There’s an R in the month again but as if to remind one of the fact that Summer has not quite gone, today was fine and sunny with not a cloud in the sky.

   In the afternoon I walked with Ginger down Shaftmoor Lane, Reddings Lane, along Stratford Road to the R.H. [Robin Hood cinema] (where I got Film Review) and home down Fox Hollies Road.

   On the 10.0pm News it was announced that Neville Duke had broken the World Air Speed record in a Hawker Hunter in practice runs last night. He reached 741 mph. and averaged 722 mph. but may not be able to claim the official record if the 715.69 mph. of an American is recognised, as Duke’s time has to be at least 1% faster.

   Air Speed Record since 1945:—

1945: Wilson (G.B.) Meteor, 606.5 mph.
1946: Donaldson (G.B.) Meteor, 616 mph.
1947: Boyd (U.S.A.F.) 80 Shooting Star, 623.8 mph.
1947: Caldwell (U.S.A.) Douglas Skystreak, 640.7 mph.
1947: Carl (U.S.A.) Douglas Skystreak, 650.6 mph.
1948: Johnson (U.S.A.F.) Sabre Jet, 670.9 mph.
1952 (November): Capt. J.Slade Nash (U.S.A.F.) Sabre, 698.5mph.
1953 (July): Lt.-Col. W.F. Barnes (U.S.A.F.) Sabre, 715.69 mph.


   This morning I went down the village with Ginger and bought TV Mirror [from Wells’ newsagent’s]. Then I walked to town via the 44 ’bus route [by Warwick Road to the Mermaid, then along Stratford Road, Sparkbrook, to Camp Hill, Digbeth, Deritend and the Bull Ring], and got to Smith’s [in Corporation Street] by 11.20am, sixty-five minutes after starting out. There I met Mr. Howe, my Camp Hill form-master [1946–47].

   I went [up New Street and down Hurst Street] to the Hippodrome and got two seats for Mam and Dad to see Terry-Thomas tomorrow evening. I walked home along the 31A route [along Stratford Road from the Mermaid, then Shaftmoor Lane and Olton Boulevard East] and got in at 1.15pm. We would have been in sooner but Ginger stopped to see two tortoiseshell cats.

   I went to see Blues this evening. They beat Plymouth Argyle 3–nil. Purdon scored in 10 seconds before an opponent had touched the ball. In the second half Stewart and Kinsey scored further goals. It was a good match, Blues’ forward play being especially notable. Neil Dougall at right-half was Argyle’s best defender. [He used to play inside-right for Birmingham but was transferred to Plymouth in March 1949 and became their right-half].


   After breakfast today I bought Picturegoer and The Listener. I also put 12/2d in the [Midland] bank and spent half an hour in the Library. [I found the bank deducted 10/- on August 27th for the Old Edwardians — it is the standing order I made when I joined the Association at the end of term. I now have £8 4s. 0d.].

   This afternoon we all went for a walk — the same walk that I went on Tuesday afternoon. It was warm and pleasant out.

   Mam and Dad went out at 8.0pm. Clarice and Julia went to bed, and Mr. D. was also out so I was alone for the evening. I listened to “Movie Magazine” and Harold Berens in “Beat the Orchestra” on Radio Luxembourg, then to Perry Mason.


   We all went to town today. Before we went, however, we had the most unusual experience of seeing a big brown rat or rats pay six visits to the bird table to steal food put out for the birds. It kept on running backwards and forwards, sometimes coming right up to the window, and each time disappeared behind the shed. It appears that the rat is living beneath a pile of concrete slabs in Bowens’ garden.

   In town I spent the book token Mr. Donaldson gave me for Christmas. I bought the book of Lt.-Col. P.H. Fawcett’s expeditions in South America, Exploration Fawcett (15/-). In Lewis’s I bought the [sheet] music of You’re Just in Love from Irving Berlin’s musical Call Me Madam.

   I went to the Hippodrome tonight to see Terry-Thomas.


   This morning I [went down the village and] took my football boots to be re-studded at Payne’s.

   After dinner I cycled to Eastern Road to play in the Old Edwardians’ trial game. There was no recognised 1st XV hooker present so I found myself playing in what was mainly the first fifteen. It was quite a thrill to be playing in the same side as Peter Jackson. [He will soon be playing for Coventry and then England].


   I went to Church this morning where the preacher was the new vicar, Rev. J. Valentine Dibben. [I should say, minister. He has just succeeded Mr. Harrison.]

   Nothing happened this afternoon.

   This evening we watched “Down You Go”. This programme has proved itself a worthy successor to “What’s My Line?” and I actually prefer it of the two. It now has acquired a slick tempo and has been the means of establishing several new TV personalities. Genial Ray Rich is a first rate chairman.

   The play was Edward Wooll’s Libel, which has been broadcast [on the radio] several times before, and was excellent on TV tonight. Sebastian Shaw as Loddon and John Gabriel as Thos. Foxley were brilliant.


   It was fine and warm today and at 11.15am I took Ginger for a walk down the village and then along the route we walked twice last week. Walking along Stratford Road near the Robin Hood I met a tortoise which was proceeding at a surprising velocity along the footpath. It struck me as being awfully funny. Unfortunately I could not trace the owner and it was arrested by a policeman.

   From 3.15 until 4.40pm. we all saw an American comedy Road Show starring Adolphe Menjou and Carol Landis. Apart from an amusing climax, I found it boring.

   At 9.0pm Mam, Dad and I watched Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss in “Re-turn It Up” from the 1953 Radio Show. Then followed “Wuthering Heights”, a programme on film in which James Mason outlined the famous classic by Emily Bronte. Pam Mason and Richard Burton read extracts.


   This morning I went to the Library to read the reviews of The Archers, a new play by Edward J. Mason and Geoffrey Webb which had its World Première at the [Theatre] Royal last night. It wasn’t very well received but, as I see it, it is at a disadvantage to start with, since 99.9% of those who go to see this play will be Archer fans, each familiar with the characters’ voices in the radio serial, and each having his own idea of what they should look like.

   Nothing much happened all day.

   Tonight I watched Pet Clark in a fifteen minute programme from the Radio Show, then “A Fish in the Family”, a so-called comedy by (Sir) Bartlett (Mary Malcolm’s husband). This gentleman is the one whose job is to accept or reject plays submitted to TV. It would have been good idea if he had rejected his own play. It was static, hackneyed and boring. [I did not like it very much.]


   This morning I went to the Library and to the [Midland] Bank to put £1 towards my account. [I added it up and pencilled in the total: I now have £10 4s 0d.

   For me, the main point of interest [today] was the return to TV of Terry-Thomas in “How Do You View?” — a special Radio Show edition at 8.40. At 8.30pm we saw George Formby press the switch that lights up the Blackpool illuminations. George Formby was taken seriously ill eighteen months ago with thrombosis [and had to withdraw from “Zip Goes A Million”.

   Earlier, I went to St. Andrews to see Birmingham City play Luton Town. They won 5–1 after leading 1–nil at half-time. Peter Murphy got a hat-trick for Blues (which he also did on his debut) and Ted Purdon scored twice. Doweril got Luton’s goal. Only 19,000 were there.]


   This morning I went shopping and also took Ginger out. It was fine all day.

   Tonight’s show from Earls Court was “The Frankie Howerd Show” with Jane Morgan. In its own way the programme was as good as Terry-Thomas’s of last night.


   This morning I cycled to Fox Hollies Road to get some Permoglaze paint, then to Smith & Walton’s in Sandy Lane [Camp Hill] for some “Sinflat” which seems unobtainable elsewhere. Later, I cycled to Weate’s on Yardley Road to order a piece of glass for Mrs. Bowen and I also did some other shopping at the Co-op.

   After dinner I washed up, then went into the garden and lit a bonfire. Then I dug up the berry tree [cotoneaster] which died eighteen months ago and put in a young one. I walked to Yardley Road with Ginger to fetch Mrs. Bowen’s glass.

   This evening I have been to the Library. Mam and Dad have gone to the [Warwick] cinema to see Fair Wind to Java (U) and City That Never Sleeps (A).


   At 2.50 this afternoon I watched the Farnborough Air Display, televised for the first time.

   At 8.0 we watched Shirley Abicair and then a one-act play by J.M. Barrie, Seven Women.

   The only part of “Music Hall” which I bothered to watch was a beauty contest in which viewers have been invited to choose the British Queen of Leather. Yvonne de Carlo introduced the finalists.


   I did not go to Church this morning.


   I went to the Dentist at 9.0am this morning. Strangely enough, I had no pain at all from about 7.0 last night. Mr. Parker removed the fillings and put in temporary ones, telling me to call again in a month’s time. He was quite adamant that I had had toothache because I had, according to some card he showed me, failed to return for treatment on a previous occasion [which was not true]. I’m not sure I’ve convinced him now!

   Having been to the dentist, I next went to the barber. 1/3d seems very easy money for five minutes’ work, but I suppose some would consider it cheap since certain London barbers are charging anything up to £4 for their rather special services. I remember [boys’] haircuts costing 3d before the war!

   We watched the 21st Greyhound St. Leger on TV tonight.


   Nothing much happened this morning. [I fetched Picture Show as usual. This week’s issue has Peggy Cummins & Terence Morgan on the cover in Always a Bride. There is a chance for me to win Rita Hayworth’s earrings, and Picture Show Annual 1954, 8/6, and Girls’ Crystal Annual 1954, 7/-, are advertised inside.]

   After dinner I took Ginger for a long walk via [Olton Boulevard East, Warwick Road,] Grange Road, Streetsbrook Road, Stratford Road and Fox Hollies Rd. It was quite fine and warm.

   I went to the Rialto this evening. Both films on the programme I wanted to see. Genevieve (U) was a Technicolor comedy starring John Gregson, Dinah Sheridan, Kenneth More and Kay Kendall. It was about two men taking their girl-friends on the London to Brighton veteran car rally and having a bet on who will get back to London first, each playing dirty tricks on the other and having all sorts of mishaps on the way. It was one of the funniest films I have ever seen. At one point Dinah Sheridan accuses them of “hawling like brooligans”. Larry Adler’s harmonica accompaniment is still going round in my head.

   The supporting film, Murder at 3am (U), with Peggy Evans and Dennis Price, was also good.


   I did the shopping as usual during the morning.

   I spent an hour and a half after dinner playing the piano. I have been practising You’re Just In Love nearly every day. I have also written a song.

   About 4.15pm I went for a walk with Ginger along Woodcock Lane and [Clay lane, then along] Coventry Road [to the Swan, then by Yardley Road back to Acocks Green village, and up Shirley Road].

   Tonight I listened to “Blackpool Night”.


   [It is Julia’s 12th birthday.]

   I went back to school for what will almost certainly be my last term at K.E.S. I am now in the Medical Upper Sixth though listed with the Sixth because I didn’t get 3 A’s. Some are doing Zoology; Tickell, Hudson, Plimbley and I will be doing Biology with Mr. Ballance.

   The School got 29 State Scholarships (John got one of them, so did Colin) as against 8 in 1952. Apart from Colin, John Wilkins, Waterfall, Grayson, Nairn and Mather are also State scholars, but a large number have had to forfeit University places because they failed English Language at Ordinary Level. So quite a few of the old faces are back.

   John Adams, the most recent prefect, is School Captain, John Wilkins is Vice-Captain. New prefects sworn in this morning include Neil Gardner, Alan Kirkby, D.F. Lomax, A. Bramley, G.P. Simpson, G.D. Clark, P.R. Foxall, J.A.P. Fuery, B.C. Gane, K.S. Hudson, R.G. Mendelssohn and J.M. Vernon.

   Trundle and Riley are [Vardy] House Prefects (but why not Willy Kington?) while G.P. Simpson is House Captain. Alf Manders is Captain of Rugger, which reminds me that only half our 1st XV remain.

   The boys in my form are W.L. Arthur, D. Donaldson, D.F. Eden, J.G. Evans, D.M. Fleming, W.D. Griffiths, F.K. Hammond, B.R. Osborn, J.R. Perry, J.R. Smethurst, L. Stevens, R.H. Tipton, M.B. Webb, B.D. Williams — 14 boys in the form, 690 boys in the school.


   Today I had three periods of Practical Physics with Mr. Whinnerah, Chemistry (Mr. Kent) and, in what should have been Extra Studies, we went to Big School for a lecture on them by the Chief Master. This year we are having only one subject each but three periods of it. For most people it means English for “O” level [which I got in 1951]. I expect to do French again.

   I have now been promoted to Sergeant but I can’t help feeling that I should have had my third stripe nine months ago. In that case I would now be C.S.M., which rank goes to Child & Gardner. Adams and Wilkins are Under-Officers.

   In C.C.F. we had of course to deal with all the new recruits.


   I had Biology all day today except for last period in which Sixth Forms go to Form Masters or to any lectures which the Head may have arranged. Mr. Ballance has decided that we shall do the Physiology of the Mammal this term, and we did Nutrition this morning.

   After dinner I cycled back to school for a 2nd XV practice but I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a game.

   In their home game with Fulham (bottom of the league and without a win) Blues could only draw 2–all, and now occupy 12th position in the league as against 1st a fortnight ago.


   I spent this morning doing Biology prep. and after dinner I sorted out the waste paper [which I took to the bin in Olton Boulevard East].

   During the evening I read some of my library book Haunted England and listened to “Star Bill”.


   Today’s periods were Physics, Divinity (the Chaplain), Free, and Extra Studies in which I am again doing French literature with Mr. Gosling. This time however, there are about fourteen of us instead of four as last year.

   In Choir Practice we began straight away on the year’s main choral work The Seasons, the oratorio by Haydn.

   We had Practical Chemistry all afternoon, in which we had to find the equivalent of Sodium by the Sodium-alcohol reaction.

   I came home on the Special Bus.

   At 7.30pm there was Episode 1 of a new space-thriller series by Charles Chilton, called “Journey Into Space”. It seems very promising.


   Today we had two free periods before break in which I wrote an essay for Mr. Ballance. Last period was also free, but third period, which should have been P.T., we went to Big School for the official handing over of the Cartland Room.

   Tonight on TV we saw a jolly good comedy, “High Horse” by Gerard Tyrrell, which I will write more about tomorrow. Patricia McCarron was outstandingly good as Diana Temple.

   International Cabaret followed, with Jean Sablon and Helene Cordet.


   I had only three subject today, Physics in first and fourth period, French second and [after break] Chemistry third. The whole of the afternoon was free.

   When I had done my prep. and taken Ginger out this evening, I watched “Garrison Theatre”, a variety from Whittington Barracks, Lichfield. Richard Murdoch was compère; David Nixon, a magician-comedian, had a slick line of patter, and Bob Monkhouse and Carole Carr were also good.


   Today we had Physics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry, with last period free,

   The House had its first Rugby practice this afternoon on one of the Park Vale pitches. The 1st XV is going to be rather a problem this year. Last season we were able to keep more or less the same team as in 1951–52 but this year we have lost Kipper [Martin], Griffin, R.W.N. Davies (School XV), G.P. Simpson and Alf Manders (also School XV), Mercer [and possibly one or two others].

   I went to the R.H. [Robin Hood] tonight to see the Technicolor comedy Will Any Gentleman? (U). It was a most workmanlike bit of fun [about a timid bank clerk (George Cole) who gets hypnotized and becomes very attractive to women. Veronica Hurst, Diana Decker (whom I met earlier this year) and Joan Sims were in it. The supporting picture was Cow Country, a Western, with Edmund O’Brien and Helen Westcott. It was rather poor.


   Nowadays each morning gets a little more wintery. Dead leaves are once again covering the fields and roads, and everywhere one finds insects dying off because of the cold weather.

   In Physics I found the refractive index of alcohol by Wollaston’s method.

   In French we are reading Le Crime de Sylvèstre Bonnard by Anatole France.

   In J.T.C. we taught the recruits how to march on parade but they still seem to have no idea.

   “Any Questions?” was back on the air again tonight when it visited Winchester. The team was A.G. Street, Frank Byers, Lord Hailsham and Lord Pakenham, with Freddie Grisewood chairman as usual.


   I cycled to school today. In 4th period we went to Big School for a lecture by the C.M. [Chief Master]. He announced that the Cartland Room will be for the use of the “intellectually suitable”, in other words for the intellectually superior.

   John and I had arranged to go walking this afternoon and I met him as I came out of Park Vale at 12.30pm. We set off at 2.45 and walked to Solihull and Sheldon via Warwick Rd. and Lode Lane. We got back so late (6.15) that I couldn’t go to the Shakespeare Society [held in the Chief Master’s House].


   I spent all the morning and evening doing Physics and Chemistry prep. I hardly stopped writing all day.

   At 8.0pm I watched “Down You Go”. This week’s hangover was [to find] two words of 10 and 7 letters with the clue “You should all get this”. My solution is “Absolutely Correct”.


   In Chemistry this afternoon we had a test on Sodium Chemistry. Then Torvell, Smith and I prepared Acetaldehyde from Ethyl Alcohol.

   After school I went to a meeting of the S.C.M. in Geography Room B. The Archdeacon of Aston, the Ven. Michael Parker, spoke on “The Church in the New England”. The talk dealt with the building of churches on the new housing estates. I never realised just how many new estates have sprung up since 1946.


   [It is Mam and Dad’s 19th Wedding Anniversary].

   We had P.T. today for the first time this term. We threw discuses and javelins on the Park Vale pitches.

   The rest of my space I devote to a near-brilliant film I saw tonight at the R.H. [Robin Hood]. It was M.G.M.’s Young Bess (U).

   The supporting film, Three Steps in the Dark (A) with Greta Gynt, Hugh Sinclair and Helene Cordet, was poor.


   This morning Christopher gave me a copy of Parts I and II of General Science Biological Drawings by Maud Jepson, B.Sc. (Manchester). It is a most useful book and I had thought of buying it, so I was most grateful to receive a copy gratis. Christopher’s father teaches Clarice at Hartfield Crescent.

   When I got home I realised I had left my mac at school.

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