3rd January 1941

At Poulter’s instigation, 2 AFS men examined the Castle today, with a view to considering the actual and potential difficulties of fire-fighting there. They were not favourably impressed.

Heard today that Pulford has no hay and no bran. Bill Watts told me, at the bottom of Broom Hill. While we were talking, Babs Ganimer, the fodder merchant, came by in his car, so Watts stopped him, but he said he had no hay, and did not know where to buy a ton of it. Announced today that urban horses are to be rationed from Feb. 1, so I fear trouble. Must see Parrington and Girling.

More snow today. Streets very dangerous. I slipped out this morning to get the new volume [of Kilvert's diaries], which had been on order for nearly 2 months. Bitterly cold, and an unusual number of pretty girls in the streets. Pretty little Mrs Shephard, in a green coat and yellow hood, with fur topped boots, was going past the Town Hall. I waited a moment to say Good morning to her. In Smith’s Bookshop, was a gorgeous girl, with thick wavy black hair, speaking in a singularly beautiful voice. It seems to me as I get older that the girls grow prettier.

Decided to go to the pictures today, as I now so rarely go. Went to see “Henry VIII” at the Regal, which I first saw about four years ago. Very well done. How fantastically remote these days seem now. The reedy Tudor music gave me curious cold shivers down my spine, and some of the scenes in Hampton Court seemed to me to be almost ghostly. The hawking scene was very good. How strange to think that the King really did ride about like that, and perhaps some ancestor of mine may have seen him so.

Spent the evening with Rose, blessedly free from ‘planes, until about half a dozen came over just on eleven o’clock. The siren blew at 11.5pm, just after I got into the Castle. There was a girl in the Museum today who had come recently from Llanidloes, and she tells me that German planes fly over them and that bombs have fallen, without damage or hurt, near Llyn Elan. It seems to me particularly sad that even the remote valleys of Wales echo to the drone of raiders. I suppose all the villages known and loved by Kilvert must be in danger of stray bombs. How tragic.

Rogers, the house decorator, a keen “Rotarian”, came in today with four French soldiers of the so-called “Free” French army. He was talking to them in rather laboured French. He told me they were in camp at Camberley, and had had a very miserable time. Yesterday two English sailors came in with two Dutch sailors, I suppose from Harwich. The Dutch Navy is still at war with Germany, but the army is not.

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