14th April 1944

Fine, sunny, and warm.  Miss Bentley said: “Did you hear the sirens? Just on a quarter to two.  I heard gunfire a long way off.”  But I had slept through both alarm and all-clear.  Wonderful!  How strange not to hear it when the siren at Mile End is less than 2 miles away.  At Higham the Ipswich siren used to wake me sometimes.

Great excitement at the brothel over the way this morning – one of the numerous babies fell out of the bedroom window, about 15 feet, but was not apparently very much hurt.  Polly Browne and Mrs Smith rushed over the road, and there was a rare to do.

Now stated in the press that over 600 French people were killed at Lille last Sunday.  These vile outrages are committed without any comment in our allegedly “free” press.  I see that the Americans have had to pay 1,000,000 dollars compensation to the Swiss for bombing Schaffenhausen in broad daylight, but the wretched French, who are every bit as neutral as the Swiss, get nothing.

Rain began about 6, and kept on quite hard until after 8.  Hope it will be a thoroughly bad night. 

In the Essex County Standard this week is a photograph of a wedding at Lawford, at which the two little Nichols children were bridesmaids.  This was headed “Queen’s Relatives as Bridesmaids” and the account stated that the similarity between the Nichols children and their distant relatives, the two Princesses, was remarkable.  As I believe the relationship is that the children’s aunt (Mrs Nichols' sister) married a Bowes-Lyon, a distant relation of Queen Elizabeth, any resemblance would be pretty remarkable.

Notice that the fire danger seems to be lessening, no doubt thanks to the tremendous efforts of firemen and fireguards.  Until recently there were posters out all over the place saying “A Thousand Fires a day are Helping Hitler!”  Now new posters are out which simply say “There is a Fire every Two Minutes – Help to Prevent Them”. As there are 1440 minutes in a day, these means 720 fires, an improvement of 280.

The Essex County Standard this week is also making a great point about the demolition of Middle Mill, to my mind wrongly.  Very little of the existing building is old, and the larger part of it was built after about 1905.  The whole of the machinery except the wheel was destroyed by the Corporation about 10 years ago, and the amenities of the place have been so altered in recent years there is nothing left to make a fuss about.  However, Alderman Blomfield and Duncan Clark are to examine the place next week.  It is very typical of Colchester methods to allow a good place to be destroyed piece-meal, and then to kick up a row at the very end, when it is too late.

Called today at a little cycle-repair shop at St. Botolph’s Corner, opposite the ‘Prince of Wales’, and was much struck by the pathos of the old man who owns it.  His little stock was carefully protected from the sun by sheets of brown paper, which he removed to get me a bottle of oil and then replaced with great care, and I thought how sad it seemed, that in his old age he should have to rely on selling these odds and ends for a livelihood.

Still raining hard.  The weather has broken at last.  Not a sound of planes anywhere.

No comments: