20th December 1942

A lovely sunny morning.  Spent most of the day outside cleaning Robin, washing trap, etc.  After lunch drove over to Lawford Hall, and called on the Nichols.

They both came out of the old house, and I spoke about Sir Walter Monckton’s coach and phaeton at Bonner’s Barn, Peldon.  Nichols knows Sir Walter, and said that there was little reason why the phaeton should not be brought over to Sherbourne.  Sir Walter is apparently soon to go to Sweden.

Mrs. Nichols told me that she saw a trap-accident at Colchester yesterday on the By-Pass.  Five fools in a ralli had tried to drive a 3 year old, only just broken, with the result he had smashed the trap to pieces and lamed himself.  I would have left the fools there, but Mrs. Nichols brought some of them along to Ardleigh in her car.  She did not know who they were.

I drove away down the long avenue, the great naked trees glorious in the winter sun.  A great plane came wheeling overhead, turning towards the river.  I thought of Simonds D’Ewes coming here to see Jemima Waldegrave. 

Delivered the washing, and drove round by Bargate Lane down into Dedham.  Saw Sisson, who told me he had bought a very good 15th century house near Dedham and would give me details later.

Back by Pound Lane, and saw a lorry just ahead of me suddenly tip a load of ballast by the road side, dash off, turn in Moorhouse’s yard, and come back.  I realised this must be one of the aerodrome lorries engaged in the “gravel racket” so as he came by I took his number – AMK 906.  It was a grey lorry, rather old.  These gravel carters are paid by the load out of the pit, so instead of going all the way to the site they tip the stuff in quiet lanes and go back for more.  I don't know whether to report it or not.

Back to the Mill at 4.  Fed Robin and caught Roger.  Heard an alarm at Wenham or Raydon, but it only lasted 3 or 4 minutes.  Probably a mistake.

Cycled in to Colchester to do duty.  Very cold.  Spent two or three hours in the Muniment Room.

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