6th February 1943
Howling wind, driving rain, and low clouds, but somehow I knew it would not last. Weather cleared gradually, and by lunch the sun came out. Just as I felt ready to do an afternoon’s work I became ill, with bad headache, and much sickness. However, carted hay from Pulford’s. Only bales available, one quite rotten, for which he will want 12/-.
Had tea at Rallings, in honour of the cat’s first “birthday” – it is just a year since I took him there, thin, starved and nervous. [See 7th February 1942] Now he is sleek and fat, and rolls on his back to have his stomach rubbed.
Felt a little better, and had supper in the little café, as I was on duty tonight. Very good sausages. Spent the evening in the Holly Trees workshop, searching for spare photographs. Among others, found a very good one of the wooden effigies in Lt. Horkesley Church, taken by A.G. Wright 40 years ago. This has been there all the time, quite unknown to me. Poulter’s negatives are in an awful state. It is a terrible scandal, because they almost all show excavations or houses now destroyed, and they will be quite useless in a year or two. Poulter has always refused to take any interest in his negatives, once the photo is taken. Many are ruined by having chemicals spilled on them.
Authority came today to buy ten horses for the Committee farms at £100 each. When we get them we shall have in all 22 horses.
On a time-sheet recently one of the men said he had worked at “Norland Farm,
East Mersea”. I had never heard of the place, but on asking Baldwin I hear it is an “old name” for Reeves Hall, which was always known by that name when he was a boy. There is no reference to it in Reaney's 'Place Names'.
The Chairman was in this morning, and mentioned that it was now widely rumoured that the aerodrome at Birch was to be abandoned. There have been 800 Americans there, but they have now left. It is apparently believed that the whole strategy of the war has been altered by Churchill’s visit to
Casablanca, and that the allies will now invade Italy or . I sincerely hope it is true that these landing grounds will not be used, as I fear their presence so near to Greece Colchester may lead to very great damage being done to the town when the enemy attacks them.