29th June 1941

Cool and cloudy. Cycled over to Lawford. Sawed up tree trunks this afternoon, both Parrington and myself making ourselves quite exhausted. In the morning, turning haycocks. Lovely lunch, with strawberries and cream. After lunch I ground some corn, read “Punch” and talked. Mrs. B. and Penelope came to tea, also Mr. Josiah Wedgwood, who is an authority on bees. Whether he is any relation to the potter I do not know. Penelope and I turned over more haycocks after tea. She was very nice, and promised to see me on Tuesday.

Left at 7. Glorious evening. Cycled through the Stour Valley to Dedham. The congregation were singing loudly in the chapel by the gurgling Black Brook as I cycled past. Called on the Sissons. Remarks made about the crowds of soldiers and girls strolling up and down the village street. Where do all these girls come from? Ribald comments on “our ally, Russia”.

Left at 11.30. Sun still sinking in the west, crescent moon rising. Colchester at midnight. Fed Bob. Called at home for a clean shirt.

E.J. Rudsdale Talk at Bourne Mill - 17th August 2011

Readers may be interested to know that I have been invited to give a talk on E.J. Rudsdale and his journals at Bourne Mill, the National Trust property in Colchester, on Wednesday 17th August 2011 at 7.00pm.

The tranquil setting of Bourne Mill in Colchester

Regular readers will know that Rudsdale was the custodian of Bourne Mill during the war years and his horse, Bob, was stabled there. It will, therefore, be very fitting to be able to recall his life at this historically important property which meant so much to him.

If you are visiting the Colchester area in August, it will be a pleasure to see you there.

To book your place telephone 01206 572422 or email: bournemill@nationaltrust.org.uk More details can be found on the Bourne Mill events website

Bourne Mill is open to visitors during the summer months on Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 2pm-5pm. Visit the National Trust website for Bourne Mill for more details.

Many thanks, Catherine Pearson

19th June 1941

Cycled over to the Belfields’ at Dedham tonight, to help Penelope cart hay. Hot. Made myself very, very tired, and felt ill on the way back. Anne Hughes-Stanton came over from Stratford, a strange moody child, dark and rather handsome. All she wanted to talk about was her recent appendicitis operation.

18th June 1941

Gorgeous day. Very hot. Everybody gone to the Derby at Newmarket.

17th June 1941

Another beautiful day. Actually light until after 12 tonight. Had tea with Dolly S. Many planes going out tonight just before midnight.

15th June 1941

Dull, warm day. Went to Boxted this afternoon. Mrs. Rose has found rather a nice iron pothook in one of the cottage chimneys. The Sissons called while I was there. Mrs. Rose says that an old lady of 80, living next door, told her that when she was a child they used to say they could hear the Devil shoeing horses on a Sunday, in a shed at Rivers Hall. Is this perhaps a variation of the Devil shoeing his hoof?

14th June 1941

Short alarm in the early hours of the morning. Think I heard a distant bomb. It is a curious thing that so often lately there have been mercifully thick clouds at night, which considerably restrict enemy activity.

Drove over to Fingringhoe this afternoon and had tea at Benham’s. He was in quite good form.

13th June 1941

Went to Chelmsford and Writtle today. Chelmsford Market very full. Strange how they do so much more business than Colchester does.

Called at Rallings when I got home tonight, and both the old ladies seemed very glad to see me.

This morning Rose suddenly remarked that she had asked Grubb to tea at the flat and would like me to come as well. I wish I knew what she is really thinking.

12th June 1941

Cloudy, dull, and some rain. Councillor Hayward’s funeral today. In the morning the Borough Flag was half mast, but at 10 o’clock a Union Jack was hoisted full-mast, then after lunch the half mast Borough flag was back again. Most odd.

11th June 1941

Royal Archaeological Institute Annual General Meeting. Capt Folkard gave me a day off to attend. Lovely day. Office, opened letters, to Rose’s [Café] for breakfast and then caught the 10.37. Country looked well, but still very green in our District. There is still a good deal of ploughable grass. At Witham I noticed a roofless house on the west side of the town, right against the line. No sign of damage at Crittall’s.

All that part looked very well cultivated, no doubt because Lord Rayleigh and Messrs Strutt & Parker farm a lot of land round there.

At Chelmsford, no sign of damage at Marconi Works, but some houses down in a road behind the new library. The town looked very busy. Part of the Golf Course is under cultivation.

There seems to be a lot of derelict land around Margaretting.

The houses at Margaretting, Ingatestone, Shenfield, etc often show patches of new tiles in their roofs, no doubt repairs to shrapnel damage. House down near Brentwood Station, which I noticed last August, but nothing at the station itself but I know it has been hit.

Work still goes on building the Central London extension. Hundreds of men at work on the line.

By the Bank crossing I saw an accident between two horse-drawn vehicles, which managed to get their wheels firmly locked. Much plunging and rearing and crashing of hooves on the wood paving.

Rang up Maura B. from Holborn, and arranged to meet her later. Had lunch at the Plane Tree Café, where I often used to go. Quite good, cost 1/6.

[After the RAI meeting at Burlington House] went down St James’s Street and saw that the old shops at the bottom and the Palace itself were safe. As I walked towards the London Museum [at Lancaster House] I met [R.E. Mortimer] Wheeler himself, in a colonel’s uniform, far older and greyer than when I saw him last. He stopped and greeted me in the cheerful way he always did. I saw the damage at Lancaster House – a great crack in the outside wall up to what used to be Thalassa’s office. How long ago it seems since I used to go there to see her or Ward Perkins.

Thalassa Cruso was an archaeologist and had been Assistant Keeper of Costume at the London Museum at Lancaster House in the 1930s. John Bryan Ward-Perkins was also an archaeologist and served as assistant to R.E. Mortimer Wheeler at the London Museum from 1936-1939. Wheeler was Keeper of the London Museum from 1926-1944.

Went into Hyde Park, the usual tremendous jam of traffic at Hyde Park Corner. A good many craters in the Park, but Park Lane looked alright, the great masses of Grosvenor House and the Dorchester unscathed. Nor much damage visible at Paddington. Bought some food at a pastry shop – buns, cakes, bread etc. Seemed very plentiful. Met Maura in Praed St. at the hospital entrance. Her little garret is quite safe, as are all the mews at the back. A bomb fell in Norfolk Square, damaging the church there and the porches of houses, but nothing else has been very near. Maura was just the same as ever.

Left the mews at 8, hurried to Liverpool Street to catch the 8.45. Back at Colchester at 10.15, very tired. A lovely day.

9th June 1941

Alarm last night from 12.30 to half past one. Heard bombs drop somewhere in the distance. Fine early, but dull later on, turning to rain at night.

Went over to Birch for a Committee. Nothing of note. Drove the jennet for an hour tonight.

8th June 1941

Heard this morning that Councillor Hayward is dead.

Cycled over to Dedham this afternoon to see the Sissons. Country looks well. There is more hay about than I thought there would be.

Came over cloudy at night.

On a brick in the granary at Bourne Mill, there is written in pencil “Began haysel Aug 1, 1892”.

7th June 1941

Letter from Mother this morning, threatening to come back.

Drove Penelope Belfield over to Dedham. Dear old Bob went very well indeed. It was a lovely afternoon and a most pleasant drive. The Belfields' goat has twin kids.

Noticed the Borough Flag half mast this afternoon, but although I made several enquiries I could not discover who it was for.

E.J. Rudsdale Talk: 7 June 2011

A View from the Castle: The Journals of E.J. Rudsdale 1920-1951

Readers may be interested to know that I will be giving this talk on E.J. Rudsdale's life and work to the Friends of Colchester Museums on Tuesday 7th June at 7.30pm at Lion Walk Church, Colchester. Admission: Members: £1, Non Members: £2

You will be most welcome to attend if you happen to be in the Colchester area.

Many thanks, Catherine Pearson

5th June 1941

Cold and wet. Heard cuckoo tonight at Bourne Pond, calling away on the far side of the water.

They have been cutting grass most of the day in the Holly Trees Field to make silage at the Cattle Market. When grass is cut for this purpose it does not matter how wet it is. They used Young’s machine, with two horses, a horse rake, and three motor lorries to cart it.

4th June 1941

Beautiful fine day. Rang up Penelope. She is very worried about her future, and there is nothing I can do to help her.

3rd June 1941

Cold and dull, but warmer in the evening, and the sun shone. Had tea at Jacklin’s. Three women came in and sat near me. One was a middle aged country looking woman, the second a smart young lady of about 25 or 30, short black hair, smart country clothes, with a severe little green hat, and the third was a lovely “Burne-Jones” girl, about 25, with a great halo of glorious light brown hair, parted in the middle and falling softly round an exceptionally pretty face. She had large grey eyes, no lipstick and wore a black fur coat. I wonder who she was.

2nd June 1941

Cold and dull day. Will summer never come? The season will be terribly late.

1st June 1941

I did not feel very sleepy last night, and so at one o’clock this morning I rang up George’s wife Maisie, and asked she and her sister Betty to come over to the Castle to drink tea. They had been to a dance, and had only just arrived home, in fact shortly before, when I was patrolling the roof. I could hear them saying goodnight to the soldiers who brought them back. Canadians it sounded like. They came over in the most glorious dance-frocks, and stayed about half an hour.

Cold and windy today. Maura B. came down to the Mill and helped me clearing up in the field. Talked about her going to Wales. I envy her.