10th July 1944

Three alarms during the night.  Got under the bed and stayed there until dawn.  Did not hear where these fell last night.

Went over 31 New Town Rd this morning, regarding the possibility that we might have the place now that the ATS have left.  Wandered about the echoing empty rooms, thinking of my very dear friend A.G. Wright [the former curator of Colchester Castle Museum], who died there 18 years ago.  The walls are plastered with ATS notices about lights out, baths, equipment, etc.  The garden is wild and derelict with a large underground shelter dug for the girls.  Was going down into it when I noticed a little, thin, old tabby cat, curled up in the warm grass fast asleep.  Had not the heart to disturb him so came away. 

Committee at Birch this afternoon.  Felt ill and tired.  The Executive Officer was there, talking drivel about “our plans for the next four years”, and what an important part the War Agricultural Committee’s would have to play.  Everybody became so depressed that it was like the aftermath of a funeral.

When coming past the Market today, noticed six artillery wheels in the sale-yard, with very thick rubber tyres.  They must be from old funeral gun-carriages.
Felt terribly nervous tonight.  Back to Boxted for supper, then went down to Nayland to see Mrs Pickard, who is staying at the butcher’s in Nayland until she can get a cottage somewhere.  As Nayland is outside the Defence Area, the people there are strictly not allowed to go to Colchester, but a concession has been made that they may continue to go in for their ordinary shopping.  Mrs. Pickard ‘phoned the Colchester Police and asked whether she might be allowed to go to the Public Library when shopping in the town, but was told no, the visits are allowed for shopping only.  Told her she was very silly to ask such a question.
Stayed there until after 10, then went along the Lower Lane to a half-cut stack near White Park Farm, and settled myself there for the night.  Snuggled down very warm and comfortable.  A few ‘planes about, and clouds drifting slowly over the stars.  Scrabblings of mice and rats in the straw.

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