Sunday, 19 March 2006

Home Again!

Saturday November 21st 1964

Went to see Craig in ‘No, No, Nannette’ at the Lyceum, Sheffield. Craig has a nice lilting voice, which is just right for this light hearted musical, he will not hit the charts again, but he’s moving on, which some Pop Stars never do. He remembered to tell the stage doorman to expect us, which was nice. He also remembered that many years ago he promised to give me a blue shirt that he used to wear on stage in his teenage years, in those days he used to wear black trousers and different coloured denim type shirt - I liked him best in the blue one and when he decided to wear a suit instead, I asked if I could have the blue one as a souvenir - he agreed, but I never got it :-(

We chatted about what each of us had being doing and I told him that I had just returned from working in Switzerland - I could almost see the cogs clanking as he was thinking " so that’s why you haven’t been jumping out at me from every corner recently" ;-) Mum took a photo of us and he kissed me goodbye, with yet another promise to send me the blue shirt.........


Baby Susan was Christened this morning and I’m a Godmother along with my sister Mavis. We intended to catch the bus back home, but as me and mum stood at the bus stop I began to feel very strange, I desperately wanted to sit down then everything began to whirl in front of me - and according to mum I didn’t just fall into a crumpled heap as I fainted, but fell straight backwards onto the pavement! I came to after a couple of minutes to find a strange man hovering over me muttering words from the bible =:-O Mum said he just happened along and she asked him to help her get me onto my feet. He had a bible in his hand and continued praying as we stood there - goodness knows what passersby must have thought of this strange scenario! Luckily, we had friends who lived nearby and once I’d had a sit down with a nice cup of hot tea, I felt much better. Mum insisted on me going to see the Doctor, but he only confirmed what I already suspected - too much rushing around over the last couple of weeks, I suppose it all suddenly caught up with me. I did feel a fool though - I just wasn’t the fainting type.

Spent the week visiting my sisters and their children, also managed to get over to Rotherham to see Lorna and her little daughter, Yvonne, it was good to have a good natter and catch up on both our lives. Our phone rang several times with people I’d worked with in Grand Met, word had got around that I was back and there was no shortage of job offers! My determination to get a flat and work office hours was crumbling....... Then Mrs Angus rang saying that if I should decide to go back to work for Grand Met, she hoped I would consider her needs first as she was severely short of telephonists again! And so it was that on Monday November 30th I went back to London to go back to work at Stratters!

My brother in law drove me to the station to catch my train, I went straight to Stratters where everyone welcomed me back - even the dour manager Alasdair Fraser who hadn’t been able to get rid of me fast enough before! Met Jenny from work and we went over to the flat where I was going to rent a room from her friends, Pat & Dickie. Crouch End seems a long way out when you are used to being in central London, but it’s a nice big flat on the ground floor of a large purpose built apartment block, off from a long  corridor there are two good sized bedrooms, a kitchen dining room and a nice big lounge with large bay windows. The boys pay £7.50 a week and I have agreed to pay £3 for my own room and use of the entire flat. I like Pat and Dickie, they are a fun couple of guys - gay guys I should add. Pat was quite a butch looking feller with a mass of curly dark hair and matching beard whereas Dickie was slim and blonde and a bit silly, although I think a lot of his silliness was put on. I settled in quite well and Jenny came over often, we’d all go out for a drink then go back to the flat with a takeaway and play charades or silly games, and glad to say that we took lots of photos so it’s nice to look back on these carefree occasions. The only trouble was, working shifts and so far away from central London became a bit of a problem, there were times when I was asked to work late because of late arrivals when all the night staff would be run off their feet. On these occasions it was rather a long way for a taxi to take me home and I’d be asked to stay over night in the hotel, which was also a bit of a problem when I had no overnight things with me, or make up, tooth brush etc. This was the 1960's and, along with no all night transport, these things were not supplied in hotels.

The assistant manager at Stratters now, was a rather excitable Italian called Emilio, he had quite a temper, which would erupt quite suddenly, but also subsided just as quickly. No one seemed to like him very much, but I did, he was a good looking man, in a dark Italian sort of way, and despite his temper, seemed quite sweet and vulnerable at times and we got along quite well. The other assistant manager was Casolani who had been Reception Manager when I last left Stratters. It was Emilio who suggested that perhaps I should think about going back to live at Ashley Court, he said to let him know if I was interested and he would arrange it for me.

It’s lovely meeting up with all my old friends again, of course everyone is asking about Eugen, but at least they can now see that we did not elope lol!  We are keeping in touch and he is much amused that I have ended up back at Stratters.  Gene Pitney has arrived, we had quite an emotional greeting in the front hall - right in front of Emilio, who teased me about ‘hon-nobbing’ with the Stars lol!

Dennis has been in touch and has invited me to a Phillip’s Records Party. My diary says that there were lots of Stars there but not who they were! There was an actor called Paul Maklou who looked a lot like Gene Pitney. Dennis made me laugh by introducing me as ‘somebody in hotels’ lol! Making out that I was more into ownership rather than a mere telephonist. It was an interesting afternoon, then on the drive home, Dennis slowed down in dense traffic, but the car behind didn’t. Unfortunately, the driver who’d gone into the back of us was a Ukranian acrobat who was appearing at The London Palladium, and didn’t speak much English. He seemed very contrite, I felt rather sorry for him, Dennis decided to trust in what he said and call in at the Theatre to sort out repairs to his car.

There’s a dance on at Ashley Court, so me and Bernie are going, she now works at The Kensington Palace Hotel just off Kensington High Street and only a few minutes walk from Queensgate, so I shall be staying with her tonight. It was great meeting all my old friends again who live at Ashley Court, had a very good evening, all the time I lived at Ashley Court, we never got much chance to go in the ballroom, a long balcony ran along the length of the room and it was a great place to go to cool down after all the frenetic dancing. Met a nice young German called Klaus. Afterwards we went in Lionel’s room for another party, he invited me and Klaus to a party tomorrow night, celebrating his girlfriend’s 21st Birthday. Finally got to bed about 2.0am but me’n Bernie talking all night.

Had another good time at Gay’s 21st Birthday Party, managed toget a lift back to Ashley Court where I’d been offered an overnight stay in one of the rooms on a camp bed, but after spending 20 mins trying to put it up, decided that the floor would do very nicely, it was 2.30 am and I needed my beauty sleep ;-) But this has shown me that to continue with my social life I need to live in central London, so I shall be asking Emilio to find that room for me at Ashley Court..........