Saturday 24 May

Taken aback on the hay wagon to Chorlton Village. On weekends this dangerously liberal compound only opens after 11 and we’re early so I’m forced into what should be idle chaff with the farmer. Then Old Surplus rather pointedly suggests that with prices as they are, he’ll have a job making more than a few beans this summer; I dig out an extra threpence so he can stick to the royal sprout we all know and love. It’s when he starts pontificating on the carrot crunch that I decide to leg it past the dozing sentries, ending up with friends in our pre-arranged bar/restaurant, 3.14159265358979323846. The gimmick with this place is that for just over three shillings you can have a pint and 3.14159265358979323846 pies. Luckily for them none of us can manage more than three.

It’s true we all still eat well but – reminded by Chelsea here present – will soon surely join Old Surplus in feeling the economic pinch somewhere about our nether regions (though any kind of pinch is surely welcome down there right now). It was intriguing to hear this sleeves-rolled-up and down to earth kind of chap talk of conspiracy when addressing the current climate, of the French (‘disguised as Russians’) somehow manipulating the market. Yet I find my cotton and coal trading equally, bafflingly barren right now. Though it may soon be time to take up gambling, Tattetta, some way off, fails to recognize that it is the haircutters I later enter, not the adjacent bookies as she suspects. To be fair, not much hair remains once the barber has brushed away the straw and I may have better spent the money backing Polonia in the forthcoming Eurofoot ‘65.

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