30th January 1945

Another big fall of snow, and still snowing hard, blowing in before a strong SW wind.  A lot had blown through the window cracks into the bedroom.  Had a delicious breakfast, so utterly different to what I am accustomed.  How kind Miss Bentley is – she charged me only 12/- for the whole weekend.

Snow so deep, and gale so strong, had to walk all the way into town.  Called on Les Watts at the stables, and heard that all my stuff is now locked up in the slaughter house.  Cannot bring myself to sell, as it seems to break a final link.  Left the matter over for another month.  

Called at the War Agricultural Committee office.  Saw Terkelson from Writtle, as he happened to be there, and told him about the man Taylor’s ditching scheme.  Also saw Culley, who told me that Pulford had taken all my stuff from Bourne Mill, so I am afraid I have lost it.

While talking in Capt. Folkard’s office, suddenly saw George Farmer and Maisie come out of their house opposite and slush away through the snow.  Strange to see him like that, and he not knowing I was there.  Have not seen him for over 4 years.  Called at home, and had another chat with Father.

Up town, crowds all over the streets.  Bought some paint brushes, poor quality, but 9d each.  Used to be 4d.  Went over to see Hervey Benham, and got from him a dozen sheets of coloured paper for labels.  He told me that some film people had been asking for old Colchester Theatre bills for a film of “Nicholas Nickleby”.  Museum deny all knowledge of them, naturally.

Strange, dream-like feelings in the town – keep expecting to see Mother come out of Baker’s shop or Jacklin’s café.  Cannot realise that I too am a ghost, and that I belong here no longer.

To station for 5.25.  Fog coming up, and trains from London 2 hours late, but the Edinburgh train started only 10 minutes after time.  A woman in the carriage, about 35, was telling a man opposite that she was going to Ipswich at a moment’s notice to her mother, in answer to a telegram, but had no idea if the mother was ill or what was the matter.  She looked very worried, and repeated her story over and over again.

Felt very depressed at the way the weekend was wasted – I might have done so much.  Hardly dark when we got to Ipswich, but had a long wait there.  No feeling of alarm until, near Stowmarket, the guard came through the train and demanded all blinds to be drawn, while the train slowed down considerably, but at Stowmarket the station lights were on, so presumably there was no alarm.  Two Americans got in there, a young man with a girl carrying a vast bouquet of scarlet flowers, talking about a wedding they were going to at Bury tomorrow.  They got out there and two Scots soldiers got in, Pioneer corps men, going on leave to Glasgow.  They said they had missed the morning train by 5 minutes, and had been waiting about Bury all day with no money.  The elder, about 40, went to sleep at once, mouth open.  Then a whole platoon got in, fully armed, rifles, bayonets, tin hats, gas-masks.  Talk with the Americans about “calibres” etc, all gibberish to me.  They were on their way to Edinburgh.  Wonder why?  The Americans were going to Huddersfield, of all places, on 7 day leave.  Said they get no travel warrants or food allowance.

Got to March just before 9.  Fog getting very thick.  Stood watching romantic looking freight trains pulling slowly through the station, some from the North, some from the south, the glare of the engine fires casting great crimson patches on the fog banks.  When the Edinburgh train had gone (and how I longed to go with it) all was very quiet.  Went into the refreshment room – no tea, no coffee, no food.  Had half a pint of bad beer with a lot of drivers and firemen, who were grumbling about the fog and the long delays.  A young Welsh porter said the Wisbech train would be about 45 minutes late.  He then took one of the girl porters into a dark railway carriage and shut the door.  All quiet again.  Here and there crates of chickens, clucking sadly.  

Train at last arrived at 10.30, and we got into Wisbech just before 11, one and a quarter hours late.  

The moon was now riding high above the fog.  No aircraft about.  Streets quite silent, not a soul about.  House of course locked, and had to knock them up.  Mrs. Shepherd came down furiously angry.  Went straight up to bed, without any supper.

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