6. Run So Far

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Lonely days, blue guitar,
There's no escape,
Can only run so far.

I haven't written in my diary for weeks, not since George told me he was going to Hamburg. I neglected it at first because I was spending every spare minute with George before he left, and then when he had gone there didn't seem to be anything worth writing about. 

Now I'm inside the little cafe bit on this ferry and we're heading towards Holland. It's getting dark outside and the continuous rolling of the ship isn't making me feel much better. Twenty-four hours ago I was still in Liverpool. I can't believe we've done this. Or rather, Minnie has. As usual I was just dragged along on the ride. I nearly didn't bring my journal at all. Thank goodness that I did. My mind is reeling, I have to write it all down to get it straight.  

George didn't write every day like he'd promised, but a letter turned up usually every three or four days. I had to get up early to intercept the post. I'd never be able to explain where all these letters we coming from otherwise. It wasn't a problem really, Dad wouldn't get out of bed til ten at the earliest and the postman would be round about half eight. I'd still wait every morning in the front garden anyway. 

George's letters were full of what he and the boys were doing. The clubs in Germany and the long hours they were playing, what the food was like, what the weather was like... and that was about it. I couldn't help but feel they were a little impersonal. When I wrote to him, I wrote about how much I was missing him, how I wished the days would go faster so we could be back together again, all soppy stuff like that, but George's replies would hardly mention anything like that. I might get a 'see you soon, won't be long now,' and three X's under his name. 

August turned in to September. I finally managed to find a job, working in a kitchen of a hotel. It was a bit too late though. Now I had a bit of money in my pocket and no particular urge to go out and spend it. Worse, a letter came from George in October to say that their Hamburg contract - due to end in three weeks, had been extended to at least the end of the year. He'd be away for at least another 12 weeks. 

Without George and the band, it was back to just me and Minnie again. And Dad too of course. Apart from the three of us, we only had one other living blood relative. An aunt - Peggy - who lived in London. She was Dad's sister and about ten years or so older than him. I'd only met her a couple of times when I was quite young. The only memory of her I had was of a tall, thin woman who had grey hair pinned up in a bun and always wore an ankle length brown cord skirt and a white blouse that seemed to hang off her like a bed sheet. 

I'd totally forgotten about Aunt Peggy until one night at dinner - a rare occasion where it was me, Minnie and Dad around the kitchen table - Minnie announced out of the blue that she'd received a letter from Aunt Peggy asking her and me to go and visit her for a week. Dad didn't believe her to start with, and to be honest neither did I. She'd not said a word about it to me. So Minnie went and fetched the letter from Aunt Peggy and there it was in the scrawly, spindly handwriting. 

Dad decided we'd better go and see what Aunt Peggy wanted. He had the idea that the old bird might be pegging out. Apparently she was well off and with no other relatives, he thought she might be thinking of willing it all to us. He told us to go and charm her. He even bought us the bus tickets. 

This morning we got up before dawn and caught the long distance coach to London. It took forever as the bus kept stopping off in every little town and village along the way. We got into London Victoria bus station at about three.

I was stiff after such a long journey in the cramped bus. I was still wandering about, stretching my legs when Minnie, equipped with our two bags, grabbed my arm. 'Come on, quick,' she said, thrusting one of the suitcases at me. 

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