The last time there was a European referendum, on 5 June 1975 (in or out of the Common Market), I’m sorry to say I didn’t vote. Or at least I can find no evidence in my diary that I did, and I did not report the result.
I was in my second year at Exeter University, and I suspect that I had not registered to vote there—no postal voting then. On the day of the vote I discussed the identification of grasses with my tutor, M C F Proctor the distinguished botanist, and had supper at a Chinese restaurant with my friend Mary Fung.
On Friday 6 June, when the result was announced and chewed over, I went with my friend Hil Scott to High House Waste, the land owned by the Dartmoor Preservation Association, for the first of the bracken-bashing days which are now a regular feature in the DPA conservation volunteers‘ calendar. Then we were just trying it out with some lightweight scythes. We were there with Sylvia Sayer, whose idea it was, and Lis and Marcus Hawkins, just the five of us.
My diary reports that it was a a very happy day and I can endorse that. We rested on the sunlit slopes above the old farmhouse and looked across to Stall Moor and its stone row peaking over the horizon, and down the Yealm Valley to Hanger Down and the sea. Did we talk about the Common Market? I just don’t remember.
What carefree times! No hope of escape from the news tomorrow.