MSWP (& FEP) diaries

Diary, 1939

by Mary S.W. Pollard

 

Key

NB If a name is not listed in the key the person concerned has not yet been identified.

1888–92

1893–95

1896–98

1897 (FEP)

1896–99

1899–1900

1901

1903

1904 (with FEP)

1904–07

1907–10

1911

1910–15

1915–20

1920–22

1922–26

1926–29

1930–36

1936–37

1938

1939

1940

1941–42

1942–46

1946–52

1950–58

1958–61

Mary S.W. Pollard diaries | 1939

January

1st. Sunday

2nd.

C. and I for day to London to shop. She returned home, but I met F., Rob., B. and Ruthie at ‘Vega’ and after v. good meal we went to see "Geneva" by Bernard Shaw. V. good and tho’ solid, very amusing. Good 4/6 seats. I was tired. F. and I got home about 1.0 a.m. and had a cosi-cab. Just before Xmas R. and B. moved to 47 Barton Rd., W14. A pity they had to leave their pretty flat as it was too dear without Leonard’s help.

5th.

A German refugee boy arrived in evening—Wolfgang Weyl—17½. Comes from Frankfurt—mother a Dr. He would probably have been sent to concentration camp had he not got here before he was 18.

6th.

C. went to London to stay till Sunday evening for 2 dances, at Mathiesons etc. F. and I to Meeting for S. I shopped a little in aft. and got back in time to put children to bed while Marg. and Reg. and Wolf. went to cinema.

7th.

Wolf. after tea went to Ibbersons as we will be full when C. and Ruthie are both here.

8th. Sun.

Rowland was in bed feverish yesterday and to-day. I looked after him while M. and Reg. went to meeting. C. back in evening—dances glorious.

9th.

Dales went in morning, tho Rowland not v. well yet.

Play Hour treat in evening—great success. About 28 children altogether. Wolf. came back in morning.

11th.

C., W. and I by bus to Tilehurst to look at houses. None suitable. I have looked at a lot lately.

12th.

Caro went back to school directly after dinner. W. saw her off.

13th.

W. to London to put ‘Israel’ on passport. Evening he, F. and I to ‘Pinafore’ in Palmer Hall. Excellently done and most enjoyable. Ruthie came home just before we went.

14th.

Horrid misty day—F. to Oxford to discuss progressive parties with people asked by Master of Baliol. W., Ruthie and I by 12.0 bus to Tadley. Sandwiches in bus. Rather dreary, for cottage cold. Nice tea, then home.

15th. Sun.

Royal College Singers. 5 of them. V. good singing, but a bit dull.

16th.

Robert’s birthday, first since his marriage.

17th.

American tea at W.L.A. Jolly. I had Miss Dick, Miss Bilson and Miss Edginton and they did enjoy my home-made cakes and scones!! Morning decided to buy a small Austin 7 tourer 1932 (NG1378?) for £20.17.0. 7 horse power.

18th.

The car came (from Collyer, Blue Garage, Earley) and I drove it with him quite easily to Earley and back, not finding the different gears very hard. I bought it, and am getting insured in the Phoenix Co. Have got garage at Mrs. Gilkes round corner in Warwick Rd. for 4/- weekly. Chose new covers for chairs with Ella. In evening felt poorly—F. and W. out. Took temp. 100 so went to bed.

19th.

In bed all day. Alice v. attentive.

20th.

Heard of Lucy’s death on Wed. last. V. sorry. She was so loveable. In bed till dinner. Also heard that Caro has influenza and a very bad throat. It is dreadful.

21st.

Frank started before our breakfast to go to funeral at Weston s. Mare. Heard from Mrs. King that C. so poorly temp 102 , so I telephoned from Ella’s. Slightly better. Dr. coming every day. Ruth home in aft. She went to Dr. about her gland. Has to have fresh air (impossible in her present work) and take cod liver oil and malt.

23rd.

F. and I drove to Erleigh. I got on badly at first, as the car is absolutely different from last year’s—much easier really. The snow looked exquisite at first.

25th.

I took Wolfgang to the cinema to see Shaw’s "Pygmalion". V. good, but it was awful getting there for there has been more snow in Reading than I’ve ever seen and now it is melting and it is difficult to get along. Trains so late that F. didn’t get back from London till ¼ to 5.0. so we didn’t go to Music Club concert.

26th.

F., Wolf. and I to repertory (amateur) to see Drinkwater’s "A Man’s House". It was very good indeed and particularly appropriate as it is all about Jews and the coming of Christ.

27th.

F. and I to the Duncans in Kendrick Road to tea. Rosamund there. They are very nice. Wonderful cake like a doll—the pink almond icing done to resemble a crinoline!

28th.

To Madame Prender’s. F. and W. to a lecture on Lachish, City of Judah. Took Ruth in car to Sonning to see the floods, which are tremendous owing to the melting of the snow. I think it was last night or thereabouts that ‘Alice’ got the key and came in after we had gone to bed—said she had been locked out of her room. Let her sleep in her clothes on C’s bed. Next day went to see landlady—found she hadn’t been in those lodgings since before Xmas and got a very poor character of her. F. and I talked to her. She won’t go back to Scotland but is going to "sleep in" and got a place at our landlord’s almost at once.

30th.

Put washing off and arranged a nice lunch, for Mrs. Mathieson and her daughter Joan were going to motor Caro all the way here, as she is not well enough to come by train. 1.30 arrived and as F. had a Committee we began. They arrived about 2.15, having been 1½ hours getting through the floods at Maidenhead. It really was dreadful. They were very nice, but had to leave almost at once after lunch. I paid them 10/- for petrol. It was kind of them to come all this way. I put C. to bed directly afterwards and she gradually, but very slowly, improved. Is only 7 st. 4. Thinks Dr. was afraid of pneumonia as her breathing was very bad. W. helped to look after her.

 

February

3rd.

Missed M. for Sufferings. V. good document on National Service.

4th.

C., Ruth, W. and I to cottage, but did not stay there any length of time. I drove back, and C. said I drove well. Alice really left to-day, but is kindly coming to do the dinner to-morrow. I shall miss her greatly, for really (except that she is untidy and not very truthful etc., she and I have got on well, and she makes all the bread and does lots of things without being asked and really cooks well, but I’ve had to teach her a lot.

6th.

Mrs. Bunce, my new maid came, but went home ill and was very ill with gastric influenza.

7th.

My birthday. F. gave me anemones, and hot water jug, M. fudge she had made, R. and B. 4 books, C. and Ruthie a handkerchief and a ‘ceanotus’ for the cottage—later I got one or two other things and a huge Fuller’s cake from Bowes with little soldiers on it!! I was very busy, as Karlin came to lunch. C. took W. in car to Henley. Karlin played beautifully. We all, K. and F. included went to Healas’s to tea.

8th.

Caro had to go back to school, tho’ hardly fit. Unhappily I annoyed her with something I said about W. and she would hardly speak to me. She does rather spoil him! And Ruthie does a bit too, but not as much! W. and I saw her off at 2.30 and I brought the car back. It is being garaged at Mrs. Gilkes’s in Warwick Rd. In evening F. and I to wonderful concert, "Grinke Trio".

9th.

W. has got on my nerves, so I left dinner prepared to F. and him, and went by 9.57 to London. Had a lovely time with M. and the children and after they were in bed, as Reg. was in, she and I went to Barton Rd. to see R. and Beatrice. She is just recovering from influenza but looked lovely in a semi-evening brown silky dress and the flat is charming. Had a cup of tea. I caught 9.25 home.

10th.

Took W. in car to see a house in Luckmore Drive. Delightful house but rather far away.

11th.

W. and I in aft. to cottage. He sawed wood. Back to tea. Ruthie to supper; had been to see John.

13th.

Charwoman for 2 hrs. in aft. First help I’ve had, except that F. and W. help and F. is so good doing the fires.

14th.

Sunny, but cold. We gave W. 2/6 and told him to get dinner in town and go to cinema and F. and I started in car about 9.45 and I drove him to Guildford. Felt rather nervous at first, but got on well. Went thro’ Camberley. Got there about 11.15. Evie has had influenza and looks very far from well, but it was lovely to see her and Ernest and Eliz. and Jancis (Elsa has had to move as Bobby gone bankrupt). The garden quite pretty with crocuses etc and kind Ernest gave me some plants. Left after 12.0—stopped en route to eat sandwiches. Came back by Bracknell. Longest drive I have been and perhaps I was overtired—anyway I failed to stop car in garage and went ahead and broke some asbestos—fortunately it was not a brick wall, but it was humiliating, for I had driven well. Mrs. Gilkes v. nice about it and car not hurt.

15th.

Liberal Annual Meeting—women’s business first. I’m on committee again. Frank made a capital speech on current affairs—one of his best. Nice refreshments and Mrs. Kirk had got up an excellent entertainment—singing, playing, mandolin etc. She sang herself in part songs and looked so nice.

16th.

F. to Woodbrooke. I took him at 10 mins to 1.0 to station—cyclists and traffic appalling.

17th.

W. and I in aft. to cottage. I planted things. Back in time for tea.

18th.

Charwoman in morning. Had advertized for maids and interviews several. Am thankful Alice and her horrid cigarettes have gone and am trying to make everything clean.

19th. Sun.

Lovely and sunny, so because of Ruth’s bad gland I took her in car (instead of Meeting) to near Padworth where the snowdrops looked exquisite, enormous ones and masses of them. Had to hurry back because I had dinner to do, so came along Basingstoke Rd. sometimes at 40 miles! Aft. F. and I called on Rawlinges to ask after Mr. R.

20th.

Book Club at Muriel Stevens’s on the "Thames". V. interesting. Mrs. Burrow brought us back in taxi.

21st.

Mr. Rawlings died this morning. It is a mercy really, but he will be missed, and he has been so kind and good and I shall miss the sketching club. I am very sorry for them. Marjory is here! I went down in evening and saw Janet and Mrs. R., both pretty calm, but it was rather trying.

My new daily maid Freda Strong came. She comes 7.30–5.30, 15/- weekly minus insurance. She is 17½, tall and lives at Spencer’s Wood. Has an excellent character—was kitchenmaid at Loddon Court. It’s a relief to have a tidy person in uniform again.

22nd.

Concert, Irene Baker v. good singer and Jane Harvey Webb, cellist.

23rd.

F. went to Sibford after early lunch and is going on to a conference on National Service (what Friends should do) at Jordans. Wolfgang and I had "Trier" another German refugee to supper.

24th.

Mr. Rawlings’s funeral at 2.30. Only at graveside. V.W. Alexander read from ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, Char. Terrell spoke and C.I. Evans. V. nice. Robert there (executor) and Wilfrid Sparkes and Leila. Some of us went on to Rawlingses and had some tea. Caro and Ruthie arrived after 7.0 and we had supper 7.30 and then Robert left. Lovely to see him.

25th.

Cold and dreary, but C. W. and R. started at 10.30 for cottage with quantities of luggage and picked up ‘Birdie’ (Nightingale) on the way. It poured most of the day unfortunately. I revelled in having a quiet, easy time and played the piano etc.

26th. Sun.

Nice and sunny, but cold. I told Freda she need not come, so I had a good night and got up late, did fires, had breakfast and went to meeting. Ella kindly asked me to dinner (a delicious one!) and after a short talk I came home, had a rest and read etc. then tea and then Frank arrived which was lovely. He has had a most interesting time. Ruthie arrived from the cottage at 8.30 (by bus) and says they have enjoyed it tremendously. Birdie been a great help.

27th.

Went to see Rawlingses. Freda helped quite well with the washing. Caro and W. arrived in car at 1.30 having had a v. late breakfast. They have greatly enjoyed cottage. After Play Hour C. joined me at Folk House for tea and then debate between some L.P. boys and Friends on whether a cheap free Press is a good thing—I saw her off at 8.35.

28th.

Buster Saxton on Spain. F. in London. Ruth took Wolfgang to Comedie Francaise in London. He got home late.

 

March 1939

1st.

I went to Dr. Field (in car) for electrical treatment and more syringeing. Not nice.

3rd.

Meeting for Sufferings. Aft. I went to Lyceum (it is going to be pulled down—Irving’s place!) to see "Queen of Hearts". Pantomime. Had hard seat for 2/4. V. good and amusing—wonderful juggling and dancing and sort of transformation scene, but much too long.

4th.

F. to Jordans and I drove Ruth from station in rain. Norman came. I heard Mr. Long on old houses (domestic mediaeval architecture) in Berks. Evening Norman and Ruth to dance at Univ. W. and I to party for refugees in McIlroy’s café. V. nice. I had lovely waltz with a Czecho-Slovakian! W. enjoyed dancing with an English girl.

5th. Sun.

We started in car at 10.30 for cottage. Cold, but sunny in morning. Freda prepared veg’s for us, and went home for the day. I took a choc. shape, cream etc. When we got there made bonfire, roasted potatoes in ashes, and had dinner of them, sprouts, chicken and ham roll, choc. shape and cream, outside in sun. Day disimproved. Went muddy walk. Returned home after tea, just as getting dark.

6th.

Electrical treatment, and to see Mrs. Rawlings. Felt v. tired. Play Hour and Lib. Committee.

7th.

Legs ached, found I had temp. so went to bed in aft. (101 that evening.)

8th.

Sneezed all day. Think I caught this cold from a girl at pantomime. Exhausted.

9th.

Had Dr. F. in aft. as I am sleeping so badly, and am v. deaf.

10th.

Dr. F. again. Sat in bedroom a little.

11th.

Downstairs, but v. shaky. Ruthie to Dr. in evening. Has to have operation on gland.

12th.

F. to speak at Bedford. Freda managed her first proper Sunday dinner very well. Mrs. Timms to tea.

13th.

I went short walk. R. back to London.

15th.

Ruthie came home in morning from London—went to hospital about 2.0—returned at ¼ to 5 having had the gland drained with a local anaesthetic—v. tired in evening and had breakfast in bed next few days. She was v. plucky.

17th.

W., Ruth and I to "Pirates of Penzance" at L.P. Duncan Wood splendid, but I was rather disappointed with it—others not. Caro arrived home about 7.0.

18th.

Town with C. and to electric treatment at Dr. Field’s. Telephone actually installed today, and I called up Mrs. Reynolds!!

19th. Sun.

Nice meeting. Caro went back to school after tea. Lovely visit from her.

22nd.

Dr. Field’s. R. went to hospital in morning—soon came back. Has to have the gland removed. It’s tubercular. It is dreadful.

23rd.

F. and I to F.o.R. supper and speech from Percy Bartlett.

24th.

In morning I took Ruth to Beenham in the car, and we got a few primroses and daffodils. It was lovely, tho’ cold. Mr. Coates to high tea and F. and I to hear him speak at Institute.

25th.

Not feeling well. Aft. Robert and B. arrived, and they and Ruth and I in car (R. drove) to cottage, arrived there about 4.0 and B. soon had a roaring fire and I made tea. V. jolly, but coming home it snowed hard. W. went to L.P. Sports.

26th.

Scotts to tea. After supper Rob. and I drove Ruth to Greenlands Nursing Home, and left her in a nice upstairs room with one other lady. She was rather melancholy and annoyed at sharing a room.

27th. Monday.

R. drove to station and I came back alone. Beatrice stayed all day. Ruth’s operation on her gland was done by Mr. Walker at 2.0. I rang up at 4.0 and heard it was over successfully. I had been down to see R. in the morning, but she wouldn’t see B. I went back at 7.0 and saw her again for 20 mins, but Dr. W. whom I also saw for first time told me not to stay long. She was cheerful and not feeling sick. Mr. W. said it was a deep-seated abcess v. inflamed, I think. B. went in evening. F. to Book Club. I went with B. to Play Hour, and we have now stopped for the season.

I must confess, after disliking the thought of it, I am finding the telephone very useful.

28th.

To see Ruth in aft. She was headachey and rather miserable. Wolfgang went in evening and she was better then. F. and I to "Popular Front" meeting in Small Town Hall. F. in chair. Patrick Early, charming young man, spoke well, but not v. many there. Rev. Wing praised F. and said he should be Mayor. Mrs. Kirk had coffee and sandwiches for us afterwards, and we talked to Pat. Early. One young man joined Liberal Association.

29th.

F. to London, W. also to see his mother. I went to see R. aft. and evening. I always go in car in aft.

30th.

To Dr. F. 12.15. Ruth up in aft.

31st.

F. in London. I was a delegate to N.B.W.T.A.U. County Annual meetings in Methodist church in Oxford Rd. Stayed to lunch and then went to see R. who was in the garden, then back to the meeting and home to tea at 5.0. Only fairly interesting.

 

April 1939

1st. Sat.

F. and I in aft. to archaeological. Most interesting, on Roman excavations at Colliton Park, Dorset. Stayed to tea and had a v. good one. W. went to see R. I went in evening (pouring) and had a talk with Mr. Walker. He says R. ought not to go back to office work for a long time, as she has one or two more little glands, and ought to be in the open air all the summer. Poor Ruthie. It is very distressing.

2nd. Sunday.

I went to Greenlands in aft. and brought R. home in car. She had liked having Miss Watts in the same room as she was so nice. Lovely to get R. home.

4th.

Mr. Bradbury at W.L.A. on "Russia" where he had worked for a year I think. All of us (except F.) to see "George and Margaret" in evening at Palace Theatre—felt rather bad letting R. go, but she did want to. It was very good and most amusing.

5th.

Caro came home.

6th.

C. and F. to see George and Margaret. Wolfgang went to stay with Cumbers.

7th. Good Friday.

Let Freda go home and we took the cat there. C., R. and I started in car about 10.0 for cottage. V. cold day. F. came by bus, arriving in time for dinner. Aired beds etc.

8th.

Glorious hot day. Morning cooked etc. and gardened. Aft. C. took us in car to Wasing Park (Sir. Wm. Mount’s) and we had a glorious walk past 3 lakes—saw the pretty little church all decorated for Easter Sunday—lots of primroses in the woods. Back to high tea.

9th. Sund. Easter.

C., R. and I to Pamber Priory church, but clergyman never came, so went to Pamber Parish church where we arrived very late. Aft. walked thro’ woods to Silchester—rather far for R. but lovely walk.

10th.

Aft. to Crookham. Daffodils absolutely superb—never been so fine. Back to high tea. Weather glorious.

11th.

F left by bus early as he had to go to Cornwall in aft. to see "Carchno" and stayed with Stephens’s where he arrived about 9.0 p.m. We gardened etc. and got home to tea. Had no washing done this week. W. came home in evening.

12th.

W., C. and R. to cottage.

13th.

R. came back—a French boy went there and C’s friend Molly. Lovely evening with R. F. came back from Cornwall.

14th.

Molly’s fiancé Peter went to cottage—W. came back.

15th.

W. to Ibbersons for week-end.

16th.

Sun. Caro came home in evening having had lovely time. Didn’t want to come back here!

17th.

C. met Marg. and the 2 children and brought them here to dinner. Afterwards I motored them to the cottage and stayed the night. Children sweet—bathed in sink. Rowland and I slept together. It was nice to have a real long talk with Marg. Reg. is at his home.

18th.

We took sandwiches and went to the little stream which children loved. I came home for tea, and Ruthie went out by bus for the night. Wolfgang, F. and I to Mr. and Mrs. Kirk’s for dinner. Mr. Kirk came for us and brought us back. Sumptuous dinner—nice house and garden. "John David" played ping pong with W. V. nice evening.

19th.

Ruthie came home from cottage and C. went there in aft. in car. Reg. had turned up for aft. having come with 7/6 we sent for his birthday. Reg. is going to ? for a few days. Rather sweet of him to go to cottage.

20th.

C., F. and I to Herfords for coffee. Others there. F. sang. Mr. H. played violin and a refugee played flute.

21st.

C. and I called on Mrs. Kentish Wright in her lovely old house at Emmer Green.

22nd.

Had Leonard Peto and his wife, a French boy "Christian"?, Buster Saxton and Ella to bridge, and light refreshments.

23rd.

Sunday. Aft. W. went a P.P.U. walk. All of us motored to Guildford (I drove there) and had tea with Ernest, Evie, and Mabel. Lovely visit. Garden beautiful but too wet and cold to stay out long.

25th.

F. to Q.M. at Banbury. I to W.L.A. (Social) and Townswomen’s Guild. Mr. Dewar on "Books Good and Bad".

To tea Miss Plunkett and Herr Draber. Played beautifully, Draber is a professional flautist.

26th.

C. and I in morning to cottage. Gardened. Yates came to see us about the garden. Rained later.

27th.

Gardened—Yates came and C. and I spring-cleaned far bedroom. Heavy shower in aft. Returned home to tea. Laburnum tree dead and Yates and I pushed it down and C. and I sawed it into logs. Evening some of us to see "He was born gay". I didn’t care for it much.

28th.

I to Social Service meeting. Mrs. Clements spoke very well.

29th.

Dr. Taylor’s to Book Club—"Euripides". F. good on Grecian history at that time. Scott on the literature too long. Nearly an hour. Readings. I read short passage from Trojan women.

30th. Sun.

Poured all day. Mr. Draber and Mr. Salmon, also a refugee, to tea.

 

May 1939

1st. Mon.

Caro went back to school in evening. F., Ruth and I started about 9.15 for Basingstoke. I didn’t care about driving in pouring rain, but managed alright (17 miles). Met Mar. and the 2 children about 10.30 and she and Ruth went on to "The Buck", Tregarnon Bay, St. Marryn, Padstow, Cornwall, which has been most kindly lent to us for a month by the Castles for Ruth’s sake. The children were a bit subdued, but Rosemary went to sleep on F.’s knee. They look so lovely. I had them for nearly a fortnight and they were awfully good and sweet, only the last 3 days Rosemary didn’t sleep very well. Frank was in London nearly all the week.

3rd.

Freda and I took them to the cottage and had a lovely day there. Freda did all the work, and the children and I were so happy. Freda did like the cottage.

8th.

Very fine day. George Innes on "Air Disarmament" extremely good.

10th.

Badminton with Wolfgang in evening. Last few days hot and lovely.

11th.

F. not v. well. Dreary day. He and I took children in aft. to cottage, but Rosemary v. tired. Blossom lovely. Children do love the flowers.

13th.

I left about 9.30 for Basingstoke and Cornwall—horrid leaving F. and children. They are going to be driven to Basingstoke in aft. by Rob. and B. and will meet Margaret there (returning from Cornwall) and go home. R. and B. are having their first week-end at the cottage. They did enjoy it.

I got to Padstow about 6.0 and had ½ hour there, then got bus to Constantine Bay. Ruthie met me and we walked by the cliffs to the "Buck". Sandy, who does the pumping, carrying my bag, 15 mins. "The Buck" has a glorious view and is a very nice house, cosy sitting room and very nice bedrooms, but it faces north. Next few days were very cold with any icy wind. We went very few walks as we found it tiring, but we managed to get shelter among the rocks, and it often was sunny. We watched a tiny bird (rock pipit?) making a nest in the cleft of the rocks, and scrambled down to see it, but a high tide with large waves washed it away. About the 17th or 18th the weather changed and became much warmer and we had bathes every day, once 2, sometimes in the pool and sometimes in the sea, but both were very cold. I had 2 or 3 bathes before breakfast. We read a lot and worked and slept a great deal, going to bed at 9.30 (and only putting the light on then) and getting up late. We have to do the cooking on a "cook and heat" but have an electric kettle—3 meals a day, often scones and Cornish cream for high tea. Ruth has a very good appetite. On the 20th I heard that Freda had got German measles. Poor Frank. However the Alexanders asked him and Wolfgang for 2 lunches, and F. managed to get a charwoman to help a little, but I thought it rather a good thing that I could go home on

22nd.

Ruth’s friend Trudi Wohl went to stay with her, and I left Tregarnon Bay by the 8.0 o’clock bus, R. seeing me off. We have been very happy together, but I was glad to get home about 5.0 and F. met me at Reading W. The journey was exquisite. First thing I washed my hair, and then F., W. and I (after some supper) went to a meeting against the new Conscription Bill in small Town Hall. Quite full. F. in chair, good as usual. Carl Heath and a young Mr. Spreckley spoke.

23rd.

F. to London. Merrtens lecture in evening.

24th.

Got charwoman (Mrs. Ingram) and started spring cleaning dining room. She could only stay a short time.

In evening took Florence and Smith and Wolfgang to cottage. Stuck on hill about 3 miles from Silchester. Kind man in car came to rescue (clutch had stuck) and went on to Mortimer and sent a garage man out who repaired it temporarily and we got to the cottage and had sandwiches and milk, and got back just before lighting up time—had lamps on a short time. Smith mended the gas leak!

25th.

F., Wolfgang and I to Y.M. Mrs. Ingram came and practically finished dining room while we were out. Most interesting Y.M. (F. there every day, Friends Service Council and Peace. F. very good in introducing Peace. It is difficult this year as Conscription has just been introduced. Alas, alas! First time in England in so-called Peace time. I took Reg. to lunch at Shern’s and Marie Edmundson and Leila Sparkes had tea with W. and me downstairs at F. House. Margaret came to evening session, but late, and F. and I came out to catch 8.10 train. M has just told me exciting news.

26th. Friday.

I finished off dining room. In evening went to station in car to meet C.—traffic dreadful for Whitsuntide. However she didn’t come till after 8.0 so I didn’t wait.

27th.

F. and W. to London—W. to meet his mother and to a re-union of school friends. C. and I to town. Aft. to the cottage. Lovely day. Ursula, Raymond and Barbara to tea there. Ursula back to supper. Freda came back in morning to my great joy.

28th. Sun.

F. to speak to Old Scholars at Sibford in evening. A French girl—friend of Hoylands—to dinner and tea—very nice.

29th. Whit Monday.

F. to Q.M. W. Caro and I for day to cottage, after Freda and I had done the washing and she boiled some potatoes for us. She went home. We had a lovely day—worked hard, had good dinner, cold meat, salad, pot, bananas and cream, rested and read and worked at garden and went home in late evening. C. adores the cottage and seems a bit better with the week-end’s holiday.

30th.

Ruthie arrived Basingstoke about 7.30. Caro went down in car to station for 6.30 train—F. going too to London for Ellwood rehearsal, and them and I drove W. to Basingstoke. We met R. and brought her home. She looks splendidly well but gland not quite healed yet. F. seems to be nearly living in London!

 

June 1939

3rd. Sat.

F. and R. and W. and I to cottage in aft. Muddle about key, as Ellis has been taking off the black on fireplace in sitting room. However he brought it in time for us to get tea rather late. Lovely day, but cold wind. Back to supper.

4th. Sun.

Wolfgang’s mother to spend day. She came to meeting which was a beautiful one. She is charming.

6th.

Spring cleaned drawing room.

7th.

I motored Ruthie to tea with Miss Logie at Queen Anne’s School. Elsie Harrod, Miss Watson Smith and another mistress there. Saw part of school. Tea in garden. Lovely hot day. Then we motored to Kidmore End (Gallows Tree Common) and saw Mrs. Timm’s delightful cottage.

9th.

Meeting for Sufferings. Short. Aft. I went to Margaret’s. Children in road waiting for me for about 1½ hrs.—Rowland on his tricycle, and when they saw me Rosemary flew down the hill into my arms. They are exquisite. Rowland said to M. "You mustn’t talk as I want to talk to Granny, you can talk after I’ve gone to bed." Reg. had been playing cricket match and got awful blow on temple so came home. M. to a class on Sunday School teaching in evening. Garden v. pretty.

10th.

M. seems v. tired. I left about 11.30 and F. and I met and went to R. and B’s flat to lunch. Asparagus, strawberries etc. then to Kew with them. Exquisite aft. and flowering bushes lovely. Back to supper and then to see "Quiet Wedding". It is very good and amusing. Home 12.0 train. Cab.

13th.

Cold. Ruthie and I to cottage and spring-cleaned kitchen and one bedroom. R. seemed v. tired. Home to dinner and then I put R. to bed. She had sore throat and was feverish.

14th.

Got Dr. Simmons—he says R. has "acute tonsilitis"—throat very bad indeed. However his medicines and gargles worked wonders and she soon began to improve.

Freda is working hard at spring-cleaning.

15th.

F. to Sibford Gen. Meeting and on

16th.

To Woodbrooke General Council. Stayed with Mrs. Ransome.

17th. Sat.

Freda finished stairs (she is efficient and thorough) and Mrs. Ingram did nearly all the kitchen in 3 hrs in morning. R. down to tea.

20th.

W.L.A. meeting in garden. Most successful. 17 came. F. spoke on current affairs. Rather chilly in garden but fair—weather is very cold for June. Tea v. nice. Freda did so well and I made the cakes and scones but she did sandwiches etc. all alone.

21st.

Duncans and Mr. Herford to tea.

23rd.

R. and I met Marg. and children in car at 11.30 and brought them here to dinner (salmon etc.) then at 2.30 I took them to the cottage and stayed the night.

24th.

Poured solidly nearly all day. Dreadful. I went home about 3.0 o’clock and at 5.30 F. and I, Ruth and Wolfgang left the H.R. Smiths for Book Club Excursion. Poured all the time but still v. enjoyable. Treasure Hunt. R. and W. in Miss Common’s car—F. and I with Mrs Sikes, 70–80 miles. Ended about 9.0 at H.R. Smith’s where we had supper, straws. and cream etc.

25th. Sun.

Meeting. Aft. I drove F., R and Wolfgang and myself to the cottage—fairly fine and warm in sun. Wolfgang and Rowland put in plants. Dorothy and F. Knight (and the dogs) came to tea. Children sweet. V. good tea. Children looked lovely having their bath in sink! F. W. and I gardened a lot. F. picked peas, beans and gooseberries, but former hardly ready. Arrived home about 8.15. Lots of traffic—came back by Burghfield and Bath Rd. I had pain and was sick in night.

26th.

I stayed in bed most of morning. Had to send a man from Jarvis’s with one car to take M. and children to station. Most vexing as I had meant to do it. I met them and saw them off at 3.0. F. went to Dr. Child’s funeral. R. and Wolf. to Gerry’s to supper.

27th.

W.L.A. party at Mrs. Mays. ‘Freda’ left (after finishing spring-cleaning the scullery). It is grievous for she and I have got on so well and I haven’t had such a peaceful time for ages. She can always be depended on, and cooks so well and makes such nice dishes for supper, and she keeps everything spotless. It is too bad of the housekeeper at her last place to have persuaded her to go back. I’m not going to try and get anyone else till after the holidays.

30th.

L.P. Speech Day. Mr. Castle’s report v. good and Canon Raven.

 

July 1939

1st.

Frank, W. and I started for Jordans in car, about 9.30. (Ruthie didn’t come.) Motored through Maidenhead, quite easily, but found rest of way a bit puzzling. Arrived in plenty of time for F’s rehearsal—he is taking part of Milton in one of the plays about Thos. Ellwood written by B. Saxon Snell. Lovely day and while F. was busy (we arrived about 11.30—25 miles) W. and I went to see Penn’s grave and the meeting house, and then walked 2 miles to see Milton’s house at Chalfont S. Giles which was fascinating. Tried to find way back thro’ fields and woods, got lost and arrived at Jordans at ¼ to 2.0. Picturesque scene of people in costume wandering about and having lunch. We ate our sandwiches, F. too and had some coffee. B.S. Snell and her sister had made all the costumes. We had good seats in the barn for the 4 or 5 plays and they were very charming. F. acted the blind poet extremely well and was much congratulated. Beatrice Snell said afterwards it was an "almost perfect" performance. Boys and girls from Sibford, and Saffron Walden and young Friends from London took part. Then had tea on lawn, but suddenly terrific shower. F. had to stay for evening performance (Knights brought him home) so W. and I started off in car, meaning to return by Marlow. Went wrong way and had terrific hill, and then High Wycombe, Sat. night and heaps of traffic, but I managed alright, and from Marlow it was easy. Got home 7 or 7.30.

2nd. Sund.

C., Molly Inglis and Peter (her fiancé) and Mr. Draper called in evening on way back to Woodford Green from the Cottage.

4th.

I went to Cottage.

 

Frank Pollard as Milton, Jordans, 1939

Frank Pollard as Milton, Jordans, 1939

5th.

W. and I to Institute party at H.R. Smith’s and Wallis'. Nice supper (standing) but poured most of time and perishingly cold. Addressed lots of envelopes for Mr. Darvall’s election campaign at Hythe.

7th.

M. for S. I shopped in aft. and in evening to hear Ruth Draper (8/6) began at ¼ to 9, ended after 11.0. I was tired and had to walk home from station, but she is marvellous. Did opening a bazaar, different people in a church in Italy, etc.

9th. Sun.

R. and B. and Pascalls to supper. They had been Mr. Pritt’s treasure hunt.

10th.

Cottage with F. in aft. Picked cherries, beans and peas all the time.

12th.

I motored in morning to call on Players and Mrs. Hines. V. nice. M.M. in evening.

14th.

C and Kings went to Cottage. F. and I in morning to Marg’s (I shopped on way) and in aft. we all with Reg. went to see Rowland’s sports. Given tea first. Sports most amusing. He ran pretty well, but didn’t seem to realize that he had to hurry, and he was left alone slowly threading beads! F. had to go home early. I took Rosemary back and put her to bed, and then talked to Marg. when she returned and got 9.25 home.

15th.

F., Ruth, W. and I to Q.M. at Charlbury. My longest drive, there and back 95 miles. We took 2½ hours each way—went round Oxford. Fairly nice day, but showery and cold. Picnic lunch. Q.M. not v. interesting. All of us and 16 or so others had an excellent tea at Miss Harlock’s—boiled eggs and jelly and cake, etc. 2 Davidsons spoke of their experiences in China. We left at 7.15 and got back just at lighting up time. Went via Nettlebed. Returned via Wallingford and Pangbourne.

16th. Sun.

Kings and Caro to tea. C. does not look well.

19th.

Mayor’s Party at Caversham Court. F. and I motored, but I left car outside. Poured in morning, but lovely in aft., tho’ cool. McIlroys very gracious. F. and I in launch up to Tilehurst. Good tea in marquee. Straw’s and cream, coffee ices, etc. Grounds v. pretty.

20th.

Evie and Ernest to lunch and tea. Meant to go to cottage (Ernest hasn’t been) but torrents of rain. Most disappointing, tho’ lovely to see them. I had to take car to Jarvis’, as rain came thro’ hood.

21st.

Robert acted as judge in evening for a "trial tribunal"—he was v. good. I enclose account of it, but it’s not a good one. Ended about 10.0 p.m. About 11.0 R., Beatrice, F and I packed ourselves, luggage and food in the little car and started for the cottage. It was hard to find the way in the dark, but great fun, and thrilling. We got there about 12.0, made beds, and soon went there, I in camp bed!

22nd.

Ruth to stay with "Denise" in London. Wolfgang all alone, but is spending Sunday at L. Park.

F. and I had breakfast first, then R. and B. We drove to near lake in Wasing Park, and R. B. and I had a lovely, but cold bathe. Back to dinner about 2.0. then rested in garden and went a walk thro’ wood. Late high tea 7.30.

23rd.

Gardened in morning, warm and nice, but disimproved. Drove in aft. to Emborne Mill. R. bathed. V. pretty.

24th.

Returned home about 11.0 and found Ruthie back. Rush to get dinner ready. R. and B. went home. I met the Dales in aft. with the car. We came here and W. and I went with them to cottage and then drove home again to tea. Tiring day.

25th.

F. to Cardew (Friends Peace Place in Cornwall). Caro came home in evening. Next 2 or 3 days v. tiring, shopping with girls etc., seeing over 2 houses.

28th.

Ruth started by 9.27 for Wheel Birks. I took her down to station in car. She is going to Helen Richardson’s wedding to-morrow. Her gland isn’t really healed yet. I shall miss her, for she has been so sweet, helping me splendidly. She lit the kitchen fire every day, did all the washing up, drying and heaps of ironing, and it has been far nicer for me than having a maid, except that I’ve had rather a lot to do too, but nice and peaceful.

29th.

C. started in car at 9.15 for Harrogate all alone 211 miles. I was rather anxious, especially as it was a bad day, but she telephoned in evening to say car had gone splendidly and she wasn’t too tired. Arrived there about 6.30—attending P.P.U. camp and social.

30th.

Jack Hoyland ’phoned to ask if he could stay night and arrived 9.45 p.m.

31st.

Breakfast 7.30 and Mr. Hoyland went at 8.0. Easy visitor and interesting. I did very large wash and ironing.

 

August 1939

2nd.

Aft. I went to cottage by bus to see to various things. Gardened.

3rd.

Anniversary of our wedding day. Pouring as usual. We’ve practically had no summer: except for 2 or 3 weeks it has been cold, wet and windy all the time. Gave Frank carnations from cottage.

4th.

Wolfgang, F. and I went earlyish to Euston where we met the Dales and had an engaged carriage to Windermere. W. left us at Oxenholme to go to a Friends’ Camp at Sedburgh for 10 days (we gave him £4), and then to Jack and Isabel Boag’s at Rugby. Children v. good. About 6.0 got a bus over Kirkstone, and Jeanie meet us at 7.0 and we walked up to Deepdale Hall Farm (Mrs. Wilkinson). Rosemary so tired that we put her straight to bed, but the poor wee thing got up while we were having supper, dressed herself and cried bitterly when put back to bed because she "hadn’t seen the farm". We are most comfortable, separate room for meals which are excellent, huge jug of thick cream every day for dinner, home made bread and cakes and scones, most delicious puddings etc. 7/6 a day each and children 7/6 for the two. Nice bedrooms and inside lav. but no bathroom. Fires whenever we like. It was rather cold weather at first, but fine except one day. The farm a great joy to the children especially some little puppies which Rosemary dragged about—cows, pet lamb and dogs etc. We got quite a lot of bathing all together in a lovely river pool. The children began to bathe properly, and were splendid about climbing and clambering over rocks. Caro came from the P.P.U. Camp (which she had much enjoyed) on

8th.

Colin, Merl and June to lunch. The car was quite useful on the

9th.

We went by 11.0 steamer to Bowtown—some bathed. After lunch F. C. and Reg. walked back on that side of the lake, but it began to pour. M., children and I back by steamer about 5.0 and I motored them to the farm. C. M. and R. to Jeanie’s to supper—F. and I had been before and had salmon, etc. Lovely. We see J. nearly every day and she has lent the children a jolly little car.

10th.

Rosemary poorly and feverish. Poured. Evening, F. C and I round Broster’s Water.

11th.

All but F. Rosemary and I up Boardale Hawse. Poured for a bit. Rowland walked well. We took Rosemary to village. Aft. some of us had an icy bathe. After tea F. C. M. and I to Aire Force by car.

12th.

Poured in morning. F. and I to Boardale Hawse. Cleared. C. went to Keswick in aft. to an International Youth Friendship camp and Mary Huntley there too. Reg. and M. went with her in car and went a walk at Derwentwater and brought the car back.

13th. Sun.

F. M. and I to meeting. Aft. some bathed. F. and I to Jeanie’s to tea. May Spence there. She is wonderful, over 80. Clear brain and works away with her hands. Up Deepdale in evening.

14th.

R. and M. up High St., down to Sandwyck and back by lake. V. long walk for M. F. and I took children to stream and sailed boat. After tea out by stream. Rosemary v. naughty when I put her to bed! Hot at last.

15th.

Hot again and very hazy unhappily. Bathed. Aft. F. and I up Place Fell and then down to Boardale Hawse and up to Angle Tarn. V. pretty.

16th.

Bathed. Molly and Donald to lunch, then they went to see Peter and Ioan who are at a riding camp. M. and R. in aft. up Saddleback (car to bottom). Too much rush for M. and they could not find a path. Jeanie to supper in lovely Quaker dress and bonnet. Played card game "bonus". One day Colin, Merl and June came to lunch.

17th.

Hot. All on lake for 1½ hrs. Landed on island. Aft. glorious bathe.

18th.

Said goodbye reluctantly to the kind Wilkinsons. They didn’t charge us for our visitors! F. and Reg. walked by Scardale to Ambleside, then bus to Grasmere in time for lunch. I motored M. and children by the Vale of St. John—lovely—heaps of luggage, but car did well. We got to Heugh Folds about 11.30 and were welcomed by Jane (who is 74) and explored the garden, gold fish in little pond etc. Children adore the little paths. Gt. excitement. Teresa arrived teatime. Ruth arrived from York (she has been with Bertha at York and Goathland for a fortnight) at 6.12.

19th.

Ruth poorly with headache. I had a bit too. V. hot. Caro and Mary Huntley arrived in morning. M. H. has bed and breakfast place in village. Children have greatly taken to Teresa and she is so sweet and kind; much ‘softer’ than she was. Anniversary of M. and Reg’s wedding and T. gave them a lovely wooden sugar bowl and each a spray of white heather from garden, and F. and I a tiny watercolour of Rydal.

20th. Sun.

C. T. and I to church, others to Loughrigg Terrace. Mary H. to tea and supper. F.R. T. and I to Brackenfell (belongs to Merz’s now). After supper Reg. and I to Alcock Tarn. Menace of war grows nearer.

21st. Mon.

Some to village. F. and I and T. took children to sail boats (paper) in Donny Beck. C. motored the Dales to W’mere in aft. and they went to stay with Reg’s father and mother. It has been lovely having them. Thundered.

22nd.

Teresa went. We have had lovely music every evening from Reg. and Caro, such a treat, and a little singing, and Teresa read us about the building of H. Folds. We all walked to Starlwith (Mary H. is with us now) lunch by fall. V. close. Back to tea and Bertha arrived by car. I am shocked to find she can hardly walk at all, but she is so sweet, tho’ evidently suffers a lot from her hip. After tea drove in B’s car to lake, took boat to foot of L. Terrace and B. Mary H. and I had a bathe.

23rd.

V. misty. War seems nearer. It is most depressing. Ber, F. C. and I to pay calls on Lena and Jessie Mounsey in her glorious place at ‘Nanny Brow’. Aft. Ber motored F. me and Ruth to Rosthwaite where we had tea at the Royal Oak with Molly and her 3 jolly boys (Peter 13 or 14 now) previously having a bathe in a glorious deep pool close to. V. nice hotel. Molly sweet.

24th.

The 3 girls went a v. long walk up the Langdale Pikes, Sergeant Man and back by Silver How. Lovely hot day, and a bit clearer. B. motored F. and me to the top of Duddon Valley, but it was rather much for her, tho’ not a terrific way in actual miles. Too many cars about for us to bathe, in green pool. Drove by Coniston nearly to Broughton, then turned up valley and back over awful Wrynose Pass. Awful feeling of war.

25th.

Bertha went home. She is v. worried about war. It has been so lovely having her. Mary Huntley went. In the afternoon Robert and Beatrice arrived. Great talk.

26th. Sat.

Helm Crag in morning. Aft. over Shepherd’s Bridge, and path by river. Bathed in Lake at food of Loughrigg Terrace. Rained a bit and thunder.

27th. Sun.

F. and me, R. and B. by car to Colthouse meeting. Quite full. Back by Tarn Hows, which looked exquisite in spite of rain, and at last distant views are clearer. Molly and the 3 jolly boys to tea. Gt. fun with double ‘push chair’. Molly sweet. F. Ruth and I up Nab Scar. Gt. toil thro’ bracken. Went up by Donny Beck.

28th.

Glorious and clear at last. R. and B. to Langdale. F. C. Ruth and I to foot of Wrynose by car, walked up it, then struck to left up Carrs—wonderful view. Gentleman (Hargreaves) joined us. F. went down from here, but we went on and up Weatherlam, then down to Fell Foot Farm (6.30) where we met F. and had tea and scones. Lovely and cheap. Then home by car. R. and B. did not arrive till v. late. Most of us tired.

29th.

F. went by 9.25 to London for Peace meetings. Village. Museum. Aft. bathe and boat. Sara R. and Tryce to tea.

30th.

Our last day and such a lovely one. Weather perfect, but not too hot and we went a delightful walk to Grisedale Tarn. It did look lovely. We went by the right hand path and back by left. Rob. and B. had bathe in Lake. Lunch and walked back to tea. Saw a red squirrel by the stream. Picked heather etc. in garden.

Mary, Ruth, Caro & Beatrice Pollard, Grasmere, 1939

Mary, Ruth, Caro, & Beatrice Pollard, Grasmere, 1939

 

31st. Thursday.

Very nice parting from Jane and Mrs. Carman. They have been so kind and J. would hardly take a tip—said it was nice working for us. We’ve had such delicious meals—practically 2 dinners and she has done all the ordering and so on. Except a little washing up we have had nothing to do, and Chas. and Teresa won’t let us pay for them.

Ruth left for 9.25 for London, R. and B. a little later than us, as they are going to Bardon Mill. Caro and I left in the car at 8.45 to motor home. It was very nice at first—she drove. I drove thro’ Lichfield and for some miles. Stopped for picnic lunch and short rest near Stafford. At Coventry I saw placard "School children to be evacuated to-morrow." At once our spirits sank to zero and C. drove rest of way, so as to get on quickly. At Banbury stopped for tea. Arrived Reading ¼ to 9 very tired, nearly 300 miles, and to our surprize found Marg. and the 2 wee bairns standing in the hall. Mrs. Ingram had been in to clean and lay a meal, and they had taken taxi to her house for the key. Poor M. she had only 1 hour to pack and get to Pad. and Reg. doesn’t know where he is to be sent. We got bairns to bed and had some supper. They were so good. Then F. arrived and later Ruthie who had been with Norman in London and travelled back in crammed carriage, everyone crying. We went to bed late and Wolfgang arrived from Rugby after 12 p.m.

 

September 1939

3rd.

War declared.

Ruth so tired fell asleep while making her bed! Next few days tiring and depressing. I am particularly sorry for Margy. She heard on 4th that Reg. has gone to Charteris (Cambridgeshire).

6th. Wed.

While I was getting breakfast and Ruth doing kitchen fire, sirens gave air raid warning—however nothing happened, but alarming. But C. and M. had to go to London to get clothes, etc. (M. had no change and not even a nightdress). C. drove and they managed awfully well. She left M. at Blake Rd. let herself into the Kings’ house at Woodford Green and sent off her trunk, then back to M’s—in evening they went to P.P.U. meeting.

7th.

C. drove back in the car (M. came by train) crammed with M’s bottled fruit, jams, apples, crab apples (beauties) from garden, clothes, wireless etc. She was plucky to do it alone and got back to dinner, M. in aft. We were thankful to have them safe. Every day we are busy "blacking out" as streets have to be quite dark. It is an awful business. It didn’t happen in last war.

9th. Sat.

W., Ruth and I cycled, rest went in car to Loddon for blackberries in aft. Children had tea there and plodged. No berries there, but F. C. W. and I walked on to another place and got a good many. At this time I had 2 front teeth out—rather painful.

Poor Robert and B. had to leave Bardon Mill the day after they got there. She lost her work, and he had to move his office to Ealing. They are staying with her parents at Richmond.

10th. Sunday.

C’s school is at Bath and she has to go there, so Ruth and I went there with her in the car. She has a cold. Found a very nice café for dinner, then went to the school and saw C’s room with Miss West. Small room and she has to share a bed with Molly Inglis—no electric light and poor food. I hated leaving her there, but Ruth and I started back about 2.0, lots of traffic, but easy road. About 70 miles. Got here about 5.30.

11th.

I woke with headache. Saw over house in Mansfield Rd.

12th.

M., children and I to Bear Wood in aft. and got lovely blackberries. I drove.

13th. Wed.

Marg. and children and Ruth drove in Harnett’s car in aft. to cottage. I took the luggage in our car. We all had tea, then left. M. and children rather tearful. Harnett and R. followed me!

15th.

I took F. in car to Guildford to dinner with Evie, E. and Mabel. Rained. Home after early tea. V. nice visit.

16th.

F. W. Ruth and I to see "French without tears". Poor.

17th.

Beautiful Meeting.

19th.

Cottage with Ruth. Left her there. Gwendy Knight went there to tea and followed me home.

20th.

Overseers. Probably my last.

21st.

Made Xmas cake and mincemeat.

22nd. Friday.

Robert and Beatrice for week-end. B. has hurt her knee falling off bicycle. I brought M. and children and Ruth here in aft. and M. went on to London to stay with Reg. at Blake Rd.

23rd.

F. R. B. and I to ‘pictures’. Poor. ‘Sons of Legion’ etc.

Petrol rationed. Only 5 gallons a month.

24th. Sunday.

C. came home ill from Bath about 5.30. She has had a terrible cough and cold for some days and awful asthma, could hardly breathe.

25th.

Early breakfast, then R. and B. went. R. has been most helpful and sweet and so has B. helping me with curtains. Marg. back from London to dinner. She and children went back to cottage after tea.

26th.

I have sent Amesbury to do cottage garden as it is terrible. I took C. in car to Dr. Field. She sent her back to bed.

27th.

Budget. Most depressing. Income tax 7/- in the £, 7/6 next year.

28th.

Dr. Field came. Just afraid of C’s lung, so she is still in bed. F. and I in aft. to cottage. Amesbury there. Worked hard at potatoes and apples of which there are crowds. Children sweet and weather lovely. Back after tea.

29th.

F. to Carchew (Cornwall).

30th.

Dr. F. C. still in bed.

 

October 1939

1st.

Beautiful meeting.

2nd.

Frank home from Carchew.

3rd.

I think C. began getting up for a short time.

5th.

Wolfgang and I took Amesbury to cottage. V. happy visit, but poured in aft. so came home early.

6th.

F. and I to Meeting for Sufferings. V. interesting, but long.

9th. Mon.

Ruth is working this week at Robert’s new office at Ealing, as he has been asked by publishers to write a book about social conditions in wartime and it has to be done in a great hurry. She goes early and gets back late. As she can’t do the fires to help me she has taught W. and insists on his doing them! Joe Hardy came to stay.

11th.

Beatrice to lunch. She came to see Miss Edgar at Council of Social Welfare so as to get information for R.’s book. V. interesting.

12th.

C. got up in good time and she and Joe and I went by car to cottage. It turned into an exquisite day and we had a lovely time. Joe most helpful in climbing trees for apples of which there are hundreds, huge ones. Rosemary sweet digging with a fork. M. not feeling quite so well, but unselfish as usual. I had taken beans in sauce ready cooked and a tart and chops and we had a nice dinner. Rowland goes to the village school now, but came back to dinner. Quite hot in sun. Left at 5.0 in laden car.

13th.

V. wet part of day. Prof. De Burgh at Institute 5–6. Ruth took shorthand of his lecture—came back early from London to do it. Rushed back for meal, and F. and I to F.o.R. and P.P.U. meeting in Folk House, addressed by Gerald Bailey—F. in chair.

14th.

F. and I to Archaeological lecture on Hampton Court by Edward Yates. Good, and wonderful photos. Denise Hardy came for week-end and Gerald Heath and Barbara Sargent to tea, then all the young people went to the Palace to see "Plan for a hostess". Not v. good. Some to get fish and chips after.

15th. Sun.

Pouring. Only F. Joe and W. to meeting. House so full that it is a tiring rush for me.

16th.

Joe left. He has been very nice and I am much happier about him and C. She should have gone back to Bath, but had started another cold. Dr. F. has been most good and careful with her.

17th.

C. went to Bath. I saw her off. Petrol is severely rationed, but we used car. Poor darling, I wish she was stronger. Q.M. I only got to afternoon.

18th.

Old Mrs. Garnett aged 86 and wonderful, is staying at Burnham with Hilda. I went to lunch (silent, at Home of Rest). Much enjoyed visit and talk of old times.

19th.

My weekly visit to M. and children at the Cottage.

20th.

Prof. De Burgh’s lecture on the Idol of Humanism. Ruth took it in shorthand. M. and children for week-end.

21st.

Took M. and children back, and stayed.

24th.

Marie B. Robson and Barbara called and bought some apples. Aft. walked to stream. Wood exquisite.

25th.

Miss Watts (R’s friend from Baughurst) to tea.

26th.

I came home. F. had gone to Sibford.

27th.

R. not v. well.

28th.

R. still not v. well but Norman Kirby came for week-end and they went to theatre.

30th.

Norman left v. early. R. gave him his breakfast. R. started work at G.W.R. Hotel with Paper Makers Association.

31st.

Mock Tribunal. F. chairman.

 

November 1939

11th.

Archaeological on "Evolution of Windmills". F. to F.o.R. conference. There are 1/- concerts now in Reading, some at 1-2, others 6.15 just for an hour. They are excellent. I went to Myra Hess, Grinke Trio and others went to others.

16th.

Lovely visit to M. but v. wet and children have bad eyes. For first time for weeks returned without an enormous sack of apples. We have had hundreds of pounds and v. good ones, all sorts.

18th.

6.30–8.30 (really 9.0) had 8 refugees to music and light refreshments. Gt. success. 14 of us altogether. Muriel Bowman-Smith played beautifully and she and Mrs. Dilkes played tog., latter ’cello, and F. sang and then the refugees sang German songs together. It was v. pathetic. Dr. Moza, wife and daughter—latter 2 now in domestic service. He was a lawyer and has nothing to do. The older people evidently find it more difficult than the younger I think and are often unhappy, but so brave. The daughter seems a delightful pretty girl. Mr. Bittner had to escape over the frontier and had a terrible time and so on.

19th.

R.’s birthday. I can hardly believe my baby is 25!

23rd.

I brought children and M. in from cottage and M. went on to London till Sat. aft. Children v. good and sweet.

24th.

Our first war-time Book Club at the Dilks (only coffee and biscuits). Refreshing to have a nice social time. American literature. F. v. good on that in a general way.

26th. Sun.

Children and M. went back to cottage by bus.

 

December 1939

3rd. Sun.

Not feeling v. well. I didn’t go to meeting. Aft. to bed. Later had v. bad sick attack. Temp. next day in evening went to 102 , so got Dr. Field about 9 p.m. Next day temp. same in evening. Felt pretty wretched. I think she paid her last visit on 7th or 8th. F. went to Gloucester for night on 8th to speak. Wolfgang looked after me a bit. Rather miserable having only 2 men to try and do the cooking as R. at work. But for 2 or 3 days I had nothing but tea and l glass of milk—also soda water.

10th.

F. to Hammersmith to speak. R. and B. and her parents there. I came downstairs.

16th.

Almost alright now and went to Bill’s reception (wedding) at Goring Hotel, London, with F. (Ruth came later) and we had lunch with E. and E. Reception nice and lovely to see B. and B. Dia, Betty, Bill and his sweet looking German wife etc. About 3.20 F. R. Beatrice and I went to R. and B’s new flat at Ealing. V. nice. When Rob. arrived we had high tea and left early to get home about 8.30.

19th.

Book Club at Roger Moore’s, School House. F. made good Auctioneer and then we chose new books. V. tiring getting ready for Xmas, and shopping so hard in the Black out.

20th.

F. and I took a screen to the cottage and had dinner there. Brought back small Xmas tree and mistletoe and our own lovely holly.

21st.

C. arrived in morning, tired but well and sweet.

23rd. Sat.

Rob and B. arrived late for supper.

24th.

All to meeting. Felt v. proud of my big family and Rob. spoke beautifully about C.O.s. I don’t think I mentioned his book which came out a week or two ago "An A.B.C. of War Time Law" 1/3. It is extremely well done and has had v. good reviews.

Xmas Day.

Breakfast ¼ to 9. Presents (family) as usual v. nice. Mrs Ingram came for 2 hrs and did turkey and veg’s. C. helped with trifle and chestnut cream. (Wolfgang had shopped for me on Sat.) Reg. had come for the car yesterday and he brought M. and the children here in good time. Dinner v. nice—then children had short rest while we opened more presents. Tea had christingles, Xmas cake, scones etc. and crackers with reindeer drawing them. Rosemary thrilled. Then Xmas tree and children’s presents—C. played ‘Gackie’s’ carol and we all danced round it. Rosemary wanted to go on and on. She looked exquisite, with a beaming face. Then "Goodnight our songs are sung" and the Dales packed into car, with C. and me to bring car home (not allowed much light). Unhappily dense fog, so we got out in Basingstoke Road and walked back. Anxious about Dales, but they got to cottage safely, late, and v. tired.

Day went without a hitch, except that all last days I’ve had bad backache which spoiled it a bit for me.

26th. Boxing Day.

Reg. brought car in and R. B. Reg. and C. went to cottage. Ruthie and Wolf. Cycled (1¼ hrs). Not v. nice day. They took sandwiches. F. and I thankful to have a little peace and time to clear up, but W. and Ruthie arrived before 4.0 v. wet.

28th.

W. to London to get exit permit and succeeded! B. and I called on Mrs. Bubb.

29th. Friday.

R. and B. went at 8.15. It has been lovely having them, but very tiring. Their food is such a business.

Helped W. to pack. Taxi at 2.30 (I kissed him). C. and R. went by bus. F. and I with W. and all saw him off. He will join his mother in Liverpool and sail on 30th to America—Cunard liner (tourist) convoyed. I think he minded leaving us and tho’ really we are thankful that he is going we’ll miss him too and have been lucky to have such a very nice refugee and so clever. But it has meant a good lot of work and expense, and he needed regular work, tho’ he has done fires, set tables lately etc. I do hope he will have a successful happy career in America and his mother too.

Thick snow.

30th.

V. cold. Snow still. Shopped. Interviewed maids etc.

 

[Transcript by Lucy R. Beck, with her permission.]

 


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