11th January 1943

Heavy rain all night, and continued this morning.  Went in by bus.  It was so dark that at 9 o’clock vehicles still had their lights on.  I felt there would probably be an alarm, and sure enough at half-past 9 the sirens sounded.  A few minutes later there was a burst of gunfire to the south.  The traffic was making so much noise I could not hear any planes.  From the front windows I could see frightened women scurrying across the street in the rain, their white faces turned up to the sky, coming into the shelters in the Park.  A few minutes later there was much heavier firing, which lasted about 3 minutes.  After the second firing nothing happened at all, but the all-clear did not sound until after 10 o’clock.

The rain stopped, and the clouds became thinner and higher, the sun coming through about 12.30.  Went to feed Bob, and had no lunch in consequence.

Shorter [War Agricultural Committee] meeting than usual.  Moorhouse came for the first time.  Mrs. Round was worried because her two sons are now likely to be in danger - both going to the Middle East.  How lonely she must be in that vast house.

Came back with Nott, and went to catch the 6.10 bus.  Saw a most odd-looking character in the bus – a fat, dissipated looking man, very poor and shabby, with a huge flabby face, wearing a black cloth cap and a dirty grey overcoat.  He sat just in front of me, and turned round to ask if this was a Beeston’s bus?   I replied, very shortly, yes not wishing to get into a conversation with him.  He then asked what route it took? and I again had to answer.  I was much struck by his voice, which seemed to be that of an educated man, although his appearance was that of a labourer.  I noticed that he took a single ticket to Lawford, asking for the village hall, but did not know the fare.  A girl got in and sat beside him, and he at once got into conversation with her.  I thought he was a most extraordinary character, and mentally decided that he was an educated type of man, perhaps an old actor, who had come down in the world and was now a labourer, probably on an aerodrome somewhere.

When I got back to Lawford I described him fully to Joy, who at once said "Why, that’s our Rector, the Revd. Fynes-Clinton!"

I was quite amazed.

More rain tonight.  Spent the evening writing.

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