24th February 1942

Terrible, bitter, weather. Strange that I really feel better now, living in the Oven [the Castle Cell], than I used to do living at home. At any rate, I have got through this winter without those awful coughs I used to have, although there have been several days and nights of pain and discomfort.

Meeting at the office this morning regarding Westwood Park, Gt. Horkesley. This is a considerable estate, with a home farm of 160 acres, with 8 cows in milk and four more due to calf. It appears that the whole of the milk produced goes to the house, the household consisting of old Col. Ogilvie and 9 servants. A most extraordinary state of affairs, somewhat complicated by the fact that the agent for the estate is none other than Mr. A.J. Pope, Secretary of the East Suffolk War Agricultural Committee! He and Mr. Page were both present this morning, and our Chairman. It seems doubtful whether any legal proceedings can be taken against Col. Ogilvie, but Pope promised to try to get him to be more reasonable.

Went down to Mersea with Nott this afternoon, to see North Farm. The three old Woods Brothers were round the lee of a stack, knocking out beans with their flails. The Woods’ agreed that the Committee should take over the whole of the dead stock and the two old horses on valuation. Among other things there is a very good wagon, built for them at Abberton in 1894, as the date painted on it still shows.

Came back past Broman’s Farm and saw old Page also flailing beans in a little shed near the road.

Rudsdale was fascinated by the old farmers on Mersea Island who maintained agricultural tradition by using flails. He used the photograph opposite in lectures on agricultural history to illustrate the use of flails in Medieval times.

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