Wednesday 2 February

Despite 20 minutes of yoga this morning and a relaxing bath I fell asleep on the train and now I'm yawning away the morning. I was intensely annoyed by the conversation taking place next to me on the train and tried to incorporate it into some dreams.

Last night I went to a performance. Raoul had invited two colleagues and their wives to dinner. I was lured by the promise of meeting the inscrutable Marsha. . .


Three of four days have gone by and I've forgotten completely what I was going to say about that dinner party. The wife of a research scientist was rather full of herself. She dominated the conversation and was always anxious to remind us that she had a doctorate. Her husband was also a pushy conversationalist. Together they were a sharp contrast with the quiet, rather reserved couple from New Zealand.

Sat - party with Liz; Sun - Bel and film; Tues - R & V; Wed - 'Guys and Dolls' with Bel; Thurs - Anne and photos; Fri - home alone; Sat - Bel's

On Friday's 'The World Tonight' on Radio Four there was an exclusive interview with an Argentinian retired general who has just published an article which questions the veracity of the Frank report. The general claims the invasion of The Malvinas was planned three months ahead, and that this was almost general knowledge in Argentina. He says he cannot understand why Mrs Thatcher did not know about it, and suggests she exploited the situation for political gain. The same general criticises the Argentine government for making major errors and mis-reading British signals.

Knowing how much work will go into the task, it's difficult to choose wool for someone else to knit you a sweater. Because I feel it's essential to choose the right and best wool, I've not been able to decide. First, I bought a ball of red wool in Sutton, but subsequently discovered it was the same tomato red as many of my other clothes. Then I got bolder and bought 15 rolls of blue - what I thought was a brilliant blue. But Bel said it was muddy, and so I ended up driving to Brent Cross with Mum to help. In the end I chose a speckled green. I know how much she likes speckled wool! Have I chosen this for her or for me. Now I must take back the 15 balls of red and blue wool to Sutton.

What a tidy book this is turning out to be.

I have moments of tremendous doubts. I do not want to grow up into this world. But look. I buy a house. I get a new job. So what. These are peak moments in men's lives. I will not gather them in. Better still the breath on a mountain top or the first glimpse of an iced-over sea or the joy of wind fresh from warm places. I do not enjoy the struggle. Why else do these things. Prove yourself a man, my boy, make your way. But here I am and these things have to be done.

Mon - Royal Festival Hall with Bel; Wed - Angela; Thurs - wine bar with Ros; Fri - Royal Festival Hall with Bel; Sat - Mum's with Bel; Sun - At Home with R&A, R&C, Gale, Jan

Wednesday 16 February 1983

Completion Day. The nervous lanky solicitor kept ringing me up all morning to clarify the position of the keys. She's on her way to Kilburn as though Kilburn were north of Newcastle. 13 Aldershot Road, NW6. Keep it simple. Like it simple. Never was a house owner before.

A nervous sort of tension has kept me high and arrogant for days with little peace of mind to sit and write. The new house has kept me more preoccupied than the thought of the new job at McGraw-Hill.

I pack slowly in an effort to sift my jumble of belongings. There is little of value and little of quality from one end of them to the other, from scalfs to furniture, from cutlery to enlarger. Despite a tingling excitement about the new house, I am also acutely aware that it will be full of the same possessions. Books are a bind. They fill endless boxes and make them heavy. Why do I keep such books, old Penguins, hard back copies of Dickens, compilations of 50s photographs, Time Life books on the sea and the like. And trousers. What do I do with those baggy flares that swallow up the carpet as well as my feet? Will they ever come back into fashion? Chuck 'em. And those new trousers with a waist too tight for my stomach line. Do I keep old jumpers with holes in to work on the car. Chuck 'em, Chuck 'em not, Chuck 'em . . . 

Paul K Lyons

March 1983


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