24th December 1961


I hadn’t been looking forward to today very much.  The prospect of meeting the Blake family all in one go terrified me.  I’ve met Vic once and Rene once and Doreen and John a couple of times.  But I know no one really well.  Oh yes, I’ve seen brother Ron for a few minutes but Joyce and her children would be there and so would Marion.  It was Marion who I was worried about.  She used to be very close to Alan it seems and I know if I had a brother I’d feel strongly about a girl taking him away.

Alan had told me to be there at 11.  I got there at half past, to find the place deserted.  Only then did he tell me no one was expected until  1 o’clock.  I had said I wanted to be there first and he was making sure I did.

Vic and family were the first to arrive and they walked in just as Alan and I were swapping sweaters.  Goodness knows what that looked like!  The rest wandered in gradually and as they came the noise built into a crescendo.  There were kids everywhere.

We had dinner and everyone duly praised Mr. Blake.  He had been determined to do it all himself and wouldn’t let anyone else get a look-in.  It wasn’t bad.  Edible.  My first fence came about the washing up.  I didn’t know whether to help the girls or stick with Alan as I wanted to.  The problem was solved by niece Christine plonking herself on my lap and dozing off.  Of course, I couldn’t move then.

Joyce and Marion arrived in the afternoon.  I was astounded at Maron’s  likeness to Alan.  I’ve never seen a brother and sister with so many features the same.  Mouths especially.  It was quite uncanny.

I felt really pleased that, as they left, people were saying nice things to me.  Vic came out into the kitchen where Alan and I were washing up.  He kissed me and said, ‘it’s alright to kiss you now, you’re one of the family.’  Then, when Rene left, Alan and I were having a skirmish and she said something like ‘leave my future sister-in-law alone.’  She kissed me goodbye as well.

family xmas

The others gradually drifted off and only John, Alan and I and Mr.Blake were left before Alan set off with me for home. I don’t know how we managed to get there in one piece.  Alan had his bag with all his clothes in (he’s staying until Boxing Day).  I had my bag full of records.  Then there was Alan’s duffle bag in which we had to put the drinks we stopped on the way for.  Apart from all that there were the presents we picked up on the way.  Doreen and John had bought us a fruit set, six dishes and plates and a bowl.  All glass and all done up in a huge box packed with straw.  Vic and Vera had given us 6 coloured glasses.  All the way home we were expecting to break something.

We came rolling in highly merry and in terrifically good spirits.  I had to unpack some of the fruit set to show Mum.  I thought that was jolly nice of Doreen and John.  It was an engagement present not a Christmas present.  They had left it at Alan’s the week before but he hadn’t mentioned it.

Today is the first of 3 days I’ll be with Alan all the time.  Well, during the day, anyway.  We’ve got to wait until the ‘Laws of Society’ allow us to really be together all the time.  What a test though.  Still, we’ve managed to stand each other quite well for 6 days a week for these four months.  If we were gonna get fed up we’d have done it by now.

I’ve had half of my Christmas presents already.  My shirt blouse and watch straps for example.  I bought Alan a Parker pen.

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