24th March 1945

Glorious cool morning, not a cloud in the sky.  Daffodils blowing in the garden, and the plum trees in blossom. The garden is looking wonderfully well, and dear old Uncle Jim still works in it.  The primroses are out by the nut-tree bower where I played as a child.

“Liberators” were going over very early, and there was the sound of gunfire in the distance – probably somebody shooting at flying-bombs.  Marjorie says there has been a ‘diver’ near Cox’s Green, which did a certain amount of damage, this must have travelled about 250 miles.

Sat in the garden reading “The New Statesman”.  Left at 12 for Maidenhead, Marjorie to come over later.  Hedges in bloom, and the hawthorn out.  Two or three biplanes were flying very low from Waltham, and in front of them, at a great height, a big flight of Forts going out, on their way to bomb a few thousand more civilians.  Saw the little Queen Anne Cottage, where I once wanted to live, and Shottesbroke Church.  Will either of them yet be destroyed?  Thought of Mother walking down the lane from the bus-stop.

Bought a lamp-battery at White Waltham, the shopkeeper looking at me very suspiciously, perhaps wondering if I were a deserter or a spy.  At Cox Green saw the trains roaring down to the West.  Great longing for Wales.

Delightful lunch at Aunt’s.  Gave her a week’s meat coupon.  

This afternoon cycled down to the Library for an hour.  Found “The London Topographical Record”.  Very well done.  Should like to see something of this sort for Colchester.

Streets crowded with Saturday shoppers.  Saw Spindler’s, Alexander’s, and the Rialto Café, and thought of Mother going there in the mornings for coffee, sitting at the window to watch the crowds go by, just such crowds as were there this afternoon.

Back for tea.  Marjorie came, and we had a jolly party.  News on the radio that the Allies are over the Rhine, but Aunt still pessimistic.  Said there was an alarm this morning when I heard the guns.

Marjorie went back on the bus, and I took Jocelyn [Eric's cousin] to the cinema.  Always a pleasure to take her out.  Saw “Waterloo Road”, very well done indeed.  Came back in the grey dusk, under a pale watery moon.  Glass going back.  If the weather breaks, the new offensive will fail.

At supper, talk about what has been happening in the war, local excitements and so on – Queen Wilhelmina has been living at Stubbings, going out onto the Thicket to paint.  Some time ago a ‘diver’ fell near the house and killed a guard, but the Queen was not at home at the time.  Doolittle’s HQ is near Marlow, and the whole district is thick with Americans.

Bed in Maitland’s old room at 11.30, a dark wet night.  Lay reading until nearly 2am.

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