Three alarms today, 9.30-10, 1.25-1.50, (right in my lunch hour), and 6.30-6.45, which caught me in Jacklin’s having tea, which I had to leave unfinished. Very few people came in for any of these.
Attended a meeting tonight in the Mayor’s Parlour on Horse ARP. All the prominent horse owners in the town were present (and me!) and we sat from 7pm till half past 9 listening to Murphy [the vet in charge of ARP arrangements for animals], Orchard and Rendell talking the most utter rubbish I have ever heard.
The Mayor sat there like a hero, never showing the slightest sign of the boredom and annoyance which he must have felt. Finally he got Orchard down from £100 to £25 for the job of fixing 60 or 70 iron rings in various pub yards. The total cost for the whole job should not be more than £5, but the Borough Engineer’s Dept. now has the matter in hand, which makes a slight difference. No doubt this will be one of those useful little jobs which can be used as a “cover” for the deficiencies in other jobs.
There was a great argument about the number of horses in Colchester. Murphy said he could only trace 137, (including 60 on the Co-op), but I said there were at least 300, and was quite unbelieved. However, as soon as I got home I looked up my old notes on horses, and found I was right, although there have been sad losses in the last few years, but against them not a few fresh horses have come in.
From the tone of this meeting it is obvious that Murphy, aided and abetted by Nicholson of Drury Farm, are going to obstruct as much as possible. It was agreed to levy a charge of so much per horse from each owner, to pay Orchard’s £25 and the cost of printing cards giving a list of all stables available for shelter.
Rang Parrington tonight about flails and corn chaff.
[EJR included an estimated list of the number of horses and ponies in Colchester in September 1940 at the end of his diary entry for today as follows]:
Brewers (and Mineral water manufacturers): 8
Forage merchants: 70
and c.40 farm horses and c.60 Co-op horses
For more information on Eric's campaign to gain air raid protection for horses see his previous diary entry for 10th July 1940.