Just been copying the various photos that my son emails to me from time to time, onto disc so here are a few of them. :-)
It’s a pity that I didn’t start my journey homewards a week earlier, as on Saturday November 13th Gene Pitney was in concert at Sheffield’s City Hall and Monday November 16th Craig Douglas is appearing in ‘No, No, Nannette’ at the Lyceum Theatre - ah well - can’t have everything I suppose, and I’m finding my journey across various Countries most interesting.
I spent a cold draughty night on Janet’s garret room floor. Despite it being November, there was no heating, and no hot water with which to get washed in the morning. There was a depressing view from her window of a jumble of fire escapes, (think West Side Story lol) My small room at The Importner with its view of quaint tiled roof tops and my own basin with hot & cold running water, was sheer luxury compared to this.
After our mid night chat about Janet’s dilemma over the seductive husband, I was most intrigued to meet the man who was causing her so much anguish. Janet was a lovely lass, and I couldn’t have imagined her getting herself into this sort of situation . But when I met him, I understood - testosterone on legs lol! A nice looking man, rather than strictly handsome - not in the league of pretty boy Sasha Distel, or ugly mug Serge Gainsbourg, but somewhere in between. He gave me a disarming friendly smile and shook my hand firmly, when Janet introduced us, but the way he lit his galoise whilst looking at me with those sexy brown eyes, blowing the smoke high into the air [which was just as well, other wise I would have sneezed and spoilt his seduction technique ;-) ] then blowing out the match favouring me with another covert sensual glance. My heart hammered in my chest, I did not care for this man at all - I would have run a mile from him, I understood only too well how he could affect a young girl ( in fact any female...) The alarm bells were ringing, my heart was pounding with apprehension rather than attraction, I felt the sexual tension that he seemed able to generate at will. Janet said that when she had gone for her interview with the family, the husband had been away on business, and as he was often away she felt she could cope.
I told her later he ought to wear a sign across his forehead proclaiming "This man is dangerous" because that’s how he struck me - a danger to women anyway. Janet said that despite her better judgement, she felt an enormous attraction towards him which she was finding increasingly hard to resist, but knew it would allend in tears. Before I left Paris to continue my journey, Janet promised she would look for another job - I just hoped it would be pretty damn quick - the man was a menace!
Janet wasn’t able to come to the station with me with the consequence that I found myself at the wrong station, I had a mad dash to the Guar Du Nord and missed my train. Eugen had arranged to meet me so I had to send a cable off to him (don’t ask - I can’t remember why it was a cable rather than phone, I can only assume he wasn’t on the phone at the flat - and no mobiles lol!) Unfortunately, catching a later train meant that we would have less time to spend together before I had to catch my connection to take me to The Hook, for my boat home :-(
He managed to meet me ok, having got my cable, we walked around Amsterdam with its tall narrow houses, cobbled streets and myriad of bicycles. Eugen showed me the hotel where he worked and we went in for a drink and then stayed for something to eat. He said what a shame it was that we had so little time and suggested that I stayed overnight at the flat he shared with his friend Kees, and catch the boat tomorrow. So I cancelled my booking and went back to his flat, climbing the steepest stairs I had ever climbed in my life - I felt as though I wanted to go up on my hands and knees, they seemed to be almost vertical! ( and coming down was even more terrifying!) I met Kees and another friend who looked after me until Eugen had finished his late shift at the hotel. We chatted until the early hours, Kees, who worked for KLM Dutch Airlines, said he was on standby and would probably be leaving very soon, so if I wanted to stay a bit longer, that was ok by him!
I spent yet another cold night in a sleeping bag on yet another floor, but Kees was up very early and said I could go and get into his warm bed lol! The only thing was - he shared the bedroom with Eugen - there were just two very narrow (and very hard!) bunks against opposite walls - oh well...........I was too cold to care.........
Tuesday November 17th 1964 and I was expecting to be in London today, but still in Holland and no sign of my leaving yet.......I’m having to send my parents postcards on a daily basis with the latest change in plans!
Eugen and I had breakfast together before he went off to work, I tidied round the flat and during the morning his Landlady came to bring me a cup of coffee and introduce herself. She popped in several times before Eugen came back for lunch - and again afterwards....... I played records and wrote letters in between visits from the Landlady ;-) then went to meet Eugen from work. Everyone in Holland seems to speak English and I had no difficulty in asking for directions. We wandered the pretty streets of Amsterdam for a while then went for a drink and a meal. I was somewhat apprehensive at sleeping in the same room as Eugen for the first time.........but he gave me a kiss goodnight then popped into his own bed and was soon fast asleep :-/
He brought me a cup of tea in the morning before leaving for work. Frau Koulie continued with her popping in every five minutes, so I took myself off for a wander round the shops, bought lots of postcards and sent some of them off to Eugen’s family. He is working until 11 o’clock tonight, but Frau Koulie came up and a friend of Kees & Eugen’s stopped by, so we all watched TV until Eugen came back. After the others had gone, we had quite a chat about what we both wanted out of life, and Eugen made it quite clear that his intention was to travel - settling down was not part of his plans...... I told him of mine and Jenny’s plans to travel, he said he hoped we would meet up again during our respective travels.
Thursday November 19th 1964 In the morning went to the station to finally book my berth on the boat home, as I will be travelling overnight. Spent the afternoon with Eugen walking and having fun, we have a nice easy friendship, and although I would have liked more, I too want to travel, so it’s a dilemma that he has settled for the both of us!
It was a nice easy journey home, slept well on the boat - no seasickness. I shared a cabin with another girl, and luckily we got on well together. Chatting with my fellow passengers on the train to London made the journey go quite quickly. Although it was very early in the morning, Jenny met me at the station and took me back to her place before going on to work. I went to see everyone at Stratters, it’s great to be back and Mrs. Angus wants me to go back to work there - how can I tell her that going back to working shifts is not in my plans at all......Went round to see my friend Kathy in her offices in Hanover Square, before meeting Jenny, who also works in Hanover Square, for lunch, then we went back to her office where she suggested I ring Tony Hall - he was surprised to hear that I was back in London and suggested meeting up for a drink sometime. That evening Jenny took me to a dinner party she’d been invited to, which was all jolly good fun - it had been quite a day - meeting up with everyone, and all I wanted now was to sleep away what was left of the night. But on the way home, I happened to catch sight of an early morning news placard - it said that Ventriloquist Dennis Spicer, had been killed in a car crash! It completely ruined what had been a mad, crazy but most enjoyable day. Dennis was only 29 and had just been a hit with the Queen in the Royal Variety Show - at last his career had hit the big time...... I held very fond memories of meeting Dennis on my 17th birthday at the Empire Theatre, where he sang Happy Birthday to me from the stage. We met up afterwards in the office of Manager, Johnny Spitzer, where we had a little chat and he gave me an autographed photograph. This was when I was still working at the Grand Hotel, where Johnny Spitzer lived, and he had arranged the whole thing for me. I never forgot Dennis, he was such a lovely guy - and now he was dead. The crash happened on a notoriously dangerous road just a few miles from where I now live :-(
Jenny drove me to the station to catch my train to Sheffield and my sister Barbara and her husband Ron met me at the other end. First went to see their new baby daughter Susan, who had been born on October 5th, then home. Watched ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ on TV in the evening - The Beatles were on. Mum works in a sweet shop in the centre of Sheffield and she said that Craig had come in one day, she told him that her daughter used to be his Fan Club secretary and that we were coming to see his show. He said that we should go round to see him afterwards and he would tell the stage doorman to expect us.......
My plans are on course for my journey home, I have sent some of my luggage ahead of me so that I will be travelling as light as possible. Whilst sitting in the Café Seeger a tall, blond young man stopped by to say hello to the friends I was sitting with, he acknowledged me with a nod of his head and off he went. The next time I was in there, he came in again but stopped to introduce himself to me this time, his English wasn’t bad at all so we were able to converse quite well. He said his name was Tom and on close quarters I thought what a handsome fellow he was. He was one of the pupils who went to the same private school where Roman and Kaspar boarded, but he informed me that he had a flat in the Heights of Rotmonten. (where Mrs. B lives!) We met a few times after that and I found myself very attracted to this admittedly young (19) but very attractive and intelligent young man. He offered to show me his flat and said he’d cook me lunch (!!) He picked me up in a rather snazzy red open topped sports car, and when I discovered that he actually owned the flat - I began to realise that this was not your average school boy lol! Me, having been brought up on a Council Estate, and this young man, who went to a posh private school, ran around in the sort of car most 19 year olds can only dream about and owning property - well, it was obvious that we were eons apart, and not to mention the 4 years difference in our ages lol!
But no matter - I would soon be leaving Switzerland and it would be a permanent goodbye to all my young school buddies! Roman had given me his address in Germany and was keen to keep in touch, he said to look him up when I went on my travels. I was touched at the sadness in the goodbyes of both Roman and Kaspar - but some friendships are best left as just happy memories.........
I will keep in touch with Rosemary and Annie, they have been such good friends and I am genuinely sorry to be saying goodbye to them - but we have exchanged addresses - so we may yet meet up again...........
I am anxious to meet up again with Janet, her letters have hinted at things which she is finding hard to put into words and says she will ‘tell me all about it’ when we meet up.......
Friday November 13th 1964
My last day in Switzerland - for now anyway - but I will be back! It has been a mad round of last goodbyes and exchanging addresses. Hans Uli gave me an extra 200fr and said that for an English girl - I wasn’t too bad at all - is that what they call a back-handed compliment??? Frau Geiger actually had a tear in her eye and Olgi was full of praise for me - bless her. On reflection - I think that both Switzerland and I found each other a bit of a culture shock but we somehow got by. I certainly learned some hard lessons, but I’m not sure that I did enough to change the minds of the Swiss that the English are a ‘filthy, lazy lot ‘ :-(
It was a cold rainy November day but the train journey through Switzerland was quite beautiful. At the French border, the rather formidable looking Border Guards got on the train to check our passports - and I never did get over the sense of un-ease - memories of espionage films lol!
The train was late getting in and I had to race to get my connection to Paris - it was only then that I realised I still had too much luggage. I could see that the train was about to pull out, but thankfully a guard saw me rushing and delayed it enough for me to jump on with the help of a passenger who helped me on with my luggage. He turned out to be an Italian who worked in the German part of Switzerland, so we managed to converse in a bizarre mix of German and Italian lol!
Janet met me at the station and as soon as I’d dumped my luggage in her tiny garret room, we went off for coffee and crepes at one of the many wonderful Parisian café’s ( memories of the film ‘Charade’!)
Later that night we went to one of the many jazz cellars where we met up with a bunch of Germans lads, we had lots of fun except for the rain. We walked back to Janet’s garret with the boys who were in a singing mood lol, we got soaked to the skin but we didn’t mind at all. ;-)
Sunday morning we got up somewhere around 9.0am and went off to the same café for more coffee and crepes with tia maria poured over it - an interesting sort of breakfast.......Then to the Eiffel Tower - it was very wet and windy but we managed to take some photographs without being blown off the top. Then to the truly beautiful Basilica, and on to Montmarte. I really loved the wonderful arty atmosphere and was happy to pose whilst I had my portrait ‘drawn’ on gold foil.
We walked the length of The Champs Elysees with all it’s wonderful boutiques, unfortunately it is not a place where two young girls could walk without being accosted every five minutes grrrr!
We stopped at The American Drug Store for something to eat, then round the famous stamp market where ‘Charade’ was filmed. We met up with Janet’s boyfriend Aurelio who also used to work for Grand Met in London, and we all went off to see the Beatle’s film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ - most enjoyable - it was nice to hear English spoken again - if you can call ‘scouse’ English ;-)
Janet and I spent most of the night chatting. She told me about the difficult time she was having with the family for whom she was working as a Nanny. She liked them all very much and was extremely fond of the children, but there were ‘sparks’ between herself and the handsome husband which she was having difficulty keeping under control. As Janet didn’t want to leave the family, she was doing her best to keep out of the way of the husband, but she had the distinct feeling that he wanted things to happen.........
Almost 44 year have now passed since I first set eyes on the gorgeous vision that was Eugen.
Who would have thought that all these years on we would still be friends?? So much has happened since those crazy days in The Swinging Sixties - still so much to tell you about - so will try not to give anything away now ;-)
Today is a special day, and soon I must say to him..........
Happy 70th (gulp) Birthday Eugen!