9th January 1961

Monday

I left the office at 1 pm not knowing whether I’d be going home by myself or with very pleasant company.  Then everything, sort of, ‘broke’ upon me.

Pat and I were waiting in the corridor for Margaret Cooke when she came dashing towards us, gasping out her ‘great news’.  There had been a phone call from the lobby, someone was waiting for me there!

After a stunned few seconds in which I went hot and cold I yelped that I wasn’t going down there!  Meaning I didn’t want an audience.  Well, after a mild sort of argument which I can hardly remember, Pat said she would come and give me moral support.  So followed a frantic 5 minutes of tittivating and protesting and we went down to the lobby.  Only to be told by two very amused messengers that he had gone and he would be back at 2.

1.45 saw me back in the cloakroom in an awful panic which Pat, Margaret and Lesley found very amusing.  Goodness know why but Pat went on ahead as scout and reported that she could see no one of his description anywhere.  Also, that Carole Varney and Julie Stuart were lying in wait outside ready to catch a glimpse of him.

That hour ended with me marching calmly (I don’t think) into the lobby from the outside – which got the messengers worried – and collecting Alan from the Waiting Room, of all places.  The messengers were treating him well.

We spent the afternoon at my house, talking, talking about what I don’t expect either of us could remember.  He is so easy to be with.  Then off to the farewell party in his house in East Ham.

That evening was a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous.  It felt so awful that he was going and I wouldn’t see him until August.  Yet it was only the fourth time I’d ever seen him.

He took me back home before returning to the party.  He gave me a wonderful blue quilted house coat and he was so sweet.  We both found it difficult to say goodbye.  He said, ‘we’ll get engaged when I come home.’ kissed my hand and with ‘I’ve got to go now.’ he left to catch the last train.

Maureen's Diary The beginning: 1st - 9th January 1961

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