29th February 1940

Went off this afternoon to London to meet none other than dear little Mary Tovell, [formerly the bookshop assistant at the Colchester Castle] on her return from Cornwall to take up nursing at Erith in Kent.

We had tea at the station, one of the few stations in London where the tea does not taste like paraffin, and had a good talk, her father had at last let her become a probationer nurse, how dull Cornwall was for a girl like her, how Truro Museum was shutting up entirely on account of the war, though why it is impossible to say. Then she told me how the manager of the firm building militia camps [in Cornwall] had decamped with about £300 of the firm’s money, and how he had been caught, and turned out to be a man wanted by the police for some years.

I saw her off to Erith at 8.15, with promises to see her again.

This extract is published today as there is no corresponding leap year in 2010.

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