SUNDAY 19th APRIL 1981
10.03pm. We completed the meetings this morning with a Communion service. There were only 9 of us. Afterwards Helene invited us all to have coffee at the Kopps, where we had a nice conversation until John Herbert, whom Helene had seen outside the Town Hall and had invited — thinking he had been in the meeting, which he hadn’t — monopolised the discussion.
Later, as I was unloading the car, Helene came by and we invited her to join us for lunch when we were able to discuss the meetings. Last night Helene had gone to the B.I.W.F. meeting at Mount Avalon and overheard Mr Griffiths describing the “wickedness” of Brian Williams’ meetings at the Town Hall. Helene soon put him right. The town seems rife with rumours about me, has been ever since we came to live here [in 1971], it seems, but some people have come round as a result of being in the meetings, including Joy Ridout, who participated in the feet-washing on Friday night, and Barbara Crump. I was washing up after last night’s meeting and told Freda about John Herbert believing me to be a crook. Miss Crump, who was giving us a hand, said “I thought so too.” But she was greatly blessed yesterday and again today, and wants us to have more meetings now that we have made a start.
Sara came to me just before we began the meeting and said that she and Niek would not be partaking of Communion and hoped I would not be disappointed. There was not time to enquire why: I gather it was on theological rather than spiritual or moral grounds. But I cautioned Sara not to let Niek, whom she obviously loves very much, be the arbiter of her conscience. When I came to minister the bread and the wine both received them, though what changed their minds I do not know.
Niek’s piano playing, on an out-of-tune instrument, contributed greatly to the meetings. He always seemed to have exactly the right hymn. The Redemption Hymnal book was new to him and he asked to keep it, which I was only too happy to let him do.
Helene left about 3.00pm. We were expecting the family to arrive around 4.00pm — Malcolm had phoned this morning — but it was nearer 5.00pm when they got here. They brought food with them, and we had a very nice salad tea in the dining room where we had to put up an extra table. There was Mam, Dad, Clarice, Noel, Rebecca and Nick, Julia, Malcolm, Alexandra and Charlotte.
The girls did the washing-up, then we watched a very amusing Rising Damp, in which Rigsby (Leonard Rossiter) was bragging about his physical prowess and foolishly took on Philip (Don Warrington) in a boxing bout. It was very funny. Afterwards we started doing press-ups and I did 26, my best to date.
The family left before 8.00pm, then I spent an hour continuing to read Lloyd George [David Lloyd George 1863–1914 by David Benedictus]. At the moment I am tape-recording a programme about Benjamin Disraeli, who died 100 years ago today.
SUNDAY 3rd MAY
Nasty experience on the hustings
9.27pm. We have just returned from distributing literature. [I am standing as a candidate for the local council.] It has rained most of the day, often quite heavily.
I had a most extraordinary morning. Freda did the washing, so I went out early by myself, delivering literature in the Tenby Road area. I had parked the car at the junction of Penshaw Grove and Greenstead Road, and was just about to come home for coffee when a gentleman beckoned to me in the teeming rain. He introduced himself as Mr Dobb from Camp Hill SDA Church, who knew of me through knowing Mam and Dad. He was going to visit his sister-in-law living just off Lakey Lane, and was profound in his gratitude when I gave him a lift. He said he had always been a Conservative but would vote for me this time, and took eight posters and several letters and handbills. He asked me to pray for him, and promised to pray for me at the Prayer Meeting on Wednesday. He also mentioned another S.D.A. member, a Sister Edge living in Thirlmere Drive, “just round the corner from your Mam and Dad”.
I returned home for coffee, praying in the Spirit and rejoicing in the Lord, then went out again, starting at Thirlmere Drive. It was still raining quite heavily, so I was surprised to be approached by a woman brandishing the papers which I had put through her door moments before. She tore them in half and handed them back to me, and said, “Brian Williams: I wouldn’t vote for him if he was the last man in the country.” “Why?” I asked, taken aback. “He’s a rogue,” she said, “and his parents are.” So I introduced myself, and she screamed abuse at me, loud enough for all the road to hear (and with kitchens at the front, most people probably did). Trying to pacify her I accompanied her to her house, No. 19, and she pushed me off the doorstep.
It was a nasty experience but I carried on with the distribution. On my way back I parked at the end of the road outside her house, the rain still tipping down. To my astonishment the door opened and out came the woman, banging on the car window. So I opened it to hear what she had to say, and she promptly hit me across the face, again screaming abuse at me, and every imaginable vile epithet. She also mentioned Maureen Messent, and the Evening Mail articles about me. Being at a disadvantage I got out of the car, and just then a gust of wind blew her hat off and down the gutter. I ran to get it for her, and she struck me again.
At this point a neighbour appeared from round the corner and said to take no notice of her, she was a troublesome woman, “mad“, “everyone has had trouble with her”. But I was shaking like a leaf, especially because of the vile things she was saying about Mam and Dad, so I called in at my parents’ and told them what had happened. Mam could not think of anyone it could be except Lily Edge from the SDA Church, who had caused a lot of trouble in the church, and driven a lot of people away with her vile speaking.
When I got home I looked up the name of the occupant of 19 Thirlmere Drive, and found it was indeed Caroline L. Edge. Then I saw that her hatred for my parents, for me, and for everyone else, was simply her embitterment at never being married. So she is greatly to be pitied. Her parents and family were founder members of the S.D.A. Church in the early days, but evidently she has never known the Lord.
Thus I encountered two Seventh-Day Adventists during the morning; one blessed me and the other cursed me.
After lunch I washed up, then Freda came with me to Robin Hood Crescent, Marion Way, Webb Lane and Paradise Lane. We got soaked, so came home for a cup of tea, and were unable to go out again until this evening. I slept for most of the afternoon then had a bath before tea. After tea we watched Rising Damp before going out again to do Delamere Road and Romney Close, Stratford Road between Robin Hood Island and Highfield Road. Littleover Avenue, part of Highfield Road and finally Camborne Drive. We got back at about 9.10pm.
We still have a full day’s work ahead of us, but tomorrow is Bank Holiday.
It was Janet’s birthday today. Freda gave her a waistcoat she had made for her, and I gave her two pairs of Pretty Polly tights. I did not phone her as she was not speaking to me on Friday after letting her down so badly. I have treated her badly and wish that I might make it up to her in some way, but the Lord knows my heart.
MONDAY 24th AUGUST 1981
Depths of despair
9.00pm. I have spent a day of blank despair only partly relieved by my having read the whole of the Sadhu Sundar Singh book [jpg].
I got up feeling totally aimless and useless. For the first time in nearly 14 years I had no office to go to. The table in the breakfast room was still piled up with things left here since we emptied the office nearly three weeks ago. I felt utterly worthless and frustrated.
We had breakfast here in the lounge, but I ate hardly anything. After breakfast I phoned the Telephone Office to enquire when they would transfer the line from the office to the house. They said they would ring me back but didn’t.
I phoned Janet to enquire about returning her books. They are too heavy for one to carry so I suggested dropping them in at her house, and perhaps resuming her driving lessons. Janet said she had a bad headache: she was going to the Albany this evening to commence training as a relief waitress and hadn’t done the job before.
My mention of driving lessons provoked an outburst from Freda, who said it was putting temptation in our way since we had not seen each other for nearly three months, to which I retorted that she (Freda) had not shown the slightest warmth towards me in all that time. And so the argument went over the same old ground as usual, that if I cared anything for her I would do more about the house, that I only wanted her for sex not love etc.
Happily I shall not be here all that long and then Freda will be free of me. We ought never to have got married. Janet is selfish, demanding, and would not be the right wife for me, but I long for sexual intercourse — no, I long for her physical presence and to feel secure and wanted, and I want sexual intercourse more than almost anything in this world. This may well be insane. It may be utterly selfish. I know it is an expression of my lower self. I deplore this corruption in my soul. I recognise that this sexual deprivation has a karmic explanation. But the Lord sees fit to try me. Like Paul, I have this thorn in the flesh and it seems I have to live with it. Dear Lord, if it is wrong for me to see Janet again, please let me die rather than live this frustrated, useless, purposeless existence.
During the morning I wrote up the accounts for three gifts which had come into the office, and sorted out some old calendars, posters, and blueprints for the conversion of the Beaufort Cinema. Dad collected the letters from Brian French and went to the bank to withdraw some money for the Giro account, then phoned and asked us to go to tea tonight.
After lunch I started to read Sadhu Sundar Singh — A Personal Memoir by C.F. Andrews [an Old Edwardian], and finished the book at my parents’ tonight. For lunch Freda gave us beans, tomatoes, fried egg and sausages, followed by melon.
THURSDAY 10th DECEMBER 1981
10.29pm. I did not get up until 8.30am this morning. A thin layer of snow covered the ground and there was a freezing fog. I watched the birds foraging in the garden and felt more at peace than for a long time.
The post did not arrive until 10.25am. I finished answering the letters after lunch, then we went to the Post Office to post the letters, and to the bank to pay in a cheque to clear off the loan account. Mr [Roy] Heginbotham happened to be there, so I gave the cheque to him. He said we would be able to have the deeds back in about ten days.
From there we drove to Lowerside Road and went for a walk out on the moors. On our return we hunted in the garage for some letterheads I am needing, but couldn’t find them. However, I did bring in about 14 boxes of stamps, and we spent until tea-time sorting another box of British pictorials.
After tea I sorted foreign stamps, then we watched a film Diagnosis: Murder  on HTV, with Christopher Lee and Judy Geeson.
Julia phoned at about 9.30pm. Alexandra and Charlotte and she have all got head-lice. It is horrid, but there are lots of other creatures that live on us which few people know about. My favourite horror is Demodex folliculorum.
SUNDAY 13th DECEMBER
The great blizzard
2.02pm. I am writing with a feeling of history being made. Last night the temperature dropped to —25 degrees Centigrade, or 45 degrees of frost, the lowest temperature ever recorded since records began to be kept.
Conditions here were not too bad this morning. I got up at 8.50am and put the weather forecast on — which I don’t normally bother with — and then on the News we heard that martial law been declared in Poland. I forgot to record that on Thursday I received an emergency appeal from Morris Cerullo to which I immediately responded with a gift of £20. It was to help finance some meetings in Poland where he was due that same day. So I presume he is there, caught up in the latest turmoil
After breakfast I answered letters until 12.15pm, by which time a blizzard had come. I had the feeling that if I did not get the letters in to the Post Office immediately they might not be able to be collected from the box in Tor View Avenue, and we might not even be able to get out of the house.
Freda phoned Helene and Nellie to see if they wanted any letters posting, and I went straight out in the car to take potatoes to both Nellie and Eva, and to collect a letter from Nellie, which I posted in town with ours. On the way back the car wheels were scarcely able to grip the surface of the road as I climbed the hill.
As I got out of the car I never felt the weather to be so menacing. It was almost sinister. Helene, over the telephone, spoke of it as being apocalyptic We are reconciled to the possibility that we might not be able to return to Birmingham for Christmas, or even see Springfields again this year.
We had lunch rather later than usual, as the gas pressure was so low that it took longer for the meal to cook. Then, at seventeen-and-a-half minutes past one, the electricity went off and the supply has not yet been restored.
It is still snowing, and Freda is about to go out again with more food for the birds. A lot may not survive if the severe weather continues.
With the loss of the electricity supply the central heating has gone off. We have left the gas fire on a low light in the dining room, as it cannot be re-lit without a power supply to the “magical” effect. The gas fire is on here in the TV lounge and fortunately is independent of the electricity. We have a good supply of food in if conditions should worsen still further, and plenty of candles in to provide us with light. For the moment, the gale-force wind is howling down the chimney and if it were not for the reflection from the snow it would be quite dark.
The icy weather notwithstanding, I have been feeling for some time now how much I should like to visit the Soviet Union. I received two copies of a lovely calendar from the publishers of Soviet Weekly on Thursday, and often think of our visit to Moscow in November 1973.
3.51pm. The light is fading and it seems unlikely that the power will be restored today. We are listening to Radio West for news of what is happening. Moments ago they announced that the M4 is completely blocked. Travelling conditions are the worst in living memory. Weather conditions have deteriorated rapidly over the whole country. Hurricane winds are blowing. Most of the South-West is without electricity. Only one lane of the M5 is passable. Trees and power-cables are down. The telephone lines are jammed. All bus services have stopped. Trains, where still continuing, are up to 2 hours late. Schools have closed until further notice. Michael Wood Service Station will close at 5pm as its emergency power supply is running out. Almost all roads everywhere are inoperable. I have just tried to phone Clarice to wish her a happy birthday but the line is out of order.
6.50pm. We were eating our tea by candlelight when the light suddenly came on at five past six. We have HTV on, but BBC1 and 2 are still off the air, so the transmitter must still be without power. In the study I am tape-recording Herbert W. Armstrong’s The World Tomorrow broadcast on Radio Luxembourg. I have never heard him speak before, but we heard Garner Ted Armstrong, his now dis-fellowshipped son, years ago.
10.13pm. It is raining now. The snow is melting, but hurricane force winds are blowing We have been fortunate in being able to watch a good film Barefoot in the Park on HTV. BBC TV was eventually restored, so we have also been able to watch Dallas, but 70,000 people in the South-West are still without a power supply. The whole South-West was blacked out west of Hinckley Point. Our lights are still flickering, and the noise of the wind in the chimney has been drowning the dialogue on TV.
I tried without success to phone Clarice during the afternoon but she rang us just before we had tea.
Our troubles are mild compared with the crisis facing Poland. If the people defy the new military authority, will the soldiers fire on their own people? If civil war results, will the Soviet Union move in, if they haven’t already?
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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30