After a few short lived relationships, Pete and I found out that the place to go at weekends was the Cardinal Bar in the Bull Hotel (the same place that I had my introduction to an office Christmas celebration). It was always crowded on Saturday nights so perfect for us, with our insecurities, to blend in.
We quickly noted that a couple of the guys from school were there in a social group, so we renewed acquaintances and joined their group. It worked out quite well because we then got to hear about any parties being planned!
We also went to other pubs around Peterborough and found 1 or 2 that also seemed popular with our peers and a Friday or Saturday evening could well entail dropping in at all of them just to see what was going on!
Pete came up with the idea of “Ruddling”. The term “Ruddling” originates from Ruddles Brewery who owned quite a number of pubs in our area. The idea was to cover as many Ruddles’ pubs as we could in an evening, but must have a drink at each one to make it legitimate. I would guess that our maximum was probably 5 or 6 Ruddles’ pubs! Considering today’s “social conscience” with drinking and driving, and alcohol consumption in general, things were very different in the mid/late 1960’s! We always used Pete’s car (more conducive to taking dates home than the motorbikes) and, as I did not have a car license at that time, he did all the driving.
Also around that time, Pete’s parents went away for two weeks which gave him the idea that he could host a party at his house! He had been told not to but, if we thoroughly cleaned up afterwards, how would they ever know? Once a date had been set, we talked about it and decided that I would stay after everybody had gone home and help with the cleanup as his parents were due back the following day.
Everything was fine and relatively under control until the effects of alcohol started to present problems. Somebody was sick in the kitchen, and there was an incident in which a partially full beer bottle was knocked over on the living room carpet and later broken.
I believe everybody was gone by around midnight, so Pete and I started the big cleanup! We were very thorough and washed and vacuumed as necessary. All bowls, cups, glasses etc were washed and put away. When we had finished, we did a tour of the downstairs (the only areas used) and concluded that we had done a wonderful job. The house was immaculate. I went back to my caravan to sleep.
I saw Pete a couple of days later and he was not popular with his parents! Apparently, as soon as they walked into the house, his Mom said “You’ve had a party in here haven’t you?” I understand Pete made a gesture of denial but she was adamant. We discovered much later that her “tip off” was simply that the house smelled of disinfectant, detergent and was generally immaculate in appearance! A Mom leaving her 19-20 year old son alone in a house would not expect such dedication to housekeeping duties!
That was the only party at Pete’s house, but we did go to a number of others and therefore soon knew who was going out with whom, and who was “unattached”. Pete found himself an available girlfriend as a result of this social group. I, however, really liked a girl who was going out with somebody else. She always had a nice smile for me and had a lovely “tomboy” personality. She seemed to be a really fun kind of person. Eventually, I was in a position to talk with her quietly and so asked if she would go out with me. She said yes! Apparently her current relationship was a convenience for socializing purposes, and she had been waiting for me to ask her out!