7th September 1941

Fine, sunny day. Strong wind, and great fleecy clouds blowing across from the N.E.

Drove over to Elmstead this morning with Hampshire, to do a deal over his pony. We drove it in my trap. Noticed some fine horses at Park Farm. Many stacks dotted about the landscape, thatched and set to rights. At Elmstead we grazed the pony on the green, in the warm sun, and watched people going down the lane to church. At last Mr. “Tinny” Goode, drove up in a very nice Lawton trap. Did not think much of his pony, but after a good deal of talking and haggling a “chop” was arranged. Then we all went into “The Bowling Green”, - Hampshire, “Tinny”, his mate Walter, and myself. Of course, no sooner had beer been ordered all round then Hull walks in, dragging his enormous Alsation. He said “Hullo, what’s this party?” I replied primly that it was a horse-deal. Hampshire said several witticisms, and Hull wandered out and into the pub opposite. I talked to “Tinny” about Penelope’s pony, which he insists on calling “Sugar”. “Ah, sir,” he said, “she’s a fine little mare, but she’s no pony for a young lady to be a’drivin’”. I told him there was no need to worry about Penelope.

We made ready to drive home. “Tinny” patted his former pony goodbye, and he and Walter clambered into the Lawton and drove away. I drove off with the “chop”, which I did not think as good as the one we had brought. My three half-pints at the “Bowling Green” must have had some little effect, as I misjudged my position by Wivenhoe Park and brought down a few feet of Mr Gooch’s pole palings. Two large pieces fell into the trap, and as I bent to throw them out Hampshire said “Don’t do that! – They’ll come in for firewood!” No damage to trap.

Late lunch at home, washed and cleaned up, then cycled to Ardleigh and saw Mr. Barker in Harts Lane about his taking Whitehouse Farm, Langham. I think he would be rather a good man to have there.

Went on to Birchett’s Wood and had tea. Drove little Cider (or “Sugar”), for half an hour. She went very well. Had a lovely supper by candlelight. Penelope was more than usually tongue-tied. Mrs. Belfield has been staying at Painswick in Glos., and said that almost everybody ate at the British Restaurants, the gas supply being so bad it was difficult to do any cooking.

Rode home in the moonlight, bringing back two eggs and a vegetable-marrow which Mrs. B. kindly gave me.

National Day of Prayer, but saw nothing of it. Only hope it does not have the bad effects which other Days of Prayer have had!

In 1940, the Government decreed that the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of the commencement of the war would be observed as a National Day of Prayer. In 1941, this fell on Sunday 7th September. Previously, a National Day of Prayer held on 26th May 1940 coincided with the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk and the National Day of Prayer on 8th September 1940 coincided with the commencement of the London Blitz. CP

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