11th October 1943
Thick fog, everything faint shapes. Warm, trees dripping. Got in before 9. Nott came in in a great hurry, to say the Irish cattle were due at Marks Tey at 1 o’clock. Captain Folkard said I might go if I liked, so I rushed through a lot of letters and pedalled away soon after 12. The sun was just beginning to break through and wreaths of mist floated away across the fields. Men drilling near Stanway and big convoys on the road. A lorry had crashed into a telegraph pole by Copford corner.
Got to Marks Tey station, but no sign of cattle. Nott arrived, in a great state because he had no men, all he wanted to do was get Joe Porter to do the whole job. Frank Warren arrived and we saw the Station Master. Much telephoning in all directions, and the cattle train was eventually located near Bury St Edmunds, and could not reach Marks Tey before 6 o’clock. The only thing to do was to go away. Nott seemed glad to be rid of the whole job. I was very disappointed.
Lovely afternoon, hot and sunny. Got back to Colchester at 3. Mary Ralling said that Sir Gurney Benham went home [from the Essex County Standard office] on Saturday morning feeling unwell, the first time he had ever been known to do this. [Harold Poulter then informed Rudsdale that Sir Gurney Benham has suffered a slight stroke]. I said “Is Hull smirking?” Poulter replied “No, I think he’s worried.” He also told me about the Mayoralty business. It was Alderman Blomfield who wrote to Councillor Smallwood. The poor little man is very ill, although he does not seem to realise it, and it was agreed that he could not probably be Mayor. Why then did the May Sub-Committee recommend him?
Went out early to tea, as I had no lunch. Fog coming up again, and a large ruddy moon rising. Lovely weather! Everything silent, and the whole landscape dim, white and ghostly. Fled through the grey dusk, shrieking owls, through the dead village. At last reached the cottage, and made a hot drink, drank it while listening to
German radio music.
Sir Gurney Benham's illness changes the whole position of the Museum and myself.