9th February 1944

Stayed up all night, writing till 2, then dozing in the armchair.  Went out at 7, and saw the huge yellow moon, just past the full, sinking behind the trees.  Two ‘planes passed over towards the east, their red starboard lights glowing against the pale sky.  A squadron went over soon after 8, and threw out red flares as they neared the coast.

This afternoon I went over to Messing to see where the road between Easthorpe and Messing has been blocked by the aerodrome work near Canfields Farm.  This is the only road between the two places, except a road five miles long by way of Birch Rectory and the main road.  This blocking is quite unnecessary and was done without any warning to the inhabitants, and the Ministry of Transport refuse to let the road be replaced.  We are now taking up the matter with the Executive Committee but I doubt whether anything will be done. 

Being down there, took the opportunity to go down to Layer Marney to see the effigies, which Sisson had told me were uncovered again.  They are in a very dirty condition, bits of sacking adhering to the stone, and all hollows and crevices filled with loose sand.  A notice hung up in the chapel, signed by Austin Lee, states that owing to the dampness of the sandbags, it was necessary to remove them.  He also appeals for funds to repair the chapel roof, which is apparently leaking.  Another notice appeals for funds for a heating apparatus, without which it is impossible to hold winter services.

The church is clean, but very forlorn, with the three Lords of Marney stretched silent on their tombs, the painted St. Christopher staring down from the wall.

I had hoped to have seen Austin Lee, but we found the little cottage where he lives locked and deserted.  Should like to have the chance of cleaning these figures myself, with soft soap and warm water.

Back to Colchester, through masses of American lorries and cars, all driven by Negroes.

Very cold, and clouds tonight.  Busy writing.  Had a bath, and felt as if I was washing a corpse [prior to medical examination the next day].

1 comment:

Robin King said...

EJR was evidently no sailor, or he couldn't have written "red starboard lights"!