27th April 1944

There was an alarm at 5 o’clock, so Miss Bentley said, but I did not hear it.  Have been most fortunate in not hearing alarms.

Sent in Royal Observer Corps forms.  Went out to see Sier, who said the Birch Hall MSS are most interesting, and went through several with me.  When I got back set Daphne to make a typescript copy of the whole thing, particularly Gray’s notebook.

Called at the “Standard” Office and saw Mary Ralling who at last admitted that Annie is dying.  Did not know what to say, and there is nothing I can do.  All we hear about now is the wonderful “health-schemes” that are being prepared, yet there is no means of helping an old woman dying in pain, nor even the means to get somebody to do the housework or help to nurse her.  Mary can now be getting only about an hour’s sleep every night.

Back to office early after lunch, and saw Watt’s beautiful mare go sailing past at 2 o’clock, on her way home, coat and harness shining in the sunlight.

A circus on the Recreation Ground, for three days.  Went along this evening to have a look at it.  A few dirty motor caravans, a few tents, a “big-top” of green and white striped canvas, two or three ragged old pie-bald horses, a few tiny ponies on which children were being given rides at 3d a time, and a sad little donkey.  The prices of admission were 3/6, 2/6 and 1/-.  Big crowd lining up, although there was over an hour to wait.  The whole set-up looked forlorn and cheap.

Apparently these people are allowed to erect their show at the Recreation Ground as part of the “holidays-at-home” attractions officially sponsored by the Town Council.  Before the war, no really good circus, such as Mill’s, would be allowed to do such a thing.

Saw Marjory Purser there.  She looked worn and tired, and was obviously in the family way.

Went  up to Old Heath to see a man about getting a schoolboy for agricultural work, and heard all about the stupid obstructions of the Education Committee.  Then to Bourne Mill, and sold my scythe to Gibbons for 7/6.

To Boxted at 8, and listened to the radio – “Itma”.  Copied out more of Gray’s notes.

The District Officer says this man Maidstone was appointed Deputy District Officer yesterday.  He is only about 30, and the Chairman is alarmed in case he should turn out to be a Conscientious Objector, “because if he is, I’ll have nothing to do with him.”

“Dig for Victory” Exhibition in the Castle, for three days.  Did not go, but hear that the collections have been roughly handled by a gang of men from the Depôt.  Marshall, Park Superintendent, is in charge.

Noticed a small pit in Mersea Road, by the Abbey Wall, about 150 yards from the S.E. corner, dug for a gas main.  At that point there is no footing to the wall whatever, and clean sand shows about 9” under the present surface.
Hazy tonight, and the young moon rising red through it.  Sound of nightingales and aeroplanes.


Anonymous said...


Comparative values for today's entry

The circus pony rides were equal to £1.25 and the ticket prices £6.57, £4.69 and £1.88. His description of the circus sounds pretty much like they are today, nothing changes!

On a brighter note for ER he sold his scythe for the £14.07 in today's values. Assuming it was a full sized one it would cost today £50-£100 new.

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Mike - yes the circus sounds much the same as today! However, the scythe sounds like it was a good buy for someone!
Best wishes, CP

Robin King said...

Sorry Catherine that I'm a bit late with this comment - for "newbies" i.e. those younger than about 70, ITMA ("It's that man again!") was Tommy Handley's wonderfully warm radio comedy show. Check out Tommy's Wikipedia entry, especially the Bishop of London's very apposite eulogy.

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks for sharing this Robin - EJR was a keen fan of ITMA and it's good to have a link to some more information about the show on the blog. Best wishes, CP

Jane said...

Yes the circus is still a visitor to the Recreation Ground in the Summer