Xmas 1940 Dec 26 Thur.

Our Xmas Day started early. Father was on duty at the watch-box until 2. o’ clock am, so our Happy Xmas’s were said about 2.15 am. I went to sleep after in spite of a stye forming on my left eyelid. Jean woke up about 6.30. She had insisted on her presents being taken upstairs to look at in bed. It was the first time she had not hung up her “stocking” but she could not wait to see them at breakfast. Emmie’s and Harriet’s parcels were sealed up. Emmie’s were 6 linen (emb[roidered] Irish) handkerchiefs and Harriet’s two hank’s with coloured borders and chocs. After going thro’ them all. Stockings and a Collin’s diary from me, a Wards Pleasure Book for Girls from Rene, and a bag of sultanas and pea-nuts which I slipped in at the last minute (lucky I did as she said she knew I should put those in), she would go down for Father’s present from Rene and I, a cherry-wood tray with cig. bowl and ash tray, and her own which was a leather case with pipe-cleaner etc in for wa[ist]-coat pocket. Father admired them and went off to sleep again. I got up ¼ to 8 and Jean was indulged with light and read in her new book. Lit stove for kettle then kitchen fire and cleared up cinders in room and kitchen. Then made a cup of tea and fomented my bad eye with boracic lint for some time. It was very painful all day, not breaking until after dinner to-day (Box. Day). Got breakfast ready, we had a Pork Pie from Mrs French, and did some tidying round, then as the others were still in bed, I had mine. Very good too, Well’s make, almost like home made. After the others had breakfast (Jean and Father) I got chicken in oven, it was already stuffed, it cost 8/0 alive from J. Jacksons and was not extra fat, weighing only 3½ lbs when ready for oven. Still with brussel sprouts from the garden, pots. bread-sauce and bacon, sausage and gravy it was very good. Then we had Xmas pudding and cust. sauce (Birds). Mr A and Rene came to dinner, he brought a bottle of grapefruit squash it very refreshing amongst all the sweet things. We had a cup of tea after. Then at 2 Father had to go on watch. Jean went to Harriet with Rene’s little gifts for Ivy and Eva. Eva and Grace came in the morning with presents to Rene, also to get out of the way as they were busy at home. I was busy too. Rene and I washed up and Mr A rested then took Billy home and shut Susan the rabbit up. Rene made a trifle for supper, sponge cake with rasp jelly, egg custard poured over and orange jelly decorations, not elaborate but it was very nice. We asked Harriet’s girls in but they did not turn up. It is not very tempting visiting in the black-out. Ken came while we were having dinner and brought me a large tin of Pears and ¼ tea from Grandma. We did not want much tea as we were having supper at 8 when Father came back. Played games after tea and had quite a pleasant evening, I standing in no awe of Mr A. I wondered if we should have a few of those awful pauses when everyone dries up and doesn’t know how to get going again, (I might have known Jean wouldn’t dry up) but we all got along very nicely and it was much nicer for all of us to be together. We had a little music at intervals. Thro’ the day I missed Ron very badly and in spite of our fun and quiet happiness it was a hard day for me. I expect he was in all our thoughts most of the time. Jean decorated his photo frame with laurel. Mr A and Rene stayed the night, he in Ron’s bed and Rene with Jean, who says Rene still gets all the bed except the corner between her knees and chin and Jean curls up there. No carol-singers, no lights in the black-out no Xmas bells and, thank God no bombs. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas. What of the next?

Warne’s (not Wards, as written) was the publisher of ‘The Pleasure Book for Girls’.
Mr Wells had a butcher’s shop in the village.
Ivy and Eva, sisters of Grace and Annie, were two more of Harriet’s daughters.
Susan was a pet rabbit but most domestic rabbits were eventually used for the table.
‘Grandma’, as previously noted, always meant Will’s mother. Her grandson Ken Raynor and his parents lived in the same household at that time.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?
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  1. Mr Wells was the pork butcher in the village. I think there was also a beef butcher but perhaps not then.


    Michael Lucas

  2. Yes – HC Wells’ butcher shop is in the photograph of a parade assembly of the Boys Brigade and the Girls Life Brigade shown with the Diary entry of 16 May 1943.

    See http://www.ambridgebooks.co.uk/mayhilldiaryblog/?p=1740


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