4th February 1945

Up soon after 9.  Lovely warm spring-like morning, many ‘planes going out.  Had a wretched breakfast and then walked out to buy a paper.  Quite a crowd round the paper seller with his little trolley at the foot of the Clarkson Memorial.  This seems to be the only way to get a Sunday paper here – no newsagent’s shop open anywhere.  

One paper mentions that the Germans are now using old Heinkel ‘planes filled with explosives, without pilots, in the manner of giant flying-bombs. 

Crossing the bridge saw Miss Ellis, Miss Morgan and Miss Rees, all looking very smart in Sunday best.  

North Brink looked very lovely this morning in full sun, under the clear blue sky, each building standing out sharp and individually.

Set out for Woodgate’s house, through North End and along the river bank.  The tide was full, but not a ship in the river.  Went over the railway lines, and asked a boy for Woodgate’s house.  “That’s it,” he said pointing to an early Victorian castellated Gothic erection near by, “The house like an ol’ castle.  You’ll have to knock hard, they never take no notice there.  I’d kick the door if I were you.”  Thanked him for his kindly advice.

However, Woodgate heard as soon as I rapped, and let me in.  He lives here alone in this amusing house, with its gothic windows, long passage, and battlements.  There is a fine high study, piled with books and MSS, with family portraits on the walls.  Reminded one rather of an illustration from “The Antiquary”.  Had a good lunch in a high sunny room looking out over the garden, the piece de resistance being the chicken given him by a grateful client.

Talked of museum affairs – ARP absurdities, etc.  He described the so-called “tumulus”, Cherry Hill, about 200 yards away, and said how some years ago he had “opened” it, finding nothing but a fragment of a millstone near the top, from which he concluded it was really a mill-mound.  Well, whatever it is, it is certainly not a tumulus, any more than the other mounds in this neighbourhood are.

He told me that old “Philosopher” Smith, who took so many of the early Wisbech photos, used to live next door, in the house facing the river, by the railway gates.

After lunch he showed me his methods of indexing MSS material, and I left at about 3.  Cycled slowly back, not knowing in the least where to go – debarred from my own office by the caretaker, nowhere to go in the lodgings except the cold bedroom, no prospect of a cup of tea anywhere.

Spent a couple of hours cycling round Walsoken, Emneth, and the edge of the Smeeth, and then went back to change my clothes before going to dinner at the “White Lion”.

How bitterly I regret that I ever came to this town.  Lot of searchlights tonight, all round the town.  Heavy explosion far away in Norfolk, and many flashes in the eastern sky.

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