15th August 1943

Woken very early by the bird-chorus, in brilliant sunshine.  Heard the cowman bringing the two cows up to be milked, walking slowly just below my window.  About 8 o’clock many ‘planes began to go over, and the noise was incessant for the next hour, yet the birds seem quite undisturbed, and sing on unheeding.  Wasted the whole day, doing nothing but reading, listening to the radio and eating plums.

Mrs. Sisson had Poulter over yesterday afternoon, and did a really excellent portrait of  him in crayon, very good likeness.  She also had one of Sisson but not so good.  Showed me a book by Sitwell on old Russian customs.

Then went over to Lawford, and met Joy just driving in.  Told her I would go back on Thursday, and mentioned that I hoped to take a cottage at Higham in September.  Back to Colchester by 8.15pm, saw old Bob grazing peacefully at Fox Street.  To Holly Trees, 8.45pm, saw Poulter.  Went upstairs to see the eclipse of moon, just visible.  Nothing but a slender sliver of the moon, like a cheese rind.  Through glasses one could see the whole shape of its disc, faint and thin behind the earth’s shadow.  This shadow moved away fairly quickly, and the moon sailed clear just after 10.  Curious to realise that the shadow we saw was of course actually the southern hemisphere.  We were, as you might say, looking at the Pacific Ocean and the South Pole.

It was dark at 9 tonight.  Winter is in sight.

Went over to the Castle at 10.30, to be met with a torrent of abuse from the two watchers, who were standing outside in the moonlight.  They accused me with oaths of being one and a half hours late.  I was furious, and we had a grand “swear off”, until they threatened to send for the police.  Shall see the Town Clerk in the morning.

Only a few ‘planes about, and no alarm so far (11.45 p.m.).  Shouts and screams from the streets.  Feel very restless, and must walk about for a bit.

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