Sun Dec 29 9.15 am. [1940]

The last Sunday of 1940. Father has just gone to take the preachers. I shall be glad of the 50S/0 for the two last journeys. Mrs Lee has not sent her £3.0.0 yet and Mrs Denman only 30S/0D and there is a lot of expense just now with car licence due and rates and more rent. Hope the egg trade will improve now they are becoming more plentiful. It is a fine cold morning but the wind whistles like rain. Mrs Coote and Paddy came to tea yesterday, he is a bonny boy and so good, 16 months old now, he runs about and can say lots of words. She will have her hands full when number 2 arrives in March. She will be as old as I was when Jean was born or older. Frank and Mavis came after tea (Mavis had had tea with us and been home). Jessie came just as Coote’s went, to call for them on leaving the Canteen. Thought she looked tired. Frank looks thinner but better than when he was home before. He has better lodgings now and as he finds there is little or no work here I think he has made up his mind to carry on. We live in harassing times but hope to win thro’ yet. Jean coming down to be washed now so must put soft water on to heat.

Mrs Lee and Mrs Denman were the owners of properties, on the other side of the village, where the garden or lawn had been maintained by Will.
Paddy was Mrs Coote’s young son.
The Canteen was run by the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service).

3.0 PM
Jean has gone to Chapel, it rained fast this morning so she did not go to hear Mr A. Think Rene must have gone this afternoon as she has not come home. Wind is west so room is warm to-day. The sun shone a little while at dinner-time. Hope Rene comes, there is a letter for her from Ron post-mark 26th so we are anxious to know what he says. Thought if Jean took it to Chapel Rene would come home. Father bought another pig yesterday, the little one killed and buried, for £1.5. Says it is a very good one. The Steward let him choose it as the other one did so badly. The soldiers next door are a quiet lot this time and have not been for anything so far. Jean and I had cold beef with hot potatoes as Father was out. Jean said it was what she called a Monday dinner. I had soup too and she had sago pudding. We had grapefruit squash instead of tea (I warmed mine). Begin to feel cup-o-teaish and sleepy now.

Mr A, Rene’s employer, was a Methodist ‘local preacher’.
‘The Steward’ may have referred to an official of the ‘Pig Club’.

May’s next poem had the same date as the above Diary entry, 29th December 1940. It was an expression of her disappointment that Ron had been unable to join the family at home for Christmas. The Click of the Garden Gate has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small and is featured on the website Poetry of the Second World War.

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

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