9th September 1940

Alarm at 2.45am, until 5.30, and another just 12 hours later. Very few people bother to go into the Vaults now. Owing to the dislocation in London, we did not get any newspapers until the afternoon.

This evening I went over to Dedham to the Sissons' and spent a very pleasant evening, thus missing another alarm from 9-11pm. We had a good deal of talk about the war and my immediate future. They very kindly offered to do all they can to get me a job on a farm – I rather think a good many of their friends are in a similar position. We also discussed the future of Bourne Mill, and decided to try to get the Parks Superintendent to take an interest in the matter of the willows. [Cricket bat willow trees were grown at Bourne Mill as a source of income to help towards the conservation costs of the historic mill].

Sisson had some amusing things to tell about the absurd stories and rumours which are to be heard in Dedham. The best I think was about an old lady in the village who, in the early days of the War, woke up to see many searchlights playing on low clouds, giving an unearthly light over the whole landscape. She had never seen anything like this before, and was most impressed. After careful consideration she decided it must be the end of the world, and woke her old housekeeper to tell her so. The two old ladies then decided to make tea, and await Our Lord’s coming. After a while, as nothing further happened, they rang up the Chairman of the Parish Council (not the parson, you note) and informed him of the approaching judgement. With great tact he explained the real nature of the phenomenon they were witnessing, and somewhat disappointed they retired to bed. I was told this was absolutely true.
Very cold tonight. Autumn seems to be here.

2 comments:

Janey said...

What a lovely story!

Barbara Critchley said...

I love the story about the "end of the world"!