26th December 1943

Wakened by George bringing milk.  Got up to find no Conrans – they had not returned from Ida’s party.  Eventually came in about 1 o’clock, and then a great flurry to pack and leave for Southampton.  Thick fog all day.  Warm.  Went in with them, by Langham and Boxted, as I had promised Father to go to tea.  Felt happy and confident as the fog was so thick, sure of no raid tonight.

We had to go very slowly, as Jacquie cannot cycle very well.  Got to Winnock Lodge at 5.  Father looked well and happy.  Crowd there, all the Ralling family and old Blomfield (“Blommy”) the organist, as silly and fluffy as ever.  Noticed I was put down at the bottom of the table with the children – as if we were all one generation.  Joan is quite handsome, with long fair hair, and Jane, now about 16, is becoming really pretty.  The boy John talks of nothing but aeroplanes.  He is 17, and joins the RAF in a few months.  

Tremendous tea – 3 sorts of jam, 2 cakes (I gave one), buns, apples, etc.  Stayed until 7.30, reading papers and “Punch”.  Still very foggy.  Went up to Seymours’, St John Street a seething mass of people coming out of the cinemas swarming all over the road.  The air thick with fog and American voices.

At Seymours’ found Ann was home, now a nurse.  Her likeness to Alan at 18 is startling, voice and mannerisms just the same.  Stayed until quarter to 12, talking about Wales and Scotland, just as I used to.  Then away into the black night along the Boxted Road.  Met an American lorry, which stopped me by driving at me, so that I had to get on to the path.  The driver wanted to know if he was on the right road to Colchester.  Strongly tempted to misdirect him.

Got to Higham about 12.30, and amazed to find the Beacon on.  Why on earth should it be showing in such a fog?  Not a plane about.  Made me feel irritable and nervous.  Listened to German music on radio, bed 3.30am.

No comments: