April 16 Wed 9.15 pm [1941]

Father is at the W Box and Jean is asleep on the couch, I think she has caught a cold. I think there is a pretty regular hum of aircraft, I don’t know whether they are coming or going. There were a lot of “bumps” last night which shook doors and windows. Jean and I did not go to bed until 11 o’ c and there were so many planes over and bombs in the distance that we got up at 1.30 am. Father was home at 2 so I went back to bed, Jean said she was staying up but when Father was ready for bed she came and got in my bed and Father went in hers. She was soon asleep. Lots of bombs shook us after getting to bed. The raids were widespread the heaviest over Merseyside and Belfast. We brought 8 planes down.

Rene had the last of her teeth out today. Jean and I went to Sk. with her. She would not come home but felt alright so Jean and I came home to dinner and Jean went to see her after dinner. Father picked us up down the new road. I was glad of a lift. Rene was in bed when Jean went but not too bad. I wish she was at home for a few days. I got a bottle of medicine from Dr. Menzies to see if it will cure this awful depression and irritability. I must treat myself to a new fountain pen soon, this one of Rene’s is not at all good. It was a lovely morning, quite hot in the bus’ and all the gardens are beginning to look gay. There is such a lot of aubretia this year. A lot of Butlins blue paint is gone now so the aubretia there does not look quite so terrible as it used to. Its purply red against that crude blue of theirs was always enough to set my teeth on edge, false ones at that.

Rene had a letter from Emmie this morning. I had an Easter card from her and also one from Uncle T[om] and Aunt J[et]. Had a letter from Emily on Monday, they have gone to live at Tathwell. Sent Ron his washing on Tuesday, hope he will be home again next week. He is coming to Willoughby station next time, arrives 9.30 am and goes back at 7.20, so that would give him a nice time at home.

Mr A has sent a nice frame for Ron’s photo. I put it in this morning and it looks very nice. Mr A said it once contained a photo of Mr. Rathmell as a baby (Vic I presume) and as he had looked at it 20 years or more, he grew tired of it and turned it out into the “shed” a year or two ago from where he rescued it for me. It is poker work and really rather nice. Planes are still moaning in the distance. I think I will stay up a little longer.

Frank and Jessie and Mavis came in after tea Sunday night. Father had gone to Chapel. His new suit is a good fit and looked very nice. I did not feel able to walk as I was “puffed up” all day. Frank is looking better, Jessie is thin. Mavis said Roy and Jo[an] had gone to Spilsby on Monday (Easter Monday). I hope not to the Registry Office, one never knows. Jean wore her new blouse on Sunday, it is very nice.

Rene brought in some narcissi buds on Saturday, they are nearly all open now and are lovely. Pale yellow petals and a deep orange centre. We also have a flat dish with handle, which Jean bought with an Easter egg in. It is full of primroses, polyanths and violets and is lovely too. Nearly 10 o’ clock.

Father has put some peas in and I have sown radish and lettuce. The worst of this sandy garden is that when it comes a shower it uncovers all the little seeds like radishes. Have put a few flowers in too, Sw[eet] Sultan, verbena and tobacco.

10 o’ clock bugle.

Dr Fraser Menzies was the family doctor, in Skegness.
May’s Uncle Tom and Aunt Jet were living with Amy in Trusthorpe, as earlier (see 16 Dec. 1940).
Emily Lewis, May’s sister, and husband Jesse, moved house within Lincolnshire almost annually. It was traditional for farm-workers to take up new employment after completing a year’s contract. The usual ‘flitting days’ recalled by the Lewis family fell on April 6th (related to ‘Lady Day’- a Christian festival). Another ‘moving date’ was May 14th (‘Pag-Rag-Day’) which was more applicable to ‘farm servants’ whose board and lodging would have been provided by the farmer, and who would have been counted as members of the farmer’s household. Tathwell was near Louth but further from Manby (see East Lincolnshire Map).
The Rathmell family had formerly lived in Sunningdale Drive, in or near Mr A’s bungalow, ‘Beverley’ (see Village Map).
Joan Collison, who lived in the village, was the girlfriend of May’s nephew Roy Simpson (see 5 Jan. 1941).

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

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