Mary S.W. Pollard diaries | 1941-42

MSWP (& FEP) diaries

Diary, 1941–42

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

1941

January

Wed.

Marg. thought she had better take Jonathan and Rosemary home, so left Rowland (who is much better) to me. F. had to wheel pram in darkness—I got breakfast ready by 7.0 and we had taxi at 7.20. Poor little M. going the long journey alone in the cold, and arriving at an empty house. I do feel sorry for her. F. went to York in afternoon. Miserable week—C. not v. well and v. gloomy. Rowland rapidly improved and was as good as gold. Became very cold, sharp frost and snow, but I took him for a short walk on Jan. 8th.

On the 5th—Sat, Ruth went by bus in aft. with Sidney to Gillingham, Kent to see his people. Came home on Sunday night having enjoyed it v. much. The mother particularly nice, and I’m glad to hear quite fussy over proprieties!!—more than me.

C. began her school on the 7th with 9 pupils, but she is not very well.

10th.

F. to Peace Conference at Oxford (Nat. Peace Society). V. interesting—Madariaga, Kingsley Martin, Laski etc.

13th. Mon.

Collyer took Rowland and me in aft. to cottage and he put our car right; I drove Rowland home in it and got back just before lighting up time. Quite exciting to drive again. It was a pity I licenced the car so soon, for the next few days were awful, snow and severe frost.

15th.

V. snowy. F. saw me and Rowland off from Reading by 10.8, but it was over ½ hour late. Marg. met us in London. We went to Oxford Circus, got a good lunch at Woolworth’s, then to Lyons Corner House which was full of lovely things as if there was no war on, then to Liverpool St. Snow pouring on to platform (glass has been taken out of roof) so I didn’t wait to see them off. They went about 2.25. We shall miss Rowland greatly. He has been absolutely good and so sweet. The other 2 have got measles, but are getting better.

16th.

F. went to Spiceland Committee at Taunton. Got home at 2.0 a.m. having had to go to a shelter in Bristol for 2½ hours and stand there—it was very cold. Raid on.

17th.

All of us except C. (Sidney too) to conference on Peace Aims in Institute. Knox Taylor spoke on League of Nations, Caffein on P.P.U. and Mr. Oliver (not Rev.) on Federal Union.

18th.

Ruth left by 8.20 train for London. V. cold and snowy. She shopped, then went to Denise’s wedding. Got back after tea. Rob. and Beatrice came in evening, both with bad colds and coughs.

19th. Sun.

All to meeting, even Sidney. I felt proud of my big family.

20th.

A really frightful day, pouring and cold. R. and B. went early.

22nd.

I let Mrs. Allen come at 9.0 for with bad weather and this idiotic summer time (all the winter) it is still quite dark till 8.30. F. to committee at Banbury—general purposes.

23rd. Thursday.

Robert’s tribunal. F. and I got the 8.20 train, and were too early at Fulham, so got coffee at Lyons, then met R. and B. and went into the Town Hall. R. came on about 11.0. He was rather nervous at first (I had been very) but read his excellent statement beautifully and was very courteous to the 3 Judges. The Judge then read 5 letters from Craig who had been in last war, Benington now in this war, a barrister, the Prep. Meeting Clerk and 1 other, all testifying to R.’s genuineness. Then Frank spoke as a witness extremely well (after Rob. had been asked some questions) mostly on the Society of Friends’ views on conscription, and then the Judge gave Rob. total exemption. We were delighted. It took over ½ hr. We then had lunch tog. at Lyons and B. came to shop with me at Barkers. She left to go with R. to Charlie Chaplin’s film and I caught the 4.15 home. Found Ruth in bed with temp.

24th.

To Madam Prender’s to get feet done. Ruth has temp 101°—aches all over and has influenza.

25th.

Pouring as usual.

26th. Sun.

Ruth down to dinner, but in bed for tea. Sidney to tea and supper. Mr. Gibson to tea and sang splendidly—German songs mostly.

27th.

C. and I. to W.I.L. Frau Hertzlea spoke. Quite interesting.

28th.

F. C. and I to Charlie Chaplin’s "Great Dictator". I was a bit disappointed. We took Mrs. Allen.

29th.

C. and I to cottage in aft. Not v. nice day. I think Ruth went back to work on 28th.

30th.

I went to Barker’s, London, by train with Caro at 12.20. She helped me to change my coat and then went to see L.M.S. Dr. Several ‘Alerts’. I came back by 4.15 and it was v. slow, I suppose because of warnings. C. arrived a little later. Dr. gave better report, but she is still only 6 st. 11 lbs—too thin.

31st.

Beatrice came, alone, for week-end, as tired, and bad cough. Gave us most interesting account of her work at West Ham in shelters etc. under Ministry of Labour.

 

February 1941

1st.

Aft. C. B. and I in car to near Longmoor Lake, then walked to Finchampstead Ridges. Icy wind.

2nd. Sun.

F. v. early to Purley to speak. Rob. David to tea. F. back in evening. C. began influenza and had a rather bad attack. Had to close the school for 10 days. 3 visits from Dr. Field. For 2 days C. had bad cold, pains, headache and had nothing but tea to drink.

6th.

F. to Leicester for Peace committees and M. for Suf.

7th.

I am 66. Got lovely letters and one or two presents, but F. away, and C. in bed, and I missed the grandchildren who were here last year.

8th.

C. up for short time.

10th.

Book Club at Dilks. "Winter". F. sang "Blow, blow thou winter wind."

11th.

F. C. and I in car to cottage in aft. Cup of tea there. It did C. good.

12th.

C. back to her school at last. F. and I to hear London Philharmonic Orchestra. Beautiful.

13th.

I am doing some work about billetting of evacuees.

15th.

F. and I were delegates in aft. to Civil Liberties conference at Meeting House. It is a good thing there is a Civil Liberties Council. The Chairman of the Executive—Thompson—spoke well.

16th. Sun.

Pouring, but I took Ruthie in aft. to get snowdrops at our usual place. They were hardly fully out, but we got some. It was lovely to have her to myself. The car is licenced for the year, and it is nice not to have to go to the cottage by bus.

21st.

Edith Smith came for a talk about Tona who has joined the R.A.F. much to their grief. Read me interesting letters from Basil who has got scarlet fever (was doing shelter work) and Ralph in F.A.U. in Egypt.

22nd.

F. and I started in car at 2.10 for Jordans. Found the way via Marlow fairly easily, tho’ no sign posts now-a-days. Got there about 3.30 (25 miles). V. cold, but nice and sunny. We have a lovely bedroom with central heating and most comfortable beds. I have been allowed to join the Peace Committee conference and it was a great privilege, especially to see how splendidly Frank acts as chairman, combining grave and gay and letting everyone have plenty of liberty, but keeping them to the point. The evening meetings went on till 10.15, so it was tiring, but most interesting. We then had a very little music. F. sang (at Bertram Pickard’s request) "Sparkling Eyes", and "Drink to me only". I felt shy at first, but recovered. Karlin was there, and Maurice Rowntree, John Stevens, J.P. Fletcher, Anna Bitter, Jean Thompson, B. Pickard, Douglas Manning (by favour, Industrial and Social Order Committee), Tony Gilpin and one or two others, about 16 of us. Excellent meals. Lots of butter!! And plenty of cakes at tea-time, etc. 2 dinners a day. I managed to buy 2 lbs Sevilles from Miss Papril the housekeeper!

24th. Mon.

Left soon after breakfast, lost the way and got to Maidenhead. Home about 11.30.

25th.

C. and I to Mrs. Archibald’s to tea.

 

March 1941

1st.

Sidney and Ruth to St. David’s dance—he in khaki—she in evening dress looking lovely—love in a mist blue. First dance of this sort for about a year. 6 to 10 p.m.!!

2nd. Sun.

Aft. I took Sidney and Ruth to cottage. He was delighted with it and it turned into a beautiful spring day. Had nice tea by fire. Primroses coming out. Got home at 7.0. Last week lent the cottage to R’s office friend Barbara Slater who was married to Barry Parker (C. and I went to see the church wedding.) for 3 days. In spite of one very wet day they loved it.

3rd.

Have had a little sort of shelter made for car by Dorwall.

5th.

C’s school closed for a few days because of infection, so she and I to cottage and took Robin Fawcett (aged 4) and Frances Harris. They played happily outside all day, and we had dinner and tea out.

6th.

Concert. Piano.

7th.

Absolutely pelted all day, but R. and B. came in evening and about 50 people mostly young, came to Institute to hear R. speak on the "Fellowship of C.O.s". Good but he was almost too tired.

8th.

Aft. R. B. and I walked by Kennet to Burghfield and got bus back along Bath Rd. Delightful. High tea and at 8.0 had musical party, coffee and biscuits. Gt. success. C. enjoyed it immensely. 12 of us—Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, Eliz. Halliday, Mr. and Mrs. Khambatta (he is an Indian and a barrister) and K. Rawlings and a young man. C. played accompaniments well, also her pipe.

10th.

R. and B. left. Book Club—19 of us altogether. Sidney came. Children’s literature. V. good paper by Violet Clough. We took sofa from drawing room and put dining room table there, and all thought the new arrangement of rooms very good. Coffee and biscuits.

13th.

F. and I to coffee and sandwiches at the Hares. Delightful evening. A young evacuee lady there too. He played.

15th.

C. Mrs. Allen and I to cottage in afternoon. Gardened and she swept etc.

16th.

F. and I to hear Francesca Wilson at L.P. on Balkan Countries. I had headache in morning.

18th.

I finished the wedding cake. Made 2 cakes—largest looks v. good and some tiny ones tasted excellent. Made 1/2 the quantity I did for Margaret, but had managed to save fruit, which one can’t get now, and we have our own eggs happily (I used 8). The 4 hens are laying about 22 a week. I have pickled about 50 already.

19th.

Evie came to lunch. It was so lovely to see her, but she has much too much to do with Linda, May and their helper there. Afterwards we heard that evening (Wed) was one of London’s worst raids. B. was at West Ham and R. said it was a miracle she escaped. He has lost his friend Rogers who was killed when his plane crashed owing to engine trouble—at least he was drowned in 9 ft. of water. Last night we had a warning (we are having a lot now) and planes over all night, but heard no bombs, only distant firing.

20th.

F. and I to cottage in afternoon. C. is having her school here for 2 weeks, owing to infection at Junior School. Usually 9 or 10 children and they are perfectly sweet—9.30–12 or some 12.30.

22nd.

Lent cottage to a Miss Townsend (none of us knew her, but she was a friend of the last ‘honeymoon’ couple who stayed there) and her husband Mr. Sayers till 26th. In spite of poor weather they loved it, and sent a nice letter and wedding cake to me. I charged them 17/- for coal and gas, but I paid laundry.

26th.

Debate at Institute between Friends and some L.P. boys. F. made witty chairman. "We would rather be Cavaliers than Roundheads". Cavaliers won.

27th.

Went alone to cottage for day.

30th.

Sunday. R. and Sidney to cottage for day.

31st.

V. cold. Hard frost.

 

April 1941

2nd.

Poured, but spring-cleaned our bedroom,

3rd.

C. and I to cottage in aft. but cold and wet. Came back by Silchester and got small bunch of primroses and a lot of palm.

4th.

Ruth and Sidney took a small bed sitting room for 1 guinea a week—2 Sidmouth St. looking on to Kennet.

5th.

Had ‘Friendly Circle’ here—about 16 came. Mrs. Shorney v. good on "superstitions". Gt. thunderstorm.

6th. Sund.

Picnic lunch at Meeting house. H.R. Smith spoke on Friends of Reading Meeting in the past and Beatrice Snell on old records.

7th.

Book Club at Reynold’s. Barrie.

8th.

C. broke up—school has been here last 10 days.

9th.

Are having warnings nearly every night. Heard later the Archibalds had a fire bomb in their garden this night and there were many others.

11th.

Mrs. Archibald, Jocelyn and Meredith’s wife to tea and Janet R. F. went to Oxford to be chairman at conference (on what contribution Friends could make to post-war world)—stayed at St. Hugh’s (an annexe).

R. + Sidney had few days holiday and went to Gillingham. S. was best man at his brother Bill’s wedding.

12th.

C. and I went to cottage in morning.

14th.

C. and I in car to Manor House, Silchester to see things that are to be sold. Weather has been cold but we have done a good deal of gardening, walked and got some primroses. Left cottage in aft. Home 5.30. Ruth back in evening. Sidney is now living at Sidmouth St., looking after himself.

Our "pea anthracite" finished about a week ago and we are managing with oil stove and tiny gas flame in dining room. The stove has hardly ever been out since we got it, I think on Nov. 11th and we have used 1½ tons of pea anthracite.

15th.

F. came home, thank goodness.

16.

Spring-cleaned C.’s room.

17th.

Ruth and I by 8.5 bus to London 4/9 return. She was allowed a day off. When we got to Kensington found there had been a terrible raid the night before (16th), the worst yet. Derry and Toms had a bomb, but opened later—assistants seemed miserable. Marg. and Rowland met us at 12.5 (tube station closed) and said Selfridge’s still burning—Maples burning, Friends’ House hit etc. I telephoned to Robert and was thankful to hear he and B. are safe. We went from one shop to another to get Ruth’s wedding dress material, dress for Rosemary, knickers and blouse for Rowland and going away dress for R. and succeeded fairly well in the end, but it was v. difficult. Lovely to see Marg. and Rowland. They started for L’pool St. after tea. R. and I got 5.30 bus and had to stand a lot of the way.

19th.

F. and I to Dr. Taylor’s to tea to meet Mr. Hankinson who worked for Friends in Hungary. Caro and Miss Conde to cottage.

21st.

Godfrey, Erica and Stella to stay the night. All very delightful.

22nd.

C. came back, and G. Erica and Stella went to cottage by bus and bicycle. Agatha Harrison for the night. A charming woman—gt. authority on India—also lived in China. V. short visit—she spoke to F.o.R. After 11 p.m., while sitting in drawing room suddenly great crash and windows rattled. Got a gt. fright. Heard afterwards bombs on land mine at Aldermaston.

25th.

Rob. and Beatrice for night.

26th.

R. and B. to cottage—Godfrey, E. and S. for night. Sidney came to go to Dix’s to tea with Ruth—found he had temp. of 102°—later 103°—so we put him to bed in R’s room and she slept on drawing room sofa. It has been a tiring week with all this coming and going.

17th. Sun.

Sidney still ill, so taken by car to military hospital—horrid place R. said. G., Erica and S. all left after early lunch and I bicycled to cottage to stay night with R. and B. Icy cold, like winter.

28th.

R. and B. not up till nearly 12.0. R. is quite worn out. I gardened. Aft. pretty walks and I cycled home after high tea. V. tired. F. had gone to Spiceland.

29th.

F. stayed night at Wellington with Lloyd Fox’s parents. Bombs near Spiceland. 4 maids and prayers like old days.

30th.

Cottage with C. F. home, but meetings in London. Sidney went to Upton Court to convalesce. It is lent by Benyons to the Red X.

 

May 1941

1st.

F. to meetings at Leicester.

2nd.

F. home at last!

3rd.

Ruth left Brodrick’s and will get a month’s rest? before being married.

4th. Sunday.

Meeting. C. and I motored R. to Upton Court. At last a glorious day and the place looked exquisite. Sidney much better. Showed us round part of the building and garden, and then C. and I went to our old haunts to pick primroses. Ground thick with them. Home to tea. R. had to walk in evening to Bath Rd. and passed some unexploded bombs. All buses full, but fortunately at last a car stopped and brought her to Reading.

Today for first time we began "fools" time as country people call it. Clock has been put back another hour. It is horrid. Breakfast at 8.0 is therefore really 6.0 a.m. and it is so cold.

5th. Mond.

Ruth went to Saffron Walden. Cold again.

8th.

Mrs. Allen off all day. We started spring cleaning spare room yesterday.

9th.

Finished room. Stained surround. Margot Reynolds and children to tea. Ruth came home. It is lovely to have her back and she seems glad too, tho’ she has much enjoyed S. Walden.

10th.

Sidney to tea.

11th. Sun.

at 9.pm. news heard of the frightful raid on London last night. Feel v. anxious about R. and B. Houses of Parl. destroyed, Dean’s beautiful old house, Big Ben nearly fell—many casualties. It is too horrible. Telephoning impossible, as line blocked.

12th.

Tried to telephone to R. and B. but no answer. Hear in City there is no water, gas or electricity. Damage dreadful.

Elders’ meeting at our house. Edith Smith came and talked to us (C.R. and me). One night recently a plane skimmed just over house—woke us with the row, and did the same to many others.

13th.

Tried on dress for wedding by Mrs. Sayer, and R’s petticoat also. Heard from Rob. at last. They are safe, but it was a bad night. They slept in shelter. Heard Hess has flown to Glasgow! He was Hitler’s deputy.

14th.

R. R. and I spent day at cottage. Garden gay with primroses, pink, blue and white bulbs and tulips. Gardener there. Mrs. Allen spring-cleaning stairs, landing and hall.

C. in aft. to London to L.M.S. meetings.

15th.

Very cold. Slight rain at last.

22nd.

V. good concert. Griller String Quartette, flute, horn etc. F. and I went.

23rd.

C. and I. to P.P.U. to hear Sybil Morrison.

24th.

C’s birthday. She didn’t want presents, but I bought 2 tickets for Bach’s Passion Music at University and she and I went at 6.0 o’clock. Packed. V. beautiful and soloists excellent. F. to Civil Liberties Regional Conference—he is in chair.

I think it was to-day that H.M.S. Hood sunk off Greenland. Gt. loss of life. Several days later we sank the German ‘Bismark’. It is all awful.

28th.

Warm. F. Ruth and I to cottage after lunch. All worked hard. Last time with R. before she is married. Had a happy time.

30th.

C. to stay with Marg. Brockbank at Wolverhampton.

31st.

R. and Sidney to flannel dance at University. S. played cricket. R. to Convocation. F. and I Book Club at Roger Moore’s. School House. Autobiographies. F. read from J. Stuart Mill. May has been dry, but very cold. Everything is so backward. Have fires nearly every day.

 

June 1941

2nd. Whit Monday.

Yesterday was warm but cold wind. To-day very cold and dreary. Yesterday (Sun.) R. F. and I to Meeting. Her marriage given out. Mrs. Allen had day off. Sidney to spend day. Today Mrs Allen went after lunch. We finished washing and ironing in the morning. Sidney to dinner and tea. Then he "fire watched". R. and he cycled to Mapledurham, but hardly got any bluebells and found the wind v. tiring.

7th. Sat.

Ruth’s Wedding Day.

I have written fully in her wedding book, so will not repeat it all here. She looked so lovely and all went well except that the food was not put out properly at tea-time—alas rain spoiled the reception somewhat. I had Mrs. Oman from the Meeting House, and Mrs Leach to help Mrs. Allen. They came about 1.0 and I paid them each 5/- and gave Mrs. A. 2/6. She had on a black dress and cap. They looked after Jonathan while the wedding was in progress. I shall miss Ruthie terribly. She is so sweet and tries to keep me young dancing about with me, and always wants me to talk to her while dressing etc. My little ‘babbles’. I can’t bear to lose her—Sidney is a lucky man, and I think he will be good to her.

They had a very nice ‘honeymoon’ at Hope Cove, Devon, only Ruth’s neck hurt her a lot—she thought it was rheumatism. It began a few days before the wedding. She though she had cricked it. It was very nice that Evie was just well enough to come. She has been very ill—overdone—so we had her, Ernest, Mabel, Ber and Bowes, Bill and Kate—about 80 altogether. Marg. and the children stayed on till the 13th—one day we went to the cottage. On the 13th I went with them to S. Walden—it was still cold weather, as it has been the whole year and it was cold for the sports on the 14th—the gym excellent, also the girls’ swimming, but I missed it thro’ looking after Jonathan. On the 15th the weather improved and it became very hot, and I had not got suitable clothes. The children are so sweet. I returned home on Friday, 20th. Caro went to the cottage with Miss Conde.

21st.

Ruth and Sidney to supper. It was lovely to see them again. They had returned to their little flat 44 Culver Lane on the 13th, the day I went to S. Walden. Frank went to Jordans.

 

Ruth's wedding day, 7 June 1941: Reuben, Ruth E, Edgar, Sidney, & Ruth Beck, Frank & Mary Pollard, and Rowland & Rosemary Dale

Ruth’s wedding day, 7 June 1941

Back (L-R): Reuben A. Beck, Edgar R. Beck, Sidney J.T. Beck, Ruth (Pollard) Beck, Francis E. Pollard

Front (L-R): Mary S.W. Pollard, F. Rowland Dale, Rosemary Dale, Ruth E. (Baggs) Beck

22nd. Sun.

Sidney fire watching, so I had Ruthie to myself all day. C. returned in evening and Sidney came to supper. R. and I went to meeting in morning.

24th.

F. and I to high tea at Ruthie’s. All very nice indeed.

27th.

F. and I to cottage?

28th.

C. and May Harrod to cottage. Had a perfect time. Slept out in garden.

29th. Sun.

Over 80 in our bedroom. F. away. I was really too hot.

 

July 1941

1st.

F. C. and I to Marie Robson’s to tea.

2nd.

Turners, our 4th honeymoon couple to cottage. C. and I there when they arrived.

4th.

Good L.P. concert.

5th.

C. at H.R. Smiths all aft. and evening. Played tennis with Basil and Madge and Tona. Good supper there!

7th.

F. and I to cottage (Turners left yesterday). Too hot and nothing growing as it should.

8th.

I went to Guildford early and stayed till about 6.0. Lovely peaceful day and such a comfort to find Evie better. Ernest tired and discouraged about the garden. V. hot journey home.

9th.

F. to Banbury. Committee. Peace Policy?

11th.

R. and B. to cottage with friends. Caro, Joyce B and I had spent the aft. there and bought 2 black minorca hens. Weather broke at last (it has been wonderful ever since the 8th or 9th June) with thunderstorm. Passed R. and B. etc in bus as we motored home.

12th.

F. C. and I took Sidney and Ruth on river from Caversham in evening. Had just finished a poor supper when it poured. Rather a pity for first time F. and I have been on river this year I think. Still rain is very badly needed. Sidney has been put into class A. It is a pity. Poor R. very depressed.

14th.

Book Club picnic. C. went too and we took Mary Stansfield in our car. We drove towards Goring Heath not far, and turned off down lane into wood. Sat in field for supper—Mrs. H.R. Smith gave us all rasps.—such a treat. Then played rounders, sang rounds and played other games. Gt. fun. Home just before 11.0 p.m. lighting up time.

16th.

Mrs. Allen and I in morning to cottage. Picked lots of things. Rain has helped. Mr. and Mrs. Levell, caretakers from London arrived.

17th.

C. and I to hear gram. records at Ruth’s.

18th.

Marg. Mathieson to tea and supper. F. Knight for bed and breakfast—really come to see C.S. Stansfield.

23rd.

Levells left cottage. C. and I went for aft. Hot and lovely.

26th. Sat.

R. and B. arrived to go to cottage for their holiday, but pouring, so stayed night here.

27th. Sun.

Rob. and I cycled to cottage (I am lending my bicycle to B.). F. came by bus (after meeting) and C. and B. motored. Lovely day—got a lot of bilberries by the water tower—first I’ve had for years. C. went back by bus in evening. F. and I stayed night.

28th.

F. and I home to high tea.

29th.

Made jam. Sidney and Ruth to supper.

30th. Wed.

F. and I went by 10.20 train with Mrs. Jackson to London, taxied to Kings X and got the 12.0 train to York. Quite good seats, but could not get even a cup of tea. C’s school doesn’t end till to-morrow and then she is going on Aug. 2nd to Oxford for a week to an L.M.S. conference.

We got a bus to near Clifton and Mrs Jackson went to stay with Elsie Burrt—we to B. Croft. Bertha gave us warm welcome and tea and later after a good meal we went to the Meeting House to hear the Swarthmore Lecture by Edgar Castle on "The Undivided Mind".

31st.

B’s young maid left and as Gertrud (German maid) is on holiday there is only Martha and sometimes a charwoman, but we have perfect meals, masses of rasps and artificial cream and rasp. shapes and veg. dishes etc.

 

August 1941

1st.

Aft. visit to Retreat—tea on terrace (not a wartime tea) for about 500 of us! Wonderful place.

3rd.

Meeting at Bootham for F. and me and Ber. Reg. to dinner and tea. Lovely bathe in the pool with B. I had one before with Dia, but the weather is often wet and cold. Aft. Reg., B. and I to Minster service.

4th.

Peace Session. I usually go to meetings all morning and aft. but not evenings. They have been most interesting and v. friendly atmosphere. Lovely, too, to meet many old friends who have given us a warm welcome. Stephen Thorne on Conscription was one thing I enjoyed most. F. has only spoken about twice. Unhappily I have lost my notes and my memory is so bad.

Evening B. B. and I to see "Lord Richard in the Pantry". Quite amusing, but B. found it hard getting back. No taxis and she was in great pain when walking.

5th.

Y.M. ended. F. went to the meetings, but B. and I went about 10.0 by train to Malton, Dia met us there in her car and took us to Scarboro! Glorious drive. Went to look at sea and saw a ‘convoy’, then to Pool, but as it closed during lunch hour we went to Rowntrees and had a good lunch, then B. and Dia went to bathe and I went to see Edna who was staying at Pavilion Hotel with Mrs. Frank Rowntree. We started home at 4.0 and there was a great thunderstorm and terrific rain. Got 5.0 train at Malton.

6th.

Bowes took F. and me to see his exhibition of Japanese prints—also went to Museum Gardens and the Museum.

7th.

Left kind B. and B. and got the troop train home leaving about 10. Easy journey and not crowded. Got home about 5.0. Tea on train—bread and margarine, and one or two biscuits over 1/- each. Delicious lunch prepared by ‘Martha’ (German maid). Brought back rasps. And some chocolates! Mrs. Allen still having holiday.

8th.

Lovely to see Ruthie again and Caro—latter home in evening. Had had interesting time at Oxford but tiring.

9th. Sat.

F. and I in aft. to cottage.

10th.

C. to cottage in aft. by bus.

On 12th. F. had to go to London but returned to cottage. Mrs. Allen’s holiday finished on 11th. She and Joyce Bowen have been looking after hens—J. in mornings, Mrs. A. in evenings. The 2 black Minorcas settled well with our white hens—we call them Tadley and Pamber—and our hens are still laying well.

13th.

F. went home.

14th.

C. and I went home in morning. We have had a very pleasant time but not hot and a good lot of rain. Heard the great news of meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill in the Atlantic and their proposals for future peace. They are an advance. The Russians are having a hard time against the Germans and we in England have been freer from raids.

15th.

F. and I to see "The Shining Hour’. Amateur Rep. Good, but tragic.

16th.

Bishops went to cottage for a week. Wedding at Meeting House of Mary Wing and Deryk Davies. V. nice. (not Friends). F. and I. To reception in Institute. Delightful.

20th.

C. and I to cottage in aft. and had tea with Bishops. Took our food. Children sweet. Played ‘Tommy Tinker’. They have all been poorly in turns and weather poor, and they only have a week’s holiday, poor things.

21st.

C. to London to help in a ‘rest’ centre. Lived in pacifist community and found it all most interesting, but she wasn’t well and the quarters were rough. They pooled their money for food! S. and Ruth to high tea and we (and F.) went to Griller String Quartette concert. Good. Schubert and Brahms.

22nd.

F. and I to F.o.R. and P.P.U. meeting at Institute. F. in chair. Mr. Brown interesting on what to do with our colonies.

23rd.

Pelted all day. F. and I to Conference on Food Distribution and Production got up by Liberal party. Most interesting. Wilfrid Roberts M.P. took chair well. People spoke from many places, Oxford, Abingdon etc. Mrs. Cumber spoke well.

Bishops left cottage.

24th.

S. and R. to dinner and tea.

26th.

F. and I to Henley in aft. by river steamer.

27th.

Cottage in aft. with Ruth and Frank, only short time. Fine, but cool.

28th.

Ruth went to London kindly to met M. and the children (Sidney has begun to work at Caversham, so does not come back to dinner.) They all came from L.Pool St. to Pad. and R. brought them to Reading. F. and I met them with car in aft. At first Jonathan a bit shy, but soon recovered.

29th.

Godfrey and Erica went to cottage. I took children in aft. with Ruthie to View Island, across the lock. It was lovely, but very windy.

30th.

I took R. and M. to town, to Museum and JugoSlav pictures. C. returned in aft. full of interesting stories, but v. tired. Sidney and Ruth came for children and took them by 2 buses to Culver Lane to tea, all in their best. C. and I brought them back in the car.

 

September 1941

2nd.

C. and I took bairns to View Island, with our tea. V. hot.

3rd.

C. and I and children for day to cottage with our dinner and tea. Wicksteeds delightful. Jolly day.

4th.

C. Ruth and children and I to Bear Wood in aft. Got some lovely blackberries. Poor wee Jonathan struggled along thro’ nettles and long grass and picked quite unripe ones. When we got home and were weighing them in the kitchen he appeared with my slippers and tried to put them on my feet. It was so sweet. He is such a darling. I hoped M. was getting a bit of rest, but unhappily she is ill and in bed—probably overdone, such a pity. Reg. looks after her, and people send in food.

5th.

Rowland in bed, temp 100°.

6th.

Rowland still poorly, and poor wee Jonathan very miserable, teething. The next few days went quickly. Mrs. Allen gave me notice, as she wants to work in a war factory.

10th.

Mrs Allen and Rowland and I went to the cottage for the day, leaving the other 2 children to Caro and Joyce Bowen, and Mrs. Allen washed the floors of all the rooms. We had dinner and tea out in the garden, picked a few blackberries and got vegetables. Rowland sweet.

13th. Sat.

Ruth and Sidney cycled to cottage for the night. First time they had stayed there since their marriage. Mrs. Allen left in evening. She has been very good generally and I shall miss her, but her continual talk was very trying and could feel she was quite unsettled. Caro kindly took the darling children to London to meet Marg. who is better now. I shall miss them terribly. They are so good and sweet, and Jonathan is angelic and has such pretty ways. He is not so rampageous as the other 2 were at the same age I think. Mrs. Allen and I spent ages cleaning up after they had gone. I saw them off, and they actually got a carriage to themselves with C. Frank went to Woodbrooke for the week-end. C. came back in time for the concert in aid of the Friends’ War Victims Work—I believe she suggested it. It was very good indeed. Muriel Bowman-Smith, Roland Collier, etc. and a splendid cellist, a woman Czecho-Slovakian. They raised between £20 and £30 I think. Beatrice arrived in the middle of it and we found Robert here when we got back.

14th. Sun.

V. tired. None of us to meeting. Dinner to cook and still clearing up to do. Aft. about 2.30 R. B. C. and I in car to Aldermaston Mill. On river for an hour in funny old boat—cold, but pleasant. V. good tea outside—lovely home-made cakes. Then on to cottage where R. and S. were about to depart. Left Rob and Beatrice there, and C. and I returned home.

17th.

F. and I to cottage, and Rob. and B. there. Pleasant evening by huge fire.

18th.

R. and B. left early and C. arrived. Gardened and picked apples, mostly fallen ones.

19th.

F. went in to Court by bus. C. and I returned in aft. Weather not v. good but I love the cottage and so does she. Edna to be first Lord Mayor of York.

22nd. Mon.

C. began aft. work at Herndean School. She has helped me splendidly lately, and I shall miss her help now. Martin Lyth came in evening as a p.g. He is to be a master at L.P. Junior School. Just left Cambridge. 32/6 a week! I dreaded it, but he seems nice.

23rd.

C. started her little school in the mornings. F. to London.

24th.

W.I.L. A psychiatrist spoke. C. "Martin’ and I to lecture at Univ. on ‘Musical Appreciation’. F. London. F. said he has not been asked to be Chairman of the Peace Committee any longer. He feels it a lot, but he has done splendid work there. I do feel sorry about it.

26th. Friday.

Aft. C. and I took Mrs. Fawcett to cottage. She got into the car with difficulty, but enjoyed it all. Turned into lovely warm aft. Tea in garden. Got home about 6.30. Visit from Ruthie in morning. F. to F.o.R. and P.P.U. meeting.

27th.

I had a bathe with Ruthie at Freebody’s, but cold. Place really closed, but let us bathe!

 

October 1941

1st.

Cottage with Joyce Bowen. Lecture at Univ. on Musical Appreciation. Heard of David Crichton’s death in Germany. Poor Edna!

3rd.

F. and I to Meeting for Sufferings. Aft. we and Mrs. Timms went to see Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’. Disappointing.

9th.

Evie and Ernest arrived 11.37. F. and I met them with car and went straight to cottage. Slightly showery, but mild. Lit fire and had nice cold lunch which I had taken at once. E. and E. had rest, and F. and I got veg’s—then took them round garden. Started home 3.15 and had tea at once as they had to leave by ¼ to 5 bus. It was lovely having them and they were v. appreciative of cottage, but both seem much older and Evie by no means strong yet.

10th.

F. to Jordans for Peace Week-end and India. Sir George Schuster.

12th. Sun.

Ruth and Sidney to dinner, tea and supper. They have had 7 days leave at Goathland and York. All but I went to concert in aft. Simon Bennett (friend C.O. of Martin’s) and a friend of his, Gabrielle Seal to tea. Rounds and part songs afterwards. Quite delightful. Mr. Seal plays piano.

13th.

F. back. Federal Union meeting here—account of Russia given by a Mr. Brown. Sidney and R. to high tea.

15th.

Q.M. but I had to go to cottage—all alone for 1st time for ages. Felt rather nervous but had simply lovely day. Worked v. hard. Dinner in garden in hot sun. Got over 54 lbs. apples. Returned in time to get high tea ready.

Several cases of diphtheria at L.P.

16th.

Martin said he had sore throat. Dr. Milne came and isolated him. Gave him serum, as temp. 102° in evening.

17th.

Martin practically all right, but still isolated. All most annoying and C. could not have her school for 2 days.

18th.

Martin’s father and mother and a friend Mrs. Mercer arrived to tea. Martin came downstairs at last. All v. nice—9 of us, as May Harrod there too. Got rooms for them at Sonning.

19th. Sun.

Dr. advised Martin to go home for few days, so he went in car with parents in aft. Peace reigns at last!!

20th.

F. to Spiceland.

22nd.

F. and I to cottage. Hurried back and Bertha arrived about 4.30 for the night. We had a lovely evening (after high tea) tho’ C. not v. well.

23rd.

Bertha went about 10.20. I saw her off. She has been perfectly sweet and wrote later that Dr. in London did her some good. C., still not well, had her school here, as she does every Thursday morning.

F. went to Sibford for night.

25th.

Martin came back.

26th. Sun.

F. in bed feverish and C. not well either.

27th.

F. in bed. Book Club went to ‘Palace’ theatre to see Marie Tempest in "the First Mrs. Fraser"—C. and Ruth came with me and Mrs. Fawcett. Very good, but M. Tempest had a cold and was hard to hear, but she is a wonderful actress, every gesture graceful. I also was starting a bad cold.

28th.

Martin has had an immunization (against dip.) and came home tonight with frightful irritation and rash all over his body.

29th.

Terribly cold day. I had v. bad cold and couldn’t go to a lecture I wanted to go to. Martin really ill and feverish and sleeping badly. F. better, but my cold bad. V. sorry for Martin. He hardly moves, except to put lotion on, feet and hands are swollen and stiff. I read aloud to him occasionally, but it is so cold, and I don’t feel v. well.

30th.

F. and I to Ruth and Sidney’s to high tea, perfect tea in honour of latter’s 26th birthday on Nov. 2nd. Lovely Spektorte cake. Beautiful records. Home early (in pouring rain) by 2 buses because of Martin and my cold.

 

November 1941

2nd.

Sidney’s birthday. Meeting. John Irwin and 2 Air Force friends of his arrived before three and stayed till nearly 8.0. Not v. easy to get on with, but Martin got up yesterday suddenly nearly well, and he took them to hear his lovely records and we tried drawing a square and diagonals thro’ a looking glass and played cards. V. cold. F. in London most of week.

6th.

R. and S. to high tea. R. Martin and I to hear Griller String Quartette. Beautiful (1/- each). Mozart and Haydn.

7th.

Meeting for Sufferings. Interesting. I went to Robert’s office, met him at 1.0 and had nearly an hour over lunch together at Hill’s. Delightful to see him again at last. I went to see Russian film about Alexander Nevsky fighting Germans many years ago. Far too much battle for me! Though cleverly done. Got home about 6.0 to find C. feverish so put her to bed. She has not been really well for some time.

8th.

C. in bed all day. R. and S. to lunch and to stay week-end—first time since they were married. They and Martin and I started in car about 2.0 for Pangbourne. M. driving. Garaged car and started the walk about 2.20. It took us 2 hours, not hurrying. Lovely day, tho’ cold, and colours glorious, also reflections in the Thames which was still like glass. Tea (good, with home made cakes) at a little house and started home about 5.0. Delightful excursion.

9th.

Breakfast 8.45. I didn’t go to meeting. F. R. and S. went. C. got up in aft. tho’ not very well yet. Lovely to have R. and S. staying here.

22nd.

Aubrey Lewis, a friend C.O. of C’s to stay. They took sandwiches and I motored with them to Padworth, then they walked to cottage whither I had preceded them and I worked and got them tea, and then we drove back tog. Just in time before black out (5.30).

23rd.

Aubrey to preach at Mortimer. He is a very nice interesting young man.

24th.

Aubrey went.

26th.

I took Herfords to see cottage in aft. (no meal). Lovely day but cold.

28th.

R. and B. came—first time tog. for some weeks—I believe months. Martin away for week-end.

30th.

Martin back after supper. 7 of us (R. and Sidney too) to dinner. Means a lot of work with no maid!

 

December 1941

1st.

R. and B. went early. I visited Madame Prender (chiropodist).

2nd.

Horace Alexander spoke on India at Meeting house. Stayed night here.

6th.

F. to stay with Julian Fox at Wellington and to give address on "Faith by which we live". Also Spiceland Committee.. Luxurious place. 3 maids. Fire in bedroom all day!

7th. Sun.

C. and I had at last an easy Sunday, only 3 of us as R. and S. are at Gillingham. Martin out to tea, but returned poorly.

8th.

Martin in bed all day slightly feverish—a friend of his to tea with him. Mr. Fawcett to see him—he has been given a term to see if he can manage better. He poured out his woes to me. F. returned about 12.p.m. (an hour late).

Very mild weather lately. Double summer time horrible for so dark in mornings. Alas America and Japan are now at war—it is now a world war, and either to-day or the 9th we heard that ‘Prince of Wales’ almost our best and newest battle ship and ‘Repulse’ have both been sunk by Japanese. Gt. blow, but fortunately many survivors.

11th.

Caro had 2 letters from Joe. Poor man, he is probably interned now as Shanghai has just been taken by the Japanese. He says prices have risen so, that he can hardly manage on his salary and cannot afford to buy coal. Poor Caro too.

13th.

L. Park Hobby Ex: I stayed to concert. Felt draught and began a bad back—the next few days hurt a good deal.

16th. Tues.

Book Club here. 21 of us altogether. Practically everyone came. Managed enough milk for coffee, and had good supply of biscuits and I had made cheese straws. Auction of books and list of new ones. All went very well. Nice, mild weather. C. great help. Left washing up till next day, as so tired.

17th.

F. kindly did some washing up before breakfast. He is managing the fires so well, etc.

18th.

Martin went away for holidays. I like him, but it is a great relief to have less work.

20th.

In bed all day—back bad and feverish a bit. F. managed alright, but there were plenty of things ready cooked fortunately. It is the first time I have been in bed since Mrs. Allen left—everyone else has had one turn of it or more!

21st.

Got up to tea—R. and Sidney came.

22nd.

Sent washing out.

23rd.

Lit dining room fire for 1st time this winter. The charwoman never came and there was a lot to do for the 5 Dales came in aft. Train v. late, so they arrived here about 5.30. Enchanting to see them. Jonathan grown a great deal, but teething and not v. happy. C. broke up yesterday.

24th.

Sang carols and children sent notes to Santa Claus.

25th. Xmas Day.

Usual excitement of stockings, then nice breakfast and Yule doos—only presents from F. and me. C. went in car with Rowland at 11.0 to meet R. and B. at Maidenhead. I have got a bed and breakfast room for them at Glebe Rd. (V. nice they said.) Good dinner, but beef, not turkey. Veg. meat souffle, sprouts and carrots. Xmas pudding (unfortunately I heated the wrong one without things inside it), mince pies, trifle with some tinned cream on it!

Mrs. Dowding came to wash up the dinner things. After dinner we had more presents and then rests. I still had bad back—v. trying. Tea—decorations and lanterns—splendid holly got a fortnight ago at cottage, many and large berries on it—wonderful cake, Marg’s present to me, made by her so kindly, and crackers. Then a small tree, carols and more lovely presents. F. gave me a table-cloth, R. and B. 2 books, Sidney and R. Japanese anemone roots, the children cards they had made, Evie 5/-, Jeanie gloves knitted by May Spence, Ber £5, Edna Duchess set. Evening more carols. Some played bridge. Sidney fitted in well, and enjoyed it. He had to fire watch last night, so Ruthie slept with Caro but they had bad night.

26th. Boxing day.

R. and B., Ruth (Sidney at work), M. and C. and Reg. by bus to near Henley, then walked home by paths. Took lunch. F. and I looked after children.

27th.

R. and B. went back to London.

29th.

Reg. Marg. Ruth, Rowland, Rosemary and I to Pantomime. Stalls 2/2 each. Robinson Crusoe. Quite good. Conjuring and trapeze excellent. We could not get a bus home, as all full and after trying for ages, had to walk, so took about an hour altogether and didn’t get home till long after 6.0. Children so tired, but never complained. C. had looked after Jonathan. I am much better at last.

31st.

All of us (except F. who went to London) to cottage for day. Marg. and Caro went by bus to Three Firs, walked to Round Oak where we deposited Rowland and the 3 of them walked to cottage arriving in time for dinner. Reg. lit 2 fires, I got dinner ready, and Jonathan and Rosemary trotted about merrily. He loved it all, tho’ cold and rather foggy. V. nice dinner (dried banana tart!). Lambden came in aft. I had not seen him for over a fortnight and gave him present of tobacco. At 3.0 I gave Marg. and Reg. tea and they started to walk to Three Firs. C., the children and I left about 3.30 and got home to tea tired and cold. J. went to sleep on my knee. We put him to bed early and he was asleep before M. and Reg. came in about 6.30. Music and games.

 

1942

January

Jan. 1st.

Alas, last day of Dales visit. M. + Reg. + C. went to see "Call it a Day" at Rep. V. good but long.

Jan. 2nd.

C. went to meet Weisses in London to help with Mary W’s things. F. and I saw the Dales off at 10.28. We have had such a lovely visit from them—so harmonious and happy. The children have been so very good and sweet—Jon. enchanting and the other two so devoted to him. Every morning Rowland carried him downstairs pick-a-back and he called "Granny" and rushed into the kitchen to carry the toast for me into the dining room. At dinner time he often when he woke climbed out of his cot and came downstairs carrying his shoes and socks and we heard him while we were having dinner. He is extremely intelligent, and knows the pictures of different animals and can say "cluck cluck’, etc. he does not finish his words, but calls a horse "hor" and so on. He loves the little "tchoo tchoo" (train) which M. and Reg. gave him. Rosemary likes to sweep and help and is very affectionate and ‘fetching’. M. and Reg. have been very helpful and seem happy. Reg. sawed heaps of logs at cottage. Aft. F. and I cleared up and Mrs. Saxton and Joyce called. The house seems empty and quiet.

3rd.

C. went to stay with Harrods and Godalming. Friends party 2.30–5.30 at L.P. V. dull. F. and I were host and hostess.

5th.

C. came home.

8th.

Mary Fox (aged 16) for bed and breakfast 3 nights while attending conference at L. Park.

9th.

F. to Peace Conference at Oxford.

10th.

I had tea at Ruth and Sidney’s.

12th.

F. came home in aft. and Beatrice came too. I went to Federal Union meeting at Church St. Sidney and Ruth have just become Secretaries of the Reading branch. Ruth read the minutes etc. very well and S. gave interesting address.

13th.

C. and I to hear John Barclay—good.

15th.

Beatrice went home. She has been so sweet.

16th.

F. and I to Winkfield near Windsor with part of B’s Xmas present money. Got bus from station and arrived in time for tea at "The Gouldings". V. cold weather, frosty. Miss Goulding elderly, very nice and kind, plenty of humour, but other 8 or 9 people dull—sitting room so cold everyone sat in dining room. Food very good, lots of lovely coffee, and no shortage of milk, but v. poor and v. cold bedroom, and only 1 bathroom and lav. combined for whole house.

17th.

Walk—F. fell. Aft. by bus to Windsor to see "When ladies meet". Quite good. Nice tea in café.

18th.

Sun. Short walk in Windsor Park, but snow too deep. Returned home by bus after tea arriving soon after 6.0, Miss G. having given me 2 hot potatoes to warm our hands. She also gave me 2 eggs. She told us how King Edward (Duke of Windsor) went there and had a bottle party in the night with Mrs. Simpson, Lady Louis Mountbatten etc. and how angry she was. Mary Burke was staying there and they knew her and she gave M. Burke notice.

Thankful to get home.

19th.

Frightful weather. V. hard frost and deep snow. F. to Taunton to Spiceland Committee. Got home about 12 p.m. Last bus now is 9.30, so he had to walk from station (Trolleys run till 11.0)

20th.

F. to London to preside at lunch hour address. Martin returned in evening.

21st.

Snow so deep, can’t go to cottage. I don’t think I have been once in Jan. Our hot pipes in bathroom went off on 22nd and we had no kitchen fire for a day, but on 23rd it thawed and rained heavily and taps got right again. R. and Sidney have been on leave at Gillingham and Timberscombe. Returned today after a very nice time.

25th. Sun.

R. and S. to dinner and tea. S. fire watching so R. stayed night. Lovely to see them again. Marie Louise Moll also to tea. 2 or 3 weeks ago S. spoke well in meeting.

26th.

Freezing again and cold wind.

27th.

V. interesting Book Club at School House. Talk on Modern Poetry by Kenneth Nicholson.

29th.

Cottage. Rain and cold.

 

February 1942

6th.

Long M. for Sufferings.

12th.

F. and I to hear "Southern Command Quartette".

16th.

I think today—anyway about now—heard that Singapore has fallen. The Japanese are getting on far too well. As usual we have underestimated our enemies.

21st.

Roger Moore, Ruth and I to Tadley—R. Moore and I to interview Evais’s on their application for membership. Horrid cold day, trying to snow. Started in our car about 2.15 and went round by snowdrop place, but very few visible and were reprimanded for trespassing. The Evais’s live next Mrs. Smith (honey place). R. went on to cottage to light fire. V. nice interview—there are 5 children, youngest about Jonathan’s age. Mr. and Mrs. E. do market gardening and have 7½ acres—do it themselves. Keen pacifists. We went on to cottage and had lovely tea by roaring fire, but glad to get home. Something wrong with car radiator. It leaked. F. went to Jordans—Peace Committee conference.

22nd.

Thick ice on stock in pantry!

23rd.

Book Club—Jocelyns. "Brain Trust"—F. and Bruce Dilks good and amusing. V. cold and I caught a bad one.

26th.

In spite of my cold went to London, as had arranged to meet Marg. for her to choose a coat. She got a v. nice one, and we had dinner at Woolworth’s and did more shopping, then got 3/6 seats for Russian ballet at Adelphi. Back row high up—heat great and I grew sick and faint and had to come out and get 4.15 home. V. disappointing as I wanted to see more of Margaret. It was lovely to see her.

28th.

C. Martin, Ruth, Sidney and some others to St. David’s dance at Univ. Poor C. did not enjoy it much, tho’ first she had been to for 3 years I think. She looked lovely in a figured satin dress. 6–10!!

 

March 1942

We have had about 8 weeks of snow and hard frost and are sick of it. There has been plenty of skating, but we have had none—the cold N.E. winds have made it untempting.

3rd.

Milder at last. Planted tomato seeds in box and keep them in dining room.

8th. Sat.

cottage with F. Hard frost again. Lately C. and I had letters returned which I wrote in Sept. and C. a little later to Joe in Shanghai—"no service" on envelope. Horrid.

9th.

I to Federal Union Meeting. R. and S. are working it up well. Mr. Saunderson from Oxford spoke very interestingly on Federalism and Socialism. Quite a young man.

10th.

Spring-cleaned linen cupboard and got orchard(?) to distemper it.

14th.

Really mild at last and glorious to see the sun. Had tea on verandah! All went to L.P. in evening to see "Mikado". Excellently done and good augmented orchestra. Boys and masters—Mr. Hopkins has a lovely voice.

16th. Mon.

Cottage in aft. with F. Mild, but damp.

18th.

W.I.L. Mrs. Castle on Education for Citizenship.

19th.

Martin is 23 to-day. C. had a card from L.M.S. "We have just had the welcome message from the Foreign Office that Joe Hardie has escaped from Shanghai into Free China, and is at Sihsien, Southern Anhui. They have no further details of any kind, but it is reassuring to have even this amount of news. It will be a great relief to you I am sure. We will let you know if we hear anything further." I am yours sincerely, T. Cocker Brown.

It is a relief and so exciting, only I fear he may be having a very hard time. What does he do about money?

20th.

R. and B. for week-end. Pretty poor weather.

23rd.

Took R. and B. to station in car. Big wash. No charwoman came. F. helped me to beat our bedroom carpet. Evening F. and I to Federal Union Meeting to hear Mr. Veringloo, a Greek.

24th.

I took Joyse Bowen to see "Mary Rose" (Rep.) V. well done. ‘Mrs. Why’ came in morning and we spring-cleaned our bedroom and Mrs. Dowding and I finished it in afternoon.

25th.

A really nice day at last. Cottage alone. Spring-cleaned the 2 bedrooms. V. tired. Daffodils are coming out and primroses.

28th.

Cold again—there was only the 25th really good. C. and I left at 1.15 in car for Guildford, no signposts so got lost—arrived there at 3.0 and stayed till 5.0. Got home in 1 hour. Warm welcome. Elsa there too.

31st.

Junior School concert. Martin played ’cello in orchestra. Sidney tried before Colonel for refusing to go to Church Parade. Fortunately he was let off!

 

April 1942

2nd. Thurs.

Martin left in morning, as he is too inexperienced for the school. He played me Haydn’s Farewell Symphony on his radiogram before leaving which was sweet of him, and later sent me a teapot as ours had got cracked and they (all china) are very difficult to obtain. He has been a very nice visitor.

3rd. Good Friday.

F. C. and I to cottage in morning. We stayed till the 9th (F. till 8th) and had a delightful busy week, only bad weather, and left in torrents of rain. No meals in garden. Rain, hail, and Lambden destroyed 4 nests to our disgust. Daffodils lovely.

10th.

Ruthie to lunch. I to hear Canon Stuart Morris (P.P.U.).

14th. Tuesday.

I went to stay with Margaret and Reg. leaving C. to look after things. I worked pretty hard first. Arrived S.W. about 3.40 and M. and Jonathan met me. I had a lovely time, Reg. having holiday, but Rowland and Rosemary at school. Jonathan is bewitching and so plucky and talks a lot (just over 2) and they are all so good and sweet and everyone happy. V. good weather, only strong East winds.

18th. Saturday.

We had early dinner, then went by bus to Little Chesterford and walked to Great Chesterford—violets wonderful. It was all my affair. Here we had an excellent tea at a sort of guest house and got bus home arriving about 6.0.

19th. Sunday.

I looked after dinner and R., M., Rowland and Rosemary went to meeting. Aft. all went long walk, J. supposed to be in push chair, to fish for tadpoles!

20th. Mon.

Left S. Walden after tea 4.50 train, whole family seeing me off. Felt quite sad. Home about ¼ to 9. C. met me in Cintra at bus. F. at Jordans. C. gave me warm welcome.

21st.

C. and I started to spring-clean her room. Fearful job.

22nd.

C. and I all day at sale at Caversham. I bought a lawn mower for cottage for 5/-. Evening to hear Ronald Joynes on F.A.U. experiences in Finland, Greece, Egypt etc. Most interesting. Wonderful what these young men do and endure. F. home.

24th.

All of us to tea at Michaels’ in nice flat, but Mrs. M. bad eye and could not appear.

25th. Sat.

C. and I went in car (I gave F. early lunch) to get Sidney and Ruth. We stopped at pond near Three Firs at 1.30 for picnic lunch and it was lovely when out of the wind. I took the lunch and coffee—v. nice. At cottage gardened and after tea brought R. and S. to the Common and they walked back thro. woods to stay the night. Primroses so lovely.

27th.

Huge wash.

28th.

Mrs. Why came in morning and we spring-cleaned spare room.

29th.

Mrs. Why did stairs and bathroom.

30th.

Finished stairs—Mrs. Dowding and I did Ruth’s old room last week; C’s is finished at last, so all upstairs is done and so quickly. April has been very dry (all except beginning) and sunny but such cold winds that everything has got dried up and rain is badly needed.

On 28th (I think) there was a very bad raid on York, quite sudden. There have been 2 worse ones on Bath, and a bad one on Norwich and Exeter, reprisals for Lubeck etc. It is horrible. Thank God Morrells only had broken windows and 2 fire bombs that were quickly put out. Bertha said about 3.0 a.m. they were wakened by bombs, terrific noise.

 

May 1942

1st.

James Atkins from Hinckley, Leicestershire, came here as p.g. to teach at Junior School. About 29. C.O. Has been in prison.

2nd. Sat.

Early lunch, then left Mr. A’s tea ready for Mrs. Dowding to make and F.C. and I to cottage. Lovely day and warmer. Garden full of blue, pink and white bells and glorious blossom and pyrus Japonica, etc. I finished spring cleaning, then tea outside and planted sweet Williams etc. Tried new mower. So happy, but left about 7.0.

3rd.

R. and S. to dinner.

2 or 3 weeks ago Caro got a telegram from Joe, mentioned Chungking? No news on it, but signed "Love Joe" and it is thrilling to have heard from him.

4th.

Book Club at Muriel Steven’s. V. nice. Essays, a brilliant one by M. Dilks on "If Samuel Butler came to the Book Club". V. amusing. My old one on Ballydavid was read. People were slow in guessing the author!

6th.

R. and Sidney to Wales for a week’s leave. I to cottage in aft. by bus. Perfect aft. I put straw and manure round strawberries. Last bus is now 5 p.m. Too early and I found it crowded and tiring. V. little petrol allowed now.

8th.

F. to M/C to speak on peace at Meeting House. Stayed at Winifred Garnett’s.

10th.

Rain in aft. at last. Badly needed. Still East winds. They have been much too prevalent. F. returned evening.

11th.

Large wash. Aft. Mrs. Dowding and I beat dining room carpet.

12th. Tues.

F. and I did books. Aft. Mrs D. and Mrs. Why and I finished dining room. They went at 5.0 but I (with F. and C’s help to get carpet down etc) didn’t finish till 7.20 and then Extension committee used the room. In fact I was washing ornaments or something all the evening. Thank Heaven it is done and now only drawing room, hall and scullery left to do.

15th.

R. and B. for night—to cottage next morning with F. and me—C. came by bus. Lovely hot day. Nice dinner outside. Aft. Ruth and Sidney cycled over to tea. We left about ¼ to 8.0—R. and B. staying weekend there.

22nd.

Bosent String Quartette. Exquisite.

 

June 1942

2nd.

Still spring-cleaning. Have had Mrs. Why to help a little bit, but it is very tiring and actually hot weather at last. In evening I went alone to Gallery to hear "Desert Song". Quite good.

4th.

Cottage alone by bus. Really too hot. Hottest day for ages. Over 84.

5th.

Meeting for S. C. and I met in aft. at Pad (she has a holiday on Friday aft.’s) and we got her 3 pairs of shoes!! Excellent 6d coffee ice at Flemings—then shopped at Selfridge’s and had good tea there. Then to see "Quiet Week-end". V. amusing. Good seats 5/9 each. Some supper at Lyons Corner House. Got 11.0 home so no bus and had to walk from station.

7th. Sun.

R. and S. were married a year ago! They came to dinner, then C. and I went to cottage, but as last bus back is at 5.0 had to walk thro’ woods to Silchester and get 8.50. Makes it tiring, tho’ lovely walk.

At last spring-cleaning is finished.

10th.

About now it suddenly turned really cold, in fact there was a frost—horrid.

14th.

Had a fire, so cold!

15th.

Federal Union meeting.

16th.

In morning to Winmarsh to see Muriel Gardiner at their charming cottage in "Round about Lane". Felt envious. Slightly warmer. F. was away nearly all last week, Woodbrooke, etc.

18th.

Cycled to cottage, spent day there alone working hard, got 2 lbs strawberries, etc. and cycled home, arriving 6.30 rather tired and disinclined to get supper ready.

19th.

Joselins and Rosamund W. and Miss Waldschauer to coffee. Mr. J. sang, also F. and C. C. played her pipe and I played mine. Mr?. Atkins played the piano most beautifully.

23rd. Tues.

Went to cottage and stayed alone for the first time. Slept in bedroom near kitchen and got on alright. Light till nearly 11 p.m.

24th. Midsummer day.

Home by 5.0 bus.

25th.

Aft. spent at McIlroy’s fruit preserving, gooseberry jam. Have begun to do it every Thursday. Quite fun.

26th.

R. and B. for night.

27th. Sat.

R. and B. by bus to cottage. C. F. and I later by car. Lovely day. Strawberries. C. stayed night. F. and I back by car after tea—probably last time I shall drive it as we are not allowed any more petrol.

31st.

C. Mr. Atkins and I went to cottage by car about 4.30. C. and he bathed at Wasing—supper in garden. They walked thro’ woods to Silchester and got 8.50 bus home (last from Tadley is 5 p.m.). I stayed night. Car is now garaged at Cottage and can be used no more till after the war.

July 1942

2nd.

Mrs. Bradley came and stayed 3 nights. She is vivacious and jolly.

3rd.

M. for S. Short. Aft. I went to Nat. Gallery and heard lecture on 16th century portraits—then saw lovely little exhibition of water colours "recording Britain". Particularly liked Martin Hardie’s of Yorks. Supposed to meet Rob. for supper, but missed him. He, F. and I to Cambridge theatre to see "Wonderland", the new Russian ballet. R. gave us 5/- seats. V. good, but a whole evening of it is rather much. I gave them ices in the middle! Home in time to catch ¼ to 11 trolley bus—the last. Shinfield Rd. stop at 9.30.

5th.

Mrs. Bradley went. Frank Knight came for week-end.

9th.

M.M. Kenneth Brooks v. good on Post War Reconstruction.

10th.

C. F. and I to Book Club at H.R. Smith’s. Lovely evening, but not v. hot. Sidney and Ruth there. Garden glorious. 2 plays, one by Tchekov "The Proposal" and one about a workhouse by Lady Gregory. F., Mr. Dilks and Rosamund took part in latter. Both very funny plays. F’s Irish accent so good. Former play read by A. Joskings, H.R.S. and Muriel Stevens.

16th.

F. and I to R. and S.’s to tea. Delicious stuffed tomatoes and spektorte choc. cake. Gramophone records. Lovely evening.

17th. Fri.

F. and I to St. Hilda’s, Oxford for peace committee conference. Lovely place—each a bedroom. River at bottom of garden. Got there for tea. About 60 there I think.

18th. Sat.

Poured all day and icy cold—meetings till after 10.p.m. except from 1–4. Too tiring.

19th.

F. summed up discussion in aft., wonderfully. Maud Brayshaw who was clerk, said it took her breath away, and Hubert Peat is having extra large "Friend" for it to be printed therein. I returned evening.

20th.

F. returned early and typed out the notes.

22nd.

Reg. "And so to bed". V. good.

25th.

Junior School Play written by Ian … "As rich as Croesus". Splendid.

27th.

First ‘warning’ for long and gun firing. C. shot out of bed. I hardly heard it!

29th.

F. breakfast before 7.0 to York for Y.M. 9.30 James Atkins left for good. Has been v. nice and most considerate and his playing (piano) is delightful. Aft. C. and I to Pendragon School.

30th.

C. went to S. Walden in aft. en route for Goathland with M. and the children. They have all had chickenpox and M. is expecting a baby and is not at all well.

 

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

 


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