21st February 1944

Not quite so cold, but showers of snow, with clear intervals.  ‘Planes going out all morning.  They fly in any weather now, night or day.  Jupp was talking about an American whom he had met from Langham.  Apparently flares were dropped all round the field during the raid early on Saturday, but no bombs were dropped, so the men are expecting a big raid before very long.  The American pilots ran off the aerodrome when they saw the flares, as they are very much afraid of other people’s bombs when they are on the ground themselves.

To Birch this afternoon for Committee meeting.  Saw Joanna and her baby, looking very pretty.  The baby laughed and smiled at me when I poked it.  Made myself unpopular with the Chairman by forgetting to bring the Minute Book.  Memory is getting very bad.

During the meeting a recommendation was again brought up for Jones, the tool-recorder, to have another 5/- a week.  The Chairman was dead against it because (a) he was a pacifist, (b) a Welshman, and (c) a schoolmaster!  I, with a Welsh grandmother and hosts of schoolteachers for relations, sat and said nothing.  Eventually Jones got his 5/-.

Another matter which was mentioned was about young M., Parish Representative at Tiptree, who has been fined £200 in a strawberry “black-market” case.  The Chairman was very anxious that he should be dismissed from the Committee’s service, (he is of course a voluntary worker), but some members knew more about the case than had been published, and held the view that M. had only committed a technical offence and should not have been fined more than £5.  It is admitted that the strawberry regulations are so framed that it is practically impossible for any grower to avoid breaking them, however careful he may be.  Mrs. Furneaux was fined last year for some technical offence.

Got back to Colchester at 6, and had tea at the Regal.  As I cycled out tonight, saw a large brown owl sitting on a log in a field near Stratford.  Felt very tired, and beyond writing a few letters did nothing.

This morning we nearly set the office on fire.  A log fell off a fire in one of the empty rooms, and burnt a hole clean through the floor-boards before it was found.  There was a lot of smoke, but we are so used to having the place full of smoke and smell that we took no notice.

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