6th January 1943

Awoke to find snow beginning to fall, and went in on the bus amidst a driving whirl of snow flakes.  By the time we got to Colchester the whole landscape was two inches deep in snow.  How beautiful it is.  Of all the phenomena of the weather, the snow is the most lovely.  It kept on all morning, but before lunch turned to fine rain, so that very soon the streets were black and sloppy, the traffic throwing great spouts of water over the pavements.

Went down to Bourne Mill.  Everything very wet, most of the paddock under water.  Stayed there to put down more straw, and had no lunch in consequence.

About half past two there was an alarm, and within a minute of it, a heavy bump, which shook our windows.  About 4 minutes later the army warning sounded, this being the time-lag between the Observer Corps “crash warning,” on which our sirens are now sounded, and the regulation warning from Cambridge.  I heard this evening that the Manningtree and Brantham sirens were also about 4 minutes late.  Three bombs were heard at Lawford, quite near from the way the house shook and rattled.

Who could believe that after nearly 3½ years of war, the “official” system of giving the public warning of an impending air attack is still quite useless?

Tonight, heavy rain beating on the roof and windows, while I sit warm and cosy in front of a blazing log fire, looking through Laver’s extracts of Colchester wills.  There are many very valuable references to local place-names.

Heard Joy say that Parrington’s brother (a prisoner in Germany) had written to say he hoped to be home by next Christmas.
“Gazette” tonight is full of the Ardley Road murder.  Our local police are making the very most of it.  The murderer, Turner, is pleading “guilty” and makes no trouble about it.

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