To Hillsborough for the semi-final

   9.45pm. Dad and I have been to Sheffield to see Birmingham City’s F.A. Cup semi-final tie with Leeds Utd. They lost 3-nil.

   Last night’s Bible Study was at our house, our subject The UFO Phenomenon in the Light of Spiritual Cognition [Tape No.270]. Afterwards we had virtually another Bible Study on Financial Prosperity. No one wanted to go home and it was almost midnight when we dropped Janet at her house.

   It was ten past one when I got into bed and I read for a few minutes and completed The Light in Britain [by Grace and Ivan Cooke]. As usual I was awake at 5.45am but did not get up until 8.00am. After breakfast I went to the office to open the letters, then took Freda to her mother’s (where I am writing this) where Dad joined us a few minutes later. We left for Sheffield at 10.18am, heading south to join the M6 at Stonebridge and then cutting across to join the north-bound M1 via the A426. This was 40 miles extra to travel but I thought it would be faster. Indeed, when we stopped at the final service station near Sheffield we had covered 105 miles in 102 minutes.

   We finally left the motorway at midday and it took us a further 60 minutes to cover the last five miles. The journey to Hillsborough took us along Upwell Road over ground that was very familiar from when we stayed in Sheffield about ten years ago. I was ministering at Hoyland at the time, but we were staying with Pastor Tom Buckley.

   We were able to park the car on high ground about a mile from Hillsborough, from which we could actually see the Stadium. We ate our sandwiches in the car. The terraces were comfortably filled when we entered the ground at 1.45pm. A few minutes later there was a great cheer as the Birmingham City team came out to inspect the pitch. I was struck by how young they looked. Shortly afterwards the Leeds players came on to the field. I immediately recognised Jackie Charlton and Billy Bremner from seeing them so often on TV. During the next 50 minutes the crowd was entertained by the Dagenham Girl Pipers (whose coach we had passed on the motorway) and the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals. Four pairs of girls performed a sword-dance.

   It was, I think, the first Saturday afternoon match I had been to since 1956 when Dad and II saw Manchester City play in a semi-final at Villa Park, while Birmingham City, in one of their finest-ever displays, were defeating Sunderland 3-nil on this same Hillsborough ground. Few people gave Birmingham much chance of success against the Leeds United team, which is possibly the finest in Europe. [The teams were: Birmingham City:— Kelly; Martin, Pendry; Page, Hynd, Robinson; Campbell, Francis, Latchford, Summerill, Taylor; and substitute Hatton. Leeds United:— Sprake; Madeley, Cooper; Bremner, Charlton, Hunter; Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray; substitute Reaney.]

   Birmingham City played in red shirts with a white stripe down the middle, and Leeds United in all-yellow.


I hear from a daughter of King Edward VII

   9.24pm. I have — as usual — been working virtually non-stop since before 7.00 this morning. By 7.30am I had cleaned out the fire, tidied up the office — I had left a book pressing under a heavy pile of filing card boxes — and taken the car into Elt’s for its 54,000 mile service.

   There was a big pile of correspondence to answer from Saturday, but today’s letters did not arrive until after 10.00am when our Russell Road postman brought them. He told me that there is no regular postman to do our walk. At least one postman from Hall Green has been dismissed recently for dishonesty.

   When Dad came in he handed me a gift of £1 from Geoffrey Belton. More than £100 came in today. This included £50 from Mrs. Thornton.

   Stanley Betterton ’phoned during the morning. Jean asked what he wanted and he said he had been looking for our entry in the ’phone book and, not finding it, had rung to see if we were still there. Sometimes I think he is touched in the head.

   A sad case of someone definitely afflicted in this way is the poor soul who wrote me this morning telling me she was the daughter of Edward VII, who had left her a house and land of which she had been defrauded by her doctor, who was, she explained, Adolf Hitler in disguise.

   There were some terrible cases for which prayer was requested, including a 17-year-old youth with a cancerous growth on his hip the size of a football. Stanley Montgomery, himself much in need of prayer, sent me a wonderful testimony of healing from the Plymouth Crusade of 5½ years ago, a young girl who was healed of a TB spine and discarded her plaster case. Like the nine lepers who were healed, we might never have known the wonderful answer to prayer in this case.

   Maurice Pratt ’phoned this afternoon to ask if he could come at 4.30pm instead of 6.30pm, so I came home early. The 1971-72 accounts have now to be completed this week, and I have been working on these all evening.


The Revd Stanley Montgomery in his office in Braintree, Essex. He is showing me his photo album, and a pyramid chart is on the wall behind him.



Problems with plastic — and postmen

   7.29pm. Instead of meeting for the Bible Study, Freda and I have come to spend a quiet evening with Freda’s mother. John and Sheila have a houseful of guests arriving today so would not have been able to join us, so we met last night instead. We had a great time of blessing. We spoke on The Birth of Christ in the Soul of Man. Afterwards I was so exhausted as to be unable to eat, although I did have the sherry and mince-pie which Freda had prepared as a special treat. I took Mum, Mrs. Ridout and Janet home, then collapsed into bed. Freda came up at about 1.20am and had a coughing fit which kept us awake for some time.

   We were extremely busy in the office again today. The post came rather earlier, however, about 10.00am (10.35am yesterday), and second post arrived before lunch, so the girls were able to leave shortly after 4.00pm, leaving me to write up the accounts.

   My Barclaycard arrived at last — it had taken three days by first-class post from Northampton — but by the same post there was a letter from the Nigeria Embassy demanding our passports AND letters from our referees in Nigeria AND our air tickets before they will decide whether to grant us an entry permit or not. This 18 days after we filled in the application form when no mention was made of these things being required. The possibility of obtaining letters of reference from Nigeria in the short time we have available seems out of the question. Freda went to see Mr. Hughes, who ’phoned the [[MISSING]]. When he ’phoned to tell me what had happened he sounded most put out. We seem to have had so much obstruction and lack of co-operation from these West African Embassies that I feel like abandoning the whole idea.

   The Barclaycard enables me to obtain money in most European and some other countries (but none in West Africa), and allows me a credit limit of £200, not that I am ever likely to want to be overdrawn. The card costs nothing to use, but interest is charged at 1½% on any balance outstanding at the end of the month. But the stores, hotels and restaurants who employ the system have to pay Barclaycard 2½% (or is it 5%?) for the privilege, and so must put up their prices by the same amount. The resultant inflation is a wonderful thing to the politicians who are returned to office on the strength of their promises to control it. Meanwhile, the money-free debt-ridden society becomes increasingly the slave of the International Bankers.

   I remember many years ago talking about the day when “money” would be a thing of the past. Everyone would bear a number, which would be used in every transaction. No one would ever handle “cash”. Salaries would be credited to one’s account, and “money” spent would be deducted in the same way. The prospect is frightening in its implications — George Orwell’s 1984, and the advent of the computer brings that day ever closer.

   Mr. Shaw came yesterday afternoon. Janet had ’phoned him for me on Wednesday afternoon asking him to call with the 1974 Calendars, which I wanted to order without delay, in the hope that I might buy them cheaper by not incurring Value Added Tax, which comes into effect next April. In fact the Calendars may be cheaper after April as V.A.T. at 10% is less than purchase tax, which is [ ].

   Mr. Shaw had lost both his parents in the space of two or three weeks, first his mother, and then his father, who was cremated on Monday of last week. We have heard of so many bereavements this Christmas. Mr. W.J. Lemon of Belfast lost his mother, and then a close friend was killed. Mrs. Anne Williams, the widow of W.T., wrote this morning to inform us of his passing on November 5th.

   Mr. Shaw stayed for an hour and a half. I had a look at the complete range of calendars, which this year (i.e. 1974) includes two new ones, one of Animals and another of Historic Houses. We spent some time critically analysing some of the portrait and nude studies, and, as usual, Mr. Shaw extolled the virtues of Michelangelo and William Etty. What a pity that Etty had no feeling for composition. Mr. Shaw told me he had been made a “governor” in connection with the art classes he attends, and invited me to go along as well, but I would feel more inclined to attend John’s photography class where the results are more immediately satisfying. However, I must take up painting again. I was always interested in art right up until my 14th birthday when I had to sacrifice the subject in order to “specialise” in scientific subjects. I used to attend “voluntary art” classes [with Mr. J.B. Hurn] on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons at K.E.S., but the artistic impulse was stifled, not to come forth again for 21 years.

   I was thinking about my unhappy days at K.E.S. when we came here this evening. A Dr. A.J.R. Smout had been to see Mum [Freda’s mother] instead of Dr. Mence, reminding me that it was Professor C.F.V. Smout, as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who presided over the selection board when I was accepted for the Medical School. This would have been in 1952.

   In addition to having the doctor call, Mum has had a plumber in today. Last night she discovered that the tank had sprung a leak as clothes in the airing cupboard were wet, and spent a restless night constantly getting up to make sure that the leak was no worse. Mr. Yates next door came in and arranged for a plumber to call, and by this afternoon a completely new plastic tank had been installed to replace the one which had rusted through. What a mercy that Mum discovered the leak when she did, before any damage was done, and while there was a plumber available!

   Geoff Gray called at the office this morning to deliver his Christmas card and a cheque for the cottages, and we gave him his calendar. Dad delivered a calendar to Mr. Kimm [Stanley Kimm at 36 Bromyard Road], who, a few years ago, used to call at the house on a Saturday morning.

   This evening we have been relaxing to the music of Ravel (Bolero), Gounod (Faust), Tchaikovsky (Nutcracker), and Johann Strauss I and II, and now Wagner (Siegfried’s Rhine Journey). Freda reminded me that years ago, so long ago I had forgotten, we used to come here on Friday evening, bringing Kim [our corgi] with us. That was before we had the Bible Study on a Friday evening, and before we had a car. We used to walk here (2½ miles) and ride back on the ’bus [the 31A from Gospel Lane to Cateswell Road], Kim having to be taken upstairs.

   I had quite forgotten that I had a letter yesterday from Mr. L.A.J. Hill of the G.P.O. in reply to mine to the Head Postmaster. He confirms that the summons taken out against me for “assault and battery” was nothing to do with the G.P.O. but was a private affair taken up by the Postal Workers’ Union on behalf of the postman [whose finger I accidentally trapped in the door].   


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