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’?

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