9th November 1941

Slept badly last night, the luxury of a real bed being counteracted by the intense coldness of the room. This morning I heard Mrs. B. and Penelope moving about at 8 o’clock, getting ready to cycle to Mistley Catholic Church. Read, dozed, and woke again, to find to my horror that it was quarter to eleven. Hurried about, no breakfast, and rushed down to the Mill. Cold bright day, and windy. Got Bob out, filthy dirty and just got him to the trap when the Belfields arrived. We all went up to Lawford Hall to fetch the phaeton. Mrs. Parrington came galloping across the Park on Roger, riding very well indeed.

The phaeton was a great success, and even with the hood up suited Bob admirably. Made all the harness fit, then back to Birchett’s Wood to lunch, (in a very cold room. Some people have no comfort in their houses). This afternoon we all went off to Dedham, Penelope looking really lovely. She suited the vehicle very well, looking quite an 18th century lady in her manner and appearance. Called at Sisson's, and he took photographs of us.

This photograph, which was taken by M.A. Sisson, shows Bob harnessed to the phaeton with EJR in the driver's seat and Penelope Belfield sitting beside him. Joy Parrington can also be seen riding her horse, Roger. The photograph was taken outside the Sissons' home, 'Sherman's Hall' in Dedham High Street. EJR labelled this photograph: ‘When we drove over to Higham'.

Then went off to Higham, bowling along the lanes in fine style, dear old Bob going well. The roads were thickly coated with fallen leaves, an immense number having come down in the last few days. The farms on the Suffolk border look well. At Moye’s farm near Stratford Church there were many fat stacks all very well thatched. At Higham, we called at Cedric Morris’s house, but he was not there, and the whole place looked very forlorn and derelict. It is strange that artists never seem to live in their houses, but are always somewhere else. While we were there I heard much machine gunning, bombing, and the sound of planes in the direction of Colchester, and was much alarmed, but the ladies were not in the least interested, merely assuming it was an attack on Leavenheath aerodrome. Back to Lawford, called for Mrs. P., and took the phaeton back to Lawford Hall, Bob still going strongly. Mrs. Nichols was there, looking just as charming as she did last year. We discussed Tandem driving. Mr. Nichols, who is Ambassador to the non-existent Czecho-Slovak Republic, drove off to London in a Rolls-Royce.

Settled Bob at the Mill, then walked back with Penelope. Just by Jupes Hill we heard sirens, and a few distant explosions. High tea, then caught the 8.20 bus to Colchester. Heard the all-clear soon after we left. To office, wrote some official letters, then to post, and was furious to find cafĂ© shut at 10 o’clock, as I had no bread at all.

A most enjoyable day.

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