9th December 1942

Lovely morning, fine and sunny, with a warm S.W. wind.  Had to call at Marriage’s Mill on my way in, about a cheque.  I noticed that Marriage’s ledgers are posted under Quaker dates – “10 mo”, “11 mo”, etc.  Interesting.  I suppose a good number of the staff must be Friends.

At lunch time, I went to Bourne Mill, and cleaned poor old Bob, and put some straw down.  He looks very worn now, and I begin to wonder if he will last the winter.

This afternoon I went to Wigborough with Capt. Folkard.  The Chief Drainage Officer was there from Writtle, Terkelsen, who was interested to see the attempts now being made to mole-drain the heavy clay at Abbots Hall.  Half one field has already been done, and the leads are running freely.  Moreover, you can see a distinct difference between the two sides of the field.  That drained is now obviously drier.  I had previously told Terkelsen of Arthur Young’s firm opinion that this heavy land could not be moled, but he now considers that Young is quite confuted.  We shall, however, see whether the moles run for a second winter, after being broken when the ground cracks wide open in summer.

The noise of tractors in the distance.  The great barn at Abbot’s Hall is now being repaired, the broken end being built up.  Even as it stands it is a huge building, although only half its original length.  I don't know when this set of buildings was first put up, but by the look of the bricks I should say about 100 years ago.  There is no doubt from their size that it was intended to produce a considerable amount of food on that land at one time, and, it shall be done again.  But what a mess.  There is not a hedge or gate on the farm, and the bullocks grazing in the field behind the house have to be watched all day by two Land Girls, like ancient cowherds, to keep them off the sown land.

They brought the cattle into the yard while I was there, and littered them down for the night.  I went in to see the stables, which are quite palatial.  There were two pairs of Suffolk horses, all we have on this huge farm.  Found from the horse-man that he has been taking them to Peldon forge to be shod, and of course we have received no bill at the office at all.  I knew they must be shod somewhere, but Nott told me they were going without shoes!  He knows nothing whatever about horses.

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