25th January 1943

Woke early, and got up an hour too soon by mistake, so that I came out of the Castle to find it only a quarter past 7, with low, wet clouds, scudding across from the S.W., the moon showing faintly behind them.  Washed and shaved and did an hour in the office until the post came.  Then breakfast, the sky clearing, and the sun coming up red.

I had high hopes of getting a lot done in the office before Committee, but a fellow called Lucker, from Writtle, came in, sent by the Finance Officer with a mass of queries to settle.  It was a great nuisance, and annoyed both Capt. Folkard and myself.  He made several criticisms of this District which I do not think were really justifiable, and I told him so very firmly.  He stayed the whole morning, with the result that I had no chance to get any lunch before Committee. 
There were a lot of planes flying near Birch during the afternoon, and at about half past 3 four large bomb explosions shook the house, and, as I learnt later, the whole town as well.  There was no alarm, and people seem to think that an RAF machine must have been in trouble and thrown out its bombs.

Rain began about 4, a steady drizzle.  I begged a lift back to Lawford with Moorhouse, so that I had only to walk down the hill.  Home by 6.45.  The rain increased, but about 8.30 I heard an alarm, which lasted about half an hour.  There were no planes and no gun-fire.  The night was so dark and wet that it was impossible to see a yard.  What good can any planes do in such weather?

There is a puncture in the rear tyre of my cycle, but when I took it to Langley’s to be mended he told me that his man had been taken away by the Ministry of Labour to work in the Army Ordnance, but that he comes in on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons to work in the repair shop.  A most extraordinary state of affairs.   One would think they would leave men in the cycle-repair works at a time when more people than ever are using cycles.

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