performance but their lack of experience and their small size showed in the score 25-3. I scored the first try. The ball was passed to me from a maul near the line with the result that I had about 5-6 yerds to go. I crossed through with a couple of people around my neck. Afterwards we had a good old sing song and I didn't get back until 7.45.
Sunday 16 October
The weather has been very good today. It has been sunny although, of course, not very warm. I went for a walk, I am not sure exactly where but I passed Reading West station and fairly close to the Motive Power depot. In one of the sidings there was an old GWR tender. It must have been there for many years. I could just make out the words "Great Western" with the company's monogram in between the two words. The wording stood out because it had not rusted so much as the rest of the tender.
Wednesday 19 October
I went with Tommy Williams to Palmer Park where I played for the 4th XV against Alfred Sutton Secondary Modern school. We won 11-0. I had quite a good game particularly taking in th eloose. They certainly made us run around.
Saturday 22 October
At Reading General the diesel on the 11.45 for Paddington was D828 "Magnificent", which was still being run in. The engineer from Swindon told me that the new Swindon-built locomotives are tested for four days before they are handed over to the Running Department. production at swindon is at the rate of one every 2-3 weeks. there are four more to be built and after that they will build some more powerful ones (the Western D1oxx?) I also saw two 700 class engines No. 30308 heading an up freight through the Western station and No. 30692 shunting carriages in Reading South.
Sunday 23 October
They are relaying a pair of points in the General station. It was quite interesting.
Saturday 29 October
I played for the 3rd XV against Old Walcourtians ex-A at Wallingford just west of croydon. It has been raining since 1100 and the pitch was very muddy indeed. We lost 19-0, 3 points being from a penalty because of my foot up. Even so it was a very good game.
Sunday 30 October
I went down to the station to meet Mum and Dad. They were both very pleased to see me. We went for a walk down by the river and had dinner in the Chinese restaurant in Chain Street. It was very good especially the chips! Afterwards we went up to Whiteknights and had a look at the museum then came back and had tea at Lyons. It had begun to rain by this time and we caught a bus home so that Mum and Dad could meet Mr. and Mrs. Beech. Mr. Beech took them to the station. It was good to see them again.