20th April 1944

Warm and sunny, all sign of rain gone.  Plenty of ‘planes about, as usual.  Papers full of “invasion news”.  Hervey Benham has a very gloomy editorial in the paper this week, implying that some dreadful disaster lies ahead.  Probably right.

Meeting of Labour Sub-Committee at the office this morning to “try” recalcitrant Land Girls.  The Chairman sat with Macauley and Craig, exactly as if he was on the bench.  I took minutes, as if I was Clerk to the Justices.  It was all very amusing, but rather pointless, as they have no power whatever to inflict any punishment on these girls, and nothing will be done except to send a few more reports to Writtle, where they are never read.  However, the Chairman enjoyed himself immensely, and after it was over amazed me by leaving a bundle of Castle papers for me to look through.

These consist of various abstracts from Charles Gray’s title to the Castle lands, together with Gray’s own pocket book, in which he gives the dates when various work was carried out on the Castle.  Some of these notes have been published by J.H. Round, but not all.  They are scattered throughout the book in no particular order, and I transcribed the whole lot at once, so as to keep a proper record.  The building of the “wing” in 1748 must refer to the west wing of Holly Trees.  Showed them to Poulter tonight.

Felt oddly nervous, as it was a beautiful evening, with high thin clouds drifting slowly from the N.W., so went off at 9 to wander about as long as I could.  Cycled to Stratford St Mary, met a policeman just on the corner, who turned and chased me on his cycle, as I had no lights.  I made no effort to get away, as he was too near, and by being very polite got out of the trouble easily.  He never asked for my identity card.

Walked to Higham.  No beacon flashing, but I could see another one, red and yellow alternately, somewhere near Stoke by Nayland.  Few ‘planes going out.  Cycled along the lane over the marshes, and sat by the little ford for a time.  Just past Langham waterworks the sirens wailed out over Suffolk.  Could not make up my mind what to do.  It was now nearly midnight, and I was afraid of meeting police.  Sat down under a hedge as some ‘planes came over, and tore my mackintosh on barbed wire.  Nightingales singing, and signal searchlights flashing in every direction.

Went on and walked past Lt. Rivers.  How mad the Roses would think me to be, if they knew I was outside their house at past midnight.  Walked on through the orchards, past the village, down the lanes to the ‘Queen’s”.
Went through the footpaths from Harrow Corner to Horkesley Plantation.  Saw the searchlights to the north following what was presumably a German but none of the dozens of ‘planes flying across took any notice.

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