30th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Brilliant sunny day, but cold.  Was not wakened until 9.30, and had another breakfast in bed.  Saw in Scotsman today that there were bombs early on Sunday morning.

“A flying bomb which struck a house in a residential district in southern England early yesterday killed a woman, Mrs Seymour, injured her husband and daughter and started a fire.
A short alert was sounded in the London area.
Watchers reported that one flying bomb was brought down into the sea and others inland.”

At once my thought is – was the “Residential Area” in Colchester?  Was the house in Wellesley Road?  Was it perhaps that Ann Seymour was home for the weekend?  What is one to make out from such an evasive, tantalising report?

Who are these ubiquitous “watchers on the coast”?  Do they mean Royal Observer Corps men?  If so, why not say so?  “One” bomb shot into the sea does not sound like very successful defence.  Curious that defences are supposed to have had such wonderful successes in Kent yet the results are so poor in Essex and Suffolk.

Lay in bed all morning, with rather painful belly ache, reading papers and ‘Our Mutual Friend’.  War news very saddening.  All allied offensives are slowed down now or stopped, and there is obviously not the slightest chance of a break into Germany this year, and of course the next 6 months will allow Germany to build up a new army and air force, to say nothing of divers etc.  Yet in Britain all precautions are being dropped, Home Guard stood down, ARP and NFS partly disbanded.  In Scotland ARP is almost entirely done away with.  What on earth will be the effect on the general public when new and terrifying attacks are made?

I honestly believe that the Germans have a very good chance of winning yet, and they may well fight like insane devils when they see how in countries occupied by allies starvation is the first effect, followed by all sorts of “judicial” murders as are now going on in France.

What is to be the end of it all?  I believe there is no power in the world which can stop the war.

This afternoon suddenly decided to get the cycle out and go into Holyrood Park, which I did, cycling right round the Queen’s Drive, high above Duddingston Lock the whole landscape shrouded in golden haze, and the sun shining through in glory.  A boat was slowly crossing the Lock, with 2 pairs of oars like a very large water beetle, the sun glinting on the wet oars.  The city was a grey hazy cloud with the spires and domes, pinnacles and towers standing up.  Below me I could see Prestonfield House, its huge circular stables, green lawns and bare leafless trees.

Depressing to see how houses have been built right up to the park wall on the east, half way up the hill.  Such a pity not to have acquired the slope down to Duddingston as an open space, but of course the Scots are as mean, paltry and narrow minded as the English where our amenities are concerned.

It is only thanks to their passion for golf that any open spaces have been preserved at all.  Dunsapie Loch, a tiny seemingly remote pool among the crags, as it might be in Sutherland, water fowl swimming on it, and an old man sitting on a wooden seat watching them.  It was here that Dora and Ethel Biggam’s brother-in-law drowned himself.

On some of the rocks were a few very sutty sheep and several girls on ponies came riding down a grass track.  Swept down the long hill to St Margaret’s Lock.  A crane has been erected, over-hanging the water.  Don't know what is going on, but nearby some fellows were working with rods and a level.

On the crags above the Loch the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel stood out absolutely against the setting sun.  Past the gurgling well, and through the Park gates by the Palace into what used to be known as ‘Back Canongate’, but is now called Holyrood Road, lined with breweries, great Clydesdales crashing along over the cobbles.

Went to the Library and searched all the papers for references to divers, but found nothing more.

Back to Glengyle Terrace for tea, by George Square, magnificent houses, and along the Meadows.  Am told that some of the holders have fen-charters dating back before the draining of the Burgh South Lock, and have specified therein that they have a right to have a boat on the lock, although there has been no water since c.1691!

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