30th June 1944

Had a long, quiet night.  Up early.  Clouds thin and high, and the glass up a little.  No planes about.  Miss Bentley said there was a big explosion during the night, but I heard nothing.

Went to the Food Office this morning, about rations for an excavator driver.  Saw a notice on the door to the effect that if there was a warning the building would be closed to the public, and had not been inside two minutes when the sirens sounded.  On the step outside was a young woman, with a little girl of 5 or 6 by her side, looking up anxiously at the sky, where strings of Fortresses sailed along among heavy white clouds.  Felt that if a “diver” came up we should never get a chance to hear it with all this noise going on.  A few people were hanging about rather self-consciously, around the mouth of the shelter next the Library, but nobody in the streets seemed very worried.  Lovely blue sky, fleecy clouds, bombers.  No “divers”, no explosions.  Went round by Chapel St and Cedars Rd, as I always like to make for open country.  Loud singing from the shelters at St John’s Green School.

Went across the Field, troops at exercises.  Thunderbolt whizzed across, very low, and ‘all-clear’ came almost at once.  Children came running out of the shelters at Canterbury Rd School, and just outside was a Co-op oil van, with the horse out of the shafts and tied to the back wheel.  These new alarms are being taken quite as seriously as those of four years ago.  Wonder how we shall regard them in four years time?

Capt. Folkard and Maidstone went off to Peldon today, to attend a conference about the grain drier which it is intended to be built next to Bonner’s Barn, near the Stroud.  How they hope to get the thing ready by this harvest only Writtle or the Ministry can tell.

This evening went home and found Father just about to walk round to the Recreation Ground with Miss Payne.  She makes him get out whenever the weather is warm and decent.

Went across to Rallings’ and picked some cherries.  Mary showed me a photograph of the Fire Office, taken in the Jubilee Celebrations in 1897, with the Ralling family standing on top of the colonnade, outside old Mrs Ives’ room.  Mary must have been 13 or 14 then, and her resemblance to Joan Ralling is most striking.

Lovely evening in the orchard, the air full of bats, birds singing in every tree, the black cat creeping through the long grass with a conspiratorial air.  Few planes about, and the glass higher.

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