Wednesday November 5 9.20 pm [1941]

Nov 5th. Let’s hope we have no “fireworks” tonight. The “Sherwoods” at Corbie have fire buckets of water, bags of sand and a stirrup pump ranged on their lawn which makes one feel easier in case of incendiary bombs. We have taken Ron to Will[ough]by St. and Father has gone on watch. Jean is asleep on couch, we have eaten an orange sent me by Edie Crow, a rare treat. Jean also had a box of Dairy Chocs (plain) given her today by Mrs Paul for bringing med. from Dr. M[enzie]s. Rene brought mine on Thursday. Dr M is calling again one day if I do not go to Sk[egness]. I am very much better but feel far from strong yet.

We had a share of lard found by C[oast] G[uard]s today. 56 lb between the 6 of them, very little of it spoiled by sand. Just over 9lbs each. Very acceptable. Father has got several pieces of wood too, just lately. They (the C.G) have been salv[ag]ing rubber bales this week (50), don’t know if they will get anything for that. Rene has got her teeth but has to go again tomorrow to have them eased a bit. They will be a great improvement and look very natural.

Ron and Emmie were here Monday Oct 25 to Sat Nov 1 or at least E was. Ron’s leave was up on Thurs, was not able to go to station with him then. They are to be engaged on his Xmas leave. I am rather sorry as she is 4 years older but he is 21 this month, so have only gently hinted my views. She has evidently decided on the ring and broken the news to Fa[ther] R[ussell] already. I have advised him not to contemplate marriage at present and he quite agrees but tho “man may propose woman may dispose of him”. It only seems yesterday when he was a little boy. He is looking very fit after his cold and says they are being issued with “Wellingtons” so hopes he gets no more wet feet. He has been wearing his own W’s a week or two.

Rene has a new coat, tweed, very “swish”. 4½ guineas and 18 coupons. She bought a hat too, Scot Tam fashion 8/7 but decides she doesn’t like it so am having it for Jean. Have taken feather out and wire from crown making it a soft Tam and it looks OK. It is a pretty brown velvet. Bought Jean pair of lisle stockings 3/6 (2 coupons). Fed up with Blanchard calling when we get shut up for the evening so am making own bread. Think I shall make only a little at a time and have it fairly new.

10 o’clock.

Think I had better soon go to bed. I don’t like these cold mornings tho’ the hour at night is nice. It is only 6.15 when Jean and I have to be up. GMT. Have finished one pair of F. Raynor’s socks, have got wool for others. Mrs Faulkner sent Kevin [?] and Chris [?] to-night to see what date Ron’s birthday is, Ralph wanted to know. (Emmie has given him a silver cig. case very nice indeed.) Can hardly believe Xmas day is 7 weeks today. Not much longer to keep our black pig. We are to have extra fruit ration this month and, as Lord W[oolton] says on wireless, in addition to more sugar and meat we are to have more things like jam. That “things like jam” is a subtle touch, we get a lot of things like jam in our jars now. However we always have plenty of food of some sort, it would be very wicked to grumble. It has been a fair quiet day but very cold. Jean had 6d for a poppy today.

Mrs Moore (Vine) has taken “East View” from Mrs Lee. Don’t know if Mrs Lee will want to go on paying for gardens if she has tenants. Cousins are still in Granby. Have sent today a pair of towels to Kathie from Rene and us. Also a parcel to Emmie for Rene. I am going to clean supper things and put cloth on kitchen table for breakfast, fill our hot water bottle and go to bed. I may read a little if not too sleepy, have just read “White Rajah” by Owen Rutter. It is about the first white Rajah James Brook and very interesting in view of the fact that the third wht. Rajah Sir Charles Vyner Brook has just retired from the position. I don’t know the details but believe it was understood that when the Sarawaks were civilised they were to be allowed to rule themselves under our sovereign.

Brothers, Hugh and Harold Blanchard, were bakers from Hogsthorpe where the family were millers. The roundsman was probably Harold, as Hugh was in the forces during the war.

Mrs Martha Faulkner (Mrs Faulkner senior), wife of ‘Bert’ (last mentioned 2 Apr. 1941), was probably meant here. The names ‘Kevin’ and ‘Chris’ were uncertain and cannot be identified.

Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, has been mentioned earlier – see May’s draft letter to him. His appointment from the business community (notably as chairman of a group of department stores) had been made in 1940 by Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and he retained this position in Churchill’s coalition government.

Mr and Mrs Fred Moore managed the ‘Vine Hotel’ for the owners, the Hornby family. Part of the hotel was requisitioned by the Army, including for use as an officers’ mess, during wartime. At that time Mr Moore worked as a fireman in Skegness and a relief hotel manager was in place. Will had been maintaining the garden at Mrs Lee’s ‘East View’ (see 29 Dec. 1940).

Mr and Mrs Cousins were an elderly couple who lived in South Road, in the bungalow ‘Granby’ near ‘East View’, at that time (see Village Map).

Kathie Cook, niece, one of sister Emily’s daughters (and sister of Gladys and May Lewis), who had recently married, was probably meant here.

Historian, travel writer and novelist, Owen Rutter’s White Rajah was published in 1939 (London: Hutchinson and Co). The three ‘White Rajahs of Sarawak’ were successive members of an English family, the Brookes (spelling corrected).

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

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