31st October 1944 - Edinburgh - York

Up for breakfast.  Dark morning, not really light enough to read until after 9.  It is now 37 days since I left Colchester and I must leave here today. Stayed in all morning, restlessly wandering about the flat.  Could not settle to reading, writing or even listening to radio. 

Kept on tossing up with myself as to whether I would go back to Colchester or go to Harrogate and see Daven Soar or to Manchester and see Daphne Young [who had worked with Rudsdale at the War Agricultural Committee office but was now a teacher in Manchester].
Everybody rushing about, window cleaner in etc.  Both ladies rushing out to business and shopping.  Ethel goes to office work every afternoon, at the Rubber Works, and Ethel is at the Bank of Scotland.  She changed another cheque for me today - £3.  This will enable me to pay my fare to wherever I may go.  So far this expedition has cost me £25 or so - £5 per week, fares included.  Would have been a lot less had I been better able to cycle further.  Hostels idea a failure, too filthy for even my requirements.

Went to library, and discovered my fears for the Seymours were groundless.  The unfortunate people were the family of a “well-known diamond merchant” and I obtained this information from – The Irish Times.

At 7pm definitely decided to call at York.  Nerves in a frightful state.  Can't sit still, read, do anything.  

All Hallows Eve

Time moved on – tea, a little reading, Ethel went to Canteen – said goodbye, will not see her again – supper.  Dora most kind.  9 o’clock news.  5 mins – 10 mins, luggage down the stairs, cycle down – goodbye in the stone passage – moved away in the foggy dark feeling as miserable and depressed as at any time since I left England.  The moon was faintly visible through the clouds and fog, a lovely Walpurgis Night.  All over Scotland people are having parties tonight. 

Still debating in my confused mind what to do, but finally bought a ticket to York.  Train left sharp on time, and I saw the lights of the city slip away, and the huge mass of Arthur’s Seat, the tall houses, lights glowing at their windows.

Had a full seat, stretched out and tried to sleep.  Ate chocolate which Dora kindly gave me (they gave me enough food for a week, biscuits, tea, sandwiches).

Heard the train rumble over the Tweed Bridge into England – when shall I see dear Scotland again?  Thinking of darling Ann, now more than 200 miles behind me.  Looked out on the Northumbrian fields, sharp and clear under the brilliant full moon, not a cloud in the sky now.  On the other side the sea was black and grey, with a fringe of white foam where the waves were breaking.

Dozed at odd times, saw Newcastle, like some nightmare town made up for some dreadful film show – black shadows, white moonlight, pale yellow street lamps – no traffic about, half past one in the morning.

At last York, at 3.30.  Tried Station Hotel – no bed, so went to the waiting room.  Found it full of Commandos and RAF, threw my kit on the floor, lay down on it and went to sleep for 3 hours, to dream most vividly of Australian aborigines.  Got up at 6.30 and had breakfast of sandwiches from Edinburgh and hot tea.


Anonymous said...


Once again for everyone's reference today's value of ER's spending on his trip -

Cheque for £3 - £119.20
Cost of trip £25 - £993.35
Cost per week £5 - £198.67

Though I suppose a five week holiday for almost a £1000 would be a bargain today!

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Mike, this really adds up when you look at today's values. Thanks as always for your help in supplying these details.
Best wishes, Catherine