Billy Graham

   7.09pm. Billy Graham has had extensive coverage in this evening’s national and local news on TV. He arrived in Bristol today to commence a week’s Crusade which will take him to other cities — Bristol, Sunderland, Birmingham, Liverpool and Ipswich between now and the end of July. It is 30 years since he came to Harringay and [Helen and] I went to hear him. That experience resulted in my thinking I too had a calling to preach, and I laboured under that delusion for about 25 or more years. Still I am thrilled that thousands of souls will be converted to Christ in the coming weeks, even though evangelicalism as a way of life now leaves me cold.

   The Hilliards have put a poster in their window this evening. They attend Street Baptist Church, where John Ratcliffe goes, and I have been wondering whether they have a coach party going to Ashton Gate, and whether we might join it. Especially we pray that Mr Holt might go, and be saved from his gambling, which has so injured his life, even landing him in prison.

   I always wanted to make a success of preaching, and failed. Billy Graham was asked today about the success he had achieved, and said that he didn’t know that he had. I no longer believe that “success” has any real meaning: it is simply a concept one has of one’s self, and one’s self has no existence outside of the Only Self, which is God. I wish I could have understood this 30 years ago. The people who will get themselves converted during the next few weeks will ultimately learn that there is no “self” to get converted. It is all a delusion — but totally necessary for the “soul” to find its way back to God.

   After breakfast this morning I typed the labels and prepared the Jiffy bags and envelopes for tomorrow’s Bible Study, and did other jobs until the post arrived at five past ten. There was a final notice about the overdue water rate, but Ian Dean sent us £46 in bank notes, so I was able to write up two Giro slips to pay the money into my account.

   At 11.00am we went into town to pay the money over the counter at the Post Office and buy stamps, and to do the shopping. I had to wait in a long queue at the post Office, which was crowded, and it was midday before we arrived home.

   During the rest of the morning, and until 3.00pm, I answered the letters, Freda helping me after lunch for literature for overseas. Freda came with me to the post and we then walked round the Avenue; after we got back we had a cup of tea, then watered the garden until 5.00pm. It was cloudy and quite cold, and there was a brief shower while we were having tea, but hardly enough to wet the ground.



A spider in the pool

[slide10934] [slide 10936]

10.07pm. We went for a short walk as usual as soon as we got up this morning. Chee [Chee Soo] & Marilyn came down earlier than usual and joined us for breakfast, over which we sat talking until ten past nine.

   After breakfast I got the fishing net to fish some insects out of the pond, as I have done most days. A lot of ants had got drowned after yesterday’s rain. We spotted a coin, which I retrieved with some difficulty, only to find it was only 1 peseta. Then we noticed a big spider at the bottom of the pool towards the deep end. Chee went off to report it, and it caused quite a stir and not a few shudders. We were not there, but eventually it was removed from the pool with an extra-long pole, and gingerly prodded; then everyone fell about laughing — it was a rubber one. It caused great merriment.

   The sky had been cloudy but was beginning to clear, so we went down to our local beach, sitting in our usual spot in line from the steps from the Club Sillot. Freda went in the water and swam a few strokes, but storm clouds were gathering over the mountains. I had not long gone in for a swim when I heard a tremendous rush of wind. Overhead the clouds were boiling, and as the heavens opened people fled for shelter. Freda was already making her way back to the hotel. I was wet already, so swam to the end of the beach.

   A cold wind was blowing through the hotel like a gale when we got back. We got changed, then came down again and had a cup of coffee in the disco bar downstairs. Freda read the latest Sun and Sunday Express given us by Chee and Marilyn. I wrote a postcard to Jimmy and Pauline, and did a little more work on the book.

   About midday the rain stopped so we went shopping, posted the card, and bought a real purse for Freda (from me), some soaps for Barbara, and a tablet of soap for Mam.

   For lunch we had Spanish omelette and green beans, a “special” for us as there was little else on the menu which we could eat; then pears to finish with. Araceli, our waitress, happened to notice the writing I had with me. I explained that it was for a book; one of the other waitresses told her I was a poet.

   After lunch the four of us had a cup of tea by the swimming pool, and I took a photograph. Afterwards Freda and I returned to our spot on the beach. The sun came out and I went to sleep for a few minutes. Later I went for a swim, being followed by three French girls who had pitched behind us. I had a little conversation with them, and later had much amusement by parlez-ing Franglais avec ma femme qui n’était pas amusé du tout. Eventually I wrote the girls a letter, like the one I wrote to my German girl. Where is she now, I wonder?

   About 5.30pm we went to the Bar Rompes and ordered a pot of tea. We sat in the corner and the waiter had to carry a table across as there wasn’t one.

   On the way up from the beach to the bar we saw the little Dachshund whom we have been seeing most days and had seen earlier, snuggled up against a man on the beach. The dog is a funny little chap with his red collar, not appearing to belong to anyone in particular, but to be seen running over the beach with his little black-and-white playmate, and at other times making friends with someone or other on the beach and cadging food from them. But today, just like the first day we saw him, he looked very sorry for himself and barely moved, as if he was in pain from having eaten too much. We shall miss him when we go back, but I took a photograph of him to remember him by [slide10934].

   Still thinking in French I asked the receptionist for my key in French, to which she immediately responded in the same language, and then looked a little puzzled. Most of the people in the hotel have been German and French, with not many British.

   After dinner the four of us had a cup of tea in the TV lounge, then we went shopping. We bought half-bottles of cherry brandy and Napoleon brandy for 195 and 210 pesetas. We walked along the sea-front as far as the Bar Ses Ones, where the shops end; then on the way back we saw a frog, and I also rescued several of the large black flying beetles which were in danger of being trodden on.

   It is 11.15pm now. Freda has made us a cup of coffee. There is a dance going on in the hotel discotheque. Tomorrow is our last day here.


Bikini tops

9.19pm. We went to the disco last night and danced non-stop for an hour, but it closed at 12.30am. It was very enjoyable, the first dance we have been to since Debbie’s wedding.

   It was raining heavily this morning so we missed our walk before breakfast. We were the first in the dining room and sat at our usual table in the window, No. 18, which looks out across the beach. No one else appeared for a few minutes. We sat there until 9.00am.

   Afterwards we sat in armchairs in the lounge, where I wrote a few paragraphs for my book. Eventually Chee & Marilyn joined us and we went downstairs to the bar to have cups of tea or coffee.

   By 11.00am the rain was stooping, so we went out to buy the bottles of apricot brandy and pineapple brandy, which we hadn’t enough money for last night — Freda had changed a further £10 in the meantime — then I returned to the hotel with our purchases.

   After this we walked to Il Punto Amer, the headland between the two beaches, walked round the outside of the Sa Coma circular restaurant, and then back to our local beach, exploring the rock pools on the way.

   By now the sun was shining and people were venturing down to the beach, although it was very wet from all the rain. Freda sat on a folded towel in our usual spot, while I swam first one way and then the other, the length of the beach, emerging from the water at this end, near the hotel. Freda saw what I was doing and went on ahead.

   After lunch we four had a cup of tea by the swimming pool, where folk were beginning to gather as the sun stayed out and the temperature began to warm up, then I came up to our room to put on my other (red and yellow) swimming trunks.

   On our way across the beach to our usual spot, Marilyn & Chee waved to us from where they were sitting, and Marilyn came across with a Daily Express for us to read. We weren’t able to read it though, as there was still a stiff breeze.

   When we got to our usual spot, the three French girls I had spoken to yesterday were already there, but a few feet further back, and a fourth girl was with them. I lay down for a while. Freda put some Nivea on me and I think I went to sleep for a few minutes.

   I have been taking photographs throughout the two weeks we have been here. I had 1, possibly 2, exposures left, so I thought it would be nice if I could get a picture of the four girls, who were sans leures bikini tops. So I hastily scribbled a letter in my best French, and handed it to one of them with a few brief words of explanation. The girls, who were lying down on their stomachs, pored over the contents, smiled and giggled a bit and discussed the contents among themselves, while I sat looking at them a few feet away, awaiting their reaction.

   We then got into conversation and they wanted to know if I would let them have a copy of the photograph. Eventually, I got a picture of them, but it was not the one I wanted. They very carefully put their bikini tops back on and arranged themselves into a formal group. I wanted to tell them “Il n’est pas necessaire a replacer le bikini top”, but with a big black cloud about to cover the sun, and not wanting to push my luck, I took what I hope will be a nice picture anyway [slide 10936].

   Afterwards I got one of the girls to give me the names and addresses of all four. She was Beatrice Gombert of Rue Beauregard 90A, 2816 Fahy; and her friends Françoise Jardin, Marie Jardin, and Christine Schori, all of 2901 Montigney. So the girls were not French as I thought, but Swiss.

   After this I and the four girls went for a swim — my last of the holiday; Freda didn’t go in at all today. Despite the clouds that were around, the sun stayed out all afternoon.

   Finally, at 5.20pm we said goodbye to the girls, after I had first checked their names against their bikini colours, which I had noted down; then as we left the beach by the steps outside the Club S’Illot, we met Chee and Marilyn, who were on their way to the Bar Rompes where we had invited them to meet us at 5.30pm for a pot of tea and strawberry gateau. As usual the gateau was delicious. All four of us had got to know the waiter quite well — though we had never been all together before — and he commiserated with us on our imminent departure.

   From there we walked back to the hotel for dinner. We had noodle soup followed by omelette and chips, and I had a peach, Freda a pastry, then we had a final pot of tea together by the swimming pool.

   After this we went for a last walk to the shops and bought a few postcards for ourselves, then came back to our room for Freda to have a shower and wash her hair, as I had done before dinner. Freda has just realised that the “shampoo” we bought the other evening is either a conditioner or setting lotion. I thought it was rather gluey when I put it on my head.

   So our holiday here is almost at an end. We have had a lovely time despite the unsettled weather of the last few days. Tomorrow we are due to leave the Hotel Colombo at 9.40pm, flying from Palma at 12.30pm, and arriving at Gatwick at 1.40pm BST.

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