I have just read “But there are still the two spirits in man —- the spirit of building and the spirit of destruction. And when the second drives the faster horse, then the night comes on.” Agathocles in “The Last of the Legions” by Stephen Vincent Benet. (Short Story.)
The Artillery have been practising and this afternoon the Point Gun has been firing. Bang! Bang! Bang! sewish sh – Bong! when it explodes in the sea. I am having a day in bed and every time it is fired I start tho’ I am quite aware of it. I can still hear firing in the distance tho’ the Point practice is over. We get little vibration from the gun, tho’ so near it is only noise, but the far away ones shake the house rattling doors and windows.
It has been a lovely day again, it was yesterday, just like on our wedding day 30 years since. Mon. Ap. 15 /12. The spring was much earlier that year though. I remember the hedges were green and the blackthorns a mass of snowy blossom.
Rene made egg and lettuce sandwiches for tea before she went home. “Bill” found me this afternoon. Rene said he had missed me. He came up later to say goodbye and share my cake. We have sent Ron some ginger cakes Jean made. Rene put some sweets and choc in for him. Also the 2 pairs of socks I have refooted using up a third pair that were past renewal. It is a great waste spoiling them in the laundry. Indeed this seems to be a war of waste up to now, and now they are frantically collecting paper, rags, old iron, rubber etc to make over. It is rather difficult to believe that we are going to win back on made over goods what we have lost on new stock. We are getting frugal minded, it is quite painful now to burn even a scrap of paper except letters or anything like that, and I suppose we shall save rubber bands and stoppers just as conscientiously now. Tins and bones we do save and metal tubes. We squandered petrol right and left early in the war. Now they are cutting it down to less and less and if the Japs get to the Burma oil wells, which they look like doing, I don’t know what will happen. I hope we have sense to make them unusable for some time. Perhaps all these tests for oil in our own country (or were we making hidden reservoirs?) may turn out useful.
The Budget was out yesterday, 6D oz on some tobaccos and 3 on 6½ [?] cigs. and heaps more taxes. The D.M. [Daily Mail] cartoonist pictures Morrison offering Savings Cert at the same price! If we only had a bit more encouragement about the way the war was going, we don’t mind going shorter than we have done yet, of clothes and luxuries. Rene went thro’ gas chamber last night in A.R.P. [air raid precautions] lectures on gas. She is in the decon[tamination?] squad.
Had a letter from Ron this morning, Vic has been made a corporal, very excited. Think Ron rather envies him, but only for the extra pay. Maisie married Mon. Very pretty wedding but I think extravagant in war time. White satin with veil and train and 4 bridesmaids and a “reception”. Father gave her away, Rene and Jean saw her married and Rene and Father went to the wedding breakfast. Father planted eshallots yesterday. We are gradually getting flower garden in shape. Rene brought me some aubrietia which is thriving. My own little plants grown from seed are almost in flower too. Anemones fine plants this year one in bloom and others coming on. Polyanthus a picture, very few daffs so far.
Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story ‘The Last of the Legions’ is based on a legionary’s account of happenings as the final Roman legion in Britain prepares for departure.
The low calibre gun near ‘The Point’ was used by the Home Guard for firing practice. The more distant high calibre guns were manned by the regular Army.
Herbert Morrison (Labour Party) was Home Secretary in Churchill’s wartime coalition government. The ‘Morrison shelter’ was named after him.
Maizie’s four bridesmaids were Connie Hill, Helen McGuigan (Ben’s sister), Gwen Ranson (Ciss’s daughter) and Pat Hill (Jack’s daughter).
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?