22nd June 1943

Alarm about 1.30 a.m., for 15 minutes.  Heard distant bombs and gunfire to the east, shortly before the sirens sounded.  After 3 and a half years of war we are still not only unable to ward off an attack but cannot even give an alarm until it has begun.

Felt better, and went in this morning.  Fine and sunny.  Alec Page came in, and was talking about Barker, at Whitehouse Farm, Langham, who is having a terrible time with the Americans.  A few nights ago he heard a noise outside and found an American in the calf-pen at half past 11, trying to catch a calf.  There are several thousand Americans at Langham now, and on other aerodromes in the district, and the town is full every night.  Poulter told me that on Saturday he found one drunk and unconscious in the Park, sometime after eleven o’clock, so he went down to the Police Station, but was told that there were no police available, as they were all standing-by in case of trouble between American and British troops.

This afternoon went down to Bourne Mill, and found Sisson there, making a survey.  He said that he was quite convinced that there was no alternative but to remove all the machinery and to convert the place into a dwelling-house, which seems to me to be a very great pity.  The machinery is mostly about 120 years old, and is in excellent condition, having been put in order only about 10 years ago.  If it has to be removed, what is to become of it?  I am sure the Museum authorities will not be prepared to take any action.  [The machinery was saved and can still be seen in working order when visiting Bourne Mill].

Sisson says that the position regarding the National Trust’s attitude is quite simple – they are only concerned to find a use for the place, and as it is most unlikely that it will ever again be used as a Mill, the only alternative is to turn it into a house.  He suggested that I might like to live there, and said I should no doubt be able to get it at a very cheap rent.  I’m sure I dont know who would live there, with the pond in its present state, especially after houses have been built all over the Barn Hall land.

Away tonight at 9.30, through streets crammed with Americans, raucous voices, pushing, jostling, calling out to girls.  Lovely cool evening.  The hay is nearly all cut now, but it will be a light crop.  What am I to do about the ponies this next winter?

Throat still sore tonight, and fear I must have some infection of the tonsils.

‘Planes flying from Langham tonight, circling round very low, making a deafening noise.  Pilots learning the lay of the land, I suppose.

Bed at 10, thinking about Wales.

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