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HELLO!.....Number 304.....May 14, 1994




We get married but as the Beatles take off I have to pretend I'm just John's girlfriend. Stuart Sutcliffe dies tragically and Ringo joins the Beatles. Julian is born and we honeymoon belatedly in Paris

      It was a terrible day for a wedding. It was pouring with rain. Dismal clouds hung low over the city and grimy puddles were spreading across the pavements. Outside the registry office a gang of workmen were digging up the road with pneumatic drills. This is my depiction of our wedding day - the pneumatic drill going on in the background made so much noise our words were drowned.  Once it was over we ran outside and collapsed in giggles.  Then we had lunch in a little cafe, where there was no alcohol - so we raised a glass of water!
      I hesitated as I climbed out of the car, sarching for a path between two greasy pools for my shiny new shoes. I don't know what kind of wedding I thought I might one day enjoy but it certainly wasn't this sort.
      At the door of the registry office three sombre figures were waving. It was John, Paul and George, looking nervous and uncomfortable in the only suits and ties they posessed - which happened to be black. They shouted a greeting but their words were lost in another machine-gun burst from the drills.
      Suddenly I wanted to giggle. Rain was dripping onto my hair, the boys looked more as if they were going to a funeral than a wedding. There was no photographer, no flowers and precious few guests. What a day!
      It was August 23, 1962 and, so far, 1962 wasn't turning out to be a good year for us.
      First, in April our dear friend Stuart Sutcliffe had tragically collapsed and died. Stuart was no longer a Beatle by than. He'd decided to give up music and stay behind in Hamburg to be with his German girlfriend Astrid.
      I think John was half hoping he'd change his mind but we all knew how much in love Stuart and Astrid were and, really, Stuart was more artist than musician. Astrid had made him a studio in the top room of her mother's house and he'd been accepted as a student by the art college in Hamburg. It looked then as if Stuart's future was secure.
      When John and the Beatles returned to Hamburg in April that year they were expecting Stuart to meet them at the airport for a riotous reunion. Instead, Astrid was waiting alone, pale and red-eyed with terrible news. Stuart had died two days before. He was just 21 years old.
      We couldn't believe it. We'd known that Stuart suffered from headaches, probably dating from the time he was attacked in Bootle with John, but we had no idea how ill he really was. Apparently, months earlier when the rest of the boys returned to Liverpool, Stuart had become more and more unwell. Finally on April 10 he'd collapsed as he worked at a canvas in the studio Astrid had created for him.
      He was rushed to hospital, Astrid cradling his head on her knee in the ambulance, but there was nothing they could do. He died later that day of a massive brain haemorrage.
      John was very, very upset. So was I. Life had already taught us that parents could die but now to loose someone our own age was very hard. For John, who cared deeply for Stuart, it was another kick in the teeth. Was he to loose everyone who mattered? I'm told that for a while afterwards he became more aggressive and crazy than ever. At home with me we clung together for comfort, wondering what would happen next.
      Compared with the tragedy of Stuart, the following misfortunes were trivial, but just as devastating to our lives. First I failed the exams for which I'd worked so long and so hard. Then, on the very same day the results arrived, I learned that I was pregnant.
      Phyllis' woman doctor was not sympathetic. In fact she gave me a rollocking.
      "You've been totally irresponsible Miss Powell," she snapped. "If you couldn't excercise self control at least you could have taken precautions."
      I was too shocked and confused to reply. What was the point of explaining I knew nothing of precautions. In those days Phyl and I were totally naive. We hadn't the first idea about contraception and only a hazy knowledge of how pregnancy occurred. We never gave it a thought.
      The horror was almost too great to take in. My mother was in Canada, John was away. I had no job, no money and I couldn't go back to college and re-sit my exam now. My dreams of becomming an art teacher were well and truly shattered.
      In a daze I plodded back to the waiting-room where Phyllis sat anxiously. She could see from my face that the news wasn't good. Quickly she guided me out onto the street.
      "I'm pregnant," I told her dully.
      Phyllie was shocked too. She didn't know what to say.
      "What are you going to do, Cyn?" she asked at last. "How will you manage?"
      I shrugged. "I don't know."
      For a while I tried to ignore the problem. The difficulties were almost too great to contemplate. I didn't look pregnant and, apart from the morning sickness, I didn't feel pregnant. I tried to pretend it wasn't happening. But no matter how I tried to squash them down, the rebellious thoughts kept resurfacing.
      How am I going to break it to John? How will he react? What if this wrecks his future? It would be so awful if this ruined his chances just at the moment the Beatles seemed to be going from strength to strength.
      The thoughts went round and round until I felt I'd go mad. Fortunately I didn't have too long to wait until John came home. There was no way I could give him such devastating news in a letter. It would have to be in person.
      A couple of weeks later John arrived. His jaunty footsteps came clattering up the stairs two at a time, then the door opened, and there he was with his Liverpool Echo, his cigarettes and a big packet of fish and chips. He looked so happy.
      He was obviously planning a romantic dinner and one of the cosy evenings we enjoyed so much. Just the two of us.
      Normally I would have run into his arms but now m dreadful news held me back. I didn't know how to put it, how to soften the blow.
      ""John," I said quickly, "I've been to the doctor with Phyl and I've been told I'm expecting."
      The smile faded from John's face. He stared at me as if waiting for the punch line, the reassurance that it was a bad joke. It didn't come and as the words sunk in I saw the colour literally drain from his cheeks. He went white. The next moment his arms were around me and he was hugging me tight.
      "Well, Cyn," he said, "we'll have to get married."
      We clung together silently for a long time. Then suddenly another thought struck.
      "Oh my God," said John, pulling away. "I must go and tell Mimi." In the early days the boys had to put their own make-up on before going on stage.  That's Brian Epstein grinning in the background, who so kindly came to our rescue when John and I needed somewhere to stay
      This awesome task was even more worrying than the pregnancy itself. Predictably, Mimi hit the roof. She shouted and screamed at him. "You've ruined your life!" she yelled. "You've ruined your future. If you get married I won't come to the wedding. I'll have nothing to do with you. You're on your own!"
      John came back very upset and subdued. Our problems seemed enormous and insoluble. It felt as if the whole world was against us. We held each other tight like two babes in the wood. My mother was thousands of miles away. Where could we go from here?
      Fortunately, Brian Epstein came to our rescue. Brian, who worked in his father's record shop, had recently come into our lives. He must have been in his mid-twenties then, and though he was very good at his job he wanted something more. He'd dreamt of becoming an actor but hadn't quite made it and now he was looking for another outlet for his energy and imagination.
      Gradually he noticed that young people kept coming into his shop and asking for anything by this group he'd never heard of - the Beatles. Intrigued, he asked where they played and, told they were often to be found at the Cavern, he slipped away one lunchtime to watch them.
      I wasn't there that session but apparently Brian was overwhelmed by the music and the effect it had on the fans. He thought the boys were fantastic and potentially very exciting and although he'd never managed a pop group in his life, he decided there and then to sign them up.
      The boys were as impressed by Brian as he was by them. With his smart suit, neat hair and businesslike manner he seemed much older than them and not their type at all, but they were delighted that a proper businessman was actually interested in taking them on.
      As for me, I thought they were very lucky. I liked Brian immediately. He was an absolute gentleman. very thoughtful, caring and genuine. He had class.
      Soon he was inextricably part of our lives and, naturally, after breaking the news to Mimi, the next person John informed was Brian.
      "I don't know where to begin or what to do," John said at the end of the sorry tale. "We've got Cyn's room but..."
      "There's no way you and Cyn are going to stay in that room with a baby," Brian interrupted. "I've got a flat near the college. It's furnished and I hardly ever use it. You and Cyn can get married and move in there."
      He was incredibly sympathetic and he organised everything for us. He got a special licence so that we could get married quickly. He booked the registry office, laid on a car to collect me and he even arranged the wedding breakfast. All John had to do was buy the ring and turn up.
      I was relieved that everything was being sorted out but there was still one problem, one important person who muct be told. My mother. My mum had been knitting feverishly in Canada and sending me parcels, and John's Aunt Mimi gave us the non-woolen outfits
      Mum had been saving up for a week's holiday in England so that she could spend time with me. By coincidence she arrived a couple of weeks before the wedding.
      I knew I'd have to tell her but I just couldn't find the courage. We spent a few days looking round the shops, having meals tgether and of course she came to visit my little bedsit. I'd swapped rooms since she left and was now installed in a slightly larger bedsit along the corridor. It was light and airy but Mum shook her head over the room's meagre furnishings.
      "Oh dear, this is terrible," she said glancing critically at the tatty curtains and crumbling rug. "I'll go back to the salerooms and get you a decent carpet and some good pots and pans.
      Oh, crikey. I thought. Of course this would have been a good moment to tell her about Brian and the flat and the baby but a happy glint had come into Mum's eye at the prospect of another forage round the salerooms and I couldn't find the words to spoil her fun.
      A couple of days later she was back in triumph, accompanied by a van containing a beautiful Indian carpet in red with only a few holes in it, some matching lampshades, pots and pans and various odments of china.
      She set to work at once, rearranging everything, totally content. Under her deft fingers the little room was soon transformed and she sat back to look at it, very pleased with her handiwork.
      It was now or never. I knew that. She was going back to Canada the next day. "Mum," I began unhappily, "something terrible's happened. I've been to the doctors and I'm pregnant."
      She stared at me, unable to take in my words. "It's all right," I rushed on, "we're getting married. It's all arranged. Next week."
'The wedding was a bizarre affair. John, Paul and George were nervous and everytime the registrar asked John and me a question the pneumatic drill would start up again'
      Mum sat down heavily on the nearest chair. "Next week? I'll have to cancel my ticket."
      I shook my head. There was no point in her staying. The wedding was to be very small, a formality really. It didn't make sense to waste her expensive ticket.
      She didn't like it but in the end I persuaded her to go back to Canada as arranged. After all, she'd do much better to start saving for another visit when the baby arrived. Reluctantly she agreed and it wasn't long before a series of lumpy little parcels started arriving through the post. Mum's over enthusiasm, besides salerooms, was knitting.
      The wedding, as it turned out, was a bizarre affair. I'd done my best. I put up my hair in a french pleat, I bought a new suit in a fine purple and white check and I wore it with the white blouse that Astrid had given me all those months ago. I looked smart, if not bridal, as I splashed off through the rain to the car Brian had sent.
      It wasn't exactly a big do. Mimi of course was boycotting it so besides John, Paul and George there was only Brian, my brother Tony and his wife Marjorie.
      We've none of us been very good at ceremonies and the boys were nervous. They kept combing their hair and straightening their ties and shuffling their feet. The registrar was so solemn he looked as if he was presiding over a funeral and every time he asked John and me a question, the pneumatic drill would start up again, drowning our words. It happened so many times we began to get hysterical.
      During one ear-splitting blast John and I exchanged helpless glances. I could see the laughter in his eyes and I struggled to keep my face straight. Paul's shoulders were shaking, my brother Tony was fighting to get his expression under control and George turned away with a fit of pretend coughing.
      Somehow John managed to slip a gold band on my finger, the ceremony ended and then we were running outside to collapse in giggles. I daresay we didn't take it as seriously as we should have done but we were little more than children - and somehow it was very, very funny. After Brian hawked the beatles' work round a number of record companies, they wound up with producer George Martin
      Laughing and joking we went on to Reece's cafe, a popular shoppers' haunt where the waitresses had little white hats and pinnies and there was a set lunch of roast chicken with all the trimmings followed by fruit salad. There was no wine or alcohol of any kind so we toasted each other with water.
      After lunch, John and I went back to the bedsit to move my stuff over to Brian's flat. Then while I arranged our home, John dashed off to Mimi's to collect his things and pick up a few bits and pieces we needed. A couple of hours later he staggered back with a present for me. A coffee table with a top of beaten copper.
      We stood it in pride of place in the centre of out new sitting room
      Despite the circumstances of the wedding we were still in love and it was wonderful to be able to live together at last. Once he'd got over the shock John was even pleased about the baby. He couldn't get over the fact that he was going to be a father.
      Years later he said something in an interview which was to hurt me very much. He told Playboy magazine: "Julian was born out of a bottle of whisky on a Saturday night." John was with Yoko Ono then but I was still offended and so was Julian. It was so untrue. I could tell that John said it to impress the interviewer but it still hurt. For a start we didn't even drink whisky in those days but the worst part was the implied denial of our love. We were very much in love and very happy - Julian truly was a love child.
      But of course that was all in the future. At the time we settled down to married life.
      Brian's flat was in a rough part of town but inside it was lovely. We had a sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The only problem was that we shared the entrance hall with the flat upstairs, so I might walk out of the bedroom in my nightie one morning and meet someone coming downstairs. Still, at first it was only a tiny inconvenience.
'John was easy to please. His favourite meal at the time was Vesta Beef Curry followed by a banana sandwich and even I could manage that'
      John was a typical northern male of the time. He didn't do much about the house but then being a typical northern girl I didn't expect him to. I was happy enough battling with the washing and ironing and teaching myself to cook. I'm afraid I wasn't much good in the kitchen but fortunately John was easy to please. His favourite meal at the time was Vesta Beef Curry - a dehydrated powder to which you just added water - followed by a banana sandwich and even I could manage that.
      One evening, soon after the wedding, I was standing at the stove stirring yet another Vesta curry when John came in with a short, skinny young man whose small, square hands flashed oddly in the light. I peered closer and saw that he was wearing a ring on every finger - an unusual habit in Liverpool.
      "This is Ringo," said John. "He's going to be our drummer."
      Pete Best, theirr previous drummer, had recently left the group. Despite his good looks and skill on the drums he'd never really fitted in with the other boys. While John, Paul and George laughed and joked and swopped witty repartee, Pete sat silently on the edge, quiet, thoughtful and on a different wavelength altogether.
      Ringo in contrast wasn't handsome and at the time I didn't consider he was a brilliant drummer but they didn't need a brilliant drummer. They needed a good beat provided by someone compatible. Ringo was perfect. Very Scouse and down to earth, he was a natural clown and he made a great fall guy for the rest of them. The first time John and I heard the boys' music coming out of the radio instead of the Cavern it was almost too thrilling to take in!
      "Hello, Ringo," I said, tearing my eyes away from the glittering rings and giving the curry another stir. I was a bit embarrassed about that curry. The portions weren't large, I didn't think I could stretch the meal to three and there was no other food in the house.
      Ringo was embarrassed too. He didn't know what to say to me. I was from Hoylake so he probably thought I was posh, and I was also John's wife so he didn't want to make a bad impression. He declined my offer of a sandwich and sat there politely with a cup of tea while John and I ate our meal. It was all a bit starchy and I don't think I was ever to see Ringo so subdued again.
      In fact Ringo joined the group at a very good time. They were now well known in Liverpool and getting plenty of gigs. John and Paul were writing a lot of songs and Brian hawked their work round a few record companies. Eventually they ended up with producer George Martin.
      "They're not brilliant," George told Brian, "but we can do something with them."
      It wasn't long before John was racing home clutching their first single Love Me Do. Excitedly we put it on the record player and sat down to listen to it. I was surprised to hear a very different kind og Beatles to the Beatles I'd heard in Hamburg. This was a commercial sound and to be honest I'd heard them play better but it didn't matter. They had a recording contract, their record was climbing the charts and it was so exciting.
      Soon afterwards the record was on the radio. We couldn't believe it. To hear the music coming out of the radio instead of the Cavern, to know that it was being listened to all over the country was almost too thrilling to take in. We hugged each other in elation. John had always wanted to be famous and now it really looked as if he might get his wish.
      Love Me Do reached number 17 in the charts and to capitalise on its success the boys began to tour endlessly. John was often away, arriving home from time to time with suitcases full of shirts for me to wash and iron.
      The most difficult part as far as I was concerned was that John had to pretend he wasn't married. It was thought that the fans might react badly to a married pop star and since we didn't want to kill off a promising career before it started, Brian explained we must pretend John was single.
      I wasn't hurt. After all I'd done everything I could to help John in the past, from holding microphones on broomsticks at early gigs to noting down song lyrics from records to pad out their Hamburg sessions. I wasn't about to change now. But it wasn't easy. The Liverpool fans were very canny and they remembered me from the Cavern.
'The more pregnant I looked, the more curious my questioners became. After all, if I really was an ordinary expectant housewife, where was my husband?'
      I'd be walking down the street with my shopping bag, obviously pregnant and before I'd gone very far some young girl would stop me. "Are you married to John?" she'd ask eyeing my bulge suspiciously. "Are you having a baby?" John had always wanted fame and now it seemed he might get his wish.  He didn't have long to wait
      "I think yo've got the wrong person," I'd reply, trying to hurry past.
      But the fans were persistant: "You're Cynthia, aren't you?"
      "Never heard of her," I'd lie, before fleeing into the nearest shop.
      I disguised the pregnancy for as long as I could. John had bought me a beautiful leather waistcoat from Germany which I was able to expand and expand but in the end it couldn't cover my bump and the more pregnant I looked, the more curious my questioners became. After all, if I really was an ordinary expectant housewife, where was my husband?
      I hardly liked to bother John with these troubles on the rare occasions he did get home. Those moments were too precious to waste. Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand followed Love Me Do in quick succession and the excitement and clamour for the Beatles' music was tremendous. The boys were working almost non-stop. Us in 1963.  It was reaching the stage by then when we would soon be unable to go out together in the streets
      Unknown to us then it was reaching the stage where we would be able to go out together in the streets, but one of the last ordinary trips we made was to Aunt Mimi's house.
      I can't bear animosity between families and one bright sunny day when John was home I said suddenly, "Why don't we go to see Mimi? Let's make it up."
      John wasn't keen. He wanted to see his aunt but he was still angry that she hadn't come to the wedding or supported him when he needed it. Nevertheless I managed to persuade him and we jumped on the bus to Mimi's semi.
      We were a little nervous. After all, she might still reject us. But when she answered the door Mimi was clearly delighted. She opened her arms wide and invited us in as if nothing had happened. Soon the inevitable eggs, bacon and chips were spluttering on the stove and John and I were walking round the pretty garden.
      John had forgotten his former doubts and he looked really happy and relaxed.
      "Isn't it lovely here," he said strolling across the neat lawn. "Our flat's nice," he explained over his shoulder to Mimi who'd joined us, "but it's rough round there and there's no garden."
      "Well why don't you come and live with me?" said Mimi, seizing the opportunity.
      I was horrified. Mimi meant well but she wasn't an easy woman. Despite his unplanned start, Julian arrived well provided for
      "This house is too big for me now," she went on. "I could make the top floor into a self-contained flat and you two could have the ground floor and the garden."
      I began searching for some tactful response but John cut in. he thought it was a wonderful idea.
      "Yes, Cyn. I don't like to think of you in that flat by yourself - especially when you nearly lost the baby."
      I couldn't argue. A few weeks before, the doctor had sent me to bed for three days to avoid a threatened miscarriage. John, who'd been on the road at the time, was very worried. He didn't think I should be on my own.
      By the end of the afternoon the decision was made and shortly afterwards my belongings were on the move again to Mimi's house. As I'd guessed, it wasn't easy. It was months before Mimi finally got round to creating her upstairs flat and, in the meantime, we got under each other's feet.
      When John was there Mimi was fine but when he was away she could be moody and sharp-tongued and in my over-sensitive pregnant state I frequently retired hurt. Admittedly on good days she helped me with my cooking and taught me to make apple pie but, on balance, it wasn't a happy arrangement.
      Oddly, as it turned out, it was Phyl and not Mimi who was on hand to help when the labour started.
      It was a bright Saturday early in April 1963 and Phyl wanted to go shopping. I was feeling a little strange as if something might happen, but the doctor had told me I probably had another two weeks to go so I thought it would be all right.
      Anyway we took the bus to Penny Lane - which was a suburban centre lined with small shops and the odd boutique as we called them then. We mooched about lloking at baby clothes and giggling over the fashion garments that were impossibly small for me in my pregnant state. Phyl was just trying on a pair of shoes when I started getting these terrible stomach pains. They went off quite quickly but a few minutes later, there they were again.
      "Phyl, I think we'd better get back to Mimi's," I said when I could catch my breath. "I think something might be happening."
      Back in my room we didn't know what to do for the best. The pains would go off for a while and then when I least expected it they'd come back.
      "I think I'd better stay the night," Phyl said kindly. "Just in case."
      The evening passed and we went to bed but by two in the morning the pains were back with a vengeance. By now it was unbearable. Another milestone in my life that I felt I had to record... and what an experience that was!  Poor Phyl, throwing on nothing more than a dressing gown to accompany me in the ambulance to hospital, was then left to find her own way home
      "You'll have to phone an ambulance, Phyl," I gasped.
      Phyl began to panic. She was running around in her nightie, hair full of rollers, looking for the phone.
      "What's the number? What's the number?" she called, fingers scrabbling with the dial. "Oh, yes. 999."
      I heard her spelling out Mimi's address and soon afterwards the ambulance arrived. I picked up m pre-packed bag, Phyl dragged on her dressing gown and off we went in the ambulance without a glimpse of Mimi the whole time. She didn't emerge from upstairs. Perhaps she slept through the whole thing.
      At the hospital I was put in a wheelchair and whisked off to the maternity ward but Phyl was stopped at the door.
      "Come back at visiting time," she was told firmly.
      Poor Phyl. It was three in the morning and there she was in her rollers, dressing gown and slippers with not a penny in her pocket and no means of getting home.
      "Can I go back in the ambulance?" she asked.
      "No way," they told her, scandalised. "The ambulnce isn't for ferrying people around."
      So Phyl had to walk out into the Liverpool night and try to flag down a taxi. Dozens ignored her, looking as she did like an escapee from a mental home, but eventually one sympathetic cabbie picked her up and allowed her to owe him the fare.
      Up in the ward I'd embarked on a long, long labour. I was put next to another girl who was also having a difficult time. We were both given gas and air which made me groggy but caused her to flip completely.
      Suddenly I heard her say, "I'm going home to mother." There was a rustling from her bed. "I can't stand it," she added, "I'm going..." and then this bulky thing in a white nightie rushed past me and disappeared down the ward. I think they had quite a job getting her back.
      Julian was finally born at 6 am on Monday April 8. It was a harsh experience. By then I was so exhausted I didn't think I could go on.
      "If you don't push harder your baby will die," they tld me brutally.
      I did the best I could but Julian finally came into the world with the aid of forceps. When Julian finally arrived I was besotted.  John was on tour but managed a fleeting visit on the third day
      He was 6lb 8oz and absolultely gorgeous. I was completely besotted. I couldn't get over the size of his little hands. Such miniature perfection was breathtaking. The only minor blemish was a mole on his head with hair growing out of it. Being a typical first time mum I was embarrassed by this. I kept him in bonnets for a long time until his hair grew and covered it completely.
      It was three days before John was able to visit his son. He'd been phoning Mimi's every night to see how I was and she'd given him the good news. Flowers arrived but for three days I had to sit there on my own watching the other proud dads coming in, until the Beatles' tour came close enough to allow John a fleeting trip to Liverpool. I understood, of course, but at times I couldn't help feeling a pang.
      But on the third day it was all forgotten when the ward doors burst open and in swept John, black peaked cap pulled down over one eye, leather coat flying. Everyone stared and John stared back.
      "You're going to have a private room," he said giving me a hug. Then he looked at the babyand he was over the moon. He couldn't get over the fact that this tiny little creature was his son. He picked him up in awkward hands and stared down into the impassive little face. It was a miracle.
      We'd already decided that if the baby was a girl she would be called Julia after John's late mother. A boy was to be John Charles (after my father) Julian. In the end two Johns proved confusing, my eldest brother was already Charles, so the baby became Julian.
      Brian presented us with the most beautiful Silver Cross pram - a real classy affair in pale grey - the sort you saw nannies pushing around Hyde Park. I'd bought a carry cot and a crib, Mum had knitted endless woollies and Mimi had contributed the non-woolen outfits. So, despite his unplanned start, Julian arrived well provided for.
      A week after his birth, I took him home to learn how to be a mother and John went on holiday to Spain. Brian presented us with a classy Silver Cross pram, the sort you saw nannies pushing in Hyde Park
      Over the years this holiday has been misinterpreted as proof that John didn't care, but in fact it wasn't like that at all. John had been working incredibly hard. he hadn't had a break since Hamburg and was exhausted.
      "Cyn, I'm absoloutely knackered," he told me. "Brian's going off on holiday to Spain for a week. Would you mind if I went with him? If you don't want me to I won't go."
      What could I say? I truly didn't mind. I was worn out myself after the birth and knew I would be too busy getting settled in with the baby to have much time for John. I was breast-feeding so there was nothing he could do. A quiet spell during which I could sort myself out uninterrupted seemed like a good idea. So I said yes, Johnwent off to Spain and he came back a week later, refreshed, very happy and everything was fine.
      And in fact I didn't have too long to wait for a wonderful break of my own. As the months passed, Julian began to sleep through the night and he graduated to a bottle so, if necessary, someone else could take care of him.
      "First break I get we'll ave our honeymoon," John promised.
      The Beatles were doing really well now so the problem wasn't finding the money, it was finding the time. Eventually there was a gap in their engagements. Mum, who'd returned from Canada, babysat Julian, and John whisked me away for a long weekend in Paris.
      It was absoloutely wonderful - sheer joy for both of us. A limousine drve us smoothly to the airport. Another limousine whispered us to the elegant George V hotel and we were escorted to a beautiful suite with a marble bath complete with gold taps - a luxury I'd never come across before. Downstairs we ate the finest foods on the menu and afterwards we wandered the romantic streets of Paris hand in hand.
      John had money to spend and he wanted to spend it on me. He bought me a chic grey coat, a white fur hat, a leather skirt and Chanel No 5. We went to the Louvre, we went to Montmartre, we walked along the ambankment. It was magical.
      Then one day we got back to the hotel and found a message for us from Astrid. We hadn't seen her since that terrible time when Stuart died but now by coincidence she was staying with a girlfriend in a Paris bedsit.
      Delighted to hear from our old friend we arranged a meeting and the four of us went out on the town. It was just like the old days in Hamburg. We stayed up all night in the meat market in Montmartre, chattering, laughing and having a fantastic time. I was so happy for John and we were very much in love in the early years of the Beatles' success.  Here we are at a literary lunch.  I wasn't to know at that time how everything was going to change
      Then we rolled back to Astrid's room and consumed more plonk until at last, the four of us fell exhausted into bed together. It was totally non sexual. We were so far gone we just flaked out on the bed. John on the outside, the three women in the middle, and slept for hours.
      It was to be the last time I saw Astrid for many years and it made a wonderful end to our honeymoon.
      On the way home, cuddled up together in the back of the chauffer-driven limousine, John and I discussed our future.
      "I think," said John, "It's time we moved down south and got a place of our own."
NEXT WEEK: We renovate our
first home, a mansion in Weybridge.
I go on the Beatles' US tour. We
dabble in drugs, and John changes.
Yoko Ono appears.

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