20th January 1945

Blizzard during the night, and woke to find two or three inches of snow.  More snow showers during the morning, but decided to go to Peterborough whatever happened.  Telephoned the “Grand” and got a room without any trouble.  Drew another £5, rather guiltily – only £23 left in my account now, and nothing coming in until the end of March.

Got the cycle ready, and the sun came out, glittering on the smooth snow.  Waited until after lunch to see if there were any letters, and got a long, kind, delightful epistle from the Biggams, written on January 13th.  How far away in space and time they seem to be.

Essex County “Standard” also came.  Hervey Benham is making a great fuss, wrongly in my opinion, about compensation for the houses blown up in Ipswich Road last June.  This affair does not rank as war-damage, but the claim would have been settled long ago had it not been that the claimants solicitor had refused to accept the award, which was a fair one.  Hervey Benham is much stronger on some pension scandals which he has unearthed – some are very bad.

Left for Peterborough at a quarter to 3, bright sun glittering on the crisp snow.  Freezing hard, roads an ice-sheet, but had little difficulty.  Went along South Brink to Guy Line Bridge.  Many lonely little brick houses along the edge of Waldesea, some neat farms, and at one place a little cattle yard full of polled Anguses.

Clouds came over again, and near Thorney snow began, fast, in big heavy flakes.  Suddenly two very loud explosions came through the mist from the direction of Whittlesey, perhaps a rocket.  This was about 4 o’clock.

Went into Thorney Abbey to shelter, the snow falling so fast that it was impossible to see the top of the towers.  What a curious place, with the lovely Norman arcades made into the outside walls.  Too dark to see any details.  Some fine carved tombstones. 

The snow ceased, and went on to reach Peterborough just after 5, when it was snowing again.  Found the hotel, quite a pleasant place, had a meal, went to a cinema, and then back to a warm, clean bed.  Dance on down below.  Lay for a time wondering whether any “divers” might come in over the Wash tonight, and whether rockets would reach as far as this.

The landlady of this place is the most extraordinary shape I ever saw – quite conical, and immensely fat.

In the lounge found a copy of “Country Life” for 27th October, 1944, containing a letter from M.G. Phillips, of Trust Houses Ltd., 53 Shorts Gardens, W.C.2, who writes about two Colchester tokens – Richard Rich, 1656, and Richard Boyse, 1660, (a halfpenny).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


ER's finances don't seem as perilous as he records
£5 in today's values £193.26 and £23 would be £888.99.

Interestingly, the weather over the past few days in 1945 has been much the same as now.

Mike Dennis