30th October 1941

Out early this afternoon, and cycled to Battleswick [Farm]. The old gentlemen are still about the place, and are continuing to farm about 20 acres across the valley, which I am sure they will do until they drop dead. They are both real good Essex farmers. Inspected some old brewing things for the Museum, and then on to Fingringhoe. Saw pretty little Miss Elmer driving a tumbrel past Grubb’s, while her father’s tractor was ploughing the big field behind Hervey Benham’s house.

Found Grubb varnishing a trap. Everything in terrible confusion, old pails, tins, old stoves, bits of harness, furniture, all over the garden. Told me a sad tale about her brother trying to get her turned out of the cottage. Had a cup of tea with her, at a table which as usual bore the remains of the last five or six meals, spread with a cloth which was covered with cats’ footmarks, leading to and from the milk jug. The animals had evidently drunk out of the jug as far down as they could reach. There was a plate of rotting tomatoes on the electric stove, and an incredible mass of harness on the floor. She said “We generally keep it on the sofa but somebody came in who wanted to sit down.”

Poor Grubb. I don't know what she can do. I tried to tell her it was useless to keep eight horses, all either very old or else unbroken, but she would not listen. Back at 6, and saw Hampshire about some more chaff, called at home, then supper, finished letters, and to the post at 10.

Very cold, but not so bad as yesterday.

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