22nd April 1943

Rain, then clear, then clouds again.  Went to collect Nott’s wedding present – 6 Alken prints, and found a most interesting series of photos taken in 1932 for Dr. Laver – Castle, Priory, Stockwell St., etc.  Bought 13 at 1/- each.  Nott’s present, frames complete, cost £6-6-0.  Have to collect the money now.

In Queen St. saw a painter repainting the door-frame and porch of the lovely brick house, dated 1698.  Stopped to congratulate him on making such a good job of it.  He had scraped down all the wood work, and the details of the carving showed up very well.  He pointed out that the door itself also appears to be original.  The painter was quite intelligent, and said that this block and old Lady D’Arcy’s house in Trinity St, must be the oldest brick houses in the town.  I agreed.  The only ones of anything like the same period are the block by All Saints, in Culver St., the Labour Exchange in E. Stockwell Street, and the remaining fragment in High St. on the corner of Pelham’s Lane.

Sadler rang up from Writtle to say that the Colchester Police had complained to the Regional Commissioner that we had refused to be helpful with a scheme to evacuate horses from Colchester.  Such utter rubbish.  The scheme is absurd and unworkable in any case, and we ignored it as far as possible.  I wrote last week and suggested that, in an emergency, all horses should be turned out in fields, on the Wick, or in parks, this being the obvious thing to do.  Of course, this would not suit the Chief Constable, who sent the whole thing off to Cambridge.  From there it was sent to the Ministry of Home Security, and from them to the Minister of Agriculture.  Then it came down to the Land Commissioner, and from him to Sadler.  My simple suggestion caused quite a stir.  Sadler takes it very seriously, and is coming down next Wednesday to see the Chief Constable and Folkard.

In 1940, when the invasion risk was fairly high, not a word was said about this.  Now, just because a lot of fools have not got enough work, we have to waste our time working out a ridiculous “paper” scheme which would be quite unworkable under any circumstances.

Clouds became worse, and I felt v. nervous.  Home to tea.  Went to Post office, and bought Hampshire a trap licence.  It was the last one in the place.  I have not bothered to get myself one for 4 years now.  Got my week’s rations, and started back, pedalling before scudding black clouds and threatening rain.  At 7, just as I got to Fox Ash, I heard the Colchester sirens, moaning along the wind, but the all-clear came as I went into the Mill Yard, not 10 minutes later.
Finished Barbellion’s Diary.  Very depressing to me.  If mine is like that, and I fear it is, I have a good mind to burn the whole thing at once.

1 comment:

Robin King said...

Informative Wikipedia article on W.N.P. Barbellion. Book is still readily available. One comment has it the second best diary after Pepys'. Sounds interesting!