14th May 1944

Very cold and raining, but then cleared up, so decided I had better go to Lion Walk for the Farm Sunday Service.  By mistake, got there an hour too early, so went to Holly Trees and talked to Poulter about Sir Gurney Benham.

As I went back up High Street, met the Civic Procession coming slowly down, the Mace glittering in the sunshine, the red and blue robes of the Alderman and Councillors, making brilliant splashes of colour in the drab street, and a bevy of green-clad Land Girls bringing up the rear.  I have never been in Lion Walk before and in fact have never been to a Nonconformist Service since my cousin was married at Tacket St, Ipswich, 20 years ago.

The church was very full, and the Mayor and Corporation came marching into the front pews in great state, while the Land Girls went crashing upstairs into the gallery.  The organ was out of order, but an elderly woman played fugues and so forth on a harmonium before the service began.  The whole was run through very briskly and with an air of enjoyment, quite different from a Church of England service.  The Revd. Weller preached, but I cannot remember what he said. 

The choir, men and women, were dressed in what looked like purple night gowns, and sang an anthem by themselves.  The collection was taken up by the Land Girls who crashed around the church like young cart-horses.

We were all out by 12.15, and went back to the Town Hall.  Did not walk in the procession, but cut through Pelham’s Lane.  Big crowd in the Mayor’s Parlour, Council, Land Girls, and allotment holders.  Had a coffee and a sausage roll, while the Mayor spoke of “our great loss” etc.  Got away before 1, and had lunch at home, much to Miss Payne’s pleasure.  How that woman talks.

Drafted a letter of condolence, very badly done, to Lady Benham.

Went to Dedham and to Lt. Rivers.  Dennis Carter was there, and we argued about agricultural education until past eleven, when Mrs. Rose packed us off .  Walked back to Woodside.  Fine night, clear and cold, but hardly a ‘plane about.  Towards the west some curious red flares hung in the sky, and then some yellow lights appeared south of Colchester.

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