SUNDAY 1st JUNE 1952

   Before breakfast this morning Julia and I took Ginger for a run in the park.

   I spent all morning writing up some seven or eight pages of Biology notes. Nothing else happened.

   Tonight’s television play was “Black Limelight” with Margaret Rawlings, John Robinson and Jack Allen. The play, written by Gordon Sherry, was first staged in 1937 with Margaret Rawlings as the heroine. We all enjoyed tonight’s production very much.

To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. 1 Peter 5:11


   Today has been a most disappointing bank holiday as far as the weather goes. It has rained very heavily for much of the time.

   At 3.0pm we watched the British Games on television.

   Julia and I went to the Hippodrome [to see “Happy Go Lucky”] but we didn’t get in so we went instead to the Piccadilly to see The Card, a film adaptation of Arnold Bennett’s novel. It tells the story of a young man who eventually becomes his town’s youngest ever mayor, and of the three women in his life. The acting was very fine. The main parts were played by Alec Guinness, Glynis Johns, Valerie Hobson and Petula Clark. Hammer the Toff was the other film. The Toff (John Bentley) makes the acquaintance of a young woman (Pat. Dainton) whose uncle is killed when crooks try to get hold of a secret steel formula of his. It was very good entertainment with quite a few laughs.

Lo, I am with you always. Matthew 28:20


   I’ve done a lot of prep. today, most of it this morning. Mr. Woods gave us six questions to be done over Whitsun.

   After dinner I mowed both the lawns and trimmed the lawn edges. John Winrow called just after 4.0pm.

   This evening I went to see the Derek Roy musical “Happy Go Lucky”. After the overture we saw Shirley Williams & the 12 Florence Whiteley girls, then Derek Roy introduced Eve Boswell the singer. Next, Downey and Daye did some roller-skating. After a comic sketch came the Phantom Guard which always looks impressive except when a girl is out of step, then another sketch followed by “Fiesta” with the girls & the 3 Falcons. In the second half we had “Toy Town parade”, a sketch called “A little knowledge”, then Eve Boswell sang and Derek Roy did impersonations. Altogether it was a most enjoyable holiday entertainment.

There is no fear in Love. 1 John 4:18


   We went back to school this morning after our short break for Whitsun. I cycled. For first period we went to form rooms.

   At dinner time John and I collected some worms for my newts.

   In Physics we are continuing with our light experiments. They are not very interesting.

   When I had done my prep. this evening, I listened to “Henry Hall’s Guest Night” and watched on TV “Pilgrim Street” — the first of a series of six documentary stories about a London police station. After taking Ginger out I listened to a Frankie Howerd show from a Mediterranean Services base. Frankie Howerd has been doing a series of shows for troops in the east.

My people shall dwell ... in quiet places. Isaiah 32:18


   In J.T.C. this morning I taught my section about section leading.

   At 2.15pm Sir Walford Turner, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, opened our swimming bath as a war memorial to old boys of our school. It cost £12,000, the money being provided by Old Edwardians. Because of the rise in costs, a further four or five thousand pounds is now required to provide a court or garden around the pool. Immediately after the opening which was attended by the Bishop of Birmingham [Rt. Rev. E.W. Barnes], several O.E.’s and some two hundred boys, the school swimming team then played Harrow [and won!].

   Our 1st XI match v Levett started at 3.0. Levett declared at 103 for 7 (Haywood 38) and we made 75 for 5 (Kington 30 not out).

   I listened to the usual radio programmes & saw “Current Release”. It has been raining heavily since 9.0

He laid down His life for us. 1 John 3:16


   Nothing much happened at school today.

   At dinner time I dug up some worms for my newts.

   G.C.E. candidates had to go to Big School at 3.5pm. I am taking no exams this year, so I went into the library. I came home on the Special Bus.

   Having done all my prep this evening I watched the First Division National League match between Harringay and Bradford.

The LORD pitieth them that fear Him. Psalm 103:13


   I cycled to school, as usual for a Saturday, this morning.

   When I switched on the TV at 3.0 for the test match England had just been dismissed for 334 (Evans 66, Ghulam Ahmed 5 for 100), Trueman, playing in his first game for England, opened the bowling and had Roy caught Compton in the slips & the score was 0 for 1. Then Bedser had Gaekwad caught — 0 for 2. Trueman again, and with the first two balls of his second over, he clean bowled Mantri and Manjrekar. It was the most sensational start to a test innings ever: never before had a team lost four wickets without a run on the board. India recovered though, and by the close of play had scored about seventy runs for the loss of a further wicket.

   This evening we saw Joan Greenwood in Vic Oliver’s This Is Show Business. She was in an excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, which has just been released. She plays the part of Gwendolen Fairfax. Others in the cast are Dorothy Tutin, Margaret Rutherford, Michael Redgrave, Michael Dennison and Dame Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell. I must go to see this!

The LORD shall be king over all the earth. Zechariah 14:9


   Clarice and I took Ginger for a run in the park this morning [and I paid the papers, 2/1 as usual].

   Nothing at all happened all day [but there is a fascinating article in The Listener about the dancer Isadora Duncan; it is from a talk given by Gordon Craig (whose mother is Ellen Terry). Isadora Duncan fascinates me and the study of her life becomes a life-long interest.]

   Nothing at all happened all day.

   One thing I forgot to mention last week was that there is a Television Newsreel every evening now from Monday to Friday. This evening they were shown again from 7.15 until 8.20, the approximate times of each edition being given in the Radio Times. For the next ninety minutes we watched excerpts from “Ranch in the Rockies” which is being presented at the Empress Hall. It is a romantic Western musical on stage and ice. Lastly, for fifteen minutes, we saw Robert Beatty in James Parish’s one-act play “One White Rose”.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man. Proverbs 14:12


   I went to school on the Special Bus this morning. Sixth formers are not at school now except for exams, so the choir practice was only for the trebles.

   During the dinner hour John and I went worm-digging, then we fed the newts. In Biology we did an experiment on plasmolysis.

   When I got home Mam, Dad and I listened to “Dark Intrusion” a play by Michael Clayton Hutton until 5.45.

   England won the test match by seven wickets. The final scores were:

India:293 and 165
England: 334 and 125 for 3 wickets.
   I did prep. tonight and listened to the radio afterwards.
I have set before you life and death ... choose life. Deuteronomy 30:19


   There is nothing to record for this morning.

   I played for the 1st XI v Gilson this afternoon. For the fourth time in succession we played on Pitch 1. Gilson batted first and scored 122 for six declared. We started off fairly well but after being 25 for one we went to 59 for 8. I went in last man. Obviously we couldn’t win so it was up to me to stay with Griffin for twenty minutes in order to force a draw. I blocked four out of my first five balls, then Griffin survived another over. I stopped three more balls, then instead of blocking the fourth I tried to clout it and played on, so we lost by ... [space] runs.

   I got home quickly and cycled to Cubs after tea. At 10.15 we listened to the Turpin v Cockell fight. Turpin won the British and European Light Heavyweight Championship when Cockell had to retire with a cut eye.

He will swallow up death in victory. Isaiah 25:8


   I cycled today. Prayers was held outside in Chantry Court as Big School is now in use for G.C.E.

   N.C.O.s’ parade at dinner time was held outside. Tomorrow there will only be four N.C.O.s on parade so we [are] borrowing some temporary ones from A Coy. I shall probably be platoon sergeant. In rehearsal for tomorrow we did fire and movement.

   In Physics John and I made telescopes.

   Both Mr. Copland and various house captains have tried to get Bray to take some part in house games. After school I managed to get him to come down to nets and I taught him how to play a few strokes.

   Mam, Dad and I watched “How Do You View?” as usual this evening, the last edition of the present series.

Consider the work of God. Ecclesiastes 7:13


   In J.T.C. this morning I commanded a platoon for the first time. We did arms drill and then fire and movement, L/Cpl. Blake and Squire and Richardson doing the instruction [Ian H. Blake, P.J. Squire and R.A. Richardson].

   I had three Gala vouchers from last year so I called at the Scout Shop [in Dale End] on my way home. For 3/6d. I got three books: Animals by T.H. Savory, M.A., Animal Camouflage, a Pelican book by Dr. E.M. Stephenson, and Pygmalion, a Penguin edition of G.B.S.’s romance.

   I went to the cinema this evening especially to see Painting the Clouds with Sunshine at the Warwick. It is a technicolor musical starring Virginia Mayo, Dennis Morgan and Gene Kelly, & I enjoyed every minute. The story is about three girls who make up a dancing team, the Dillon “Sisters” and who decide to marry millionaires. The color and dancing were most delightful and there was a very lively climax in the town’s Helldorado [sic] celebrations.

I will rejoice in the LORD. Habakkuk 3:18


   I am getting absent-minded because I quite forgot to mention yesterday that we had House prayers for the first time. Our [Vardy’s] prayers were held in the library.

   Exams have necessitated the changing round of some rooms and our Divinity period was spent in 175 with the Headmaster. He talked about the ten commandments.

   Our form [Medical Division] unexpectedly got the afternoon off so I was home by 1.0pm. I spent the afternoon doing prep. Mam and Dad went to the cinema this evening for the first time for sixteen weeks. I listened to Wilfred Pickles in an excerpt from The Gay Dog, the dog in question being a greyhound. It was extremely funny and I wish now that I had gone to see it when the play was at the Royal [the Theatre Royal in New Street] from Apl.21–26.

Fear not; I am the first and the last. Revelation 1:17


   Nothing happened at school. It was raining heavily when I started out on my bike. On my way home I completed my first thousand miles on it.

   I wrote up a lot of Biology notes during the afternoon.

   We saw the last episode of “Silk, Satin, Cotton, Rags” this evening. The variety was “At the Moulin Rouge with Toulouse-Lautrec” but it got boring and we switched off.

The LORD God, merciful and gracious. Exodus 34:6


   This morning I heard a most interesting discussion on the Corncrake in “The Naturalist”.

   When I had taken Ginger out tonight, Mam, Dad and I watched a comedy play on TV — “Haul for the Shore” by Jean McConnell.

Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13


   The second part of our prayers today was read by the Bishop of Lahore [The Rt.Rev.L.H. Woolmer]. The Bishop, himself an O.E., spoke of his experiences as a missionary in India and Pakistan, to the Divisions, in first period.

   There is very little else to record today except that I had a letter from the B.B.C. It appears that I’ve “had it” as far as another “Midland Magazine” is concerned. They couldn’t include my [second] play in the July 5th edition so it’s been sent back to me. However, I have in mind a possible K.E.S. Variety Show to be broadcast late in the year.

   Nothing happened at school all day. Tonight I’ve done prep. and listened to the radio.

For Thou, LORD, art good ... and ready to forgive. Psalm 86:5


   The rest of the form were taking an exam today so I was able to spend the whole morning in the Biology lab. There were several dozen slides to be washed as well as other things, and then when I had done that I did some slide drawings.

   Dad and I watched Royal Ascot this afternoon. Before the racing, we saw the Royal procession as it drove up the course to the Royal Enclosure.

   I went to Cubs this evening. At 9.0pm I listened to “Arthur’s Inn”, the first of a new series with Arthur Askey, Brian Reece and Sally Ann Howes.

Thy sins be forgiven thee. Mark 2:5


   Again today, everyone else was taking G.C.E. except John and I [sic]. We had the afternoon off but this morning I spent in the Biology lab. I spent two periods in sorting out all manner of pond creatures from a bucket of weed brough from Edgbaston Park. There were plenty of water-lice, a dragonfly larva and some cyclops.

   This afternoon Dad and I watched Royal Ascot once again.

   We all went to the Olton early this evening. The two films were Idols in the Dust a not too bad film about “football” in one of America’s colleges, the leading parts being played by John Derek and Donna Reed, and No Time for Tears. The latter told the story of how Frances Langford entertained troops in the war and [this film] was rather better.

We ... have done wickedly. Daniel 9:5


   In third period this morning I did slide drawings in the Biology lab. In J.T.C. the N.C.O.’s did two demonstration section attacks using blank ammunition and fixed bayonets. I was 2i/c Bren.

   As usual I played for the 1st XI this afternoon in our last league match v Gifford. For the fifth game in succession we played on Pitch 1. We batted first and scored 163 for 6 declared. The first wicket put on 55 then Trundle was out for 20, and Jennens & Nightingale got ducks. We recovered though, and squire got 45 not out in a really fine innings. Gifford were left to get 164 in rather less than 100 minutes but with 30 minutes still to go they had lost half their wickets for only 23 runs and they were all out at two minutes to six for 58, so we won by 105 runs in a most exciting finish.

   Tonight I listened to the radio and watched “Current Release”.

Behold the Lamb of God! John 1:36


   I haven’t been to school today. Everyone was taking an exam during the morning and they probably had the afternoon off as well.

   Before having breakfast I cut part of the hedge on Prentice’s side. Later I did prep.

   During the afternoon, while Mam and Dad were out shopping, I watched the Test Match and two races from Royal Ascot. Later I went to the library and got myself a Peter Cheyney novel entitled Dark Bahama.

   Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema. I am listening to the first of a new series of “Up the Pole” [with Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss].

As for God, His way is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31


   Although I went to school on the Special Bus this morning, I managed to get home for 1.0pm and listened to the Test Match. [School finished at 12.25pm. I would have run down Edgbaston Park Road to Bristol Road, immediately caught a 70, 71 or 72 city-bound tram, got off at Priory Road and immediately caught the 1A bus to Acocks Green village, then run up Shirley Road.]

   Godfrey Evans nearly became the first Englishman to score a Test Match century before lunch. He had scored 98 and the umpires were going to allow another over, but the Indians were so slow in changing over that this was not possible. Only the Australians Bradman, Macarthy and Trumper have achieved this distinction. From 439 for 5 at lunch, England went to 537 all out, Evans getting 104 and Graveney 73. At the close of play, India were 137 for 2, still 165 behind. Mankad, after getting 72 in the first innings, took 5 for 196 and is now 86 not out.

   I went to the Olton this evening to see the Marx Bros. in A Night in Casablanca. It was jolly good fun. The other film starred Robert Beatty. It was Appointment with Crime, not a bad film but it needed more action.

Hath He said, and shall He not do it? Numbers 23:19


   Nothing happened this morning. After dinner I mowed both the lawns. Dad and I took Ginger for a run in the park. Just before tea I rolled the back lawn with a roller we borrowed from Mr. Morgan. [Mr. Morgan, who lived in Shirley Road and worked at the B.S.A., was very kind to us, and during Dad’s incapacity had sometimes given me 2/6d, and something to Clarice and Julia too.]

   This evening I watched the week’s five Newsreels and took Ginger out as usual. Then, after watching a part of the Sunday evening play, “Ann Veronica” with Margaret Lockwood, I went to bed at 10.0.

   We have had a lot of interesting birds in the garden lately. The most interesting are probably a family of five Great Tits. They come every day and are much tamer than the Blue Tits and on at least two occasions I have been within a couple of yards of one of them. One morning recently I saw a Sparrow Hawk flying overhead.

The LORD was ready to save me. Isaiah 38:20


   We had a Chemistry test this morning.

   There was no one at our house net in the dinner hour but I had a few bowls in another net. For the K.O. matches I have been left out of the 1st and 2nd XI’s. Not surprising really, in five 1st XI matches I haven’t scored a run, bowled an over or taken a catch!

   In Biology we started dissection of the frog. I came home on the S.B. and got a haircut.

   I had no written prep to do this evening so I have been listening to the radio. It is 9.30pm now.

I waited patiently for the LORD. Psalm 40:1


   In House prayers this morning I read the lesson. The reading was from Acts chapter 7 verses 11 to 21.

   In Chemistry we did analysis. At 1.30, John Winrow and I went to an audition for the School Play — Richard III — to be performed in December or January. We shalln’t know whether we are suitable for trial parts for some time yet. I came home on the 1A ’bus.

   Mam and Dad went to Kidderminster this morning [to see Aunt Doll and Uncle Bill who lived at 236 Woodward Road] and have just got back (9.15pm). They had very good weather.

   I have been playing out [in the street] this evening with Clarice and Julia. I am listening at the moment to “Arthur’s Inn”.

Great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. Psalm 103:11


   We carried on with our dissection in today’s Biology periods.

   I went to N.C.O.’s parade at 1.0pm. It was on the South Field — we are doing section attacks again tomorrow.

   Practical Physics gets rather ennuyeux but we have started light in Physics proper.

   This evening I have been getting ready my uniform. It has been very warm again today. We haven’t had any rain for some days. During the very dry periods the Elan valley water level falls considerably but on October 23rd, the Queen officially opens the nearly-completes Claerwen reservoir. It is almost four miles long and will hold 10,625,000,000 gallons of water. The dam wall was begun in 1946 and is 184 ft. high and 1,066 ft. long.

Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious. 1 Peter 2:7


   I had my second chance to act as platoon commander this morning. Each section did its own section attack while the other two looked on.

   Nothing else happened all day. We listened to the Goons and “Variety Fanfare” this evening.

This Jesus hath God raised up. Acts 2:32


   Nothing happened at school today. We had Mr. Ballance once again for Divinity.

   In our Gym period we went swimming for the first time. I drank rather a lot of water when I stood up in seven feet of water. We did analysis in Chemistry.

   This evening we watched “Kaleidoscope” then I took Ginger for her evening walk at 9.15.

Save now, I beseech Thee, O LORD. Psalm 118:25


   This morning I lent my Birds of the Wayside and Woodland to Mr. Woods in exchange for his Bird Books for the Pocket by Edgar Sandars.

   Tonight I, and three other boys, met Mr. Woods at Rednal tram terminus at 6.30pm to go bird-watching at Bittell. We saw no really notable birds but there were several Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, Mallard and a few Gulls as well as Willow Warblers and I heard a Grasshopper Warbler too. It makes a most curious trilling noise, hard to describe.

   We heard a cuckoo and also a chiffchaff on the road from Upper Bittell to Lower Bittell. Finally, we got back to Rednal at about nine o’clock. I came home through town [on the 70 tram to Navigation Street, then the 31A ’bus from Ethel Street] and got in at 10.30pm.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower. Proverbs 18:10


   John and I spent today on our bikes. We set off for Warwick at 10.45 and got there at 11.50. I took a photograph of the castle from above the river. A pair of Buzzards have been nesting there — the first nesters in Warwickshire for 65 years. I didn’t see them though.

   From Warwick we went to nearby Leamington where I drank some of the Spa water. We ate our lunches in the park. When we got on our bikes again we headed for Stratford-on-Avon. I think those few miles were the hardest of the day — nearly all uphill.

   After light refreshment we left Stratford for home shortly after 3.0. At Shirley we had an ice reach — the nicest I think I have ever had, and then we got on our bikes again and toiled our way up the Big Hill. I was home by about six o’clock.

Oh that men would praise the LORD. Psalm 107:8


   I cycled to school this morning. We had another revision test in Chemistry and in Biology we finished our dissections. After school I went for a swim for twenty minutes.

   This evening I have been with a school party to the Rep [Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Station Street] to see South Wind, Stafford Byrne’s adaptation of the novel by Norman Douglas.

   My main criticism of the play was that it contains nothing very substantial as such. It is more a series of well-drawn character studies but there was no real weakness in the acting, in fact, most of it was extremely good. Rosalind Boxall raised a lot of laughs as the alcoholic spinster Miss Wilberforce, and there were good performances from Jean Webster Brough as the duchess, Michael Bazelgette as Don Francesco, and Nancie Jackson as Mrs. Meadows. I liked Paul Shelving’s settings very much.

So will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them. Ezekiel 34:12

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30