7th December 1942

Awake on and off all night.  Felt very nervous.  Went outside at half past 6, and found lovely starlight, but at 8 there were low, heavy clouds, driving before a strong S.W. wind.  Went home to wash and change.  As I was putting on a clean shirt, in my old bedroom, I heard one of the sirens give a sort of moan, as if about to start, but it died away at once.  A woman at the back of one of the Kendall Road cottages called out to a neighbour “Was that a siren?” and the other answered “I think it was an accident.  They must have touched something by mistake.”  A few seconds later I heard the sound of a plane in a fast dive.  It swept down very low, but was English.  I expect the observers recorded it as an enemy, and then corrected their mistake.  

Committee at Birch.  Great flurry to get ready.  Very cloudy all the afternoon, and soon got dark.  Heard a number of planes about, but no alarms.  The meeting was unusually grim.  The Chairman reported that one of his tenants had gone quite mad with worry and anxiety about the state of his farm, which had been inspected several times lately.

Last week the whole Committee went to Home Farm, Peldon.  The tenant has nearly 50 cows, 100 pigs, and several horses, on a holding of 100 acres, of which only 20 are arable.  He never asks for rations, and swears he feeds the stock on hay, brewer’s grains and swill.  It is quite obvious that he is getting feeding-stuffs from some illicit source or other.  The Chairman was so amused at the obvious deceit of the man that he quite liked him.

Tonight reading Simonds D’Ewes Diary.  His visits to Lawford are most interesting.  Coming from Langham he must have gone right past Sherbourne Mill, and up Mill Hill to Lawford Park.  It is also interesting that Joy Parrington’s maiden name was Simonds, and her family come from the same district, round Bury, where the D’Ewes had estates.  Another point is that he at one time borrowed the Cartulary of St John’s Abbey from Lucas.  This historic document is now part of the collections of Essex Record Office.

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