21st June 1942


Up at 9.30.  Lovely day, sunny but cool.  Cycled to Dedham, taking spring onions to the Sissons, and cream to exchange for strawberries with Mr. Wedgwood, who arranged to meet me at the “Marlborough”.

Sissons both full of “rumours”, some they had heard, some invented.  Mrs. S. saw Fletcher, Headmaster of Colchester Royal Grammar School a few days ago, and he seemed to think that the school might be evacuated by September.  Yet only 2 days ago I saw in an evening paper that Southend Council departments, evacuated to Hertfordshire 2 years ago, would be returning to Southend in September.

Other rumours are a) that 2,000,000 American troops would be brought into the district, and the whole civil population removed to make room for them.  This of course is for the “Second Front”.  (One sees “Open a Second Front NOW” chalked all over walls and railway bridges in Colchester)

b) a real Sissons invention – that owing to the shortage of shipping the “Second Front” is to be in East Anglia, as to save transport, the Germans of course being allowed to arrive by air.  (I ought to have told him that for 2 nights running I have dreamt that the Japanese had invaded Essex).

Sisson also suggests that in future, so as to save petrol, each side should bomb their own countries, under the supervision of an international commission to see fair play.

Mrs. S. looked very well, much better than she did last week.  Their garden is gradually recovering from the effects of last Sunday’s storm.

Pedalled back to Lawford just as people began to drift along the village street to church.  (How one misses the church-bells).  The young verger cycled up and opened the door, and I saw old Canon Given-Wilson coming out of his house.

Two fat, elderly men and a young girl in ATS uniform were looking at the sign of the “Marlborough”.  One man said “You can see the likeness to Winston Churchill”.

Went up to Humberlands with Roger to collect stakes and sacks.  After lunch carting hay with Roger and the trolley, although he is hardly man enough for it.

Penelope called in for cream.  Nothing to say.  Last night read Lord Berners’s “Far From the Madding War”, a brilliant little satire.  Emmeline I think is a little like Penelope.

Drove back to Colchester in the cool of the evening.

Robin went very well.  Went down Hawkins Road to see the fields which are to be ploughed, so as to be able to report tomorrow.

At Holly Trees Poulter was very depressed about the capture of Tobruk and the surrender of 25,000 men.  I cannot raise any interest. What possible value to England are these ruined towns and limitless deserts?

Stayed talking with him until 11 o’clock.  Lovely balmy evening, the new moon showing gold through a thin mist, the laughter and voices of men and girls in the streets, talking in groups under the trees.

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