11th February 1942

Great disappointment – hard frost again this morning, and kept on all day.

Authority came from Writtle today for Joanna Round to take the Land Army supervision job at Peldon.

Hervey Benham told me at lunch today that old Mrs. Grubb died yesterday in Severalls [Mental Hospital]. Poor Eilean. What will become of her now? Wrote to her tonight.
Eilean Grubb ran a horse riding school and had taught EJR to ride.

Evening papers all preparing the public for the loss of Singapore. The majority of people seem to view the rapid disintegration of the Empire very calmly. Perhaps they are really as sick and tired of the whole thing as I am. Spencer said today – “Isn’t the news bad? We’ve lost the ‘Normandie’ and we look like losing Singapore.” We have lost it! – burnt by accident at New York yet we have lost it. I suppose everything in the world which does not belong to Germany belongs to us. I remember hearing a woman in a café lament that we had lost Manila. Of course, it is quite possible that some people think the English really own everything east of Suez.

Very cold, but sunny. Took some more photos down to Gall this morning. The river turgid and dirty. Four white ducks and one piebald were feeding below the Weir at Middle Mill, in pale winter sunshine. A man and a little girl were crossing the footbridge over the dyke, the man carrying a large bundle of faggots on his back. A fireman came along from the depôt on his cycle. He was the husband of that pretty little girl who years ago worked at Page and Ward’s. I used to see them as lovers walking slowly round the Park. Big army convoy on the By Pass, running east.

Spent 2 hours on photos tonight, then hot Ovaltine and bed in the cell [at the Castle].

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