18th February 1944

Grey sky, and snow falling as I left soon after 8.  Went out this morning and had my haircut – much overdue.  Barber’s shop full of Americans, as usual.  They seem to have nothing else to do.

Snowing hard when I came out, and kept on intermittently all day.  Called at the Holly Trees.  Sisson was there, having called in to see about the summer-house.  The place is certainly dilapidated, with holes in the roof, part of the ceiling down, some boards torn off, no glass in the windows.  The pseudo-classical plaques on the back wall are still well-preserved.  Sisson is determined to do all he can to prevent its destruction, and went off to see Duncan Clark.  It is with petty, spiteful little vandalisms such as this that the Borough Engineer and his clique hope to keep things going until better times, when they can tackle something really worthwhile, such as Trinity Church, the Culver St. houses, or even the Roman wall.

By the way the Culver St house, where Castoligni lives, was sold by auction on Wednesday for £1200.  Clifton, the dentist next door in Queen St, bought it.  Poulter took Sisson over to see the interior this morning, and during conversation Castoligni, who has lived there about 15 years, said he had always thought the place was Victorian.  So many things seem to be credited to Victoria – the Curator told Ald. Blomfield that Gray’s summer-house was probably built in 1850.

This afternoon the sky cleared for about half an hour, then snow came harder than ever – great, fat, swirling flakes which whirled along the roads and began to lay in corners and crevices.  I suddenly thought of myself as a very tiny child, screwing my little head sideways against the window-pane, trying to see where the snow was coming from.  Mother laughed and said, -

            “Faster, faster,
            White alabaster”

Strange incident this afternoon.  I have been a little worried about getting somewhere to live after next week, having found nothing yet, when into the office came a Mrs Rogers, offering to let a small bungalow at Layer, suitable for an agricultural worker.  I at once arranged to see it on Tuesday, and I think it would suit very well.  It is only 3.5 miles from Colchester, and is well away from the aerodromes.

Actually I prefer the north side of the Stour, as we do not get so many enemy ‘planes over here as they do south of Colchester, and Layer is only 6 miles from the sea, but all the same I may have to take it.  The cottage I should like is one in a lane between Stratford and Dedham, but I believe there is no water there.

It was strange that this woman should come in with such an offer at the very moment I need a house, and it made me think of my “good fairy” of the old days, who always protected me so faithfully.

To Higham at 7.30.  Very cold and dark.  Thick clouds.  No light, but the motor was running, I suppose to keep it warm.

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