10th April 1944

Easter Monday
Brilliant day, warm and sunny.  Not the slightest sign of any more rain.  Spent the morning writing, then went in to Colchester for lunch, but found all the cafes shut.  Made do with coffee and sandwiches at the milk bar.

Went into the office this afternoon, and cleared up a few odd matters, then went home to tea.  Miss Payne said Father had been rather seedy on Saturday, and had complained of his legs.  She wants Dr Rowland to have a look at him.

Back to the office, and wrote a long letter to Mary Hulbert.  Asked her help if I go over to Shropshire again, and suggested I shall throw up everything at Colchester and go for good.  After I had posted it, decided to see Duncan Clark and talk to him, which I did, but it was a failure.  He told me that there was not the slightest chance of getting rid of Hull, but at the same time was full of optimism and new schemes for the Museum after the war.  Could not get him to see that there is no place in such a museum for me.  Hull would behave so that would be impossible for me to work.  Mentioned various things that are missing – Colchester Prints, Wire’s Morant, etc. but felt, as I was telling him, as if I was in the wrong.  Cannot talk to either Duncan Clark or to Alderman Blomfield as I used to do to the old Doctor [Laver].

Duncan Clark mentioned that he had schemes for the Museum Committee to publish papers on Colchester archaeological material – as if they ever would!  Also mentioned that he would like to get Sisson on the Committee in place of Rendall, who cannot last much longer.  Excellent, if it can be worked.

Fell into an animated discussion about all this, but came away and soon felt flat and depressed.  It is all talk.

Went to the Rallings’ with 6 eggs for Annie.  She is very bad, and suffers pain all day.  Mary looked worn out, but keeps up a gallant, cheerful, front.  What a terrible thing this is.  Annie lies in bed all day, with the house locked, waiting for Mary to come home to feed her.  She refuses to see anyone.  There seems to be absolutely nothing that we can do.

To the stables, and found Hampshire just back from Hadleigh with his little pony, very happy and rather drunk.  Emphasised that he and I “cottoned on wonderful well”, and were “the same as if we were brothers”.  To the Mill and fed the donkey, then to Holly Trees for an hour.  Did not tell Poulter about my talk to Duncan Clark.

Walked back to Boxted, taking as long as possible, waiting for the moon to rise.  As I was going through Mile End, one of the Borough ambulances drove away from a little cottage.  The dim light was on inside, and I could see figures crouched over someone who was lying on a stretcher.  Outside the cottage was an old man, talking to one or two women, obviously neighbours.  One said “She’s gone with her, hasn't she?” and the man replied “Yes, she’ll stay with her for a bit.”  Then the woman said “How will the others get back?”
“Oh” he said, “they’ll take a taxi” (if they can find one not taken already by the Americans).  I wondered if it was his wife who had been taken away, and thought of poor old Mother.

Soon after a policeman passed me, cycling slowly, an alsatian dog trotting beside him.  Thought I would go on the Horkesley Road, as he would probably go to Severalls gates and wait there, and I did not want to be stopped and questioned.  (I never registered at Boxted yet).

Just at the top of the hill a man going towards Colchester, also with no lights, called out.  “Look out mate, there’s police just along the road”.  Thanked him and decided to walk back to the fork after all, feeling very nervous and anxious.  Near the fork I almost walked straight into another policeman, standing quite motionless against a wall, and hastily said “Good evening” in what I am sure sounded a very guilty voice.  He replied “Good night” very solemnly.

A few yards past the Borough boundary a jeep with no lights was parked at the edge of the road, and I could see the figures of an American and a girl on the grass, while two more Americans were sprawled nearby.

A lot of ‘planes at night exercises, coming over with their navigation lights on.  The moon was just rising, a huge orange, and two ‘planes came over, flying wing-tip to wing-tip, navigation lights on, and besides this, two huge “head-lamps”, for all the world like a motor-car flying through the air.  Have heard of this device, but have never seen it before.  Some ‘planes were landing at Fordham.  I could hear them shutting off their engines and gliding in.

Very warm tonight.

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