17th June 1943

Thought I heard gunfire at about 4.30, and woke with a start.  Could not sleep, and watched the dawn brightening.  Up at 7, went out to explore.  Saw the old Palace, St Aldates, Brewers Lane, mediaeval buildings, churches, colleges.  Went to Blackwell’s, in Broad Street, then along the Turl to All Soul's.  Saw some more photos, and discussed final details.  There is a tremendous lot to be done in Essex, especially in the coastal towns and in Colchester, as the National Buildings Record have been given a confidential hint by the authorities that heavy bombing is expected in the coming winter.
Went round to Somerville, to say goodbye to Joan Petre.  Was allowed in by a very suspicious porteress, and walked through grassy courts and gardens where innumerable very good looking young women lay about reading and writing.  Most cautiously raised their eyes as a man walked boldly into the nunnery.  Went up to Joan’s room, very pleasant, comfortable, excellent library of Celtic and Scandinavian literature.

Left there and went into the Ashmolean for a few minutes.  How very delightful to see a museum in full working order, not hiding behind blast-walls and sandbags.  Naturally a great deal of the best material is away, but enough remains to give the place a very much peace-time air.  Went below to the Haverfield Library and saw Miss M.V. Taylor.  Asked if I might check a reference to Colchester in Vetusta Monumenta, which she allowed me to do.  How I wish I could come here to work in this place.

Had lunch at a cinema café, then caught the 2.5 to London.  Heard my name called from the train, and saw Capt. Brown from Colchester, who used to be at the Technical College and is now education officer at the Brecon depôt of the Welsh fusiliers.  He told me several stories about his work, and said how surprised he was to find so many young Welshmen spoke no English.  Did not like to suggest that the Welshmen were probably equally surprised that an education officer in a Welsh regiment spoke not a word of Welsh.  Told me also about a Welsh Nationalist who refused to wear his uniform, and walked about the barracks in his shirt and pants.  This man had been imprisoned several times, but still refused to speak a word of English.

Good journey to London, and got in at quarter to 4.  Left Brown and went to the Polytechnic in Regent Street to see a film illustrating the history of the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.  Excellently done.

Liverpool St. to catch the 6.40.  Saw Joanna Round, going back to Colchester, but as she was with several other people did not travel with her.

More rain coming.  Cycled to Manningtree, very tired. 

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