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"No, just mice!" An English boy in Scotland

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posted on Aug, 13 2020 @ 11:47 AM
Thursday August 13th

Last night I went to see the film, “The List of Adrian Messenger”. Afterwards I went to the discotheque for some time, but she was not there, though I kept returning at intervals to check. The problem is that if she is anything like me, and therefore compatible, she is probably less likely to be an habitual discotheque-goer.

Half-way through breakfast this morning I was put onto helping Mrs Quail with putting out the rolls and butter. Even with two of us this was hard work, because the rush was at its peak. I had to interrupt this a couple of times to get knives, and then spoons. Then Mr. Mason came up and said “What’s this? You don’t need two people on rolls and butter. Good gracious me. Go and help with the milk.” So I did, replacing the cuddly blue-coat who had been assigned to the job and was obviously in a bad temper about it .At lunch I was on the swill on my own. This was not difficult, the plates only piling up a little when I stopped to wheel the trolley into the washroom. However, we were short-staffed because Ron and Tudd did not turn up, and we didn’t get the three extra girls today. We only cleared the place after breakfast by working right up to the time of the campers’ lunch, with only a short lunch break at which Margaret grumbled.

posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 12:45 PM
Friday August 14th

Yesterday I went to the Personnel Office. I told the Personnel Officer that I was one of those who had been transferred from Filey three weeks ago.
“And you want to know when you’re going back?” she said. “I had a lad from Bognor yesterday who wanted to know the same thing. The thing for you to do is to come in again tomorrow, when I will know more.”
“I don’t really want to go back to Filey. I wondered if I could get a transfer to a party going to another camp.”
She said that this weekend she was only dealing with people who wanted to be going back to their original camps, but she had been told that day, which was why she could give me the information, that in ten days’ time she would be organising parties of people going to other camps, Minehead being one possibility.
I admitted that Minehead was what I had in mind.
Wait ten days, then, she said, and come in again about next Thursday.

In the evening I met Charlie in the staff bar. He took me through the Regency ballroom to the Pig and Whistle, and then ordered a transfer to the Continental, where the campers had a singing competition. At nine we returned to the staff bar for the bingo session. Charlie was also marking a card for Mike Beggan. Tom Mckenna won a line, but since he did not realise it at first and called late, he had to share the prize with somebody else. On another card, I won the first line , with a prize of a full pound. So Charlie insisted I bought them both pints, to enforce the philosophy of “Easy come, easy go.”

I got in at seven this morning, instead of the usual five past seven , and was the very first person there. At lunch John Heywood and I looked after the floor without any difficulty. One woman came to me and gave me a fifty New Pence piece, saying “Here you are, son. In case I don’t see you tomorrow morning.” At two o’clock I was put onto wiping the sauce bottles, outside and inside the necks. Although Margaret has never mentioned it, I decided to wipe the caps inside as well, since otherwise they would only dirty the necks again as soon as they were screwed on. This took an hour and twenty minutes, and by the time I finished the mopping was nearly done.

posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 12:51 PM
Saturday August 15th

I was on my way to see Thoroughly Modern Millie last night when I had an inexplicable encounter with a young girl, perhaps eleven. She dashed out from near the cinema, cried out something about the kitchens and “Where’re you going to”, in a strong Scottish accent, making a grab at me. I ducked out of the way and caught her arms as she re-grouped for another charge. It was a strange situation. I had a grasp on each of her hands, thus preventing her from doing anything, and was waiting for developments. She was crying “Where’re you going to?” or “Come this way”, but in no particular direction. If she was an adult, I would have thought she was drunk.
“Where’re you going to?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I don’t know. Where’re you going to?”
“Where do you want me to go?”
“I don’t know. “
“You don’t know anything, do you?”
She tried to butt me with her head, and hit my arm instead.
“That was you” she cried. She was unsuccessful in kicking at my feet or pulling me in any direction, but another small boy came up, more than once, and kicked her bottom.
“That was him.” I explained The last time it happened she cried in a broken voice at him “I’ll tell my father of you” and dashed after him in fury. I never saw “Where’re you going to?” after that.

I had tips totalling a pound this morning, including one of ten shillings. There were only two families in the first hour of lunch, and one couple in the second, so there was very little to do.

posted on Aug, 16 2020 @ 11:05 AM
Sunday August 16th

Last night I went into Ayr with Charlie, John Hamilton, Mike, and Tom McKenna, on their insistence. We walked to the main road and caught a bus, then went into the Castle Bar by the river. We each put a pound into the kitty and had two pints of lager each (my previous record being three bottles of lager and a pint of beer on bingo night). One man was playing the piano and two men at the next table were singing. The conversation seemed based on the evening paper Charlie had bought and the fact that this was good lager. Tom accidentally spilled some on Charlie’s suit. Also stories about drinking. Charlie is fond of quoting what somebody told him about whisky; “It was made with water, it should be drunk with water” . If someone is already fuddled, he says he likes to confuse them by telling them that he’s going to the barber “to get my moushave stashed off.” We transferred to the Burns Tavern. The woman told us that the lounge upstairs was closed because they did not have a pianist, but Charlie assured her he was one himself, and we occupied it on our own. There was a little singing while Charlie played the piano. On the third lager, I was getting behind with the drinking, so they recommended a Bacardi and Coke on the next round. As I had not finished these I missed out the next round altogether.

Later we went out again. We tried three other places, but were dissatisfied with the sing-song arrangements. We walked some distance to the Labour Club but were refused admission, though Charlie pointed out that in similar circumstances the man at the door would be admitted to Charlie’s own Labour club in his home town. We finally found our way to another club and had a last drink there. Mike and Tom were playing darts, but Tom was feeling the effects of the drink and could not really get the darts high enough to score. Charlie told me that I had stood up very well, better than he had expected. I was feeling weak in the head and in the legs but was managing to survive and
keep my head above water. On the long walk back to the bus station we took turns in supporting Tom and carrying him along, one on each side. Tudd and his friends were on the same bus home. It was when the bus began to move that the drink really began to hit me. First it hit me in the head, then I began to feel sick, then I was sick, and Tudd took me to the door for some fresh air. When we reached the camp I went straight back to the chalet. I lay in bed for a while and was sick twice more. This morning I was a little thick-headed, but not bad.

posted on Aug, 17 2020 @ 11:12 AM
Monday August 17th

Last night I went to the discotheque and had some success with the new intake of campers. I danced with two girls from trios, the second having long hair and glasses, then with one whose partner had been taken by the disc-jockey out on an excursion. The fourth was dancing by herself. I was with her for a few dances’ duration, and then she said “Excuse me” and went away, coming back later with her cardigan off. I returned to her again, and after a couple of dances she said “Excuse me” again, and sat down. She was quickly taken up again on her next outing by a boy who seems to be readier on the chatting than I was. Later, and finally, I took up with one of a pair, but in fact we danced as a trio, and somehow I seem to have been transferred to the stouter of the two, who was more responsive. They were campers from Durham and had seen me in the dining-hall in the morning. They thought Skegness was the best camp, but didn’t like Filey. Actually, it has to be said, the Filey boys on the bus did not like it either. They said they were glad to be leaving because it was so regimented.

All our staff have been weighing themselves today. The machine just outside the restaurant was out of order and was giving free weighings. I was down a little, to nine stone, eleven and a half pounds. I thought I must have lost, since recently I’ve been having to transfer my only belt to whatever trousers I am using.

posted on Aug, 18 2020 @ 11:00 AM
Tuesday August 18th

Yesterday after tea I passed the open door of the next chalet, and Tudd said, seeing me, “Are you coming for a swim, mate?” So I did. There were four of us, with Ron and Jim. We swam across, and up and down. Ron did a lot of diving, Jim was not willing to attempt it. There was a small boy there, who jumped in several times and swam across, and at the end of every journey he counted to himself, with totals which did not always surpass the previous totals. So I got talking to him, to find out what he was up to. In fact he was counting up yards. He demonstrated for me his various methods of jumping in off the board; going backwards, imitating a mouse creeping along and falling in, or a blind man with a stick, or a sleepwalker.

At half past seven I walked into Ayr, relying on my natural sense of direction. It was, in fact, a dead straight run, causing no navigational problems. I explored Ayr more thoroughly, getting to know the centre parts well. Before we went in on Saturday, Charlie had been making extravagant promises. We would go, he said, to a place he knew where you could pick up any girl, from seventeen upwards, without any payment. While later John Hamilton told Tom McKenna “…and afterwards, Stevie’s taking us to the Chinese restaurant”, and Tom’s response to this was “You’re going to get him a girl, are you?” Naturally I looked at the Chinese restaurants with especial interest. There were three of them, all rather deserted. I walked back and had time to go in the discotheque. I danced with one girl, with another for only a brief time because I started too near the end of the record, returned to the first who said “No, thank you,” and left.

Today was my day off. I got up very late. After dinner I went down to Ayr, this time by minibus. I bought three books; Donald Crowhurst, 50 Famous Horror Stories, and a novel. I walked down to the sea, returned, and took a bus. There was another employee on the same bus, already rather drunk (it was only half past two). He had a bottle of wine, which I and another boy from the camp had to share with him.

posted on Aug, 20 2020 @ 11:31 AM
Thursday August 20th

Halfway through breakfast yesterday Margaret put me to help Ron with the milk. I spent most of the afternoon on a quiet table wrapping cutlery for the Bobby Butlin visit, until mopping-up time when I was reluctantly relieved and helped to mop the floor and put out the tea-spoons.

In the evening I went to see Personnel about the Minehead transfers. The man said they wanted sixty bodies for the south and that I should see somebody in my department in the morning. I saw the film “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, then to the staff bar. Several of our team turned up there, including Charlie and Tom McKenna , and Margaret, who bought us all a drink. At half past ten we went to see the talent contest in the Gaiety Theatre, mostly of singers.

This morning I spent an hour at breakfast standing collecting tickets. After Margaret had taken over, expressing surprise at the small number of them, she told me to concentrate on recapturing trays, which are left in the most unusual places. At lunch I spoke to Margaret about Minehead. She told me that the people who were leaving were those who had no job here any longer; they had been terminated here and transferred to other camps. We, on the other hand, have a secure job. We were short-staffed as it was – Mike finishes today, and Ron and Tudd were only prevented from following Woofy to Ireland by his report that there was no work there. So there was no longer any question of anyone being transferred to the wash rooms or elsewhere. In brief, I am not going. I hope this isn’t because I was unfortunate in the people I consulted this week.

posted on Aug, 22 2020 @ 12:35 PM
Friday August 21st

Last night I did a little writing, and went up to the Stuart, to the staff bar, and to have some fish and chips. This morning we had no Mike, and John Heywood seems to have taken the day off, so we were very understaffed. Margaret had told me at breakfast that I would be helping John Hamilton with the swill. The first thing he wanted me to do was to find our iron trolley. When we could find none, he sent me to tell Margaret, who told me to get a poached egg for somebody and then came back to investigate. At the same time she told me that she did not want me to help John until later, when he was busy. I spent some time on the floor. One man tossed a ten shilling piece onto the table as he left. At about ten to nine I was getting cautious about going towards the entrance near Margaret lest she should send me in. John Hamilton called to me to take his trolley into the wash room. With resignation I moved in that direction but was stopped by Margaret who wanted me to direct people to the far end for a while, then sent me to help John. After I had taken the trolley to be emptied, John told me to put an apron on, so I went out to find one. Margaret caught me and got me to collect tickets again.

I collected the tickets of the two Durham girls, seeing them for the first time since we danced. One young man came and said in embarrassment “I shall have to explain this. I’ve lost it.” I directed him to Margaret. Later he re-entered, panting, with a book of tickets, either replacements or the originals. Eventually I was relieved and cleared tables for a short time before being sent in to help with the milk and the tea. They sent me straight out again to collect in milk jugs and tea pots. I looked up at one point in this and found myself the only employee on the floor. Colin was away momentarily and the rest were inside. At the end of the meal we looked in despair at the mass of tables laden with plates and food. The regular helpers from next door have a habit of knocking off earlier and earlier and are no help at all. We dug into it all with a couple of trolleys, The wash room complained about cutlery coming in late. As they did yesterday, when John summoned me to take his trolley away, and I was greeted with “Thisyun here’s a f# nutheryun!” We were working continuously, and did not have time to sit down for a meal until the campers were beginning to come in for their own.

posted on Aug, 22 2020 @ 12:36 PM
Saturday August 22nd

Last night, at about half past nine, I went to the Pig and Whistle to join the Yorkshire crowd (with the addition of Eleanor), the occasion being the night before their departure. Later we went up to the Stuart and Ron simply bought twenty bottles of beer. They had difficulty opening them, finally using the edge of the overturned ashtray, which was much battered in the process. Margaret joined us. Later Tudd and I and two of the others went to have some fish and chips at The Fry. This was closing down the same night, and the workers were moving tables to the side even as we ate. Then up to the staff bar where two of them started a game of table-tennis.
[Eleanor’s interest was in Tudd. In an earlier conversation which never made it into the diary, he complained to his friends that she was getting too interested, when he only wanted to be friendly.
“Just platonic” suggested one of the others.
“What does that mean?”
“It means what you just said.”
“Go on, make me look stupid!”]

This morning I found myself collecting the tickets because I was the only one nearby when people began coming in (apart from Margaret, who did not move). Then she relieved me and sent me to help Ron with the tea. At twenty past nine Ron and Tudd left and I did the tea and milk on my own. When John Heywood took over I shoved trolleys about, collecting milk jugs and tea-pots, taking stuff to the wash room, bringing cups out of it, and so on. At lunch we had two large parties being served along two rows. Charlie’s and John Hamilton’s relatives came to eat with us. Somehow the relatives of staff all seem very much alike to me. John’s wife thought that I, with my “big eyes”, seemed the only person capable of keeping her children calm, but I don’t know by what standards they could be described as “calm”, particularly the eldest girl.

The furthest row of tables beyond the barrier was taken out of our jurisdiction and set up as one long table for a party of spastics from Fife, which the dining-hall staff were serving. Mr. Coulson had been getting very worked up because his staff did not know what to do with tables which he wanted dumped elsewhere. Mr. Mason told him gently that he was confusing them. “It’s very simple,” said Mr. Coulson, “All it is is shifting tables.” He has a reputation for being a continual complainer. In fact he is the “big c#” we were warned about on the first day, who might have had us transferred upstairs, and who “is never around to see the place when it is busy”. Nearly every lunchtime he and Mr. Mason come and watch us eating, “as if we were in a zoo”, according to Charlie. So Margaret gets annoyed with us if we’re not on the other side of the barrier where the fact that we’re sitting down will be less conspicuous.

They also gave us a couple of additional workers for our own area. One of them was going around setting up the tables wrongly, on the far side of the barrier. On the double tables, he was putting the tea-pot mats next to each other, in the middle, instead of at the far ends. As a result, everything was crowded in the middle. I corrected it because I was coming round with the ashtrays and found myself with nowhere to put them.

posted on Aug, 23 2020 @ 10:59 AM
Sunday August 23rd

Last night I went up to the Stuart ballroom, which was almost deserted. I invested half a crown in a phone call to Gran, in accordance with Mum’s instructions while the family travels around Scotland. I’ve already sent a couple of letters describing camp life, or at least some of it. The operator twice asked me to spell Teignmouth, then asked where this place was near, and finally put me through. Gran reversed the charges for an extra period. I talked in the ballroom to a couple I’ve met in the Grosvenor, then to a man a couple of seats away. When the talk turned to chalets, I remarked on the lack of bathrooms. He said his did have a bathroom, and he suddenly invited me to go down and see it. So we inspected the bathroom, and he said I could come and have a bath there whenever I liked. He gave me a glass of lemonade, and we were talking until about twenty to twelve. Seeing me looking tired, he was encouraging me to relax and lie out at full length. Thoughts of drugged lemonade did cross my mind, I must admit, and I made my escape.

Today I was on tea all the time, and I fear this may become a permanent post. I was able to manage on my own except for a brief period when a lot of people wanted coffee. The problem is that the cut-price Grosvenor campers are not supposed to have coffee, just as they are not supposed to have jam instead of marmalade (which is where a lot of my tips come from). However, the weekly newcomers don’t realise that they’re not supposed to have it, and the two extra helpers from the main dining-hall did not realise it either. One of them, several times in a couple of minutes, put his head through the window and demanded “Coffee!” Getting this meant a quick dash over to the dining-hall side of the clearing area, which was holding me up.

Mr. Coulson was also being troublesome. He wanted all the dining-hall people to rub up their tea-pots, saying they were in a disgusting state. Shortly afterwards he began himself polishing the tea-pots sitting on our trolley, and placing them on the other side’s counter.
I intervened, saying “I think we will need those tea-pots on this side.”
“Oh, are they yours? You’d better move this [the trolley] more over that side then,” giving it a push. Both sets of trolleys are kept in the centre of the clearing area, so that trolleys moving about can go down either side.
“You’d better get your men together and give them a rub,” he added, showing his cloth, “Look at all the dirt I’ve got in the last few minutes”.
Later, when Margaret was close to the window, I told her “Mr. Coulson wants me to get my men together and give my tea-pots a rub.”
“Rub them? What with?”
“I don’t know. That’s what he said.”
A few minutes later she came back for a fuller report. “Next time he comes in, you ask him- where is your men?” she told me. But she admitted that the pots were dirty and said I should do them later.
I did not pass on her message, because I knew that “my men” wasn’t really what he meant. “Our men” would have been a better translation. When things were quieter, later in the afternoon, I asked her if I should rub the tea-pots now, but she said there was no need, because they would all be washed overnight.

posted on Aug, 26 2020 @ 12:22 PM
Wednesday August 26th

Last night I went up to the Continental for an hour before it closed, then up to the Stuart. I stayed there longer than I intended, because I went for a doughnut before leaving, and the man I met on Saturday was sitting in wait near the exit. He had already met me in the streets and spoken to me on Sunday and Monday. So I had to sit with him for a while. The conversation turned on various expressions of the sentiment that the camp was very quiet tonight. He suggested, some time after eleven, going down to his chalet for a beer or lemonade, but I said it was time I went back to my own chalet for some sleep.

I slept in late this morning, being woken up by the half-past seven music on the system. Margaret was especially struck by this event, even entertained, because she has a good opinion of my punctuality.
“By hell, you must have enjoyed yourself last night. Where was you? Was ye courting?”
Somebody claimed that I had been seen in the discotheque, and then going down the chalet lines with a girl. I denied all that.
Charlie had a different theory; “He walked into Ayr yesterday. That’s how he’s so tired.”
Margaret’s diagnosis was that I was no longer being knocked up in the morning by the Yorkshire boys in the next chalet (but they never did). Her remedy was to tell me to leave that chalet line and move into one of the lines where the other Grosvenor staff are living. Charlie suggested moving in with himself and John Hamilton. I went up to Personnel on being relieved at half past one, and discovered that I would have had to move anyway. The man told me they were shutting down that ZH line and clearing it out. However, he did not have a spare key for the new chalet, ZN132, and I would have to take one of the other keys to Reception and get a fresh one cut. We did this on leaving work, but the new key does not fit the lock

Dealing with the tea in the afternoon was easy. It did not take long to have all the tea-pots and milk jugs emptied and on the trolleys ready for the steamer, and the black top surfaces wiped. Margaret came along. “Have you cleaned inside there, darling boy?” I said I had done the top, but she told me to do the inside compartments as well. So, rather than sweep up, I did a good job of it, and wiped the bottoms, tops, sides, backs, and fronts, and every surface I could find, black, white, or metal, from the tea-urn to the freezer. I was out in time to help with the mopping.

posted on Aug, 27 2020 @ 11:28 AM
Thursday August 27th

I moved my things in one swift operation yesterday evening, using the key Charlie lent me. Arrivederci, ZH 21. Having no key to the chalet means that I’ve got to go around with the others, unfortunately, because otherwise I can’t get in. Charlie and I went up to the staff bar where we found Tom. We had an informal game of table-tennis. We moved to the Pig and Whistle, but Tom said the Tom Mitchell singers were in the Continental, so Charlie said drink up and go in there.
Rather than “drink up”, I suggested we go at once, taking our drinks with us. Once the Continental closed, we went to the talent contest in the Gaiety theatre. The winners were the man in charge of the spastics party, who played the Warsaw Concerto brilliantly, and a young girl who sang “Nobody’s Child” very well, in contrast with another of the same age whose voice simply wasn’t strong enough.

Tom was getting drunk again and we escorted him home. Charlie was enjoying himself at the sight, especially in the lavatories when Tom saw the notice “Please keep tap running” and went to turn the tap on. He had a rational explanation for this. On the way to Tom’s chalet we were met by two women, who said their key had jammed. Could we help them to get in? Tom very obligingly put his shoulder to the door and kicked it in. They thanked him very profusely, said it was like magic, shook hands with him and invited him to stay for a few minutes, but he refused. He walked on a little, found he had got beyond his own chalet, counted back the doors, and discovered he had just kicked in his own chalet door! No wonder he found it so easy, he said, because it wasn’t the first time he had done it. The ladies were very surprised, and left, saying they were in the wrong chalet line. Charlie fairly collapsed with laughter at this point, and we had to take a rest for a while in Tom’s chalet.

After work today, Charlie went to get a new key cut for me, but it does not fit. I went up myself for a third attempt, but that one does not fit. So there are now four keys which I can’t use, including ZH 21 which I have not yet handed in.

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 11:04 AM
Friday August 28th

Last night we went to see the Redcoat show (the same show as before), to the staff bar for an informal game of table-tennis, then the bingo, and back for the second edition of the show. Today was Margaret’s day off and Colin put me on the floor. We had breakfast cleared up by half past ten, and the afternoon was even lighter. After work I went to Reception to get another key cut, tried it, went back for another, which also failed, so they said we should try at the Chalet Office. I was going to go for tea at the usual time, but Charlie dismissed that idea and wanted us to go swimming. I was sitting on the step at the far end of the pool for a moment, when a girl in a white bikini, who was walking up and down the side, stopped and asked me if I could swim. On receiving an affirmative, she suddenly pushed me in. A new kind of flirtation. When I was getting out of the pool she seemed to think I was coming after her. I couldn’t, unfortunately, because Charlie was leaving again and I was obliged to go with him.

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 11:42 AM
Sunday August 30th

On Friday night we went up to the staff bar, where we met Tom McKenna, to the Continental, then up to the Stuart where Charlie did some dancing. Afterwards Tom came back to our chalet for some cheese and biscuits.

Saturday morning, when some people came in for early breakfast and others had left already, was long but without a rush. At lunchtime, we only had about eight families in. From this week, in fact, most of the other side of the barrier has been taken over for the use of full campers, now that parts of the main dining-room have been closed down. I was caught on the hop when I was suddenly asked for twenty-four milk jugs for putting out on those tables. Anticipating a quiet time, I had thought myself over-cautious in preparing that many for our own use. At a quarter to two, Margaret came to me as well as to Tom McKenna and said “Go off the now and come back at ten to four.” I heard afterwards from Charlie that he had objected to her abrupt manner and refused. I took
Charlie’s key and went to the Chalet Office, where they told me to come back in an hour. When I returned the girl said their machine had broken, but Personnel now had a key for me. So I went up there and took charge of it, finally handing in ZH21 (and recovering my freedom of movement).

On my return to the Grosvenor, several waiters were standing watching and unsure what to do while Margaret organised the entry of a very large day party, which occupied the whole place apart from one row. Once they were all in, most of the dining-hall people, who are used to that side of the job, found things to do in getting them served. Finally Anne told me to go to the far end and pick up the first empty dishes I could find, something I knew how to do and did for all I was worth. When everything was cleared and ready for today, we went home.

When we were all in the chalet not long back from work, a Security man came to the door and said that a complaint had been lodged about this chalet and if it happened again we would have to pack our bags and go. Charlie demanded details of the complaint. He said there had been a lot of noise the previous night and bottles had been heard (there was only Tom, and not a bottle has been in the chalet while I’ve been there). Charlie demanded to know who had lodged the complaint. The man said he lodged it himself; he had been in the next chalet that night and heard these things, and if it happened again that night we would all be out. I could hardly believe it was really happening. Charlie told him what he thought of him, and the man kept saying “Well, that’s the situation”, as if it was not his decision and he was only carrying out orders from above. Charlie’s comments afterwards (to put it briefly) were a)the complaint had really come from the woman next door, who was a mental case and a corrupted old bitch, b) that the man had been corrupted by her and put up to do this, c) and should not have been in her chalet in the first place, d)it was laughable to have as Security a man who could hardly get his breath, e) who was never there when there really was noise. John went up to see the Head Security man, who said the complaint did come from the woman and we should forget about it. They had had the same trouble from her in other chalet lines.

At about eight o’clock I looked in at the swimming pool, the Continental, and the Stuart, which all seemed deserted. No girls in white bikinis in any of them. So I made a split-second decision to go into Ayr after all, fortunately catching a bus at the top of the hill. I walked around, had a drink and some fish and chips, caught the bus back, looked in at the Stuart which was still rather empty, and then back to the chalet.

Twice today at breakfast, and twice again at lunch, the four waiters serving the full campers on the far side of the barrier demanded six teapots each immediately. They did not want milk jugs, just to have their own larger jugs filled. I thought it a great achievement that by the time they were serving their second lunch sitting I had trained them to bring their used teapots back to me instead of leaving them at the far end. Colin said afterwards that this should not be happening, that the dining-hall were nothing to do with us, and tomorrow, when I take my day off, he will do the tea himself and tell them they aren’t getting any. To be honest, though, the way things happened was logical enough. That is the only tea-urn on our side of the aisle, and I was the only person working on it. They could have someone of their own doing it, but the brief spurts of work would hardly justify a full-time person.

posted on Aug, 31 2020 @ 12:00 PM
Monday August 31st

Last night I was writing in the quiet part of the Stuart until about half past seven, then back to the chalet, and to the show with Charlie. The Sunday show is normally considered the best. There were the Grants, who had been on a television show, the two male singers, and a very good comedian. Afterwards we went up to the staff bar for a coffee. Charlie settled down to watch television and I left for the Continental for one drink. John Hamilton and Tom saw me and beckoned me over. We separated when the singing finished at half past ten. I went up to the Stuart again and was sitting quietly in my seat when there was a tap on my right shoulder. Looking round, I found the beaming face of a little girl of about six or seven, with blonde hair, white cardigan, and orange skirt. She was with her family, of course, who knew me from the Grosvenor. Her name was Toni, and she talked to me until they left.

I lay in at first, this morning, because it was going to be my day off, but Charlie came back at half past seven to say that Tom had been called home suddenly and they were short of staff, so would I come in to help out? I agreed, intending to take my day off on another day, so the net result of the transaction is that I get a forty-five minute lie-in on one of my working days. I’m told that the waiters who serve the full campers(or the waitresses, in this morning’s case) will be getting their tea from me after all, which is the same decision I would have made. They soon discovered, though, that I insisted on giving priority to the bed-and-breakfast customers standing at the window, before meeting their own demands.

posted on Sep, 1 2020 @ 11:28 AM
Tuesday September 1st

Last night I went swimming, then to the television theatre to see the film “War of the Worlds”. I was wandering past the staff bar when Eleanor came out and we walked back to the chalet lines together. After reading Lycidas I went out to the Stuart. On my second return I was walking behind a boy and two girls when he put his arm around the waist of one of them and made as if to walk off. The other girl pretended to take offence and said “I’ll have this one instead”, putting her arm around my waist, which I reciprocated, of course. When she deserted me, the other one took over for a minute, then broke off, and I separated from them all when they went down their own line.

posted on Sep, 2 2020 @ 11:47 AM
Wednesday September 2nd

After tea yesterday I was reading quietly in the chalet when a boy knocked on the door with a message for John; his wife was worried because she was expecting him home today with his wages and he had not arrived. I went to the staff bingo. The discotheque seemed deserted, so I went up into the Stuart.

There was a definite rush period this morning (which is becoming unusual) between about half past nine and ten. To my surprise, I found myself running out of tea-pots. I had started with sufficient and the waiters were bringing theirs back, so I had visions of the tables littered with pots and jugs. I pinched some here and there from the dining-room side, and Colin brought in a trolley two-thirds full. For different reasons I was also close to running out of milk, tea-bags, and trolley space. When the dining-room side at the far end were out of tea-bags, the boy in charge of fetching supplies took mine instead, and only at my protest did he leave me any at all. The trolleys we use for pots and jugs disappeared during the morning, and I was left with the one Colin brought in. The waiters have now got their own man who appears when it is time for their tea-pots to be put out.

When the wages were being given out today, each of the staff could purchase an envelope with drinks tickets for the staff dance next week. While I was washing my milk jugs, two of Monday’s waitresses came up to me and reminded me that I had not yet collected mine, even offering to lend me the two shillings to buy them. When I got back with it, the supply boy asked me if I would be drinking much, and whether I would be willing to sell the envelope. This was muscling in on what the girls were after, and an impromptu auction began between them. The girls finally secured the envelope for seven shillings.

posted on Sep, 5 2020 @ 11:00 AM
Saturday September 5th

On Wednesday night I looked in at the discotheque, staff bar, and the Stuart, not much going on. Thursday was my day off. In the afternoon I took the bus into Ayr to take my suit to the dry-cleaners. On the way back I walked as far as the roundabout when a family from the Grosvenor stopped and gave me a lift. The evening was the same as the previous night, with the same result. On Friday night I walked into Ayr and back, an abortive visit because the dry-cleaner and everything else was shut. This last week has been one for taking photographs. On Tuesday afternoon an obliging waitress was taking one of all of us standing outside. On Friday morning the mother of my little girl-friend Toni suddenly took one of me framed in the hatch.

This morning was our last period of normal work, because things are getting changed round again. During breakfast I went out “scavenging”, as I call it, for pots and jugs and fresh air, and Margaret got me collecting in marmalades and washing ash-trays. After breakfast I got my stuff in and washed in very good time. On the other side of the hatches they were converting the restaurant into a regular part of the main dining-rooms. All the bosses buckled down to labour in their shirt-sleeves, up to and including Mr. Mason. By midday our place had been taken over. We stood around while the dining-hall people got on with it, setting the tables to their liking. As a special favour we were allowed to have one row of tables for our day visitors. At half past twelve nobody had come in, and there was no food available for them if they did, except that I had brought up a full churn of milk. Somebody had removed tea-pots and tea-bags, but I found enough pots for my needs, and obtained from the other side just enough tea-bags to last the afternoon, with one left over for us to have tea later. When clearing up, I always liked to keep a couple of pots left ready for staff use. The few families who came in during the afternoon were served at the table, and I decided to take each tea-pot out myself as it was needed. After lunch, we had nothing to do but wrap cutlery for the afternoon.

posted on Sep, 6 2020 @ 11:06 AM
Sunday September 6th

Yesterday evening, Charlie, Tom, and myself were needed to serve a party of scouts. They came in at about a quarter to seven, and we put milk–jugs and tea-pots onto the tables. Then we went round pouring soup into their plates from large jugs, giving them plates of hot food taken from racks, and giving them their pudding and icecream afterwards.

Afterwards Charlie and I went to the staff bar and had a couple of pints, then I went up to the Stuart and talked for a while with Toni and her family. I think she usually looks out for me when they go up there. When she spots me there’s a cry of “There he is!” On Friday night we did not meet until I followed them down the stairs, and she said I’d been hiding from her. On the basis that I’m neither a skinhead nor a long-haired lout, she said I was the nicest boy she had seen here so far. Which reminds me of a couple of women among the scouts. One said to the other that I had a lovely smile, and that I would break some girl’s heart one day; “D’ye ken what we’re saying, lad?...He’s not blushing, anyway.” I could think of better things to do with a heart than break it. At the moment there is a very lovely smile just going to waste, except that Toni laps it up.

This morning we reported at the Grosvenor to carry our supplies over to the Regency, which is our new location. We took our baskets of cutlery down to the other end of the kitchen to be loaded into a van, along with things like marmalade. We followed the van up to the Regency and unloaded it. Charlie and I went down again to get some blue cups, because the Regency cups were unsatisfactory, and came back in the van which John Heywood had also loaded with buns. We were employed right up to opening time putting out cups, saucers, milk, and plates of buns.

Everything was a little confused when serving began. There was one long counter, with a glass screen in front of it to channel the queue. First I poured cornflakes directly from the packet and put bowls into racks, with about five racks of cornflakes and two of prunes. Next to me, John Heywood was, as usual, serving the hot food. But now, instead of taking hot plates from a Jackson, he had to take each plate, put an egg on it from a tray, pull back a lid to add bacon, pull back another lid to add tomato. There were long delays, which must have been a nightmare for him. They were caused less by the fact that he was working on his own, than by the delays from the kitchen just behind in supplying what he needed. The delays were useful to me because they served as a regulator to slow down and even out the demand for cornflakes. The result was that I probably had the easiest job of the morning. Afterwards some of us wearily cleared the tables, while others were dish-washing. Margaret had a stand-up argument with the manageress of the Regency, who did not take to being told that her place was filthy.

Charlie, Tom and I had to go and serve the scouts again, so we were sent down to the Grosvenor to have, at nearly twelve o’clock, our first meal of the day. The scouts did not arrive until half past. This time it was easy, because we three looked after two rows, and three waitresses looked after the other two. Soup, hot food, blocks of icecream, all went like clockwork. When this was cleared we could go straight back to our chalets.

posted on Sep, 7 2020 @ 11:12 AM
Monday September 7th

I spent most of last night in our chalet, except that between ten and eleven I twice went out for a look-in at the discotheque and the Stuart. This morning we reported for work at the Regency, but Margaret was not there. The Regency manageress is taking over and bringing her other staff with her. Margaret was taking a waitress-station down in the old Grosvenor. The cups were already out, and we were starting to put out the buns when Mr. Mason came in and reversed that decision. They are now to be served from the counter. I was working on the floor. It was a more comfortable morning, partly because there were more staff, and partly because there were fewer customers. We were able to have a bun and tea before breakfast started, and some tea (and I had a bacon sandwich) at about half-past ten. While we were clearing, Charlie was using a large hoover. Mr. Mason came in shortly before twelve and told the woman that we three, Charlie, Tom, and I, were supposed to be away by eleven, and in any case our lot were not supposed to be doing the hoovering.

We went down to the Grosvenor and had some dinner. We were due to be helping out with the ordinary meals for the full campers. When the campers started coming in, we went into the clearing area to find out what we were supposed to be doing. Eventually I was put on to helping with the soup, which then turned into the swill section.

In the afternoon I took a bus into Ayr to collect my suit and walked back. In the evening I went to see the talent contest. There was a piano player, who won; a singer with guitar accompaniment; two girls singing the same song, of which the second was better; and a very good fourteen year old girl. Then to the staff bar, back to the chalet, and up to the Stuart at eleven for a snack.

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