10. YEAR'S END

On the following Monday, a Los Angeles fan named Paul Turner turned up unannounced with his family, looking for somewhere to stay.

Ella Parker:

I said they could stay with me. Well, what else *could* I do? They had that young baby with them and not much money. One thing about which I was annoyed. They must have known they were coming to England. I mean, you don't just grab your family, pile them into the car and hie off to England; besides they had a list of fan names culled from 4e Ackerman's copy of the Fan Directory, why couldn't they have dropped a card at least, to the Bulmers or someone to say they'd be making the rounds? As it was, they just turned up on people's doorsteps without any warning, I'd never heard of him before and I've not heard from him since. It won't happen again. Anyone who turns up without warning like that will have to find a hotel for themselves.

Wednesday arrived and with it the Potters and Ashworths. As the Turners were here so I couldn't have the kind of evening I'd planned with them anyway, I phoned and wrote around asking the crowd to come along too. I phoned Ethel and asked her if it would be possible for her to make it. Her hours of duty are so demanding I never know when she's likely to be free. We were lucky in this case, she had a day off, and we sat down 8 to table. Well, that's not quite true. Bruce came straight from work and in need of a meal so we sat him on the floor with his plate. Fans kept dropping in one after the other. Just as I was dishing up the sweet the bell rang out again. I didn't take much notice, I figured I was ready for whoever it might be. How wrong can you get? I looked round as the door opened and almost dropped the plate I was on the point of handing to Sheila. Ian McAulay! I wasn't expecting to see *him* until October, but here he was and I had to make the best of a bad job. I dashed out and phoned the Bulmers to find out if they could come up, for a couple of hours at least. I didn't say Ian was here! Yes, it was *another* party. Those who had filtered in were: Ted, Joe, Bruce, Ethel, Potters, Ashworths, Bulmers, McAulay (by a trick) and Don Geldart and of course, the Turners. This was the night the Dean Drive came up for - you could hardly call it discussion, things got so heated. Ian contented himself with being facetiously contemptous about it. Mal was keen to worry at it to see if there was any possibility of it working, while Paul Turner was positive it would work; so sure was he about it that he was going to build himself a model of it as soon as he got home. Ken Bulmer every now and again would drop a quiet word into the talk if things looked like flagging and off they'd go again. Not many people notice this trick Ken has for preventing a conversation dying, It gives me a lot of amusement to sit there and watch it work every time.

Ashworths were leaving town on Friday and goodness knows when we'll see them again. This wasn't the last I saw of Ian. He had thoroughly upset my evening so I mused, it had to be paid back and soon. I knew he was to be at the Bulmers over the weekend, I knew too, that Arthur intended calling on them to meet Ian. I arranged with him to pick me up and take me with him. Pamela opened the door to us, I laid my finger across my lips and hung back while Arthur strode into the room where they were sitting. Ken introduced them:- "Mr McAulay meet Mr Thomson." And that, much to Ian's disgust was how Arthur addressed him for the rest of the evening. The look of horror on Ian's face when I walked in made it well worth the trouble taken to go out. Ted Tubb was there and we spent a pleasant time altogether. Not crowded or hectic, but pleasant. We reorganised Anglofandom - they haven't noticed it yet, but we did - talked of the BSFA and lots of other things. It was all so congenial only just made the last train home. Pamela offered me a night's sleep over there and much as I would've liked to accept I couldn't as I had Alan Rispin coming to stay that night at my place. When I got home Alan was already in bed; Fred had let him in.

Ian attended the BSFA meeting at my house then left London for a few days. He dropped by to see me once more before leaving for the North; Sheffield, I think it was. No-one has seen or heard of him since.

SKYRACK 25 (31 Oct 1960):

LONDON HAS BEEN REASONABLY QUIET LATELY but the weekly BSFA social evenings at Ella Parkerís have been moving along nicely and there was a SFCoL party at the Penitentiary over the weekend 22/23 October to celebrate Fred Parkerís birthday. Arthur Thomson brought along a specially written verse-card and Bill Temple brought cigars. Joe Patrizio brought Ted Forsyth and other attendees were Ethel Lindsay, Elizabeth Humbey, Don Geldart, Jim Groves, Bruce Burn, Ron Bennett, George Locke and Brian Burgess. The party broke up about noon on Sunday and needless to say AGTWHBA.

**** Other SFCoL news is that Brian Burgess, Bruce Burn and Joe Patrizio are new members, that the club has purchased a Gestetner for membersí own personal use and that next Easter will see a second club Combozine. Edited by Ethel, this will include items by all members. Honorary members, Iím. told, will not be pressed to contribute, but material from them would neverthless be welcome.

Ella Parker:

After an interval of six weeks during which I held various meetings at my place and took the chance to have a damn good clean thru I heard from Ron that he'd like to come for a week during mid-term. The weekend before he arrived it had been my brother's birthday. I hadn't done, anything about it as he was working both on the Saturday and Sunday. He'd told me he wouldn't be working the weekend Ron was coming. This was my chance. I put the word around that I was throwing a party for Ron but in reality it was a surprise birthday party for Fred. I'd told them it was for Ron so they wouldn't stop talking about it suddenly if Fred came into the room thus making him suspicious. Everybody turned up except the Bulmers who couldn't make it. Fred couldn't believe his eyes when I brought in the cake and we all wished him "Happy Birthday." They'd all brought cards, ATom had done a special one for him even to writing his own verse for it which caused a lot of laughs, Bill Temple came and brought him some cigars. All in all it was a resounding success and I know he thoroughly enjoyed it and was very touched that those he had considered *my* friends should turn up to give *him* a party. He still doesn't realise how popular he is with all who come here.

Bruce Burn:

My notes reveal we had a birthday party for Ella's brother, inexplicably on the 22nd and 23rd October 1960. Why the two days? I can no longer recall correctly, but I think it was something to do with uncertainty over the birth register. The party must have been a good one because it didn't break up until noon on the second day!

Fred Parker was a quiet chap who just gently hovered round the fringes of the fannish company his sister Ella kept. He seemed bemused by all the coming and going but was most helpful to the guests who breezed through his home. He'd had what I would call a tough life, just surviving early life in the slums of Glasgow, orphanages, and showing the marks of those times with a badly broken nose and a 'hang-dog' stance and facial expression. Nothing in life could now be tougher than what he'd come through; hence the impression of bemusement.

...RELAPSE #13 (Feb '09).


Bruce Burn, Don Geldart, Ella's Parker (photo Eric Bentcliffe album)

SKYRACK 27 (27 Dec 1960):

SCIENCE FICTION CLUB of LONDON held its Xmas party Sunday 18th., at the home of Ella and Fred Parker. Bruce Burn brought along a gift laden Xmas tree. George Locke got a whacking great chisel labelled Ďstaple removerí, Brian Burgess went to sleep after imbibing a large orange juice. Bill Temple was given instruction on how to use an electric Gestetner and the evening was rounded off by a lift home on Bruceís scooter. Food and drink were plentiful and turkey was the main dish of the evening. Present were Ted Tubb, Pam & Ken Bulmer, Sid Bounds, Bill Temple, Bruce Burn, Ted Forsyth, Joe Patrizio, Jim Groves, George Locke, Ethel Lindsay, Ken & Irene Potter, Brian Burgess, and Don Geldart.

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