Up early, but did not get to the office until 9.45, owing to strong headwind. The weather warmer again, no sign of frost.
Captain Folkard very annoyed at Engledow’s attitude regarding the letting of the new houses, and refused to telephone him. Engledow, who is an insufferable ass at the best of times, seems to think that he can dictate not only to Local War Agricultural Committees, but to the District Council as well, but the Council, as they say round here, “wont wear it”. The Clerk said to me some months ago that if the War Agricultural Committee could not behave reasonably, the Council would let these cottages to tenants other than agricultural workers.
This afternoon went to Fordham Airfield with Snowball and Dyer to dismantle the fitting in a cowshed at Woodhouse Farm, next to
Harvey’s. Not very successful, as they were set so hard
in concrete. The station was in full
operation today, planes coming and going in all directions. The noise of engines, and the bursts of
gunfire as they tried their guns, was continuous. While we waited outside the Watch Room, a
‘plane pulled up with a single aluminium coloured bomb slung under the
fusilage. The pilot seemed to be in some
doubt as to where he ought to go, and called over to an officer to show him his
maps. After some little discussion he
taxied away, turned onto the runway, and went roaring into the wind, rising and
disappearing to the west, leaving me to wonder what people far distant now
laughing or working or eating or sleeping were due to be dead in an hour or so
when that shiny silver-coloured bomb burst among them. Or would it fall harmlessly in a Flanders marsh or in the sea?
As we were going round the taxi-way we saw a plane which had run off the tarmac into the mud, and was heeling over like a wrecked ship. One plane came running in to land when a red flare shot up as a signal that the runway was not yet clear.
Harvey's Farmhouse is now down to the level of the wall-plates, and the weather boards have been stripped from the west end, revealing the timber framing in good order, of which I made a rough sketch. Went up the stairs and saw the main beam and rafters, all in good condition. The rafters were numbered but appeared to have been reused, as the numbers did not run consecutively. There is a lot of material to be got away, but the ground is still too wet to bear a lorry.
Just as we were leaving a plane came along the taxi-way, just back from a flight, waddling along like an ungainly duck, being steered by the rudder. A dozen men came running out of a hut and swarmed all over it, the pilot walking away towards the Watch Room.
Stuart Rose appeared, to see about timber for a shed at Fordham Orchards. He drove straight onto the flying field without speaking to anybody, and nobody made any attempt to stop him. I went back to
Colchester with him.
Had to send off a parcel of silver spoons to Mrs. Conran, and called at the Library to borrow sealing wax. Went into the basement to melt it, and saw a volume of the Essex County Standard on a table. Opened it casually, saw it was for 1910. Looked at the top right-hand corner of the page at which I had opened it, and read the announcement of my own birth.
Moon tonight and thin clouds. To Higham by 7. No beacon. Listened to the comical “Itma” show on the radio, and heard a joke about Mr. Boutflower of the “Min: of Ag: and Fish:”, this being the father of the Tendring District Officer.
“Twelfth Night”, so took down all the Christmas holly and mistletoe and burnt it.