17th January 1943

Up at 9.30.  Scattered clouds, sunny, quite warm.  Apparently the big flight of bombers which circled over the town on Wednesday last made a daylight raid on Lille.  I think these affairs get more and more terrible, and there seems to be no possible means of stopping them.  I suppose this will call forth a “retaliation” raid on some peaceful English town, (if there is such a thing now).

Had a wonderful lunch, including a really rich “Christmas pudding” with plenty of cream.  More writing this afternoon, and then left at 5 for Colchester.  Took eggs, butter, and cream for Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs. Pat Green, and Miss King.

Got to Colchester at 6, and it was hardly dark, the moon shining through thin, high clouds, and the sun only just set.  Fed Bob, and then went home for an hour.  Delivered eggs etc to Mrs. Fletcher at the Grammar School, and decided to call at the Seymours’ for an hour or two.  Mrs. Seymour was alone, and told me that Jeffrey Saunders [a schoolfriend of Rudsdale's] was there yesterday, back from America, where he much enjoyed himself.  He had had several weeks in New York, and had seen Washington.

Mr. Seymour came in.  Just before 9, we heard planes passing over, and then suddenly guns began firing.  Mr. Seymour said “Only a wandering Jerry” and went on talking about other things.  Just after the firing stopped, dear old Pepper [a teacher at Colchester Royal Grammar School] came in, having walked along the streets quite regardless of any falling shrapnel that there might be.  Planes were still going over, but there was no more firing, so it was suggested that the shots had been aimed at an RAF plane which had not made signals, perhaps because its radio was broken. 

Alan Seymour [the Seymours' son and a schoolfriend of Rudsdale's] is doing very well, and lives at Harleston, near Cambridge, in a very fine Georgian Rectory there.  He has had a great deal of very good luck.

Back to Holly Trees at 10, and went into the Muniment Room, to go through some more of the Doctor’s papers.  I love this place late at night, it seems so secure, and is so silent.  You can hardly hear a sound, not even the Town Hall Clock.

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