On Thursday (6th April) I took Brian over to visit the Tubb family, we had a pleasant evening
with them and the Bulmers who joined us there. Many thanks, Ken, for the ride
to the station. We heard the train come in as we dashed down the steps.
Friday night here is BSFA. night. I hold a social get together for any members
able to get along. I was expecting quite a bunch as a result of fen who were at
the Con expecting to be in London for that particular Friday. Jordan gets an
"Let's hold a Con of our own in West Kilburn!"
No sooner thought than
arranged. Brian gets to work on working out a rough programme and ran it off
on the duper. I think it was also he who made the lapel badges for those we were
expecting, like Gernsback, Tucker, Grennell, Bradbury, Lindsay, Patrizio, Forsyth
and the others. Ethel was the first to arrive and almost left again on finding
it was going to cost her sixpence (6d) to get in. Why, we even had magazines on
sale! We offered her copies of VECTOR, ORION and the SFCL Convention Combozine
which had been run off for the bigger event in Gloucester, but we didn't see why
we shouldn't try to cash in on the spares. Nary a one she bought. Leaving the
boys to continue with their preparations for the Microcon she came up to my room
and we had a natter with a couple of cups of tea. During a hasty meal the bell
rang out its summons again; it was Arthur Thomson, about the only person to turn
up for whom we hadn't made out a lapel badge. He fought like a mad beast against
the idea of paying to enter the Penitentiary, but Ron was on the door and wore
him down. Next to appear, and unexpectedly at that (so that was two more who had
to have rush badges made) were Irene and Ken Potter complete with baby. As Karen
would only be drinking what she had brought with her we let her in free. Big of
us, wasn't it? It was obviously going to be one of those nights so I ceased to
worry about who was at the door whenever I heard the bell. I've been very clever
about this door deal. When the bell rings the last one to be admitted goes down
to answer it. This works very well from my point of view and is fairest to all
who are here. No exceptions are made no matter how honoured the guest, so watch
it any of you who decide to come to a binge at the Pen. Make sure your leg muscles
are well limbered, you'll need them.
When I had made ready to join them in the Penitentiary Conhall there was nearly a
full house. Besides those already named there was: Jimmy Groves, Jhim Linwood from
Nottingham, Don Geldart, Ted and Joe, both of them also fighting like mad against
the entrance fee, but they had to pay up, and Bruce Burn. Just for once we left
the subject of S-F severely alone. Talk seemed to range round the next year's do
and what the SFCL should put into the programme as a team. With the money collected
at the door Ron and Brian went out and bought a few bottles of cider to moisten
I had been expecting to see Alan Rispin and Dave Barber at this meeting (the latter
being a BSFA member who helps Ken Slater a lot in his work at Fantast Medway), but
neither of them showed up. I got a letter from Dave today in which he explains how
he did a 'Joe Patrizio' and couldn't find the house; only unlike Joe he didn't
persevere and so never arrived. Arthur left early but the rest of us had ourselves
a bit of a party. Later in the evening we began making arrangements for sleeping
those who were staying over-night. The Potters had left so I asked Bruce if he could
put Linwood and Geldart up for the night; this he agreed to do and we were all set.
The bell rang.
By now I hope, that statement sounds as ominous to you as the actuality does to me
at times. The Potters had returned being unable to get their train connections for
home; thank goodness they had the sense to come back in good time even though it
meant rearranging the sleeping plan we had made. It was now decided that Linwood
and Jordan would share a mattress on the floor and Geldart would share a bed with
Bennett. It had to be done that way as all my blankets were in use. This too met
with general approval and soon after Bruce and the Potter family left. We: Ron,
Don, Jhim, Brian and I, sat around talking and I made a start on tea-making again
when....the bell rang!
We looked at the time, it was about 11.15pm, and began speculating on who it could
be. Jhim and Brian said it might be Rispin. I looked again at the time and thought
it too late for him. I thought it might he the Potters back having maybe forgotten
something. On reflection we were getting nowhere fast, not even to the front door,
so Brian went down and returned with Rispin. I don't know if this will prove my
innate lack of hospitality but on seeing him my first reaction was: "where the
hell am I going to sleep him?"
I decided not to worry my head about it until I'd had a cup of tea. We had a
scrappy supper, and that means exactly what it says. We scrounged around collecting
scraps of this and that left from previous meals during the day and early evening.
While we were eating Bennett came up with the only sensible solution to the sleeping
"Let's have a hand at cards" says he.
We sat playing until 5am, and by then I was so tired, as were the others, we
didn't care where Alan was going to sleep. I went to my room and left it to them
to sort themselves out.
When I finally rolled out of bed on Saturday morning and went down to see about
making the matutinal cups of tea and coffee I found that Don Geldart had already
departed without disturbing anyone. I'm sorry that you left without breakfast, Don.
I hadn't realised you wanted to leave quite that early. Saturday was very quiet as
they all went out for the day and by the time they came back at night I had long
ago gone to my bed for a nights sound sleep.
On Sunday morning I went down to the big room in an inquiring frame of mind; I
wondered just how many and who had slept the night here. There were only three
of them: Linwood, Jordan and Bennett. It seemed that Rispin had accepted the offer
of something a bit softer to lie on in Bruce's place than the floor of the Pen,
and I can't blame him. While we were having our first cup of tea of the day, Alan
and Bruce arrived. I had long ago put the meat into the oven to cook knowing that
Jhim, Alan and Diane (hey, I've found out her second name; it's Goulding) had to
leave for home early in the afternoon. By the way: Diane had come in with Alan and
Bruce. We had just about got dinner out of the way when Ethel arrived followed soon
after by Ted and Joe. We were all set for a nice matey afternoon and evening. We
were sitting around chewing the fat when Brian Burgess turned up, thinking mistakenly
that Sunday was a club day. Brian brought with him a new find in the person of Ian
Peters who lives in Croydon near Brian. Another Scot! Bruce's face was a picture of
despair when he first heard Ian speak. Bruce has been showing some concern over the
way we Northerners seem to be swamping Anglofandom. Ian is a vet and was much amused
to see the shingle on my wall which features prominently the name of Dave Kyle who
practices the same profession in Kettering. No, not that Dave Kyle, this is someone
As our local Convention was still 'officially' in session we went round collecting
6ds and got a lot more which went for beer later in the evening. Ian and Bruce went
out to see if it was possible to bring Arthur over to join us. Unfortunately
he couldn't make it but sent us a consoling note instead which was much appreciated.
I forgot to tell you that when Arthur had been here on Friday night he had written
out dozens of slips of paper advertising ORION with various slogans such as:
"ORION isn't cheap, but then, things can be dear at any price," and "they don't print
books like ORION anymore."
They were stuck all over the place and I even found one in the tea caddy!
It seemed very quiet here on Monday morning with only Jordan and Bennett around.
Efforts were made to get some fanac done which had been much neglected during the
week end. I got back to this on Monday but this is Wednesday and the first time
I've done anything on it since the Monday night. I've been too tired to risk fouling
things up too much. Composing direct on stencil as I am is bad enough Ghod knows,
without trying to do it while half asleep. I have high hopes of getting to work on
the duplicating tomorrow, Thursday. Brian left here for home yesterday and sorry I
was to see him go. I don't suppose I'll see him again until next Easter. Ron should
have left early this morning to catch a coach for home, but we had stayed up late
last night talking, and when I woke in a panic he had missed it by an hour. He has
gone to see about a train but I daren't strip his bed in case he has to come back.
I know he's supposed to start back at school tomorrow. I wonder if he'll make it?