4th September 1943

Brilliant fine day.  Office a few minutes after 9, but Captain Folkard there already and was in an awkward mood.  Quite certain now that we have a new office, but we may even yet stop them from taking this ridiculous shop in Maldon Road.

Mary Tovell suddenly walked in this morning, staying with her aunt in Harsnett Road.  [Mary Tovell had been the Castle Museum Bookshop Assistant before the war and was now a nurse in Kent].  Took her out to tea, and then walked down to Bourne Mill with her, to see Robin.  Still as amusing as ever, and delightful to talk to.  Searchlights came on all over the sky soon after dusk, and when I took her home the house where I was born [1 Harsnett Road, Colchester] was lit with a sort of greenish moonlight, the spire and gables of the Wesleyan Church casting horrid shadows.

Machin-Goodall came in to the Museum this afternoon.  Poulter introduced me, but could only stop a minute, as I was running to meet Mary Tovell.  He told me the famous “Why not” is still alive, and also told me what I had long suspected, that the old horse is a half bred hackney, and came from a mare belonging to Moss of Chelmsford.  He can still jump like a stag.

Rushed home at 9.30 to get some luggage, said “goodbye” to the parents, feeling all my usual anxiety, and then set out, heavily laden for Lawford.  Got there at 11 o’clock, ‘planes and searchlights all the way, but apparently only an exercise, and no alarm.  Crept in quietly, but the dogs never barked as soon as I spoke to them.

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