EJ Rudsdale on Twitter from 3 September 2019

31st August 1943

Last day of summer, we always used to say.  Now autumn comes, and soon winter.  Still no chance to see Captain Folkard, who was out all day.  Harvest not yet done – we still have a lot of barley to cart, which has been standing in the traves far too long.  They simply cannot get the men to work.

Busy all day, telephone ringing incessantly.

Tonight forced myself to see Dr Penry Rowland again, to get some more sleeping tablets.  [Rudsdale had been suffering from sleeping problems and had been advised by the doctor to take a holiday for his health].  Walked up and down Wellesley Rd a long time, hoping the Seymours would not see me, and at last saw him drive up in his car.  Dozens of new American ‘planes were streaming over, and apparently landing at Langham, the noise so terrible that the Doctor could hardly hear me speaking.  He was reluctant to give me any more bromides, but at last made up another prescription.  Said he was glad I was going away, and that he too would have some holiday next week.

Back to Lawford by 8, had supper, and everybody in bed by 9 o’clock.

30th August 1943

Woke at 4 this morning, then dozed again and had another weird dream.  I was walking down High St. towards Holly Trees, and found that All Saints Church was in ruins.  By the War Memorial was a wrecked motor-bus, with another bus alongside, full of children.  People were saying that the church had been bombed, and the tower had come through into the nave, and there were three grotesque statues, apparently from the tower, lying in the churchyard.  I at once began to organise a salvage party, and soon the ruins were covered with people, all searching for antiquities.  Among them were two Americans, and I spoke to them and asked them to look for Roman pottery.  Castoligni’s house was destroyed, but one wall was already being rebuilt. 

Busy all day on various things, yet seem to get nothing done.  Captain Folkard very busy, still no chance to talk about leave, and I want to go in about a week.  Don't know whether to go to Wales or Scotland, but I think it will be Scotland.

29th August 1943

Clouds and showers all day.  Busy packing up [at Sherebourne Mill, Lawford as Rudsdale had arranged to move to Valley Farm Cottage in Higham, which he was renting from a Mr and Mrs Conran - further details are available in Rudsdale's book].  Have been very happy here.  Got away soon after lunch with all the Journals, photos, maps, books etc.  Made quite a load.  Roger had both hind shoes loose.  Going into Dedham met old Canon Rendall, walking briskly, learning on the arm of his valet.  Drew the whip from the bucket and gave him a smart salute, which he acknowledged with a wave of his hand.

To Higham in half an hour, just as the clock struck 4.  Conran himself was at the cottage, on weekend leave.  Settled all final details, the idea being that I pay them £3.10 a month, which is the same rent that they pay to Jones, the landlord, and I look after the place until they get back next year.  We had tea, and then Conran set off back to Portsmouth.  Says that all that part of the South Coast is rigidly closed. 

Got everything unpacked, and stowed away in the little room at the east end.  Apparently some of the furniture belongs to Jones, but some to the Conrans.  Jacquie Conran has among other things a beautiful Chinese “opium bed”, and a piano.

Felt a little anxious when driving away, to leave all my papers here.  Thought about fire in this old timber house.

Left shortly after 7.  Went grandly through the cool evening until just on the Suffolk side of the Dedham bridge, Roger cast both hind shoes, so had to walk him the last 2 miles.  Can't understand why people dont keep their horses properly shod.

Clouds came sweeping up the valley, looking like rain.  Hope so, may give us a quiet night.

Curious how the Nuremberg raid is being “toned down” in the press.  Can there have been a great disaster owing to bad weather?

27th August 1943

Fine, sunny, but rather cold.  Many ‘planes going out, with dreadful noise, between 7 and 9. 

Still quite a lot of plums about.

Have had no chance to ask the District Officer about [taking some] leave, he is so busy, and out nearly all day.  He went off to Writtle at 12.

Cloudy and rain at times.  Tried to get off early, but everything delayed me.  Finally going up Ipswich Road, got a puncture on a nail.  Walked through St. John’s Road to Fox Street, to Clayton’s, and borrowed a cycle, leaving mine at garage to be mended.  In Ipswich Road saw a car going along with a gas-bag on the roof, almost exactly where I saw the same thing in the last war, one day when I was walking with Father, in the days when we used to stroll through the “Partridge Fen” and along Rat Ditch.

25th August 1943

Quiet night.  Heavy shower about 7, but fine later.  Photo in the “East Anglian Daily Times” this morning of a combine cutting barley in Suffolk.  Easy to photograph a motionless binder – the Committee’s was motionless when Poulter photographed it a fortnight ago, and it has not moved since, with the result that we still have nearly 60 acres of wheat to cut, which is now in such a state that the binder can't touch it.

News of a tremendous raid on Berlin, and 60 ‘planes lost.  How stupid to bomb the enemy’s capital city out of sheer childish spite, when the ‘planes are so badly needed to support the hard pressed troops.  There is no longer any pretence that we are bombing military objectives.  However, it looks as though Rome is saved, and the Allies are accepting conditions.  The Pope has done a great deal.  Rather odd news today that voluntary enlistment has been stopped for the army, but not for the R.A.F., Navy or Marines.

Lovely evening, very few ‘planes going out.  Blackberries very plentiful and sweet on the home.  

21st August 1943

Up early, as the threshing machine was here today, and everybody was astir.  Wakened in the night by a sharp thunderstorm about 4, but apart from that a good night, and no dreams at all.  Heavy rain between 7 and 8, but fine later, and then more rain this afternoon.

Cleared off to Lawford at 6, stopped in Hunter’s Chase to eat some delicious rain-washed blackberries.  Frank Girling came to supper tonight.  No ‘planes about, clouds low and heavy, rain at times.

Frank Girling was full of the most amusing stories about Tendring War Agricultural Committee.

Did 1 and a half hours work tonight and went to bed at 11.30.

20th August 1943

Up 7.30.  Lovely cool morning.  One or two ‘planes warming up at Langham, but nothing in the air.  

Very hot all day.  Few ‘planes about.  Wonderful crops of plums, apples and blackberries.  All the papers screaming “Invasion of the Continent” and screaming louder about a very long war.

Poulter came upstairs this afternoon and said that Maynard [the Curator of Ipswich Museum] was in from Ipswich.  Went down and had a chat, not having seen him since the day in 1940 when Norway was invaded.  Seems just the same, but getting quite an old man.

Cycled out by way of Harwich Road, and saw the little hole in Berriman’s field near Fox Street, where there is an unexploded bomb, with a notice stuck up on a pole nearby.  Ate a lot of blackberries.

At Ardleigh, two young soldiers were reading very carefully all through the names on the village war-memorial, while three pretty little girls stood nearby with their cycles, laughing and talking.

Cloudy tonight.

19th August 1943


Quiet night.  Lovely morning, no ‘planes going out for once, in fact hardly any moving all day. 

This afternoon went out to Wormingford with Molly Blomfield in her car, (on National Buildings Record petrol), killing two birds at once.  Went to see Balls Farm which now has the roof off, but the main frame is not yet touched.  All around were great masses of “wattles”, as fresh and “live” as the day they were embedded in the daub some 400 years ago.  Brought half a dozen away with me.

On the way back round the perimeter track stopped to see Harvey’s Farm, very nice early 16th century structure, with a lovely reeded ceiling extending over most of the ground floor.  This is not in the Report of Royal Commission of Ancient Monuments perhaps because the outside of the building looks rather modern.  Must get some measured drawings and a plan, and must take steps to save this ceiling.  Molly Blomfield was quite horrified at the weird desolation of the site.  Back to Colchester and called at Alderman Blomfield’s house for a cup of tea.  Mentioned about my going back to the Museum, about which he is very anxious, but nothing can be done yet.  

Back to the office, and found Capt Folkard very angry about excavator men’s pay.  He had just discovered that they get a bonus for work done – so much a chain – but they also get a bonus when the work is not done in case of breakdowns, on a basis of how much might have been done if the beastly machine had not broken down!  This mad scheme came down from Writtle, and is apparently sponsored by Priestmans’, the makers of the excavators which we use.

17th August 1943

Rather a bad night.  Went to bed early, to try to get some sleep, but was awakened by ‘planes going out.  Also had two very nasty dreams – (a) that I was in a house with a family of children, one of which was dead, and was really only a ghost, but nobody was aware of this except me.  It was for some reason very horrible.  The child was about 10, and had light, straight hair and spectacles. 

The second, (b) had to do with the Sissons at Dedham.  It was vague, and I can remember nothing of it except a sensation of horror.

At some time during the night heard faint sirens, and dull distant explosions.  Hear there were alarms at Colchester and Mersea, but nothing happened.  Some firing heard in the direction of the Thames Estuary.

About 4am had to get out of bed.  The moon was brilliant yellow, and there was not a sound to be heard, but at 6am there were thick clouds.  In by 9 o’clock, ‘planes going out very high.  Clouds blew away, and it was a fine hot morning.  Very busy on plans for a bombing target near the Strood, which involves moving cattle on our marshes.

Called at home, parents well.  To Boxted by 7.15.  Lovely supper.  Had to hold baby when being bathed.  Bed.  An alarm about 10.30pm, coming clearly on the wind beneath the shining moon – Colchester, Lexden, etc.  Nothing came, and ‘all-clear’ within 20 minutes.

Grave doubts growing as to whether the Allies will respect the decision that Rome is to be an open city.  Cannot believe that the Allied High Command dare order raids, in face of world condemnation, but the low-church-non-conformist-circles are very keen that raids of the heaviest sort should be made at once, and it depends how much influence these circles have in high places.

Everybody believes that an invasion of France is to begin very soon – there have been heavy raids on French aerodromes, and some raids on S. Coast ports in return.  A large area of coast around Bournemouth is now shut off.

(In bed): Strange how sounds carry it the country.  Can hear trains running into Colchester station, motor lorries on Ipswich Road, and voices far away.

16th August 1943

Up at 7.30, rather cold, but brilliant sunshine.  ‘Planes began to go out rather high. 

Captain Folkard not in today.  Went down to Lawrence’s the coachbuilder’s about an account.  Lovely tub-trap there, on mail-axles, dated 1893.  Little Lawrence is wonderfully hard working, and does a tremendous amount of small jobs.  Found by records today that another 5 wagons have been sent to Wigborough, which ought to help this harvest.

Called at the Town Hall about last night’s row, but Borough Engineer’s office refused to talk sense – said they had no idea who was responsible for Castle watchers.

Had to go to DCRE’s office in Winnock Rd., about a water pipe at Peldon.  Very dashing looking A.T. in the outer room, smoking a cigarette, which she parked on a radiator before announcing me to the DCRE, who told me a most amusing story about some Land girls in the Midlands literally chasing an Italian POW, catching him behind a haystack and pulling off his trousers, saying “Now let’s see if you’re a man!”  The result was he prosecuted for assault in the local court!

Went home to tea, being so near.

Lovely evening.  Went out with Hampshire to Elmstead, for the sake of driving for an hour.

15th August 1943

Woken very early by the bird-chorus, in brilliant sunshine.  Heard the cowman bringing the two cows up to be milked, walking slowly just below my window.  About 8 o’clock many ‘planes began to go over, and the noise was incessant for the next hour, yet the birds seem quite undisturbed, and sing on unheeding.  Wasted the whole day, doing nothing but reading, listening to the radio and eating plums.

Mrs. Sisson had Poulter over yesterday afternoon, and did a really excellent portrait of  him in crayon, very good likeness.  She also had one of Sisson but not so good.  Showed me a book by Sitwell on old Russian customs.

Then went over to Lawford, and met Joy just driving in.  Told her I would go back on Thursday, and mentioned that I hoped to take a cottage at Higham in September.  Back to Colchester by 8.15pm, saw old Bob grazing peacefully at Fox Street.  To Holly Trees, 8.45pm, saw Poulter.  Went upstairs to see the eclipse of moon, just visible.  Nothing but a slender sliver of the moon, like a cheese rind.  Through glasses one could see the whole shape of its disc, faint and thin behind the earth’s shadow.  This shadow moved away fairly quickly, and the moon sailed clear just after 10.  Curious to realise that the shadow we saw was of course actually the southern hemisphere.  We were, as you might say, looking at the Pacific Ocean and the South Pole.

It was dark at 9 tonight.  Winter is in sight.

Went over to the Castle at 10.30, to be met with a torrent of abuse from the two watchers, who were standing outside in the moonlight.  They accused me with oaths of being one and a half hours late.  I was furious, and we had a grand “swear off”, until they threatened to send for the police.  Shall see the Town Clerk in the morning.

Only a few ‘planes about, and no alarm so far (11.45 p.m.).  Shouts and screams from the streets.  Feel very restless, and must walk about for a bit.

14th August 1943

Lovely morning.  ‘Planes going out from Langham very early, making a hideous noise.  Stayed to breakfast and left very late.  Said goodbye to Sissons, and thanked them for all they have done for me.  I much appreciate their kindness, and only wish I could do something in return.

Very busy all morning, having a lot of trouble with labour.  Poor Spencer being bullied by everybody, but he naturally must carry out the insane orders that come from Engledow’s office [at Writtle], otherwise Engledow would sack him, which he always longs to do.  The result is that Spencer’s life is hell, what with Engledow on one side and Baldwin and Nott shouting “sack these bloody men!” on the other.  There is no question of overtime work in the harvest – it is impossible to make them put in ordinary time.  After much telephoning to and from Writtle, it was decided that a man from the Labour Office and a National Service Officer should come down on Monday to “interview” the men and “to hear what they have to say.” !!

Town packed.  Many Czechs in the streets.  Pushing through the crowd at Headgate was a tiny dwarf, a perfect miniature of a man, not more than 30” high.  He looked quite old, about 55 I should think.  There are considerable advantages in being a dwarf in these days.  All the cafes very crowded, but at last managed to get a very poor tea at Thorogood’s. 

I went home and then out by Hythe Hill, where I met Woods, and we talked horses.  Went into Moy’s stables to see a new horse he had there.  He told me that the whole place is sold to Doe Bros, the agricultural engineers, and that Moy’s would only keep 4 or 5 horses and their few motors there in future.  Very sad to see how these old firms run to seed at last.  Once they had 40 horses.  Now 7 and 8 lorries.

13th August 1943

Nothing else happened last night, and slept well until 7 o’clock.  Left at 7.45, low clouds and a SW wind.

Colchester 8.30, had breakfast at Rose’s, then to office and got lorry to go to Wormingford.  Wrong lorry sent – not big enough, and when we got onto the aerodrome the timber I had hoped for was not available.  Ball’s Farm is not touched yet, and the old barn had been demolished by pushing it over, so that there was nothing but a tangled pile of wood and tiles.  However, managed to get a few hundred feet of wood and about 500 slates.  Looked in at Harvey’s Farm, which is to go next, and am determined to save the fine moulded ceiling there.  Made several drawings of both Harvey’s and Ball’s Farms, and hope to get photos from the Air Ministry.  Rowney’s Farm went some months ago, without our knowledge.  The house was much altered and much over restored, but was partly of 16th century date.  It was very picturesque, with a fine thatched roof.  Poor Miss Bayley-Packer must be in a great way about it – first the loss of the farms to the War Agricultural Committee, now the final destruction of both land and houses, just as irrevocable as if they had been destroyed in a raid.

Busy in office until 6, then home for an hour, and out to Dedham by 8 o’clock.  Sissons busy packing, delighted at being able to go away, but Sisson of course gloomy, prophesying that either (a) there will be an invasion and they will be unable to get back, or (b) the house will be destroyed in their absence.

It is now just gone midnight, and no disaster occurred on Friday the 13th.

12th August 1943

A quiet night, except for the Sissons’ “tapping ghost”, which tapped in a gentle persistent manner for a long time.  Woke to find a golden sunrise through a blanket of fog, as cold as autumn.  The German radio reports raids on Plymouth and Bournemouth last night, but apparently by small forces only.

Went with the District Officer this afternoon to see possible offices in Creffield Road, now occupied by the ATS.

At supper tonight Mrs. Sisson said: “Well, there’s sure to be a raid tonight”, and sure enough as I lay reading on my bed the sirens sounded at a quarter to 12.  Looked out and saw marker searchlights come on, one at Raydon and one towards Colchester.

Put my boots on and went down.  Sissons were awake, so I called “I’m going to have a look round outside.  I’ll report anything that happens.”

Went into the garden, heard ‘planes to the E, towards Harwich.  There was a cone of searchlights there, and steady gunfire, shells bursting very high.  Then a yellow flare was dropped, and hung motionless.  Next came the rumble of bombs, and the searchlights showed that the ‘plane turned and made off out to sea.

The Raydon searchlight winked on and off, throwing a horrid greenish light across the gardens and houses.  The church clock struck 12, and in the silence that followed one could hear the whirr of the striking mechanism.

Next a fighter came along from the W, carrying red navigation lights, and proceeded to circle around the Raydon light, each circuit bringing him over Dedham.  At 12.15 the ‘all-clears’ rang out – Colchester, Hadleigh, Manningtree.  How brave I felt!  Then a fearful alarm – a violent rustling in the corner of the garden!  For a moment thought that the boarhound from next door must have got in, but it was only the cat.

11th August 1943

Cloudy and cool, sun and showers alternating.  ‘Planes going over early in the morning about 4.  Very strange that there has not yet been any retaliation raids here.  Papers say that yesterday or the day before a reconnaissance ‘plane was over the S.W. districts, the first enemy activity for 8 days.

Cycling along Park Lane Dedham this morning met a National Fire Service lorry with a crew.  One got out to ask at the Park lodge, and as I went by another called out “Say Mate, do you know where Kennel Farm is?”
I said: “Do you mean Kennel Cottages, on the Lawford road?”
1st Fireman: “That’ll be it.”
2nd Fireman: “No, farm we were told, definitely farm.  Kennel Farm, Dedham.”
Me: “Well, there’s no such farm in the parish or anywhere near here, either.”

There was a general air of perplexity among the firemen, who could not find their fire, but no apparent anxiety to do anything.  Then the man came back from the lodge and said: “They say here it must be Kiddles Farm, down there on the right,” whereupon the engine turned and went slowly down the lane.  There was no smoke, so far as I could see, but the whole casual way they were looking for the fire seemed very amusing, and a great contrast to the days of the old Colchester brigade, where the men knew every inch of the country for miles around.  The present National Fire Service men, officers included, are of course strangers drafted from all over the country.  It seems that the more firemen we have the more difficult it will be to get a fire put out.

Extraordinary illiteracy among Land Girls.  Two examples on time sheets today – “Face Farm” for Fields Farm, and “Haburt Hall” for Abbotts Hall.

Busy all day on Committee work, which I rather like.

Traffic on the Ipswich Road tonight – 2 Americans on a tandem, American lorries, American and British staff cars, many cyclists, a pony trap, harvest wagons with two horses.

Much interesting conversation about the war after supper, then bed at 11.30 p.m.

Brilliant moonlight night.  Cold.

10th August 1943

Went in by bus this morning.  Fine but cloudy.  This afternoon out with the District Officer and Poulter to take photos of harvest.  

The carting at Layer Marney Hall was being done by two Fordsons with three trailers, but seems to me to be very slow, with long delays when changing over the tractors. 

Down to Abbots Wick, and surprised to see some horses turned out in the meadow, in the middle of harvest.  Apparently we now have more horses than horsemen, and so cannot use them.  Saw Nott, and took him on to Abbott’s Hall.  

Marsh Barn is becoming more and more derelict, and Writtle have no intention of doing any repairs.  Then on to Copt Hall, and met Cutting driving my Robin.  He looked very well, and stood as quiet as a lamb.  The old buck-cart is coming to pieces.

Then went down Copt Hall Lane to the main road and so to Peldon “Rose” for a good tea – quantities of sugar, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Back to Colchester over Pete Tye, and saw the engines ploughing up Nymann’s big field.  The old man refuses to part with his cattle, which were standing miserably about on the clods.  He has nowhere to put them yet refuses to sell.  

Amusing incident in St. Botolph’s Street.  Met the Chairman in his car, so we stopped.  He got out, holding the car door open, so I crossed the road to speak to him.  As I did so a woman cycling down the street wobbled to avoid me, skidded, and fell off.  I picked up her cycle, expecting her to make some pointed remarks about my crossing the road, but it was the Chairman she flew at, saying: “Why you want to stand there holding that bloody door open I don't know.”  He was furious.

Back to office till 6, then home.  Parents both well.  

Dashed back to Dedham.  Joy rang up to say I can't go back next week.  Very awkward, as can't stay at Dedham after Friday, Sissons going away.  Felt terribly nervous and apprehensive tonight, for no reason at all.

9th August 1943

Lovely morning, with clear blue sky.  Cycled in early.  

During the morning Poulter came up to fetch me to meet young Marshall, son of Marshall the lawyer, who told me he had just got from Agnews’ a sketch of Colchester Castle attributed to Constable.  It shows the E. side looking S., and is neither signed nor dated, but Agnews’ pass it as genuine.  Wonder if it was done on the same visit as East Bridge?  Pity Constable did not come to Colchester more often.  He ought to have drawn Bourne Mill.

Committee Meeting this afternoon.  Joanna came in to tea, looking very well and charming.  Said she longed for the war to be over, but that her younger brother enjoys it. 

Back to Dedham with Moorhouse.  Lovely supper and much pleasant talk. 

8th August 1943

Woke at 9, and lay luxurious in bed.  Heavy clouds, high wind.  Had a boiling hot bath.  Then writing, etc.  Went over to Sherebourne Mill and got some papers.  Big crowd there for the harvest.

Had tea at the Dedham cafĂ©.  Mrs. Sisson now has no help in the house at all, so Sisson and I have to do as much as we can with washing up, making beds etc.

Wild night, with a howling SW wind, thick clouds.  No ‘planes about at all.  Spent most of the evening going through early journals.  Cannot make up my mind whether anything can be made of this stuff or not.  At the most can only think that some sort of “private” publication could be achieved, say three type-script copies to circulate among friends.  Query – what friends would want to read it anyway?  Mrs. Sisson quite encouraging about extracts I read to her tonight.

When I went upstairs to wash before beginning work, the church bells were ringing, and from across the valley came Stratford bells as if they were an echo of Dedham.  The sun came through the clouds for a few minutes, and the wooded Suffolk hills seemed very clear and sharp.  There was no sound of aeroplanes or cars, and I could hear a pony trap coming along Mill Road and turning past the “Marquis of Granby” towards Lawford, the pony’s trotting gradually fading away.

6th August 1943

Rather late this morning, and had breakfast before I left.  Got in by 9.30.  Dull, with thin low clouds, rain, NW wind, rather cold.  

An engineer from Wood’s factory came in to say he had bought Peldon Hall and proposed to farm it with a baliff.  Knows nothing whatever about farming, yet proposes to take on a heavy-land farm, in wartime, without implements or machinery.  What would he say if the farmer at Peldon Hall bought a factory and set up as an electrical engineer?  Discouraged his scheme as much as possible.
Busy on pay problems all day, and out very late.  Had half an hour at home, then Dedham by 9 o’clock.  Still dull and cold.

5th August 1943

This evening called at Springgate, Ardleigh, to see Bob.  Poor old boy looked a bit thin, but doesn't seem unhappy.  Anyway the little girl’s pleasure is so great that it outweighs that.  Mrs. Clayton gave me some lovely plums to take to Dedham.  More rain tonight, harvest prospects poor.

4th August 1943

Up early, to find a thick fog.  Went in by bus.  Very busy day.  

Home to tea, bought plums and tomatoes to give to Mother.  Back to Dedham on last bus, very crowded, as Dedham people always come into Colchester on Wednesdays.

Twenty nine years ago I was on the beach at Lowestoft, watching the warships rushing south.  Rudsdale was then four years old on the day the First World War began on 4th August 1914 and the Rudsdale family were on holiday in Lowestoft witnessing the warships sailing past.

3rd August 1943

A few noises in the night, but was too tired to take much notice.  Overslept, did not wake until 8, and had to run down unshaved to catch the bus.  Dull morning, with high cirrus clouds.  

Our office in chaos – one typist has left, and Daphne is on holiday.  Poulter came in to tell me that poor old Alexander, the fire watcher at Holly Trees, has got cancer.  Says he won't last a year, although he may come back to work for a time.  Poor old man.  He has only been back a week, after a month away ill. 
Worked late tonight, and went back on an Ipswich bus, so had to walk from Stratford church.

In the evening papers is an account of a great raid on Hamburg, where it is claimed that 7 square miles have been devastated and 11,000 civilians killed.  Nothing like this has ever been seen in the world before.

2nd August 1943

Monday (Bank Holiday)
Quiet night.  Few ‘planes about.  Looked out at 3am and saw a vast blaze of searchlights far away to the North, and a drone of ‘planes high beneath the stars.  Breakfast at 9 this morning.  What a delightful house this is.  Rudsdale was staying with the Sissons at their house, Sherman's Hall in Dedham High Street.  The house was later bequeathed to the National Trust but is not open to the public.

Few people working in the fields.  Many farmers have forbidden their men to work today, so as to avoid having to pay them double time.  Cyclists in swarms along the roads, and boats on the river.

Crowd of cars and cycles outside the “Marlborough” and the “Sun” this evening.  Much pleasant talk until 11.30, then bed.

1st August 1943

Sunday (Dedham)
Wakened by the church bell tolling for 8 o’clock service.  Looked out of the little window onto the tiled roofs below, and by squinting left could see the great green mass of the chestnut tree by the church gate, the live rooks swirling about the belfry, and the stone birds motionless on the pinnacles above.  Went back to bed until 9.30.

Had breakfast late, heard the bells again for morning service, watched the village people in shiny Sunday best, going into the porch.  Seemed to be a very small congregation.

Last night’s storm quite gone, but heavy clouds came sailing over from the S.W.  Had to cycle in to Colchester this afternoon against a strong head-wind.  Last night’s rain had made the farm roads unpleasantly sticky.  Twenty four hours of it would certainly stop harvest carting.

Called at home for an hour, then back to Dedham for supper at 8.30.