E.J. Rudsdale Talk

I will be giving a talk as part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival on E.J. Rudsdale's Journals, entitled 'Creating History: A Civilian's Experience of the Second World War in Essex' on Thursday 30th October from 7.30-9.00pm at Anglia Ruskin University. Tickets are free. Book your ticket here. Many thanks, Catherine Pearson

22nd October 1944 - Edinburgh

Fog and then sun.  Quiet day reading.  Did not feel very well.  Dora Biggam here alone tonight and longed to start a conversation, but could not.

Fog came on again tonight, and as I was sitting reading by myself before going to bed, sometime before midnight I heard the unmistakeable sound of an aircraft in trouble, somewhere to the south.  The engine was running very badly, and died away in a sort of low rumble.  Listened anxiously, as if I was on the Post.

21st October 1944 - Edinburgh

Fog, but fine later.  To the library, then to Leith Goods depot to see horse-show.

20th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Wet and foggy.  Mother’s birthday.  No present this year.  Went to Library again, and spent a good deal of the day writing.

This evening went to see Diana’s sister (Diana Davis, Stage Manager, Colchester Repertory Company), who lives up at Merchiston, and spent some time wandering in the dark through a maze of Merchiston Avenues, Roads, Crescents and gardens.  She is extraordinarily like Diana – very pretty, and not more than about 20.  Been married 3 months.  Talked about Scottish prejudices etc.  Stayed an hour, then back to Bruntisfield to supper, very late.

Much talk about the Edinburgh Corporation’s Schemes for building houses in the Parks and on the Links.  This it seems is really true – amazing and scandalous.  Mrs Paterson says Mrs -, Councillor says it is intended to destroy all Canongate.

19th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Lovely day, faint golden mist across the Links, as the sun came up.  Horrible dream early this morning – I was mad, and everybody I was at school with was there, trying to tie me up with ropes, while I struck at them with a large beam.  Knew I was insane, a vile dream.

Now endless nagging worry about going back.  Mind seems quite weak, cannot force myself to go.  

Saw Richardson re work at Museum.  Wrote to Father and Captain Folkard. 

18th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Lovely morning. Went to see Dr Lamont, but he was out.  Divers been over Essex 7 nights running now.  Rumours have come up that they go in daylight as well, but no real news.  London people in Edinburgh flatly refuse to go back.

Spent whole day at Library mostly on Hebridean monuments.  Wonderful.

17th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Dull again, but no rain.  To Library, then to see Richardson.  Interesting conversation, walked up Canongate to Netherbow Port.  Saw Acheson House next Huntley House etc.  Sad condition of the tenements down to Abbey Strand.

Then to National Museum and met Gordon Childe.  Saw the Newstead ironwork – wonderful.  Also the Scottish carved stones – conceived idea of getting temporary work here.  Prepared to work for nothing for 3 months if I sell Robin.  Might be well worthwhile.

Rain and sleet, blowing across streets, Castle Rock, with light sky behind.  Looked in St John’s and St Cuthbert’s Churches and the graveyards.  Afternoon in the library again, and got through a good deal.  Is this the fulfilment of my dream?  The one about working in a great library?

Could live here for the rest of my life.  Wrote to Ann McLean tonight and sent telegram to Father.

16th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Lovely dull morning, mists floating over the city.  Spent day in the library.  Felt ill.  Afternoon went over to Prestonfield.  Had tea and supper, long talk with Yankowski; Janet dressed in lovely scarlet dress.  Grouse for supper, and wonderful pink cream pudding.  Heavy rain began.  Thought of Colchester so far away.  Much talk tonight about Portal Houses, Mrs Paterson and Miss Millers.