3rd August 1944

Dull and cold.  Two alarms during the morning, the second followed by a distant thump.  Felt so disturbed and restless that I had to go out.  Crept down to Bourne Mill, went up the alley towards Cannock Mill, and sat there finishing the review of May’s book.  Saw the blackberries beginning to form, and the blossom is almost all gone.
There was the sound of distant machine gun fire on a range somewhere, and the rhythmical clanging of a steam hammer in Paxman’s, just as I used to hear it as a child, in the long summer afternoons nearly 30 years ago.  Chickens were cackling down at Gibbons’ place, and far off a train whistled.  Wished I was on it.

Clouds cleared at lunchtime.  Glorious blue sky.  To Library after tea, and then to Boxted through the Park. 

Army trumpeters playing somewhere, the clear brazen notes sounding across the old Roman wall, the dark Castle embowered in trees on the top of the hill, with girls and soldiers sitting about on the grass.  Little boats on the lake, and boys fishing above the ford in the deep pools.  Went by way of the railway footpath on purpose, to see the view of the town on such a lovely summer evening.

In Turner Road saw Americans on cycles, two on each machine, cycling madly down the concrete roadway, and an old farm labourer, his hair plastered down with sweat, a sack over his shoulder, walking slowly homewards.  Children in coloured frocks playing in the road.  Notice on the chapel at Mile End: “This Church is Open Throughout the Day for Private Prayer.”

Wondered as I was riding home – do the public ever think how it is that so much is known about poison gases and their effects.  Do they ever think of what experiments must be carried out to discover these facts?

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