7th July 1944

Rain at 8.  Dozed again and did not get up until quarter to 9.  Two curious dreams. both blurred, the first about Careddoq, and the second about Finland.  So late in that I was afraid to go to the office, and went up to the cemetery instead, to see Mother’s grave.

Then went up town and called on Hervey Benham.  An alarm while I was in his office, and I got up with affected nonchalance to go out.  He said “You’re just in time to go out and be killed.  I think I’ll come too, I’ve never seen one of these things yet.”  Left him standing in Culver Street and cycled up to the Abbey Field.  Crowds of women going into shelters.  A distant thud, and then ‘all clear’ in a few minutes.

Called at the Ministry of Labour to see Spivy about a matter in which Mrs. Sisson is interested.  There are rumours going round Dedham that a certain man, a disbarred doctor, who has a criminal record, is employed by the Ministry of Labour, and it is said that he is black-mailing people at Dedham on the grounds that he can have them directed to coal mines, farms, etc.  It is in fact said quite specifically that Griffiths, the antique dealer, has been sent to work on the aerodrome because he refused to bribe this man.  Spivy told me that there was not a word of truth in the whole thing, and that this man is not and never has been employed by the Ministry.  Griffiths was certainly reported as a person who should be directed to useful work, and the man who reported him was his own brother.  Spivy told me that more anonymous letters are received from Dedham than all the rest of the district put together.

Called to see Aunt Lydia at the “Cups” this evening.  Have not seen her for nearly 20 years, but recognised her at once, grey, gaunt, and rather severe.  Uncle Frank was out.  She was very kind, and talked for about an hour on her experiences as a temperance lecturer.  I had hard work to keep a straight face.  At last managed to get away by promising to see her again, and went to supper and then to the Post at 9pm.

Lovely red and purple sunset.  A few bombers went out, but there were no divers coming in.  Cycled back soon after 1, through sweet smelling night, owls screeching and little animals running about in the hedges.  Felt quite reluctant to go to bed.

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