I was marking time in London during the autumn of 1970 – about to leave my job with Cambridge University Press, and ready to begin a new life in Islington. Through George I had met Bernard Stone of Turret Books, and the writer, Giles Gordon. I’d given a couple of poetry readings. I also needed to find a new job in London, for when I returned from Bruges.
George had managed to find a flat for himself on the boundary of Chalk Farm and Belsize Park, where he could write and continue his tryst with Jeni Couzyn. Only three people knew of its existence: Jeni, his wife and I. It was a gloomy flat, with high ceilings and lofty rooms – badly furnished. George looked haggard and was suffering greatly these days from the unsatisfactory ‘double-life’ that he was leading. But I think the flat helped him retain a feeling of his own identity, while he semi-separated from his wife, whom he couldn’t bear to hurt.
On November 21st, 1970, I wrote:
‘Today I walked along an utterly rain-swept Upper Grosvenor Street, to see an exhibition of Dora Carrington’s paintings. Later, I bumped into George at Oxford Circus tube station, and went with him for a drink at ‘The George’ pub near the BBC. Only a week before, I had been here with Jonathan, before he broadcast a piece on Robert Lowell’s Notebook for a Radio 4 Arts programme’.
The Danbury Road days were about to begin.