25th August 1962

Saturday

We are so tired that I am wondering if it was a good idea to travel overnight.

We caught the coach from Mile End at 10.30pm Friday evening and had two seats at the back.  The best part of the journey was going through the City.  All the old buildings looked terribly stately and majestic in the half light.  Everywhere was so quiet.  So different from twelve hours earlier when all was bustle.

I was hoping to pass the time by reading but the driver turned off the lights at 12.  It was most uncomfortable.  Alan didn’t sleep at all but I dozed a few times, getting comfortable by sitting sideways and putting my head on Alan’s lap.

We had two stops for toilets and a chance to stretch our legs and arrived at Paignton coach station at 7am.  We were outside the Hotel Harwin at 7.10am.

There wasn’t a soul about and we had to just stand around until 7.45 when the daily woman arrived.  She said we could leave our bags there while we went and found somewhere to have breakfast.

She asked for our names and when Alan said, ‘Blake’ she said, ‘Mr & Mrs Blake, right!’ and went before we could contradict her.  All through breakfast I was wondering if perhaps they had booked a double room for us!  They hadn’t!

After breakfast we came back and waited in the lounge because we were too tired to walk around.  Our rooms were ready at 10.30 as the staff had prepared them first.  We were in the new part of the building, an extension of three rooms built on the side with a corridor between the rooms and the main building. To allow for the steep slope in the ground each of the rooms lay about 3’ lower than the one above with a long shallow window looking out over the roof of the neighbouring room.  The rooms were named Cherry, Lime and Pink! 

I unpacked fairly quickly and went to help Alan.  His was the room at the top of the corridor with mine the middle of the three.  It was 12.30 before we finished and lunch was being served at 1 o’clock.  Horror of horrors!  We couldn’t get his door open!  All the doors were fitted with Yale locks.  We did everything we could think off to open that lock, even soaping it but still it wouldn’t move.

It was getting close to lunch-time, we had to get out but didn’t like to start banging and shouting and making a fuss.  After all, we had only just arrived.

Alan solved the problem by climbing out of his window onto the flat roof of my room.  Then down onto the third roof and into the window of my room.  He had no trouble getting out of that room and came along the corridor to open his door with his key.

I’ve never laughed so much.  All the time I was telling him, to be careful, don’t fall and I was laughing fit to burst as well.

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