31st January 1945 - Wisbech

Not quite so cold.  Thin clammy fog.  Wakened by the sound of men clearing snow.  Busy all morning getting out Committee notices and preparing for the meeting next week.  Girling came in to say old Mr Pearson had telephoned to ask why the notices were not out already?  Don't like Girling.  He seems very hard and cold.

This afternoon rain came on, a thin drizzle.  Took our Committee notices to various addresses. Streets filthy with melting snow, and cakes of dirty snow swimming down the swiftly flowing Nene.

Went over to Edward’s to tea.  Talked about the sale of his typewriter.  I can't offer him more than £10, but if the Committee buy it officially, I shall suggest £15, say £20 for the machine and his small cabinets together.  Poor old man is a bit hard up, I think.  He told me that Mr M.H. Osborn, the house furnisher, died on Monday.  He was one of the Museum subscribers, and old Edwards seemed very worried at the idea – that we had lost one – we apparently have only about 45!

Also learnt this evening that we own the charming little house next door to the Museum, which was given by Algernon Peckover about 70 years ago to serve as a Curator’s house.  The place was at once lent for the sake of making a few pounds a year rent, and the daughter of the original tenant, a Miss Pooley is still there.  Edwards at one time lived in the Museum flat, but Mrs Edwards objected to various things, particularly the ringing of the church bells, and they moved.  Mrs Edwards warned me to be “very careful” with Miss Thompson, (the caretaker) who is apparently very unstable.  She was Edwards’ housekeeper before she came to the Museum, and still works for them 2 or 3 nights a week, but her manners are so bad they would almost prefer that she stayed away.

Back to the office tonight.  A dance in St Peter’s Church Hall, a lot of noise of jazz on loud-speakers.  Soon after 7, eight or nine cars drove into the Square and parked there, while the occupants went into the dance.  Seems to be no check here on the use of cars for pleasure.

Occasionally, among the dreary strains of the dance-band, the sound of Walsoken church bells came drifting on the wind.  Then the sound of girls’ voices in the street, a drum and fife band somewhere not far away.

And so I come the end of the first month in the Fens.  How many more months shall I stay?

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