11th August 1943

Cloudy and cool, sun and showers alternating.  ‘Planes going over early in the morning about 4.  Very strange that there has not yet been any retaliation raids here.  Papers say that yesterday or the day before a reconnaissance ‘plane was over the S.W. districts, the first enemy activity for 8 days.

Cycling along Park Lane Dedham this morning met a National Fire Service lorry with a crew.  One got out to ask at the Park lodge, and as I went by another called out “Say Mate, do you know where Kennel Farm is?”
I said: “Do you mean Kennel Cottages, on the Lawford road?”
1st Fireman: “That’ll be it.”
2nd Fireman: “No, farm we were told, definitely farm.  Kennel Farm, Dedham.”
Me: “Well, there’s no such farm in the parish or anywhere near here, either.”

There was a general air of perplexity among the firemen, who could not find their fire, but no apparent anxiety to do anything.  Then the man came back from the lodge and said: “They say here it must be Kiddles Farm, down there on the right,” whereupon the engine turned and went slowly down the lane.  There was no smoke, so far as I could see, but the whole casual way they were looking for the fire seemed very amusing, and a great contrast to the days of the old Colchester brigade, where the men knew every inch of the country for miles around.  The present National Fire Service men, officers included, are of course strangers drafted from all over the country.  It seems that the more firemen we have the more difficult it will be to get a fire put out.

Extraordinary illiteracy among Land Girls.  Two examples on time sheets today – “Face Farm” for Fields Farm, and “Haburt Hall” for Abbotts Hall.

Busy all day on Committee work, which I rather like.

Traffic on the Ipswich Road tonight – 2 Americans on a tandem, American lorries, American and British staff cars, many cyclists, a pony trap, harvest wagons with two horses.

Much interesting conversation about the war after supper, then bed at 11.30 p.m.

Brilliant moonlight night.  Cold.

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