This might be the last of these posts for a couple of weeks: I'm away in Christchurch babysitting the house of some friends.
16th Oct 68
Dear Mum, thanks for the added amount on the postal notes – they gave me 10d on each one – which seems to me rather a lot, but he went away and looked it up and everything, so I didn’t complain. But listen, you’ll have to stop spending half your pay each week on me like this. It really is a bit much. By the time you've paid for the stamps and excess on the P.N.s, and everything else, it must cost a small fortune. You’ll have to be a bit more moderate really – or else I’ll have more money here than you!
Kingsley arrived on Monday, though hardly as planned. In fact I spent a very frustrating day on Monday. I seemed to recall that he was arriving in the afternoon, so as I was finished at the Centre at 4.15, I tootled off to Earls Court to meet him, thinking that he would probably be there by then. When I got there, he wasn’t, and it turned out he was booked in at the Salisbury Court Hotel, just around the road. So round the road I went, and he wasn’t there either. So I rang the Air Inquiries up to see when the flight from Vienna was to come, and they told me it would be about an hour late, at 6.30, which meant it would come into the West London Terminal at about 7.30. So I wandered round there and waited patiently till then – about an hour and a quarter, and then went down to the bus part to meet him. At about 8.30 there was still no sign of him, and I was a bit anxious to know what to do. I kept ringing up the hotel to see if he’d gone straight there, and getting them to send out calls for him at the airport, but there was no news of him anywhere. So I went and had a bite to eat, and then walked back to the Salisbury Court hotel, only about ½ of a mile, and left a long note with instructions and the other key for the flat. And went home. I decided to ring back when I got to Plaistow to see if he had arrived. The first phone booth didn’t have the book in which the number I needed would have been, the next one found the hotel engaged, the next one wouldn't take the 6d and the girl at the other end just kept saying hullo until I rang off, the next one was quite dead, the next one had the earpiece missing, the next had the whole receiver missing, the next was dead, the next was so wrecked it wouldn't even sit on the ledge, and in the next a man was doing his weekly accounts I think, because he seemed to be waiting for someone to ring back, and in the last one I tried there was nothing to put any money in! I should have known I think that there was something behind all this but I was getting so mad...! Anyway, I burst into the flat to find the boy in bed!! And I get mad again to think of it. He’d arrived in the morning, coming on an earlier flight if you please, and even then he’d arrived at the West London Terminal, had somehow come to the conclusion that it was closer to Plaistow than to the OVC, if you can believe, and had gone out there. He was lucky to strike Mrs Marshall home. I didn’t go mad at him, though I really felt like doing so – he could have at least rung me, I think, and anyway I was rather over being mad at anything by that time – I’d cursed and sworn at so many phone booths that I’d calmed down a bit!
However he seems to be getting on all right and he’s sort of reasonable round the flat and helpful – if that doesn’t sound like granddad talking! [It sounds more like Grandma talking.] But I arrived home tonight, at 8.15 to find him in BED! Bit strange, but never mind.
Was out at the Crowls again at the weekend, though this time we didn’t really go anywhere much - I had to go and play for someone from the Centre on Sat morning, up in Baker Street way, and this made everything later. I’d been able to warn the Crowls fortunately. (And I got ten bob for my playing too!) We were to go to Hatfield House, but it was closed till Easter and we looked in at the tail-end of a Fayre, in the grounds. Then home, and Nina and Margaret and I watched some very curious TV. On Sunday, I had to spend quite some time doing languages, but Reg and went for a short trip up to a very uninspiring church, in the very last Northern London suburb.
Ella Gerber arrived today, and seemed to leave chaos (!) behind her because she has such different ideas of the three pieces of Opera we’re doing that we’ve all had to rethink. And unfortunately she knows very little about music, so I really wonder if she will be of any great value – she may give the singers some acting ideas – there’s no doubt she is a fairly good producer, but as far as producing opera goes, I don’t really think she knows enough. She knows what she wants with Porgy and Bess, but we have some considerable doubts about it being what Gershwin wanted! Anyway now that she’s here we’ll have to put up with her I guess.
We’re having a rather tiring week – at least I am. On Monday of course I spent the time looking for his lordship, and last night he and David Syrus and I went to [a] film that we will probably miss otherwise, and then we didn’t get home till about 10, and then I had to get myself something to eat, tonight we had Miss G. until 7.30, and tomorrow we have a dress rehearsal of the Opera For All Manon, and on Friday we go to see The Magic Flute in the morning and then have Ella for the rest of the day, and then we have her again on Sat morning. And somewhere along the line we’re supposed to be doing the work for our ordinary classes. But I feel tired out already! Oh well, I suppose we’ll get there.
Kiri, and another girl from the Centre are in an opera (being done in concert version) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – adjoining the Festival Hall, on Friday night, and I’d rather like to see that too... It’s just impossible, though.
Well, for once I seem to have some room on the end of a letter. Have you sent those clothes to Francisco at all. If you do will you let me know and I’ll let them know that it’s coming. Or do you think they’ll be too small for him already? [Francisco was a Korean boy whom I had been supporting for some time in a Korean Orphan Scheme run by a Catholic priest in the country.]
[handwritten] well, that seems to be it, and look at all the space I’ve got. LOTS OF LOVE, Mike.