Friday September 26 8.30 pm [1941]

Yesterday Rene and Jean went blackberrying on the sand hills near C.G. hut. We cannot go opposite the house as it is barb-wired and mined. I am a little nervous of the mines being so near in case a straying dog sets one off as they may easily do. We have to keep a watch on “Bill” now, but I don’t think he goes up unless anyone throws a stone for him. We only got about 1½ lbs, so many people come after them as well as the soldiers but I put a lb of apples with them and made jam. I strained most of the seeds out so it should be good. The seeds don’t agree with “false teeth” or I suppose I should say “artificial dentures”.

Louie Berry came to see me last night. She had come over to her house to collect linen and silver. She was just as cheerful as ever tho’ living in London and working hard. Geo. is at a Lyons Corner House don’t know in what capacity. Ray is in the Navy, he is nearly 20 now I think and Ethel has just had a little son (11 weeks). It doesn’t seem 4 years since she married. They have a little cat which at the sound of sirens or any extra loud bumps indoors or out, runs into the air raid shelter which is built into the kitchen. If no one follows it comes out again and looks at them as if asking why they do not take cover.

There are a lot of planes going over or coming in tonight. Father is on watch until 2.00 am. Jean and Father went to the Harvest Festival sale on Tues., brought home a cabbage, apples, damson jam (from Rene), sweets etc. They took onions and carrots. It was a good sale and made nearly £20. Tom [Harness] and Mavis [H] came in on Wed morning. I was making coffee for Ron and Father and on Thurs. Betty came down with 1lb tea from her mother as she has plenty and I was short. It was 2/7 and I was very pleased with it. Then Stows sent me ½ lb instead of ¼ and as it is Jean’s week for tea I shall get ¼ lb from Halls and it is Father’s week for tea and sugar for the box, ½ lb tea and ¾ sugar so I really feel rather guilty about getting so much but we always use more than our ration and I think there is plenty about. I let Rene have a ¼ lb. Mr. Taylor brought me 1lb of dripping too so that will be useful. I did not want to have all my meat ration as I am having a rabbit “Graysie”. Harriet is having “Adolf”. They are beauties and so fat, I think the soldiers waste bread has helped them a lot. I am charging 2/0 for H’s. Have sold 3 little rabbits at 1/6 each, Colleen is having one and Mrs Maddison 2. Mr. Taylor wants Jean to cut him some sage, he will pay for it, I shall let her have the money towards her watch. It is very close tonight, feels like thunder. A shower or two would do good especially in our garden as flowers and veg are grimy from having the chimney swept and also from the outside cooker next door. My white and pink gladioli are lovely.

Father went to Spilsby yesterday to see Mr. Richardson about’s affairs. F. Simpson came in today to pay Father for helping with harvest. 1/3 hour, 9 hrs 11/3. Less than he gets on the box and hard work at that. Jean is getting tired and wants to go to bed. I wish she would go alone, but she seems nervous. It is not 9 o’c yet and it seems so long to 2 am if I go early. Had a letter from Emmie today she does not know yet if she will get in York hospital, thought it was all settled. Ron has been for his a/c 1 board and thinks he has passed for it. I keep dreading to hear he has to move. We have been very fortunate having him near so long. He will be 21 in November, should like to have him at home for that. Rene made his birthday cake last Friday and was profoundly shocked when I said put 5 eggs in (2 fresh and 3 potted) but I think that now we have tried the two wee ones we made to taste that she thinks it is worth it. She has always lived with people who have had to be careful or have been “mean”. Of course we don’t use eggs even in “Peace time” (that time which seems so far behind us and not even in sight before us as yet) every week.

Ron - shortly after joining RAF © AE Wrate, Skegness

Ron said they had a nice service at Binbrook Chapel on Sun. night tho’ they did not mention the R.A.F. (it was R.A.F. Sunday Sep 21). They sang one of his favourite hymns “Lord of all being throned afar”. He learned it at Ingoldmells school and used to sing it all out of tune when his voice broke. Haven’t heard any planes lately so will knit and read a bit and then to bed. Jean is asleep in Father’s chair with her feet on another. Am “stilting” Ron a pair of socks, can’t waste wool these days. Rene vows the army laundry boils the socks, they are so shrunken before they are half worn out. She is knitting him a helmet to wear when on guard.

Louie and George Berry owned (but were not living in) a house near the village centre. Ray and Ethel, here, were their children.

Tom Harness, nephew, married to Mavis, managed a shop in Nottingham. He was Harriet’s youngest of three sons. (His six sisters, including Betty, were all younger.)

‘Affairs’ refers to Grandma Hill’s business (distribution of eggs etc.). Mr Richardson, in Spilsby, may have been an accountant.

Ron’s elementary school was in nearby Ingoldmells, rather than Chapel St Leonards School attended by his parents and sisters.

‘Stilting’ was part of the knitting process for socks – turning a heel or toe to prevent a thick seam.

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

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