13th May 1943

Cloudy, great masses of cumulus, and still a strong S.W. wind.  Slept well last night after midnight.  Fisher said that the radio had announced a “sharp raid on an East Anglian town”, probably either Yarmouth or Norwich, I suppose.  Cycled in slowly, feeling unusually well.

This morning we moved a safe over from Bedwell’s, for the War Agricultural Committee's use.  Had to give Hazell £20 for it.  Worth perhaps £5 before the war.

Some men came today to apply for post of foreman at Bower Hall.  One came from Kessingland.  He said he had not slept or undressed since Sunday, as there had been continual raids on both Yarmouth and Lowestoft.  Tremendous damage done, especially last night.  He did not know what the Germans were after.  The poor devil looked terribly worn out, and was pathetically anxious to get a job down here, but he was not chosen.

This morning Young’s horses were cutting the grass in the Holly Trees field – a pair of greys, beautifully matched, a lovely sight in the sunshine.  The grass, very lush and green, was being loaded onto a motor lorry to go to the silo down at the Cattle Market.  Two Land Army girls were loading.  It seems a great pity not to make this into good hay rather than doubtful silage.  I went down to watch them cutting round the Mithraic Temple, and two old men came along the path.  I heard one of them say “There!  That’s a fine pair of horses, if you like.  You’d have to go a long way to see a better pair of horses than that.”  The other said “Better than your old motors any day.”

The Park was full of old men and babies, sitting in the sun.  Park gardeners planting vegetables in flower beds. 

Some of the men who came today for the Bower Hall job were very curious.  One young man, about 30, was really a colt breaker.  He wanted to argue about the money, and would not consider less than £5 a week and a house.  Yet he ought to be very grateful for his luck.  He had a most unpleasant face.

Another, a tall, red-haired man, who I think will be the one chosen, wanted to leave his present job in Suffolk because the house in which he lives has only 2 bedrooms and 1 room downstairs, in which he, his wife, and two daughters have to sleep.

Another applicant was an Australian, who seemed to be a very well educated man.  He refused to consider less than £6 a week, yet £4 is the most we shall give.

A man from Ipswich used to be a milkman, and he mentioned that out of 65 milkmen in that town a few years ago, only 23 are left.  The Co-op: had smashed all the others.

The last man interviewed was an ex-farmer who for some years had been an engineer at Leiston Works.  He told us that if chosen he would have no difficulty in getting away from Leiston, as they were so slack that they were now working only one shift instead of two.

After tea went to the Hippodrome to see the film “Fires Were Started”.  Most realistic, and very well done.  Got back late.  Joy had a swarm of bees, and was still getting them settled at 10.30.  Lovely soft, balmy evening, a sickle moon in the sky.  Some planes went out, a long way off, and then very heavy firing began in the direction of Colchester, some night exercise I should think.  Leaned out of my window in the dusk, listening to the firing, distant dogs barking, women laughing and talking up the hill, a man coughing near Fred’s cottage, screech-owls calling.  A few bats flashed across the dim fields.

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