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Chiswick High Road

The Goodlet diaries: Week 12

This is the 12th week of our serialisation of Ealing resident Alexander Goodlet’s diary from 80 years ago. This week, our eccentric hero wrestles with domestic difficulties and watches on as diplomatic tensions heighten in Europe – and also consoles himself with a trip to the shops to view ‘an old broken model steam engine’ he had his eye on. To see the background to the serialisation, and the cast of characters, read our introduction.

March 1936

Monday 16.3.36

Got to bed at 5 a.m. and did not rise until lunch time. The Pater arrived just afterward from Brighton, looking rather knocked up. I fear his cold has been a bad one and he seems to have ricked his back coughing.

Was very busy all afternoon and evening and only settled down to write Daniel a letter at 10 p.m. Went to Ealing to post this and other mail and noticed that the ABC have opened a very ornate tea shop in the new building on the GWR bridge.

All the family have made an early retrial tonight and I shall follow their example I think. Old Fuzz has been ordered to lecture to his form on Early English Monasteries and has been very busy tonight gathering data.

A.F. Lord Beatty was buried this morning in St. Paul’s alongside Lord Jellicoe. I am very sorry I missed the broadcast of the service this morning. He was a great officer.

Still the diplomatic struggle goes on and, I fear, with many results, happy or otherwise. It seems to me that France and Germany both are each right and wrong.

Tuesday 17.3.36

Up at lunch time to have it with the Mater and Aunts, who were here. Busy all afternoon, and, inter alia, took Thomasina for a walk. She trotted along wonderfully and although we must have covered well over half a mile she showed not the slightest sign of fatigue. Later I made her happy by letting her shovel coke in the garden, at which she toiled cheerfully for over an hour.

Sent off the Pater’s income tax tonight, so there is another £5 gone west. He gave me tonight 500 pesetas to pay into the bank, as he noticed that the Bank of Spain is to cancel all notes within 5 days.

Hitler is proving a trifle more accommodating today and thus the international situation brightens a little.

Glad to say both the Mater and Pater seem better today and I hope with the present better weather they may keep fitter. The ever present sense of my failure to do any thing worthwhile and being nearly 36 seems to be making me lose a sense of proportion and serenity I once had.

Wednesday 18. 3. 36

Rose at 10.30 and put in rather a prolonged breakfast lasting until 1 p.m., when I got ready and eventually went off to the bank, where I paid in the 500 pesetas; and, incidentally, learned later that the bank had rung up the Pater, trying to get out of accepting them. However, he dealt faithfully with them and they are changing them for him.

Walked from Hammersmith to Chiswick [pictured] and spotted in a junk shop an old broken model steam engine of a type I have liked since 1913 and much wish to have since December last. Asked the price and the fellow had the nerve to ask me 5s for it; the full pre war price. Needless to say I did not buy, but I regret missing it.

The Locarno meetings seem to be getting better than could have been hoped for at once time. Venizelos, the great Greek statesman, died in Paris today at 72. So passes still another of the world’s great people. What a gathering there has been of late.

Thursday 19.3.36

Up at lunch time and then put in some routine work in the afternoon. After tea went on a shopping expedition to Acton for the Mater and barely arrived back before Mr Stanley. He, when he turned up, explained that he had been suffering from the same sharp type of gastric ‘flu that attacked the Mater and Pater last week. E.H. and Howard joined David, Stanley and me after dinner and we sailed two matches, the second being a most desperate affair which I was lucky enough to win. Kidd won the other. Howard second both times. Walked to Horn Lane as usual.

Have a desperate attack of the blues just now; five, FIVE years since I had an offer of employment, life giving by and myself turning into a useless, professionless middle aged man. What a career of futility. Last night I managed to make a model oil can I had thought of. Achievement!!!

International situation still seething.

Ine, I learn, has got bronchitis. This is bad luck.

Friday, 20.3.36

Up at lunch time and in the afternoon took Thomasina out for a walk on the Common. She was very good and very, very funny, and musty have run well over a mile in the course of her peregrinations. On the way back we met Mrs Eddy Baden. It must be well over a year since I met her; she looks very smart and well.

After tea, to Woolworth and the Library and again after dinner to the Post office to post some mail.

Kidd brought the rather disappointing news that Joan was not so well today and had a small operation this morning. This must be a worry for the poor fellow and is very bad luck.

Have spent, or rather frittered away, a couple of hours tonight making a spout for a second oil can. I seem to be rather bitten with the craze for them just now.

The Locarno powers seem to have produced a plan which pleases the French, so it is certain that the Germans will object to it. There have tremendous floods in Canada and USA and as many as 150 deaths are officially reported.

Saturday 21.3.36

Rose at lunch time and dressed afterwards. Persuaded the Pater to accompany me to Moor Park to witness the M.T.s athletics sports. What a contrast to the general misery of the last M.T. sports I was at with him, 22  March 1928. Today it was brilliant sunshine and the whole thing most enjoyable. We duly met the Boys and after the sports had tea with them in the Dining Hall. Then, after a look over the School, we attended the presentation of cups and shields and so came away, arriving home at 10 to 7. A thoroughly enjoyable day,

Quiet evening doing routine jobs and after the family retired early, being tired, the Mater especially so I am afraid, I went to the work Bench and put in three very pleasant hours on various model jobs; so now, I fear, it is 5 a.m. Never mind, it’s been very pleasant.

A noted Scotsman, Cunningham Graham, died today at 84 in Argentina. England beat Scotland by 9 to 8 points in the rugger international today at Twickenham.

Germany is fuming about the suggested plan.

Sunday 22.3.36

Mater brought me breakfast in bed and Kidd, very decently, a supply of cigarettes, so I was well off.

Very busy after lunch time and after tea strolled as far as Ealing to air mail a letter for the Pater and home via Madeley Road. It’s many a long month since I took that route and I was somewhat painfully reminded of similar Sunday evening walks in the dreadful autumn of ’31. Busy on routine work after dinner until 11.30, when the Pater, Mater, Kidd and I had a cup of tea.

This is Kidd’s last night here, as Joan leaves the hospital tomorrow and they will be all reassembled in their own home. I am afraid I have not done everything to make the dear old chap as happy as I might in his stay here; that accursed name business on the first day seems rather to have embittered me and I fear I’ve been pretty off hand. Oh, DAMN it all, everything I do seem to make a hash up with it. Well, the chance is over now.

I fear the Mater is terribly tired once again. Perhaps she will be able to have a rest this coming week.

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