9th March 1944
Fine, but rather colder. Cough very bad. Jupp came into the office this morning, and told me that he was homeless – the owner of the house he shared in Maldon Rd, a man named Hardy, had yesterday come in in the middle of the day, mad drunk, and smashed up the place. Jupp’s wife, who is a Maltese, was terribly upset, so he had to take her to his own home near Romford, and had taken all his furniture as well. Jupp says this man Hardy had a very good job at Paxman’s, but has now lost it.
Jupp also told me this story – He met an American pilot who had been on a daylight raid on Nuremberg, in a ‘Mustang’. He described how he flew only just above the roof-tops, and went roaring up the middle of one of the main streets of the city, which was packed with a big crowd of civilians. Apparently they mistook the ‘Mustang’ for a German plane, and waved to it. Suddenly they realised it was an enemy, and, in a flash, the street was cleared. The American pilot said “Boy! That was the biggest thrill of the whole trip to see that street clear! It was like magic. But the hell of it was, I hadn’t got a bomb or a bullet left for ‘em.”
Had tea in the Culver St café. Two Americans came in, apparently about 40 but no doubt considerably younger, fat, bloated, long haired, very drunk and noisy. They were accompanied by two girls of about 15 and 16 years old. The elder was fair, with a red scarf round her head, and her face appeared curiously raddled or discoloured. The other was nothing more than a child. The whole party kept up screaming laughter and remarks of a most offensive nature. The amount of casual and professional prostitution in this town is simply staggering.
Went out to Boxted under the full moon, a few ‘planes going over. Spent a couple of very pleasant hours at the Roses, listening to radio and chatting. She lent me Stephen Haggard’s letters which were published a few weeks ago. She knew him very well, and seems to admire his philosophy as set out in these letters which he wrote in 1940. To me they seem rubbish, and altogether masochistic. Most unpleasant.
Got back to the Talbooth at 11 o’clock, and found myself locked out. The “olde worlde” doors have neither bells or knockers, and my kicks and thumps produced no results.
At last I went round to the back of the house, accompanied by a little black cat which appeared from somewhere, climbed on the scullery roof with a broomstick, and tapped vigorously at a window. Beyond some muffled murmurings within, apparently indicating that somebody was putting their heads under the bedclothes, there was again no response.