22nd May 1961

May 22nd

 Monday

Dear Diary

We started 10.30 am, loaded with sandwiches, camera etc.  Mike in slacks and sweater, me in new trousers and ‘horse blanket’.

We decided to catch a 145 bus to Chingford and walk through to Epping Wakes Arms.  We got to the Royal Forest Hotel OK, had a shandy and started walking.  The unfortunate part was that we were walking in the wrong direction!  We did find out when we were in Buckhurst Hill, ‘cos we walked around it 3 times.

At about 12.35 Michael said,’ Right, at about 1 o’clock we eat.  At 13.00 hours we were in the middle of Epping New Road, trying to get out of a built-up area.

We got hungry and managed to find a field, which we clambered over a gate into.  We got everything out of the bag, sandwich in our hands, turned around – behold, one cricket team approaching ready to play a match.

Somehow we got to Chigwell RAF camp (didn’t know there was one so near home) then passed an army camp.  (Must go over there sometime.!) We then changed plans a bit and decided to head for Abridge.  I must add that it was the first time I had been anywhere near this area and I was not the navigator!

Again we emptied the food bag ready to eat and saw we had an audience of cows, fortunately in the next field.

We walked.  We walked. And we walked and finally we got on a bus!

6 o’clock, in the Ladies toilets of the White Hart, Abridge I came across Fran Howson from work.  I don’t know who was more surprised.

The journey home was miserable.  As per family’s instructions we had to get to Auntie Em’s. We couldn’t get on a 250 bus, so formed our own route.  No 10 bus to Chigwell Station, Central Line to Gants Hill, (change at Hainault.)  Bus from Gants Hill to Ilford Station.  Train from Ilford to Romford. 247 bus to Collier Row.  Cost about 6/- in fares.  We made it to Auntie Em’s, were there long enough to have a cup of tea and left with the family.

When we got to the end of our journey at the Petites Road stop, Michael suggested a race home to loosen muscles.  We went tearing off down Singleton Road.  My tired legs were ready to give up and in the end Mike had to drag me along. Mum & Dad found us sitting on the doorstep waiting for them.

Today has been the first sunny day for ages that I’ve got a tan.  I’ve really caught the sun, good and proper.

I have said I’d go to Clacton on a coach trip from Michael’s firm.

I am having a marvellous time with Michael.  This is the first summer I have been going out with anyone decent and it is great fun. But, there is still something that makes me uncomfortable about it all.

Alan wants to get engaged at Xmas and married the following September.  That is definitely out. Who wants to be married and tied down at 19.  I think Michael is much more fun than Alan could ever be.

We are playing table tennis next Thursday and sometime during the weekend or next week, I am to borrow Clive’s bike and we’re going to the Ockenden Royal Oak.  Michael’s making a sporty type out of me.  Didn’t think that would ever happen.  Nor did Dad.  He hasn’t got over the initial shock yet.

Maureen's Diary Week 20: 19th - 28th May 1961

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