14th January 1945

Lovely morning.  Warmer.  Up at 9.30.  Went over to the Museum, and into the office.  Stayed in the office all morning and wrote a long letter to darling Ann, which I think she will enjoy.  Ate some sandwiches which I made myself, and then went down to Warby’s, at Elm.  Saw Elm church, lovely 13th century stuff, fine elaborately carved table tombs in the churchyard – really must work on these.  Elm and Friday Bridge look like some part of the Balkans after an unsuccessful revolution.  Quite a number of new houses, some dated 1915 or 1916.  Nothing, on either side, but wet, flat fields, and the muddy weed covered canal.  Hardly anybody about except a few leering boys and youths.  A very pretty girl at Friday Bridge, and a fair young girl on a black horse, cantering along the edge of the road.  A modern church here, which leans over at a most extraordinary angle, and a grotesque war-memorial in the form of a clock-tower, in the middle of the road.  A lot of ruinous cottages, some still lived in, other derelict.  Every house surrounded by a sea of mud.  Noticed the name “Bardell” on a shop.  “Girdlestone” also occurs in Wisbech about 100 years ago.  Perhaps Dickens came through some time or another.

Found Warby’s house, Oldfield.  His collection is really excellent, and he is a most charming old man.  It is painful to hear how little interest has been taken in archaeology during the last 20 years – Edwards would never give him the slightest encouragement, and made no records of finds at all.  Warby had to force him to take the Emneth hoard (for which he finally paid £1!)

In the collection here are no less than 12 potters’ stamps, yet in the Museum there are only 4.  All 12 come from the Fens around Coldham, Needham, and Stays Holt.

The quantity of pottery found is enormous.  Warby has at least 50 complete or nearly complete vessels, and boxes of fragments, yet he admits that owing to lack of enthusiasm he has been in the habit of saving only what he considered to be the most interesting.

Had a cup of tea with him, then back to Wisbech, washed, changed, and went to dinner at the White Lion – 4/- - but worth it.  After, went round to Levers in Sandringham Avenue, very pleasant people, and had a couple of hours very pleasant talk.

Very dark tonight, and no ‘planes about, but I nightly expect some more flying bombs.

Bed 11.  At nearly midnight heard the murmuring voices of a man and a girl below my window, the sound of a kiss, and then two lots of steps hurrying away in opposite directions.  A swan came flying overhead, and flew croaking round the church two or three times.

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