All posts for the month March | 1943 |

Sat. Mar. 27. 8.15. p.m [1943]

A week since I last wrote in my diary. No letter from Ron this week. I have written to him, and today posted St[andard] and a D[aily] M[ail]. Last night I wrote to Sybil and an airgraph to Frank. He is in IInd HAC [Honourable Artillery Company] regt. I seem to think that is the oldest regt. but not quite certain. Hope he gets the a.g. soon. Had a letter this week from Jock’s wife and Jock’s address. He is in N.A. [North Africa], the only one of the crowd that were here to go abroad. I have written to both of them. Hope he gets plenty of letters or he will be down in “the dumps” I fear.

On Wed. Rene and I cleaned Jean’s bedroom, under difficulties, as Edna, Frank and Mic[hael Harness] came about 11 a.m. of all times and stayed about an hour. They wanted to catch Rene here. Brought her a very nice flower-bowl with flower-holder. Pale green glass very lovely, stand has figure of a lovely lady hanging on to a scanty robe which is totally inadequate to cover her. Still it’s one degree up on Ron’s bronze ash-tray. The lady on it is minus a robe at all.

Jack Stow has arrived in a Scottish Port, his wife very relieved and I think enjoying the anticipation of his leave after many months away.

To resume the account of Wed. S.C. [spring cleaning] we set to with a will after dinner and were nearly finished. I had to put fire in room, and Father was hoping to do a bit more digging when Marshall an R.A. came thro’ the gate. I did not go to door as Rene was there, but she did not know him so I had to go after all. He was cycling to Huttoft from Boston, he was staying with his little girl in B. for leave. As he was passing Chapel he came (at the request of the rest of the R.As still with him) this way to inquire of the Chapel people how they were. Said they (the R.A.s) were all wishing they were at C again. His section are on the A.A. guns and have a lot of A.T.S with them. Says they are very good at their jobs on guns but no cooks. Mary Churchill is with them. Say she is very nice with no side. They were all on leave and expected to move to Wales, Newport, Mon[mouth]. Jones is with them and will be able to spend his days off at home. I am so pleased. His wife was very nice. Jock was very fond of them. Before Marshall had gone, Phoebe [Kirk] came to return clippers which she borrowed last Sun. and she stayed about an hour. Mar. had tea and I opened a tin of pineapple as I had no cake. He ate toast, bread and butter and jam! Still Jean said we could eat the pineapple without help. We finished the bedroom in between times. Oh dash that Hi-de-he and Ho-de-ho. Ever since that ridiculous officer was shown up for his idiotic insistence that men and officers should greet each other thus on meeting, we have had a rash of it in BBC programmes, it is not funny after once or twice.

This has been a very sad week. On Thursday we were all shocked to hear Mr. Faulkner had had a serious accident and been taken to Sk[egness] hospital. A few hours later we heard he had passed away. Mr. Faulkner died Mar. 25th. He fell on a concrete floor on his head and fractured his skull at the back and behind his ear. There was no hope from the first. He just said “My poor head.” Dennis [Raynor] was with him. I think the ladder holding up a plank they were on, slipped. Den. being young jumped clear into a heap of chaff. It was only about 8 feet so there was not time for Mr. Faulkner to turn right over. It cast a gloom over all the village. Poor Mrs F had gone with Ralph who is on leave to Nott. but returned same day but too late to see him. The inquest was this morning (Sat) and he was laid to rest this afternoon. He was greatly liked and respected and crowds of people came, doubtless many more would have been there, but it was not expected to be before Mon. There were many beautiful flowers in spite of short notice.

Mrs. Mason or Miss Riggall, I forget which, summed up all our thoughts I think by saying “He was a man we all feel happy to have known.” He can ill be spared, but no one was more fit to go I am sure. Someone was saying to Com. Storer how sad it was and how sorry they were. He said “So am I, but, no, I think that today he is one of God’s very bright angels in heaven.” Joe Kirk on hearing said “Well he’s gone straight to heaven.” Jean and I gathered all the primroses and violets we could in the garden and made a bunch of them with leaves all round in case there was not time to get a wreath from the Chapel. They had got one however but our bunch was very sweet. It may be he has been “taken from the evil to come” as he has been ill a long time tho’ he did not give up work. Father took him preaching on Sunday. How little anyone thought then that he would be gone before this Sun.


The Honourable Artillery Company was the oldest surviving British Army regiment, as May suggested.

Frank and Edna Harness and their son, Michael, were visiting from Nottingham (see 21 Oct. 1941).

Jack Stow, in the Merchant Navy, was Maisie’s husband (see 12 Mar. 1942).

Marshall was one of the Royal Artillery soldiers who had earlier been based at ‘Corbie’, next door (see 6 Dec. 1940).

Mary Churchill, daughter of the Prime Minister, served in the ATS as did the King’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth (see 6 Jul. 1941).

Mrs Faulkner and Ralph were probably visiting Phyllis, who lived in Nottingham at that time (see 15 Oct. 1942).


Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

March 1943.

Beautiful things I remember between sunset and dark.

These beautiful things I remember in the afterglow of twilight.

The spicy scent of white stocks after rain,

White tobacco flowers that droop and are drab all day, but at night

Open their starry flowers and pour forth their sweetness

Gathered and stored all day, then like the precious

Box of spikenard, broken and poured abroad in extravagant richness.

The orange fire of cherianthus that burns and glows in the gathering gloom,

The “sleep song” of a babe in its cot in a quiet darkened room.

The scent of lilac and newly mown hay,

Banks of white mist that presage tomorrow’s hot day.

The plaintive bleat after shearing day of lost little lambs,

Having to trust the call of this shingled, naked, dawn.

The quick-silver song of the blackbird as he serenades his mate.

The liquid voice of the thrush a spate golden,

Of notes that descend like a sun kissed waterfall.


Although this poem ‘Afterglow’ was undated it is probable that May wrote it very shortly after writing the poem ‘In a Foreign Land N.A [North Africa]‘.

She was perhaps inspired by the onset of the spring season, imagining the thoughts that she would be having if, like Ron, she was far from home.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Mar. 20. Sat. 9pm. [1943]

Father hung bacon today, it all looks very nice. Hams nice and thick. I cooked last small chine today.

Chine preparation and cooking has been described previously (see 2 Feb.1941).


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Tue. Mar. 16. 7.30. pm. [1943]

No further disturbances last night. Out of about 20 enemy aircraft 4 were brought down. They were over N.E. coast. Some bombs dropped at G[rims]by. No fatal casualties were reported but some damage was done. Mr F[aulkner] came about 8.45 and swept chimney 2/0. Afterwards Rene white-washed ceiling and frieze. Looks very nice. Then we washed floor, paint? etc. Have a little polishing left for tomorrow. Ralph F[aulkner]  is at Colchester. Is doing staff training. Mr F thinks he will be going abroad shortly.

Father went to clear out pig-sty to-day and fasten stack so that pig could not turn it over or take it for side of sty. Went on watch at 2 p.m. so will have all night in bed.

In an open letter of protest to BBC Governors in D. Mail Friday Seton Margrave quotes the Lord Chancellor as calling some of the “music” “excruciating disturbances” which I think is very apt. I had sought in vain for words to describe what I thought of it. The nearest I got was “not music, just a row, without harmony”.

Father brought half pig’s head and hock today. Tomorrow he hopes to bring the rest of bacon and get it hung up to dry. We cut hocks off hams this year as one of Eff’s went wrong. Hams don’t look as nice but so long as they keep well, it doesn’t matter. Shall have to iron tomorrow. Have not been to Rene’s yet as I had bronchitis when I planned to go. Rene going to wash tomorrow.

‘Stack’ here was probably a small heap of straw or hay used for bedding for the pigs – which were kept in the grounds of ‘Hill View’, Will’s mother’s home.

Seton Margrave was film critic and later editor of the Daily Mail.

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Mon. March 15. 10 pm. [1943]

Not an enemy plane last night but tonight 2 heavy explosions rattled the windows and we keep hearing gun fire, once I saw a flash, when we went down garden path to look round. We have been in pantry 2 or 3 times, under the stairs, when we have heard planes. My legs keep trembling. Jean and I are alone until 2 am. Perhaps I ought to go to bed as Jean needs to get her rest, but I could not sleep. She is composing herself for sleep now after curling her hair. I am very nervous and when I think of all the bombers we send nightly and daily too to Ger. I feel that we can only expect that they will come over here and do as much damage as they can. Oh! if only it were all over.

Father went to W[illough]by Stn to meet the 7 train to London with Miss Storer and friend. Comm and Mrs S went with them to Stn. The WRNS were going back to Dover. He did not get to bed Sat or Sun night tho’ he got a few hours sleep Sun afternoon and after 2 this morning. He will be pleased to get his clothes off when he gets home at 2 am. Mr F[aulkner] is coming to sweep chimney at 9 a.m. I expect (Tues) then I want to clean kitchen.

Things seem to have quietened down again, perhaps the gun-fire drove them off. 10.20. The Sprogg slipped in when we went outside and is busy washing himself on the mat by the s[itting] room fire. I have got the kettle on for our hot water bottles and my cup of Horlicks, but shall stay up awhile yet.

Gave Virgin [postman] Ron’s letter to post this morning. He was wearing dark-rimmed glasses. Had a P.C. from Eva for my birthday, wishing me “A Many Happy Returns” as usual, Also a letter from Edie with usual enclosure.


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Sun Mar. 14 9.30 pm. [1943]

It is my birthday. Jean gave me chocs and hankies. Rene brought me some Fuller’s pep[permint] lumps but they are not lumps but blobs. She is taking them back to Stow’s. She and T[om] came for tea then walked home with “Bill”. [Aside: We had a tin of grapefruit for tea.] They said they were cycling to Chapel. I did not go as I cycled to Harriet’s this morning. It is her birthday too, she usually comes to see me but I judged she would be too tired this year as she is helping to nurse Gosling. She had been up all night with him so I was pleased I had gone before dinner as she would be resting this afternoon. Betty in bed with flu’.

Jonty Gosling with wife Mary and dog

Jonty Gosling with wife Mary and dog

Father fetched Com. Storer’s from Roy. Art last night at midnight. Went on watch at 2 a.m off at 8 am. Took Cpt. Green’s to W[illough]by Stn at 10. On watch at 8 pm. Off at 2. a.m and takes Com. Storer’s dau[ghter] Lieut. St. to Wby Stn for 6.50 a.m. train. He is on watch again at 8pm Mon. night and D.O. [District Officer] coming at 2 p.m afternoon. I hope he will go to bed when he gets home about 7.30 Mon. morning, but have my doubts. He went to Dr. M[enzies] again yesterday as his neck was no better. Says massage well with liniment as it is rheumatism of muscles.

Jean is putting her hair in curlers, a nightly ritual now. Father has finished digging corners and headland of allot[ment]. Went to W.I. on Tues, very interesting. For Roll Call we had to give a “funny epitaph”. Most of those present did so. Afterwards Mrs Whitehead gave a demonstration on glove-making, skins, felt and bits of cloth. Cloth should be close woven and non-fraying if possible. The felt ones she showed us were really handsome with hand-embroidery, but felt is not obtainable these days. Afterwards in the social half-hour games were played, I was detained speaking to someone and the set was made up so I luckily missed it. I thought it was the height of absurdity, a lot of grown-up women most of them middle-aged and even elderly, prancing about and guessing actions in mid-afternoon of a working day. I thought we might have been better employed, but I suppose the word “social” conveys only the idea of “games” to some minds. Mrs Storer’s [dog] “Chum”, who cannot be left at home because he suffers from nerves since a “blitz”, cried like a baby whilst Mrs S joined the games so I sat beside him and he told me his troubles. Then there was tea which few wanted. I went on to’s while they had it. I think in these times and as the people all live in the village tea ought to be omitted.

Oh! dear, now there’s a plane drumming around just as I am going to prepare for bed, and Jean really ought to be there now. Hope we hear no more. They may be our own, but there is always the fear that they may be hostile. Jean is not nervous but I am.


Jonathan (‘Jonty’) Gosling lived at ‘Keal Cottage’. As an elderly retired policeman he had latterly worked at Dawsons’ farm, ‘The Willows’ (see Village Map). His wife, Mary, who had died earlier, was a close relative of Will’s mother and the couple had been widely known as ‘Aunt and Uncle Gosling’. He was a well-liked character, strikingly tall, broad and upright, with a ginger moustache.

Captain HH Green was the father of Hugh Green who had been lost in action (see 15 Feb. 1943).

Lieutenant Peggy Storer, Commander Storer’s daughter, a friend of Jean, joined in with social activities in the village. She was based at ‘HMS Royal Arthur’.

Mrs Whitehead, who lived on Sea Bank Road, towards ‘The Point’, was well known for her interest in craftwork, including tapestry, and provided guidance at the Girls’ Life Brigade as well as the Women’s Institute.

Chum was Commander and Mrs Storer’s dog.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

March 12. 1943.
In a Foreign Land N.A. [North Africa]

This is a foreign land,
The sun of brass burns down,
Out of a copper bowl,
With fierce exhausting heat.
When storm-clouds tarnish the copper bowl,
Sharp lightnings split the sky,
Batteries of thunder roll,
And the sluice-gates open wide.
Torrents of rain come hurtling down,
In rushing cascades, to the dusty earth,
Turning the sand and dust to mud,
Clogging our weary feet.
Everything deeply underlined,
Accented sun, and storm, and wind.

Oh! to be home, in England!
To feel the tempered sun
Shine thro’ a film of scattered clouds,
Or the cold sea-aar, that rolls
Over the sand-hills on hot June days.
Once, I grieved to see it spread
Over the sun-kissed earth,
But now, I long for its clammy breath
T’wixt me and this African sun.
I long to feel the rain descend
In a gentle April shower,
Refreshing the earth, with the sun gleaming thro’
Like smiles, thro’ childhood’s tears.

Yet, no matter how long the weary day,
Every night the sun must set,
And the cooling night sweep down.
I lift my eyes to the deep blue sky;
I am at home again.
The same bright stars, and silver moon
Shine over this foreign land.
The evening star and the morning star
Rise and set the same,
In the same blue heaven
With God above.
I fall asleep in quiet peace,
With the “long, long, thoughts” of home.



When May wrote this poem Ron had been serving with the RAF in North Africa since his arrival there just before Christmas 1942. Several letters had been exchanged and mentioned in the Diaries. May’s thoughts obviously often turned to that region of the world and to how Ron would contrast it with home.

Sea-aar, or ‘haar’, in the poem, is a type of coastal mist.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Mon. March. 8. 8.30 p.m [1943]

Bronchitis better again and asthma not too bad either. Weather brighter and not so bitter but still cold wind. Washed today, all clothes dry. Washed my folk-weave bedspread.

Very funny, on the wireless just now in Mon. Night at 8 Quiz. Name as many famous or celebrated men alive now who have moustaches in so many secs. After a pause Jean said “Charlie Chaplin” and the Quizzed said “C.C.” after her. I said Hitler, Q said ditto. Then I said “Anthony Eden” and Q repeated it. Neither Jean, I or Q could think of another. I think I am tired, I can’t seem to collect my thoughts tonight. Father took Stan Kirks? aunt or sister to Alford St. to catch 8.50 am train. He came off watch ½ hour early had tea and porridge then breakfast when he got back about 9.15. He got 2 gals pet[rol] also 2 oz of flowers of sulphur (brimstone). I want Jean to take Brimstone and treacle to see if it will help to clear the psoriasis out of her blood.

Father’s stiff neck and headache still persists, he hasn’t got Phensic Tablets today. I did not go to Chapel last night because of the cold wind. Jean went to Rene’s for tea, then came home as she had been to Chapel in the morning and S.S. [Sunday school] afternoon. Mavis and Joan came after tea. They stayed until about 9, had supper. Roy is in Somerset, near Weston-Super-Mare. Wrote to Edie [S] she has changed address again. Is very pleased to get into a little home of her own again after 3 years in one room with joint use of kit, and bathroom with owners. She is still in Harrowgate tho’. Eff started to dress Rene’s duck on Fri but we decided it was not very good so buried it. Tom is going to set cod-lines now. He has got permission to go on beach.

Gers have been dropping anti-personnel bombs (delayed action) looking like cig tins weighing about 4 lbs. May be open or closed, very dangerous. Must not be touched. Warnings on radio etc.

May's Sketch of Anti-Personnel Bombs

May’s Sketch of Anti-Personnel Bombs

Barley, oats and rye are now included in our bread. We are more than holding our own in Tunisia. Russians still driving Gers out of towns and villages. Wrote to Ron last night posted it today. Father went to Stow’s for tea, they sent 1½ lbs said I had ½ lb from last month but I don’t think I had. 5/0! Rene showed me how to measure my head and cut out paper pattern of hat brim today. Her first lesson in hat-making. It is 9.15 so we shall soon go to bed, that is if all is quiet, at the moment a plane is drumming around. There was a raid over S.E. last night, about 25 planes 3 were shot down (bombers).

Edie Simpson was May’s step-mother (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Stan Kirk? (May’s question mark) was almost certainly Stan Ward, brother of Miriam who lived with Sampson Kirk (see 10 Jan. 1943).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Thurs. March 4. 4.45. pm. [1943]

Rene has just gone home after a cup of tea. Jean has not been to school since Monday tho’ she seems to be a little better today. Wind is not quite so bitter but a very drying Mar wind. More sun than the last two days. Think my bronchitis is improving a bit. It seemed to ease off at tea time. Tom called for a bottle of medicine at Dr. M’s yesterday. As Jean was not at school he gave it to Mavis to bring. She brought it and was very pleased because I gave her some pork dripping. Rene has taken her Red + [Cross] box to Miss Bakers and also her bridesmaid’s dress to have a bolero made of the piece cut off the bottom. Miss B has promised to do Jean’s too for Whit which falls in June this year. It was Shrove Tuesday this week and we had pancakes. Alas! No orange or lemon. Still we had a real farm egg to make the batter and some good lard to fry them in. Tom has had a photo taken at Wrates to put on his “pass” for the beach. Very good. He brought home a wild duck, just dead this morning, rather to Rene’s disgust I think. She has left it here and is going to put it in boiling water tomorrow and get its feathers off. I think she’s hoping it’s uneatable! I should think it will be “fishy”. Autumn is the time for wild duck when they feed on the ripe corn.

Little book man, “my bookie” as Rene calls him, a rather misleading title, came today, he had been 3 weeks in between this time instead of two as he had to wait until March for P[etrol] Coupons. He does this lending library work to supplement his income, he is quite elderly and they have cut down his petrol so low that he has had to give up a lot of his round. It seems a shame when he is doing all he can to keep self-supported. And farmers who are being subsidised and making pots of money get petrol to run about their farm business etc. So Mr Collison’s election to F.R.C.A. for linguistic research is for his collaboration with Dutton’s in their universal language “effort”.

Had a letter from Emmie to-day. Parcel arrived safely. Joan and Ida there for tea Sunday so had a share of pie. Ida and Vic writing frequently. He grew a moustache which turned out “ginger”. When Father grew one years ago Re used to call it his “little ginger beard”. Emmie competing in Yeadon Nursing Force for silver cup. Hope her team wins. She is sending Ron paper and all sorts of things that he needs including enough ink powder to make 2 gals. Also tobacco, why tobacco? We have ordered razor blades and ink powder and have got paper and sticky labels and an indelible pencil soap and so[ap-] powder and toothpaste. Am afraid we can’t get much different to her but we will try to get suction-plate washers as he may need them. She was sending newspapers too so perhaps will send “Standard” if any news in it this week. Of course they can afford all he needs but we do like to send things too. Perhaps we’ll think of something original. This bleak wind is cutting my poor primroses.

Cousin’s grand-daughter came today to see if Father would fetch her from Ingoldmells at 10.15 p.m. Wed from a party at Three Tuns. Jean has finished my blue slippers and I have put the soles on. Can’t wear them until she has shown them at school.

[The following was written at the top of the next available page, presumably before the next dated entry:]

“It is always a disturbing experience to catch a new expression on a familiar face and to realise that some subtle change is at work that may be revolutionary in its consequences.” Alice Megan Rice in The Buffer

Wrates was the well-established photographic studio, run by Mrs Amelia Wrate, in Lumley Road, Skegness. Her son, Alfred Wrate, was responsible for ‘walking photographs’. The name is currently incorporated in Wrates Scholastic Photographs Ltd, Prince George St, Skegness.

FRCA – Fellow of the Royal College of Art.

The Dutton family owned a bookshop and library in Skegness. Reginald JG Dutton, with Frank Collison, developed a ‘universal language’, aimed at efficient international communication. Details were first published in Dutton World Speedwords (Dutton Publications, London, 1943).

Ida Smithurst, sister of Joan, bridesmaid at Ron and Emmie’s wedding, met Vic Morrell, best man, at the wedding (see 1 Aug. 1942). They were writing to each other, and later married.

‘Suction-plate’ refers to false teeth fittings.

Alice Megan Rice was a writer in the 1930s and 1940s. Any further information about her or ‘The Buffer’ would be welcomed!

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Tue. 8.30. p.m. March 2nd. [1943]

March came in yesterday like a lamb. Very little breeze and a poor visibility rather than a mist. Had a big wash and clothes all dried well. A very heavy dew at night almost like a shower with slight frost at sunrise. Had a long letter from Ron yesterday. It was over two weeks since the last. He had just received one of mine written on Dec 20 altho’ I had got the answer to one sent Dec 29 some time since. Still he got two more before he finished his letter on Jean’s birthday which he remembered. Natives had been doing his washing. He does not like washing and it is very hot midday there now. Cost him 60 francs. Exc[hange] has altered in our favour and 3,000 francs he had are worth £15 instead of £10. He has sent it to Emmie. Says the N.A.A.F.I. can supply 4pts [pints] beer every time it is open but writing paper tooth-paste etc are seldom obtainable. This is a bit too bad as they were asked to finance the N.s [NAAFIs] or they could not stock them and of course it is chiefly the small and non-drinkers who have the money to invest in them. He is very fit he says and very busy. We are not to worry if we don’t get many letters. We shall send him a few odds and ends this week, Emmie has already sent one.

This fine mild weather reminds us of the last two springs, but this is much earlier, when Ron used to come for his day off from Binbrook. I think it must have been bright and sunny lots of times when he came, because one day last week when it was fine and warm I put on the little checked yellow and white cloth for Father’s lunch and it seemed as if Ron must walk in. It very often rained on the way to Willoughby at night. Rene had thought the same too and mentioned it in her letter to him.

Jean and I went to Trusthorpe on Sat Feb 20. Aunt J[et] had been in bed with bronchitis and was very frail and rather subdued, she had not strength to talk long, but was really very good considering her age and that she was only getting up for part of the day. Ken had been in bed with flu’ and A[my] and F[red] had had it too. Amy looks thin and tired. I brought home 15 eggs. She would only take 2/6 tho’ she makes 3/1 doz for them. They were fine eggs. I sometimes think the eggs we very occasionally get from the shop must be pullet eggs they always seem so small and look so “tired”. Amy’s had a lovely fresh “bloom”. She gave me some purple primroses, “wannias” she called them, they seem to have settled down and will grow I think. Snowdrops, primroses, violets and a carnation are in bloom in my garden and a wee bit or two of aubrietia. A bud on the anemones at last. If fine and I am not too asthmatical I am going to Rene’s tomorrow. Father will come to dinner, I have not been since she was married so it’s about time. I have not got ironed today, no breath to do much. Rene washed at home and went to hat-making class W.I. this afternoon. She left “Bill” here and fetched him tonight. He was comfortably established in Fa’s armchair when she went in kitchen after tea. He knows quite well he isn’t allowed on chairs here. He has his own at home.

Father fetched Cousins from Sk[egness] St[ation] at dinner time and took Mrs Parish and “Uncle” to Huttoft for potatoes and a pig’s fry, after tea. We had one pig killed last Tue. Wells charged 7/6 just for his man killing and dressing it. It was badly dressed too. We had to chop toes off all the feet and I put very little of the rind in brawn as it was so bristly and a lot of the top skin not scraped off and being black looked very nasty. The sausage skins were very good. Rene helped with them and they did not take long. We made about 80 sau. Very good too and 6 pies. Not many mince-pies yet as I want more fruit but we got a few for weekend. Sent Emmie Pork pie, Haslet, Duck and sausage, on Thurs. We registered it, but have had no letter from her so far. We sent a letter too, separate. Jean been at home today, thought she had a cold but hope it has passed off. Father is on watch 8pm till 2am. He has to take Mrs Pilgrim to Ingoldmells for Scholarship sittings and to take Mr Collison from Hogs[thorpe] back to Ingoldmells when he fetches Mrs P. back at dinner time. Mr C at the end of his note to Father asked “What relation am I to you?”! Weather feels rather like a change tonight. I have weeded the middle bed on the lawn and planted the polyanthus rose in the centre. It was too smothered up at the back. Have also weeded small bed to left of front door but there is a lot more to be done yet. Still it is early yet. Jean weeded hers at half-term last week. She has made a woolly ball for Sybil’s baby today and packed it up to post with a letter inside from herself. Sybil sent two mounts for Patsy’s poly-photos [unclear] photo’s. Must see if we can get some for Phyllis [‘Faulkner’]’s baby.

‘Wannia’ – a name for an early spring purple primrose – was possibly Amy’s invention as no other reference has been traced.

Mrs Juliet Parish was the wife of Will’s Coastguard colleague Albert Parish. It is not known who ‘Uncle’ referred to here.

Local information suggests that another butcher, not ‘Wells’, may have been meant here.

Patsy Adams was the baby daughter of soldier Frank and wife Sybil whose pregnancy had been mentioned earlier (see 12 Mar. 1942).

The word relating to photo mounts was unclear (question mark was May’s) but either refers to ‘poly-photos’(a sheet of, typically twenty, sequential photographs taken in a studio or department store) or  could have been a deliberate misspelling of ‘fabulous’.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?