14th August 1943

Lovely morning.  ‘Planes going out from Langham very early, making a hideous noise.  Stayed to breakfast and left very late.  Said goodbye to Sissons, and thanked them for all they have done for me.  I much appreciate their kindness, and only wish I could do something in return.

Very busy all morning, having a lot of trouble with labour.  Poor Spencer being bullied by everybody, but he naturally must carry out the insane orders that come from Engledow’s office [at Writtle], otherwise Engledow would sack him, which he always longs to do.  The result is that Spencer’s life is hell, what with Engledow on one side and Baldwin and Nott shouting “sack these bloody men!” on the other.  There is no question of overtime work in the harvest – it is impossible to make them put in ordinary time.  After much telephoning to and from Writtle, it was decided that a man from the Labour Office and a National Service Officer should come down on Monday to “interview” the men and “to hear what they have to say.” !!

Town packed.  Many Czechs in the streets.  Pushing through the crowd at Headgate was a tiny dwarf, a perfect miniature of a man, not more than 30” high.  He looked quite old, about 55 I should think.  There are considerable advantages in being a dwarf in these days.  All the cafes very crowded, but at last managed to get a very poor tea at Thorogood’s. 

I went home and then out by Hythe Hill, where I met Woods, and we talked horses.  Went into Moy’s stables to see a new horse he had there.  He told me that the whole place is sold to Doe Bros, the agricultural engineers, and that Moy’s would only keep 4 or 5 horses and their few motors there in future.  Very sad to see how these old firms run to seed at last.  Once they had 40 horses.  Now 7 and 8 lorries.


Robin King said...

Moy's used to bring us coal (to Gladstone Rd.) in the war: great strong fellows, faces smeared black with coal dust, carrying heavy sacks (1 cwt?) to the chute that led down to the cellar. I think that the coal was brought on a horse-drawn waggon, but can't be sure. We were occasionally able to get anthracite, which was better, but more expensive, than coal. The cellar was huge: in addition to room for the coal there was plenty of room for the bunks where we would come to sit (and supposedly to sleep) in an air raid. The cellar was cool and damp, and we were seldom there for very long. The damp produced a fine white cotton-wool-like mould on the walls and wood, which was rather frightening to me (I was between 4 and 8 yr. old at the time)!

E J Rudsdale said...

Many thanks for sharing this very evocative account of your experiences with us, Robin. It really adds to the context of Rudsdale's diary entry today as well as giving a vivid picture of what it was like to take shelter in a vey unwelcoming cellar in wartime. Best wishes, CP