Notepad 3

Another fridge door gone in 1B1. Try floor pads. Like Barrie does.

Mr Mann I found this stuck to the bottom of the fridge door!!!

Clever stuff! If you'd thought it through you would have realized that Mr Mann gets fed up repairing fridge doors. It's like taking moments about a point. The pad between the opening end of the fridge door and the floor takes the strain off the hinges! She just wanted a look inside Cristimar: eyes everywhere, not listening to what I was saying: "Ooh, Mrs Mann,you've got three bedrooms!"

Why has Shashi been left behind? One of these honour things Best not get involved.

Maybe this is the last time for the Asif family

A market town near Durham. It has a castle dating from the eleventh century

Check 1993 chart for Irma and Clive.

Is this honour thing really so bad in India? See Claudia for info. Maybe Shashi is gay.

Irma (Art, History of Art) can't find work so she helps Clive with his gardening job.

They didn't really want to talk about it but they felt that Mr Mann should be informed. My first response was to say "Not in this day and age, surely! This is modern India." There was in his face the hard placed bitterness of truth. Too hard to swallow he spat it out and nodded; "Yes, in modern India!" grasping at this primitive jelly fish of undying tradition as if it would sting. "They could kill her if the local court decide. The police won't intervene - they dare not."

"So, she is safer left behind?"

"We think so."

Thinking about it, who would want that plump and rather matronly girl with strange domestic habits? And do I want to dwell on this matter? No, I don't! "but if we can help in any way...?" No, we can't... That's fine. Be grateful for small mercies!

Notepad 4

Tom thinks it won't last more than a decade, not a permanent thing. Spain Portugal, Italy can't cope with it. There will be nothing left of Spain. He's taking his money back to England. Stephen will simply stick with Tom.

No more Irma and Clive. Some outside chat. Lizzie got lumbered.

They have been with us for (check) between Malaya, China, Australia and were going to get married. This new bloke has never left dear old England!

What's with Iowa?? Look up this one. About two years back 1992. August?

Jim Mann. No relative. Wrote article on Dr. Lu Gang who killed six people at Iowa University because his obvious talents had been ignored.

Paul Akins on a sort of egghead exchange from Birmingham Uni was there at the time, now in VC 1B1. Told him I was no relative of Jim Mann but we had interesting discussion on the need for revenge (Check with Claudia suitable for Jaw Group) Iowa is flat and the biggest corn producer in the US. Very pretty in parts. Farmworkers are peasants, not anti-social but they carry guns!

In the war all men over twenty-five were old guys and they were flying bombers over Germany and you can't get more anti-social than that! Home Guard under-officers looked like posh students. Sooner than get shot for staring I obediently left the parade ground, except for my grandfatherly home-guard officer who commanded a motor boat on the Trent protecting bridges and ran the local sea-scouts in his spare time and showed me how to strip down a Lewis Gun - or was it a Bren Gun? Memory fails.

"Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. Only God gets to even the score," a sort of wisecrack from Paul Akins that sounded strange and a bit out of place from a soil scientist. "I get paid for science!" was his answer. "Vengeance is a sort of repair job. Do you know Iowa? Iowa is flat, so flat you could scream."

He is my age. As a kid he remembered La Coruña, Compostela. His family were religious and went there for holidays. During Franco's time many things in Spain were difficult. Official paperwork required many people to work the system. Many officials could neither read nor write and employed literati (mainly students) who could explain a printed application whether for driving licence or building permit or whatever before the senior official would rubber stamp it.

Even as late as 1985 Lizzie and I were astounded by the rapid fire of rubber stamps when we ventured near an official building. It also helped explain the lack of official notices in post office windows, and the Town Cryer with his old Renault van who loudmouthed through a megaphone all important information street by street to the public at large.

Very few men wear cuff links these days, but cuff links and The Marks and Spencer label almost set us up as grandees. "We are gentlemens," said our Cristimar contador. God, if he only knew!

Iowa is reckoned to be the food capital of the world, and Paul found even near the end of the twentieth century a lot of people in Iowa who worked on the land were illiterate.

Notepad 5

Stool pigeon !

Often wondered but don't want to display my infantile mind.


Hamelin Town's in Brunswick
By famous Hanover City
The River Weser deep and wide
Washes its walls on the southern side
A pleasanter spot you never spied -

The poetry I learned at School stays stuck in a corner of the mind like the Times Table -

One nine is nine,
two nines are eighteen,
three nines are twenty-seven,
four nines are thirty-six
five nines are forty-five -
six nines are fifty-four

Defying authority like the Pied Piper of Hamelin

Harold made a useful point: 100 years ago most men were farmers, now we don't need men as farmers like we don't need men in production for machines will produce. What's left for men to do? He suggests home computers, the perfect relief for women who feel that husbands don't provide sufficient frustration!!!

These young people are making shoes. They should have a licence and a shop front, but they are leather workers and making shoes by hand. Too many people in Spain are out of work. The Swedish church people here provided the place - a bar - and now some other Spanish kids trashed their workshop. Viva Espana!

Notepad 6

This is a really early one. Peter and Shirley are in it. Pratincoles. Shirley in tears about horrors of life in India. Bombay was a better name than Mumbai. Peter said something about the pleasures of the down side - sooner have his mind full of stuff than the silly and empty pleasures of joy! Started me off on stuff... Aha yes! Worry work.

We have come at the right time This year 1986 it has become illegal in state schools to beat a child.

Just before I retired in early 1985 I beat up Margaret's disgusting father. I also saw a child being walloped by a nun, but it wasn't a state school. I got a lot of satisfaction from both. And of course those two truculent kids in the police station when I banged their heads together. Got a lot of respect from the police - I was a different sort of social-worker!

There is a need for violence. I could have gently remonstrated with the victims of my rage, behaving more like a person than a social worker - the wrong sort of social worker. It wasn't justice to beat up Margaret's father, I could call it justice, but it wasn't, it was simply the sweet satisfaction of vengeance.

Notepad 7

"My morose man's been thinking again. Full of stuff - my aunt Fanny!"

Petalmost has picked it up after all these years 1990 era. My birthday. I remember we spoke of love. Still intense but we go through periods of emotional stillness. We are very busy so love lies on the back burner to be collected later.

Fout - Fuoght - Fought... Daft bugger! What about Rhythm? Not a vowel in sight!!!!

Pick her up on the joys of learning Spanish. My morose Mouse!

Better at the City Lit. Out here you get dialects which are not helpful. Canarians tend to run all their words together. 'Cothina' is pronounced 'Cosina'. That couple we met in the John Bull. We thought they were Finnish!

Home visit. Rotten flight. We had their luggage aboard but they didn't show when the flight was called. Delayed by hour while two airport people got them out of the bar. Rosie is two. Lizzie who planned all the world-wide travels for her technical reps is planning our trip to the US of A. We take a two month rail ticket and go from East to West starting at Boston.

Got this bloke who remembers 9 years since I retired. Gadfly geezer always got his hand out Gi-me gi-me/ Walking away is no good. He follows.

Still horrified when I think of it: I didn't see the man, I saw the weedy voice creeping up on me. It was like being gripped from behind. "You were my social worker, right!" Actually, I wasn't. The couple were assessed and given to one of our female colleagues for supportive casework. He was homeless at the time. Too much of the habit-forming substances, did a short spell in clink, lost his flat, wife had upped and gone. Why don't more women just bugger off instead of going back to the born losers who give them such a bad time? "I couldn't have a social worker cos I was homeless, right!"

He stayed with this kindly elderly couple who let him into their home out of pity on a cold winter's night - and he stayed, and stayed and stayed. The police got him out but then he came back, and back and back, usually stoned and eventually back into the arms of concerned neighbours who hustled him off the street and kicked him around somewhat: then the local Committee for the Homeless assessed him as suitable for whatever the committee did for homeless alcoholics, but too late for the old lady whose kindness had been so brutally overturned. Can't remember the outcome. But I do remember this man whose name was Colin. He thought all social workers were civil servants like the infamous Dennis Nilsen who buried twelve of his victims in the garden, right mate?

"I'm getting on this bus, mate. Ta-ta.­ The bus was the W13 bound for Leytonstone and I hate Leytonstone, but it was better than explaining to dear Colin the difference between a civil servant and a local government officer.

Lacking in pity I was a rotten social worker. But the social work model has now peeled off. I didn't behave like this as a supervisor with a student in tow. I do believe I acted the part. It took some time to shake the idealism out of my head to make way for a crisper logic, for there's an anti-work entitlement that has acquired cunning acceptance in some elements of humanity, a cunning that reveals paid work as a lesser option than state benefits, a way of life that eliminates the need for struggle. Colin was into this cosy life-style.

Solitude: in a crowded bus full of Leytonstone people there can be a sort of solitude where conscience creeps back. I could have been nicer to Colin, his partner having sensibly bunked off leaving him on the streets between hostel and pavement ("where posh people pee on you," I remember him saying) in trouble of one sort or another. What annoyed me was finding him in Wanstead not in his normal Dagenham area. And that threw me.

Birthdays I can never remember bloody birthdays

Community - the centre and circumference of all civilized life!!!

Worrying, for I am beginning to feel that we don't belong in Wanstead any more. You could sense it in the faces of those who were close to us when we lived here and were contemplating going abroad to live. Sort of - "Well, it's all right for some!" A touch of envy, perhaps, and the sublime taste of living in England when so much funny stuff happened all over the rest of the world. "Sooner live in England, me!" You pick that up when you've been away too long.

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