11th April 1943

Bright morning, few high clouds, and the sun shining.  An alarm, I think at Raydon, about 9.30, and then about 10 minutes later I could hear Colchester sirens.  The American warnings always seem to sound long before any others.  A few Spitfires rushed over the sky, but nothing happened.  All-clear very soon.  When these alarms occur at Lawford, I sit by my open window, quietly reading or writing, field-glasses ready, not a bit perturbed.  How different when I am in Colchester. 

Lovely sunny afternoon.  Outside my window, two large peacock butterflies flitted among the flowers, and bees began to come out.  I focussed my field glasses onto one of the peacocks, and watched it for some minutes as it worked its way over the flower-bed.  Hedges getting greener, but oaks and elms show no buds yet.  Rain is needed, the ground is very dry and hard.

This morning the Nichols family came past from the Hall in their phaeton and the trap, His Excellency (Sir Philip Nichols, British Ambassador to Czechoslovakia) driving the latter.  I am told that after an ambassadorial tea party, His Excellency has to retire into the kitchen and help wash-up, as servants are so scarce.

Went into Colchester at 4 to get clean clothes and have tea with Mother and Father.  Looked at Bob.  Left again at 6.30, lovely calm sunny evening.  Coming out noticed several wardens, all dressed up in their uniforms, going to their posts. 

Called at Sissons.  Poulter had been there to tea yesterday, in excellent form.  Apparently the cancer has quite disappeared.  What a miraculous thing.  It quite restores one’s faith in the ultimate “rightness” of things.

Long talks about Bourne Mill.  It is mentioned in the report of last week's Council Meeting, and Harper said that the clearing of the pond was under active consideration.  When I brought the matter to the Council’s notice in 1940, they refused to be in any way interested, and I have a letter from the Town Clerk, stating so very definitely.

Sisson saw Matheson [from the National Trust] last week, who is now considering whether the place should be converted into a private house.  I protested strongly, as it would be a scandalous thing to destroy all the machinery, which is in excellent condition.

When I got back to Sherbourne Mill, found a Commander Henderson there, a patient from the Stour House Home.  He is supposed to be a nerve case, but seems normal.  Had been in Burma, and had used elephants a good deal.  There were 5000 on the teak plantations with which he was connected.  Most interesting to hear him talking of this strange exotic life in a quiet mill parlour.  He seemed very fond of his elephants, and hoped that the Japanese were treating them well.

Lovely starlight night, with a waxing moon.  Bed early, so as to be up in good time.  Every hope for a fine day.

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