13th April 1944

Still warm and sunny.  Birds singing very loudly soon after 6.30.  Small attack on London last night, but nothing in this district.

Went up town and met Hervey Benham.  He asked if I would take on the Editorship of the “Essex Review”.  How delighted I should have been a few years ago.  I could make it a fine thing, with editorials on the current affairs in Essex, especially with regard to archaeology, town-planning, amenities, etc., exposing the evils of Borough Engineers and Town Councillors.  Then give the book an entirely new make-up and a new cover and get articles from every part of the county so as to spread the local interest and secure the maximum number of readers.  Plenty of illustrations, of course, and sell it in every town and village of any size.  We could also include reviews of local plays, books and good films.  But what’s the good, when I shall probably be away from here long before another number appears.  Suggested Rickwood, who I’m sure could do it well enough to keep up the present standard.

Brilliant sunshine all day, and ‘planes going over in droves.  Took Daphne to tea in Culver Street, and as we were going in saw dozens of heavy bombers coming back, glittering in the evening sun.

This afternoon a company of soldiers came past the office, marching back to the barracks from the ranges, all singing and whistling the “Marseillaise”.  Wonderful tune.

There was a fire at Old Heath Laundry yesterday evening, but not much damage done.  Daphne and I went down to look at it, but there was nothing much to see.  It was in the last remaining of the old buildings which escaped the bombs in 1940.

Called at the Holly Trees for a few moments, then to Boxted, to see Whiten at Homedale, and then to Lt. Rivers.  The baby has been ill again, and Dodo is very worried.  The Pickard boy is worse than ever.  He showed a curious side of his nature the other day, when he wrote a very good pacifist poem.  Even Stuart, who can’t bear him, admitted that it was quite good.  He is only eleven.

Had to leave early, as they all wanted to go to bed.  It is one of my grievances now that I can't find anybody who wants to sit up all night and talk.

There was a thick haze, and I had hopes that it would be a dirty night, but by 11.30 the stars were glittering bright and clear.  Walked through the back lanes to the “Queen’s [Head Pub]”, and then through the foot path at Harrow Corner.  Got lost among the fields, but found Horkesley Plantation, and followed the edge of it until I came to the line of aerodrome light poles, which I know run just past “Woodside”.  Dragged the cycle through hedges and pushed it under fences.  Wonderful feeling to be quite alone in the dark fields, under the stars, nothing to be heard but the sound of a distant train or the rustling of little creatures in the hedges.  Once an owl flew out of a tree, and whirred away into the plantation, hooting.  At last reached the back of the house in time to hear midnight striking, very faintly, from Mile End Church.  Wished it had been later, as the moon does not rise until 2 am.  How mad anybody would think me, if they knew I was wandering about the fields in the middle of the night. 

No comments: