Everything has been stolen from the car

   10.25pm. We have had a most unpleasant shock. We arrived back at Summerlands at 6.10pm. I opened the boot to unlock it and everything had gone: Janet’s suitcase, our suitcase, the coolbag with all our food, the Sony stereo radio/cassette player, a large Jiffy bag containing lots of smaller Jiffy bags returned by Eva. Our suitcase contained four diamond rings: Freda’s engagement ring and three other rings, which had been her mother’s and were very old, worth in all several thousand pounds, I should think. My brief-case has gone, and with it my pen! [this entry is being written with a ballpoint], A.A. and R.A.C. membership cards, driving licence, cheque book, letters, documents, bills, and the Cathedral Analysis book containing the 1979-80 accounts up to last Saturday — totally irreplaceable information.

   Almost certainly the things were taken from the car when it was parked on the corner of Surrey Square and Frinton Street, just off the Old Kent Road, earlier this afternoon. We parked there at 12.20pm. We were already twenty minutes late for an appointment, and the rain was lashing down. As we rushed off down the road Freda asked me, “Have you locked all the doors?”, which I had. On every other occasion I think she has asked whether I have locked the boot, but this time she didn’t and incredibly I never thought of it.

   Two hours later, having been to the photographer where we had the appointment, and having had lunch in a café across the road, Freda bought bread and milk. Ordinarily I would have suggested putting them in the boot, but I knew it was full so never bothered to open it. Then on the way home on the M4 Freda said she would like an apple, but realised that it was in the coolbag. We stopped at Leigh Delamere Service Station for a drink, and again we did not go to the boot. (There is a remote chance that the things were taken there.)

   As soon as we discovered the loss Freda dialled 999, then I phoned the photographer to tell him what had happened. Freda contacted New Scotland Yard. Then P.C. Hunter of the local constabulary arrived. He asked us to list all the things which had been taken, and their value, and returned later to collect it.

   We have lost our clothes and toilet things, even our nightwear. Janet’s Bible has gone. It was very precious to her, being profusely underlined and containing her Shroud photographs, “Christ of St John of the Cross” cards, and the letter I wrote her on March 2nd, also the Word of the Lord. I have lost three of Janet’s letters to me, and many pages of notes and material for newsletters etc

   It is very interesting. Apart from the sense of shock, we feel no great sense of loss particularly. The rings were of considerable value, but it is the sentimental value rather than their monetary worth which Freda feels, and she has already said she hopes that the rings will give pleasure to whoever gets them. We feel no rancour about the thief or thieves, just a great peace. Only last evening, I was speaking on Blessing Your Money, the fact that everything we touch becomes imbued with our spirit. We cannot lose anything. In our last Bible Study I commented on Matthew 5:40, “If any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” This is another test for us. In this calamity is the seed of an equivalent or even greater benefit. Thank you, Jesus.

   We left Billericay this morning at about 9.15am, taking Alice with us to drop her off at home. It was having Alice with us that meant packing some things into the boot which might otherwise have been in the car. Then the heavy rain, and road works at Gant Hill, seriously delayed our journey into London, and made us late for our appointment at the photographer.

   Freda had phoned Peter Gibson Ltd. On Friday morning. I had been looking for someone to take our photographs for our new publications, and Peter Gibson was one of several advertising in The Stage.


TUESDAY 6th MAY 1980

Something to remember her by

   7.40pm. We had a good day in the office, getting through a lot of work, and had some fun as well. I took the Mini to the office, intending to take Janet for a driving lesson, which I did at 4.00pm when she drove us to Washwood Heath to deliver a file to Arthur at Metro-Cammell. I then took her home through town.

   The post was late arriving, but we had filing and other jobs to do. We had more letters than of late, and more than £140 came in, so with Saturday’s money we were able to draw last week’s salaries (but I am taking only £10 at the moment) and also to make a payment to Bank of Europe for the car.

   While we were out on Saturday afternoon the Daimler developed a fault in the exhaust system which made it embarrassingly noisy. This morning Freda phoned Standard Motorists Centre in Westley Road, who repaired the Mini free of charge when the exhaust came adrift recently, and was told I could take it in any time I liked. Dad accompanied me in the Viva and brought me back to the office and we had not long returned when they phoned to say that the car was now ready and we went to fetch it again.

   While Dad was taking me to collect the car, Janet went to Kipling Travel Agency to enquire whether a smallpox vaccination was required for the USA (it wasn’t, but I had forgotten) and to Ron Parkes to buy three Kodacolor films to take with her.

   During the morning I had cupped my hands over Janet’s breasts, as I enjoy doing sometimes (and as she likes me to), and she told me she had on the black bra (and I supposed, the matching pants) which I gave her the Christmas before last. She also had on a shirt with buttons opening down the front, which was a subtle invitation for me to fondle her, as I have done five times lately.

   After lunch I was rueing the fact that with so much work to get through, and her leaving soon for the USA, I was not going to get to see the bra and pants, when she asked if I would like her to take the shirt off so that I should have something to remember her by when she was gone. So she promptly began to strip off, by the office door (I was by the telephone), until she stood only in her bra, pants, suspender belt and stockings, and red shoes. Laughing as she did it, it was the most titillating thing I have ever seen. I slipped the bra off her shoulders, and her breasts were full and the nipples proud, and with her pale flesh as smooth as velvet, she looked fantastic. I was greatly aroused: Janet said my beard appeared to have grown since lunch!

   Janet got dressed again, and we finished the new stock letter I had dictated before lunch, then I perforated it, and we answered all the remaining letters, finishing at 4.00pm.

   Arthur had left his Deeds of Covenant file for Mr Finney to have a look at, but was wanting it back As he is going to Edinburgh tomorrow night and to Hong Kong again at the weekend, Freda suggested that we might be able to return it to him at Metro-Cammell, which we did. He had left the building for a few minutes though, so we did not see him to hand it to him personally. Janet drove extremely well in heavy rush-hour traffic.



Sweltering in the heat

   9.26pm. At Summerlands. We have few letters coming into the office at the moment, so decided to return to keep the garden watered and to attend to the fish with tail rot. We came down in the Mini again, leaving Springfields at five past two, and arriving at about 5.30pm. The windscreen shattered when we were about five miles from Glastonbury. I pushed the glass out to be able to see. We called at Street on the way here, for Freda to do the weekend shopping.

   We sweltered in bed last night, and learned this evening that the temperature, at least here in the West, never fell below 65 degrees, the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in the area. The temperature was in the 80s today. I was up early to pray and started work in the office at 7am when I continued stamping the Rhodesia cards “Zimbabwe.” After finishing the letters I typed cassette peel-off labels for the Lancelot Pinard tapes offered with the newsletter.

   Dad went to town for me to obtain details of the visit of the Bluebell Girls to the Alexandra Theatre later this month. He also went to the Reference Library to see if they had a book containing details of how to cure tail rot in goldfish (but they hadn’t) and to the Collector of Taxes, Stephenson Street, to ask for a tax refund to be made to us direct instead of being credited to our account at Glasgow. We are not paying any tax at the moment, as I am receiving only £10 per week, and Janet is not being paid any salary while she is away.

   There is still no word from Janet. Her mother phoned before 8 this morning in an anxious state, and I have phoned her this evening so that she knows where we are in the event of Janet phoning her. I am very depressed and am finding it very difficult to settle to anything again. Tony phoned as usual this morning and actually spoke to Freda to request a meeting with us, but I do not want to see him.

   I phoned Mr Lintell after unloading the car, and arranged to take it in at 7.30am to have a new windscreen fitted. After tea I copied a new Daisy Osborn tape When Women Become Winners onto the first tape they sent me of the same title, which was faulty.

   There have been freak storms today and torrential rain in some parts causing flooding. We came through a rainstorm towards the end of the M5. Incredibly, Glastonbury remained dry, and there seems to have been no rain since we left last week.


The natural reflects the spiritual

   9.24pm. I got up at 6.30am this morning, prayed, took Freda a cup of tea in bed, then at 7.30am took the Mini to Mr Lintell’s to have a new windscreen fitted and the heater attended to — it has been sticking on. I had to wait five minutes for Mr Lintell to arrive, then walked back home, weeping a little for the great sadness I feel for Janet.

   After breakfast I began typing the 1980 stock list. Freda went shopping and was away a long time. She returned at midday, having been to see Mr [Rocco] d”Ambrosio, and Nellie and Gladys, and delighted me with a book, Swedenborg’s The True Christian Religion, which she had bought for me from the second-hand bookshop. She had gone there specially to see if they had anything by him.

   Freda returned just as Mr Lintell was ”phoning to say the car was ready. He brought it to the house and I drove him back again, then spent until lunch time reading my new book.

   After lunch I read some more, then spent the afternoon watering the garden and digging up thistles. We came indoors for a few minutes at 3.45pm to have a cup of tea, and watched a few overs of the Test Match with the West Indies at Nottingham. I went to sleep for a few minutes, then we went outside again to resume our labours.

   After tea I read Emerson’s Essays on “Swedenborg, or the Mystic,” and “Love.” Later we watched Anthony Dowell and the Royal Ballet dancing Four Schumann pieces, his String Quartet in A Major, Opus 41, No 3. We are now listening to Pastor Dave Bailey speaking on “Effective Evangelism,” a tape we brought back from Garden Grove. Is Janet there I wonder?

   Freda’s psychology was exactly right in giving me a book. Many many times one of us says what the other is thinking. Yesterday, as we neared the junction with the M4, we were overtaken by a brown Daimler (or Jaguar) with an S registration. I perceived that Freda was about to say, “Brown seems to have been a popular colour that year,” so instead of waiting for her to say it and then my saying, “I knew you were going to say that,” I said it first. Then Freda said, “I was going to say that,” and I said, “I knew you were: that is why I said it first.”

   Emerson quotes a verse in his Essay on “Love”, which expresses something I have been feeling about Janet: “Thou art not gone being gone, where”er thou art, Thou hav’st in him thy watchful eyes, in him thy loving heart.” At times the sense of her nearness has been almost incredible. I have had this same feeling of nearness two or three times since Freda’s mother died. I felt Mum was “there” when I lay on the floor with my injured foot.

   All my life I have known that the things that happen to us in the natural are but reflections of what is happening to us in the spiritual. I have observed this in our home being flooded; in Janet’s guitar G-string being broken, in her being deceived into thinking that what she was given to replace it was rare and precious (Tony’s words about Janet’s virginity, but the silver string was commonplace and cheap); in her being sick after she had been with him.

   Perhaps the shattered windscreen, which marred my vision, signifies the clear outlook I am now to have; and perhaps some of the heat is going to be taken off me.


   10.01pm. I got up at 8.45am this morning. Over breakfast we read a pamphlet which had come from Chalice Well. John Simmons died last October, and the new custodians Moya and Taras Kosikovsky sound as though they have the right vision and feeling for the place.

   I spent the morning in prayer and then read Swedenborg on “Baptism.” Freda went for a walk before lunch; I stayed behind in case the phone rang, but it didn’t. I wish Janet would phone.

   I washed up after lunch, as I had done after breakfast, then did some more reading and had a sleep. Later we had a cup of tea then worked in the garden until tea time. I dug up a lot more thistles.

   After tea I washed up, then dug up more thistles, and filled buckets of water for Freda to water the garden. Later we came indoors to watch “First Steps,” in which Dame Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin were teaching children at a Yorkshire Ballet Seminar.


Margaret Cameron

   10.30pm. We arrived back in Birmingham at 5.00pm. Twenty-five minutes later Janet phoned from Le Seure, Minnesota. She said the Seminar had been perhaps the greatest experience of her life. It was wonderful to hear her rejoicing in the Lord; I could not help but weep with joy as she told me the great news — Richard Roberts now having a new wife, Bro. Roberts raising $1,000,000 in the meeting, one partner giving him a cheque for $150,000, the City of Faith now 60 storeys high and one building completed and faced.

   For the first time I feel tonight that Janet will not marry Tony. When the phone rang I had just been reading a letter he had written her, which was particularly cruel and unkind. Earlier in the day, at Summerlands, I had written him a letter in answer to his last two or three to me. Then, on the way into Birmingham, we had called to see Mrs Jones, who was as miserable as usual and resentful of Janet staying overseas so long. Janet must have phoned her mother within minutes of my leaving there.

   We got home at 5.00pm. Dad had brought the letters round to the house, and the first thing that I noticed was that more than £1,000 had come in. There was a cheque for £622.62 left us in her will by Mrs [Margaret] Cameron of Silloth. We lost touch with her when she had to be taken into a hospital or nursing home a few years ago, and her sister returned one of my newsletters with a curt note to say that we wouldn’t be getting any more money. It grieved me so much that we could not even go to see her, but I little thought she would remember the work in her will. The will spoke of me as “Evangelist Brian Williams of Acocks Green,” so must have been made at least 20 years ago, perhaps soon after the Crusade I had at Silloth — my first ever — in October or November, 1957. So she had faith in me from those very early days, and happily I have a tape-recording of her voice from all those years ago.

   Then there was a cheque for £340 from Arthur, and various other gifts in response to the newsletter, so I feel a lot of heat has been taken off us today. Praise the Lord.

   At Summerlands this morning I typed the letter to Tony Guy, checked a tape and erased two reel tapes on one of the Brenell machines, and helped Freda water the garden. After lunch I washed up while Freda painted the lamp-stand in the dining room. We left Summerlands at 2.15pm, stopped at Walton for petrol, then drove up the M5 as usual.



Larry Hagman

   9.42pm. Janet is on her way to Los Angeles and we are at Summerlands. We arrived at 5.53pm having spent a few hours visiting Windsor on our way here.

   We got up at 3.30am, left Russell Road at 4.15am and called for Janet exactly 15 minutes later. At ten to seven we parked at West London Air Terminal, Cromwell Road, and minutes later, there being only one other passenger in the building, we had got Janet’s ticket, the stand-by fare costing £129. (Tomorrow, October 1st, it will cost only £108.) We used Janet’s Barclaycard to pay for the ticket. I gave her $145 yesterday and a cheque for $140 to pay the fee for the Institute.

   From the Air Terminal we drove to Heathrow, dropped Janet and Freda off at Terminal 3, then I parked the car. By the time I rejoined the girls they had checked Janet in and disposed of her suitcase. We had breakfast, looked at the bookstall and shops, then Janet came with me to the Car Park to collect the camera as I was wanting to take her photograph.

   It was a beautiful day, the sun shining brightly, just like it was 139 days ago when she flew out to Shreveport. (How incredible, Janet visiting the USA twice in twenty weeks, but I trust this may be the pattern increasingly, with her visiting the USA for us two or three times a year.) I took a photograph, or was about to, by the Concorde passenger entrance when I noticed someone wearing a “10–gallon hat,” copying “J.R.” as I thought. And then I realised it was Larry Hagman himself, accompanied by his wife, also a Jewish gentleman and an hotel chauffeur. They had come in a yellow Rolls Royce, so I took a photo of Janet standing by it [jpg].

   We were quite thrilled to see Larry Hagman, and when we re-entered the building he was buying a ticket at the Concorde check-in desk. So Janet went up to him and said, “Good morning, Mr Hagman, I hope you have a nice flight,” and handed him her visiting card. “Thank you, Janet” he said, and pocketed the card. Afterwards I thought, how remarkable. We had 200 Wealth, Success, Prosperity cards printed, and the very first has been pocketed by the most highly paid television actor in the world. He is being paid $3,000,000 for the new Dallas series, I believe. This seemed to me like a tremendous omen.

   Mr Hagman was being recognised by a few people (and missed by hundreds of others) and was handing out imitation $50 bills to one and another. Then he stubbed his finger on the desk and broke a finger nail. Janet hadn’t received one of his dollar bills so I asked for one for her.

   After this we went upstairs to where Freda was sitting, and moments later Mr Hagman came upstairs too and went into the Tavern in the Sky Restaurant, so Freda saw him too. We sat talking, and Janet gave me a slip of paper with her signature written down a couple of times for me to use for one of her newsletters. As I put it in my wallet I came across Ben Yarnall’s visiting card, whom we met at Glastonbury last Monday week.

   Minutes later it was time to take Janet to the Departure Lounge. On the way we passed a bar, and there to our great astonishment was Ben Yarnall and Isabel, and a cousin of Isabel’s (sister of the other cousin we met last week) and her husband. Ben and Isabel were returning to Philadelphia. It seemed an astonishing coincidence to meet them again.

   We had a few minutes’ animated conversation — I introduced Janet — and then it was time for Janet to go. We prayed together, then she kissed us and went through passport control. Her flight BA 283 totalled 13 and she was leaving from Gate 13, appropriately, for the number of the USA is 13. She was due to land at 3.00pm, 11.00pm over there.

   On the M4 Freda and I simultaneously decided we would like to visit Windsor. We parked the car at the station, had lunch of rice and curry at the ABC Restaurant, then visited the Castle where we spent half-an-hour or more looking at Queen Mary’s Dolls House. Later we walked down to the river, then back into the town, and had a pot of tea and chocolate cakes at a very nice tea-shop.

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