Sat 9.p.m. Dec.19 / 42

A wet evening. I am alone until Jean and Mavis come from B.B [Boys’ Brigade] and L[ife] Girls party. Jean could have slept at Jessie’s but Father is on watch until 2 a.m. and I don’t like being alone.

Cook was asleep until Father went but woke then and departed to spend the rest of the evening with Cpl. Bray and wife. He has been to Sk[egness] ostensibly to see the registrar but he never went, is going on Monday now, he says. He wired to his nephew to see if he was getting leave early in Jan. as he wants him to be best man. No reply yet. He is a helpless thing, don’t think he’d do anything about the wedding if the girl could make all arrangements though he is very keen on being married the beginning of Jan. I don’t know how long notice has to be given but he wants a spec[ial] licence now, though he wants to be married in church. He has bought a pair of brown shoes for 15/0 and no coupons at Sk. Don’t know how he managed it. He begged a bottle of dye to black them. After debating whether brown or black looked best he asked us all our opinion and decided on blacking them, then started debating all over again, so I said “You are blacking them, so don’t argue it all backwards and forwards again.” He had got blk laces. He gave it up then and went to sleep. Have had wireless on. Gert and Daisy were on Music Hall. A long time since I heard them. Needless to say Cookie left his shoes here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Father blacks them for him yet.

Rene came after tea for a while. It poured with rain then and still rained a little when she went. T[om] came to meet her, got all the way but would not stop. Mary has heard from Ray. Don’t know where letter was written but he had not had a letter from home since May, when he wrote that. I felt quite upset and sincerely hope he is getting them long before now. It is worse even, for the boys so far from home than it is for us. I could wait patiently, if I was sure Ron was getting our letters. Rene went to Amy’s yesterday. She brought us both some “pig cheer”. It is a very nice change. I did not buy any meat from Peter T[aylor] for the weekend.

My asthma is very troublesome again nights and mornings and I get very depressed. The weather is so dull and damp and I can’t get out much, walking seems to make me worse. I wonder if I went a walk every day if I should improve but it seems such an effort and we always seem to be at it all day, though I don’t get much done. Have written a few Xmas letters, must finish tomorrow, have posted some odds and ends for Emily’s not Xmas things. I really can’t afford presents this year. We are making Emmie 2 kapok down cushions.

Can came to-day and immunised pigs against “Purples” 2/6 each but it is worth it. As we haven’t claimed from Club one is still in benefit. The Pig one of course. Father says it is mending and the little ones are growing. Haven’t heard from Mrs Denman, do hope rabbits have arrived. She has let “Brookdene”. Father took the bridegroom and best man from Mr Cousins’, also Mrs C. to Church to-day, to be married to Edith Bell, then took the bri. and groo. to Skegness. A good thing it kept fine until after then. They are staying the night at Sk. and going to Birmingham tomorrow as the groom’s father who lives there is ill. A lot of infantry have come to Chapel. The R.A’s think they might be sent to Scotland in about 3 weeks time and perhaps abroad after that. I think that is why Brownie is in such a “pother”. I don’t think he is very strong, he is so short of wind.

Rene made Xmas cakes on Wed, they baked beautifully. We made 3. No currants, only raisins and sultanas but we had real butter and potted eggs. My potted eggs have been most useful. I got my bed-room curtains washed and up again. Also I washed pictures upstairs on Fri and took down cobwebs here and there. Rene had done the usual weekly clean. Have put double feather-bed back on bed-stead in big room for Mav[is] and Jean tonight. It has been by the hot tank to keep aired. It will be ready for Emmie now and I can get Jean’s room straight in case T and Rene have to stay the night at Christmas.


The village Boys’ Brigade captain was Jim Hall (of Halls’ Stores) and the bandleader was Frank Raynor. Regular meetings were at ‘Pamaco’ on Landseer Avenue. Joint social events with the Girls’ Life Brigade were usually at the Central Hall, where some of the GLB meetings were held. (See Village Map.)

Corporal Bray and his wife were friends of Royal Artillery cook, ‘Jock’ Brown, and his girlfriend.

Gert and Daisy were talkative characters created in 1930 by music hall singers, Elsie and Doris Waters. They were believed to have been related to Grace Hill (see 1 Mar. 1942).

‘Can’ was previously mentioned as selling a pig and thought to refer to Mr Capron (see 25 Dec. 1941). As a pig breeder it is likely that he would have been equipped to carry out the routine injections for ‘purples’. (However the name could possibly have referred to Mr Kochan, the veterinarian.)

The Pig Club ‘benefit’ referred to eligibility for a share of surplus funds due to be divided amongst members (see 16 Dec. 1940).

Edith Bell, who married a soldier, was the vicar’s daughter (see 11 Dec. 1940).

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

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