23rd March 1941

Went over to Lawford to lunch, to the Parrington’s. Penelope Belfield was there, just as beautiful as ever and still stammering. We went out with the pony this afternoon to Frank Girling’s, at Holly Lodge, to deliver some cream. He was not there. Back to a lovely “high tea” at Sherbourne Mill, including cream and jam in quantities, such as I have not seen since last August. Left at 6, and down to Dedham, calling on the Sissons for an hour, then back to Colchester on duty. A lovely day, although very cold, in fact there was quite a fall of snow this morning.

When I got in to the Castle, I found Hull standing on the spiral stairs in complete darkness. He is always in some odd position like this when I come to relieve him.

He said he had locked his office and had locked the keys inside or else left them at home, so had been wandering about in the darkening Castle for a couple of hours. After he had gone, Poulter came over to tell me [that some] coins, nearly all 1st century, were stolen yesterday morning and a number of them were found on the Castle bridge by some children during the afternoon. These were taken to Poulter, who happened to be in the building at the time. I cannot understand where Chapman was at the moment, but everything in the Castle is so out of control that in all probability he was out. About 2 dozen coins and 50 packets were found, nearly all torn up, but how many coins are missing is not known, (and probably never will be, thanks to the state of our records). Hull turned up from somewhere, fell into an awful flap, sent for the police, and generally took charge of the situation.

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