24th March 1943

At 6am the moon was quite obscured by clouds, but they cleared and the sun came through by 8 o’clock.  Saw several yellow-hammers and finches by the Land Settlement as I cycled in.  The trees and hedges are throwing out green buds, and in Colchester the flowering cherries are putting on a fine show.  Lovely cool morning, although the wind is S.E.  People are speaking of a change in the weather, as the glass has gone back a little.

Fletcher came from Writtle this morning to see D’Arcy House.  We went all over it, and he seemed to think there would be little difficulty in getting the place put right.  I would dearly love to get in there and hold the place until long after the war, but how can I be happy there under the constant threat of air-attacks?  I saw in the evening paper that even on a lovely day like this there were dreadful raids on towns in Kent, doing tremendous damage and killing a lot of people.  Any day it may be Colchester.  How can one settle to anything in these times?  I provisionally picked a room for myself, at the back, in a new part of the house, which ought to be as safe as any.  If we do get it, we will hang on as long as we can.  I saw Hervey Benham this afternoon, and he agreed that it was a scandalous thing for a Borough Council to buy a fine house like this to destroy it.  Hervey Benham is becoming much more “aggressive” now, and has taken up the recent case of a woman being fined £60 for helping her son to escape from the Asylum.  Worsnop is trying to raise money to pay her fine.  The whole affair is a first class scandal.

As I was out of the office, took the opportunity to go home to tea.  Then back, and did letters.  Just as I was finishing there was an alarm at about 5 to 6, but the all-clear came in 3 or 4 minutes, so it may have been a mistake.

Joy told me tonight that there was a plane crash last night at Bradfield.  Nobody hurt except the crew, all killed.  This was the bump I heard at 9 o’clock.

Dyer says there was a stack fire at Fordham Hall last night, great excitement in the village.  Bell’s threshing drum was also destroyed.

Walling, Chief Clerk, was rather a trouble today.  These people tire me.  I would dearly like a month’s holiday.  I feel ill.  Heart pains are very bad at times.

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