29th April 1943

Lovely day.  Made a long tour this afternoon.  Cycled out to Fordham by West Bergholt, and called at High Trees Farm on the way, to see Hadley, who has just moved in.  He showed me over the house, which is really very fine indeed, and seems to date from about 1500.  The timber is in excellent state, and there are several King posts exposed.  I must go again and make careful drawings.  It has been badly restored in recent years, and the outside is covered with rough cast cement.  The farm belongs to Capt. Jimmie Round, Joanna’s brother, and formerly belonged to his uncle, the great Horace Round.  It has been in the family 150 years at least.

Went on to Fordham, past Honds Farm, now all covered with huts and sheds of the aerodrome.  I had not been there since I took Bob over on that bitter March day last year.  Now poor old Findlay is dead and his farm is ruined.

I set off for Nayland, by way of Wormingford.  Called at Lt. Horkesley.  Now, in the full green of summer, the ruins [of the church destroyed by a bomb in 1940] look strangely settled, almost as if they had been in that state as long as Birch or Stanway.  Small bushes are growing up in the body of the church, and the heaps of rubble are covered with grass and weeds.  Where the Swynborne tomb used to be, some children had built a little “altar” out of broken monuments, and put flowers on it in two glass jam-pots.

I noticed that Lt. Horkesley Hall has been taken by the Lexden & Winstree Rural District Council as “Emergency Offices”, I suppose in event of the Colchester building being destroyed.

In a field by the “Beehive” Inn (now partly repaired) I saw Lockett’s Gyrotiller, which is coming onto the Committee land very soon.  Stopped and spoke to the engineer.  He had just broken a bolt, but fortunately the blacksmith’s shop was only just over the Ledge so he was able to get it mended at once.  This shop is now open three days a week, and is worked from Nayland.

Went down into Nayland village, and saw Collier, but he was quite unable to help us, being full of work for months to come.  I asked him if he could build a tumbril, but he said it was quite out of the question.

Lovely house opposite the “White Hart”, covered with mauve coloured wisteria, climbing all over it.

Cycled back by Red House Park.  Saw our spraying tackle at work on Col. Blewitt’s land and noticed how well his hedges are cut-and-laid.  Through Boxted, and called at Lt. Rivers.  Had tea with the Roses, then on to Dedham, called at “Shermans” and found Mrs. Sisson ill in bed.  Sisson was rather perturbed, as she had asked for a doctor, a thing she never does as a rule.

Got to Lawford at 7.30, having done in all about 34 miles, with very little discomfort except heart pains on hills.  Excellent day.

Rain now beginning at last.  This will make a wonderful difference to hay and corn crops.

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