17th January 1942

I went up this morning to see Sir W. Gurney Benham about my Colchester photos. He was quite vague about them, and did not seem to be particularly interested. He spoke about the Corporation Grading Scheme, and mentioned that Hull had sent him suggestions regarding the Museum staff, but that he, (WGB) had never heard of the scheme. Poor old man, he is breaking up now. I told him it had been passed by the Council at their last meeting. He said “Ah, yes, I expect I have a report about it somewhere in the Minutes. I must read it.” He is 82.

I cycled up there on Daphne’s bicycle. Hervey saw me and said “I see you’re riding the mare today.”

Cutting chaff this afternoon to try and get warm. Also went down to Cannock Mill with the little grey. Much ice on Bourne Road and other by-roads and in the Mill yard. Tick Mason’s little pony and cart was there, the pony a tiny shaggy little thing, even smaller than the grey. A tall, thin man came into the yard, wearing a cap, rough clothes, and rubber boots. He patted both ponies and said “Well, I expect I should feel a bit strange with horses now.” I said, “Why, were you with them once?”

He said “Yes, I was a gentleman’s coachman in London for 19 years before the last war.” We chatted a bit about Tillings, Buchanan’s, W.H. Smith & Co, and he knew them all. It was strange to imagine this worn, shabby looking man had once worn livery and driven a pair from a box seat. He said he was father of young Smith who drives Tucker’s horse in Paxman’s.

We had information today regarding a scheme for immobilising tractors in the event of an invasion, the main part being that in a scare the driver shall notify us daily by postcard as to where he will be next day. This is typical of all the invasion arrangements and suggestions.

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