7th November 1943

Curious how I sleep so well now.  Had a lovely night, and when I woke had to think a few minutes before I realised what was happening.  Bright sun, but bitterly cold with a NW wind.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Mother quite sensible, talked about Uncle Frank and Aunt Het.  Seems no reason at all why she should not get better – her colour good, her voice quite firm.  Nurse Horwood thought she was decidedly better, but everybody only says “Dr has no hope – 3 or 4 days at the most”, but I refuse to give up hope.  Father was upset after breakfast, and cried a bit.

The poor little dear looked dreadfully frail as she lay in bed, listening to the church bells.  She said “There’s Magdalen bell.  I must go to church as soon as I get a new hat”.  Poor darling, she’ll never go there again.  She keeps complaining that she cannot sleep, yet she dozes most of the day. 

Washed and shaved and went over to Rallings.  Phoned Ipswich, to give Douglas a message for Uncle Bob.  His voice came through clear and I recognised it at once.  Have not heard him or seen him for something like 14 years.  He promised to give Uncle Bob the message.

Went to see Poulter.  He said “Don't give up hope.  Dr Rowland is always pessimistic”.  Listened to radio, had a laugh and went home to lunch.  There was a ceremony at the War Memorial – Armistace Sunday, British Legion, with three banners a lot of elderly civilians, wearing medals, two trumpeters, who rang out the Last Post and the Reverill under the cold blue sky.

Poulter says he heard from Hull that 18 planes raided Ipswich on Wednesday.  They are said not to have been recognised as enemy until the bombs fell.

All day I was hoping for a cloudy wet night.  Ella came in, and said she had found £8.10.0 in Mother’s wardrobe, a little hoard for a “rainy day” and a little box full of pathetic “In Memoriam” cards – who was Ann Rix, who died in 1889?  She must have been a girl friend of Mother’s.  Also a few little bits of Victorian jewellery.  There was her engagement ring, a gold brooch and an amethyst pendant.  Ella said “I don't want to say anything now of course but your Mother did say that if anything happened to her, Pat could have that brooch, and of course the amethyst was your Aunt Julia’s and I was her god child …”  And Mother not yet dead.  However, I let her take the stuff for safety, to lock in [her husband] Stanley’s safe.  

Went to the office at 5.30 and phoned Maidenhead Police.  Got through in a few seconds, and asked the phone girl to send a message to go to Aunt Het, for her to come tomorrow.  Whatever happens, she must come, as Mother wants to see her.

Darkness came on, with a few signs of clouds, but they drifted away, and the brilliant moon hung in the sky.  Feel terribly nervous about another raid.  Oh for pouring rain.  Had tea at café.  Wireless full of Russian victories.  3 planes down last night over E. Anglia, so there must have been quite a raid somewhere. 

Have human beings ever gone through quite such a hell as this before? 

Went to Parsons Heath to see a Mrs Birdewell, as housekeeper.  She agreed to come, but will not sleep in, as she is terrified of raids.  She gave me great details of the terrors which she suffers, while I listened with polite superiority, every horror being exactly the same as I suffer myself.  Told me about her son being killed, a radio operator in a bomber, and showed me a photo of a group at his station, all boys of 18 and 19.  Everyone now dead. 

As I left I mentioned that a fog was creeping up.  She said “Thank goodness, we shall have a quiet night”.  Then, after a pause, “but it wouldn’t do every night, because our boys couldn’t go out.”.

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