Portrait of a Schoolboy

Wednesday 05 Sep 1984

September, 1984

Filed under: Diary One - Portrait of a Schoolboy — David Matthews @ 11:20 am


At F.O.Y., prompted by the things I’d been saying, Christine said, “I don’t know how you can call yourself a Christian.” I said that I don’t think I am a Christian, and if I “don’t think” (have doubts) then I can’t be.” Christine walked out.

F.O.Y. consisted of a talk by an evangelist called, “I love the Lord” – words from Psalms. There comes my unique situation. I believe most of the Bible and because I believe it, I don’t love “the Lord”. He’s a right swine really. What bugs me is that he could see what was going to happen and yet he went on and created the world – and anyway how can any evil, no matter at what level, come out of a situation where there was nothing but apparent pure good/love. The evangelist said, “If the Lord comes now, 51 million people in Britain will go to everlasting hell.” Heavy.


I was woken up this morning with mum kissing and hugging me saying that she’d had a dream that I’d gone away and was never coming back.


I went to bed and saw a box in my bedroom full of Dinah’s university books. On top was a green velvet box, probably designed for jewellery. Out of curiosity I opened it, and underneath the first layer was a compartment full of letters. They were from Kenny. I read the first letter amazed by the desperation of the man. I was reading another letter when Dinah knocked on the door. I knew it was her but all I could say was, “Come in.” I looked up at her guiltily, knowing that she was going to find out. Her love letters were all over the floor. She said, “Oh, you’re not reading my love letters.” She didn’t seem that upset about it though. They were history anyway. Here’s an example…. (I go on to write out the juicy bits).


Christine leaves tomorrow for Birmingham to do physiotherapy. Off course the fact that I’m leaving in twenty days lessens the blow. It’s strange how she has had this hold on me for all these years. Only once did I have anything that could be called a romance with her – at camp in 1979. I always wanted to be with her, and that hasn’t changed.


Recently I read Thomas Hardy’s “Well Beloved”, and it occured to me, not for the first time, how quickly we age. At twenty we are only twenty years away from forty, which is in turn only twenty years away from sixty. Only forty years after my twentieth birthday I’ll be sixty, an old man. Death at the moment seems far away, and after all, I have my life in front of me. I guess this is an exciting time of my life, but it is occuring to me that at some time I will die, I will no longer be here. I am young now and I want to make an impression on the world. I want people to recognise me. I am, “Ambitious of doing to the world some good”. (Keats).


Sometimes all I can do is simply admire my surroundings, even in East Anglia which isn’t meant to be extra special. When I ride through the county lanes I go slowly to take in the beauty. As I go to work in the mist and damp air, the morning freshness excites me. As I look down on a beautiful cottage bathed in sunshine, with their children, goats and pigs, I envy the owners.


One aspect of dad’s character is that he is very cool, very rarely showing any temper when it would normally be expected. This characteristic worked to my advantage today when I went and crashed the family car.

I was driving to Russell’s farm to pick some apples to make wine out of. As I pulled out of the farm I looked right and left, but should have looked right again before I pulled out. I saw a car approaching, smoke bellowing out of its wheels. As it broke I could only hope it stopped in time, but there wasn’t much chance. Any faint hope was dashed when the car hit me.

I told mum and dad about it. Mum went into the garden in a despairing attitude, saying that she didn’t want to know. I invited dad to have a look but he went after mum.

I made myself scarce for twenty minutes or so and then we returned to discuss things. I offered to make up money lost. Those seven sacks of apples will be the most expensive apples I’ll ever have.


People have asked me my feelings concerning going to Froebel. In fact I haven’t worried much. Perhaps I should do, because it’s usually me who bodges things up.

I’m apprehensive but also excited. New people, new experiences a new life. A life in the heart of London the capital of England. They’ll be a lot going on, and as long as I am sensible, my money will last.

I’m not worried about making friends or popularity. They’ll come in due course.


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