The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Monday, 30 October 1989

Ritch's Day With Gemma



12pm-1pm: PAGES 30-33



‘Black Mountain Mist’ – The Mission

It’s strange.  And sad.  When a pillar of your life disappears for ever.  Stranger and sadder still when this happens in your absence.  No matter how great or small that pillar, or whether it was a pillar you had noticed so much of late.  I spent a great deal of time with this pillar in my past, though, in my childhood.  It’s sad to know it’s gone…

Sam, our dog, died last night.  He hadn’t lived with Jack, Betty or I since 1985, when Betty got together with Freddie, but he’d soldiered on at George’s side for all these years after.  He first came to live with us in Leeds in 1980 and we had five happy years with him, there, and in Pontefract, Castleford and West Walton.  I last looked after him in ’86 (with Flash) when he came to stay here at BLACKBERRY NARROW.  I last saw him in 1987 when I stayed with George.  Our lovely German Shepherd is gone now.  Barking at that brick of his in the sky.  I am sad, God bless him.  He really was man’s best friend.  I hope George can cope without him.  God bless you, Sammy.

At least George has new beginnings that have come in the form of a new daughter, Anna.



‘Oh To Be In Love’ – Kate Bush

Julian just rang.  Johnny’s being ‘odd’ about Abby and won’t go to Gemma’s party tomorrow just because Abby’s not going.  I feel so sorry for him about it all.  Poor sod, I wish it’d all sort itself out.  I hope he does go.

Now for some minor points of news…

Who did I bump into in King’s Lynn today?

I’m not telling you.

But I also bumped into his dad today.

I felt so guilty when I saw his dad, cos I last saw Keith about this time in 1985 after a particularly wild ‘do’ at Tilney St. Lawrence Village Hall, where I broke a door with my fist and Keith ended up having to foot the bill.  I was acting very immature and rebellious and I was pissed out of my skull.  So when I saw Keith, he said to me, ‘So, I hear you’re taking life a lot more seriously now?’  I agreed that I probably was and we chatted in a strange, ambiguous way.  I’m not sure I didn’t feel a bit uncomfortable, actually.  I always liked Keith, I must admit, and he seemed genuinely interested in what I’ve been up to, but I felt… I dunno… distant?  It was perhaps the second ever conversation we’d shared.  It was really nice to see him but I felt ill at ease for some reason.

SO WHOSE DAD IS HE?  He’s the father of my old school mate – one of my best mates ever, in fact – Danny ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin.  Well, I also bumped into Cheggers in Lynn, as I say, and we chatted.  He finally finished with his girlfriend and moved to South Wootton.  He now has a new girlfriend and works in Peterborough.  He tells me Joey ended up with a really crap job, but fell in love with a 29-year-old woman who got divorced for him, and now they live together in King’s Lynn. 

Is life not astounding?

MANSFIELD PARK INTRO and pgs. 30/31 went splendidly today – just a little more naturalism to be pumped OUT, I think!  The cast were very supportive.

‘Jerusalem’ – Sinead O’Connor

I bought the DWM 10th Anniversary Edition.

Russia riots + East Germany riots.  The world’s changing.

Johnny just rang me.  He’s pissed off with a lot of arseholes at Tech.  He’s glad I’ve been supportive of him.  Of course I am.  And I shall continue to be.


The air was a little heavy in College today.  Apparently Gemma was being a little ‘offish’ to everyone and Stan was also being strange. 

I met up with Julian and we strode down to Johnny’s and called for him – but he did not answer, so we went back to Tech. 

At break, I saw Gemma and asked her to be involved in my Dance Project with Emma.  She agreed to take part.  I also asked her how she felt after such a weekend and she was very vague.  We arranged to meet for a proper discussion in the Common Room at 1pm.

As it happened, she met me at 1pm outside my lesson and asked me to go into King’s Lynn with her.  In Debenham’s Coffee Bar she told me all about the weekend: how glorious it had felt, the rush of emotions, until finally, after much consideration, she had realised that the full entrapment of involvement with Stan could NEVER be; he’s not really her type.  She said he seems to unstable and she couldn’t bring herself to get involved with him, especially without knowing quite the full extent of that might actually mean.  Nor did it, in the end, feel physically right. 

She feels guilt and regret about it and never meant to hurt his feelings (if, in fact, she even did).  I had to acknowledge for her benefit that such an intense distillation of emotion would no doubt have felt great and may yet feel as great in hindsight.

We then chatted further of ourselves.  She said that a year ago, she’d never have envisaged us alone in a coffee bar alone with her pouring out her heart at me.  We assessed our friendship over the last year (and don’t forget, I cast her as ‘GOD’ in The Chinese Play back in May) and she admitted she didn’t at all like me early on, but now she thinks I’m a genuinely nice person.

‘Strange,’ she said, ‘how your opinions of someone can change so much when you actually get to know them.’

It’s true.  I’m pretty sure there have been times when I’ve been quite UNpositive about her.  But now?  WOW.

She went on to tell me she no longer has desire for Tom Gray and that she hopes her Hallow’s Eve Party tomorrow will be an extension and furthering of Sara’s party.  Ooh, I hope so.  I also hope we’ll create a spooky atmosphere.

‘I Feel The Earth Move’ – Martika

We spent the rest of the afternoon so happily, buying a plastic vampire bat (Patrick) and a spider (Doris) for the party.  We were pretty crazy, as well (as I’ve never seen her before, in fact), charging into toyshops and novelty shops.  She’s really lovely.

The high points of our day were perhaps the things she said: surprising, stunning things.  We spoke of Emma, and I told her nothing would be occurring in that scenario again.  I went on to say that at recent parties (such as Sara’s) I had felt inhibited by Emma’s presence.  Gemma surprised me then by saying she could understand that and that she knew of a few girls who had wanted to get off with me but hadn’t dared to because of Emma.  That really stunned me.  Me?  The pizza with the Comic Relief Nose on?  GOLLY ME!

But listen, it gets embarrassingly better…

Apparently, just as we lads did on the Thursday after the party, the girls assessed the previous evening’s kissing.  I said, ‘I won’t ask,’ and she said, ‘Oh, I think you’d be flattered.  You were voted best kisser and sexiest male.’  She was right; I felt so flattered that they thought that.  It must mean I’m not as much of a dillan as I thought I was.  It makes a bloke feel so much better to know.

ANYWAY, here’s to Gemma’s Hallowe’en Party.

All my love

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Next time: ‘Gemma’s Hallowe’en Party…’

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