Sun Jan. 18/42 7.10 pm

This morning I heard a thrush try out two notes of his spring song. I wondered could it be? Then it came again, I went outside and once again I heard it, thin and sweet in the frosty air. We have had less snow this year than for the two preceding years, when I started to keep a diary it was the snowy white winter of 1939-40, in Jan. I think. Yesterday Father and Frank and F. Raynor erected the shed, Fa and J. Kirk had brought it on K’s dray. On the way home a shaft which was tied together came apart. However they managed to patch it up and got home with the load. It did not take long to erect. It is a very useful shed 12 ft x 8 feet and I can stand up in it all over tho’ Father can’t at the sides. There are two windows which open, even the curtains were left, and two lamps. Fa gave Frank one. He like the rest of tradesmen affects to despise ready-made sectional huts but owns it could not be bought for £10 now. He says the floor is worth £2. He only charged 6/0.

A R[oyal] A[rtillery] corporal gave us more oats, some haricot beans and about 2 lbs of apricots (dried), they will make lovely jam. Should think they have had a few Xmas parcels and got a store left. Oats we can’t use will feed rabbits. Jean’s cycle is in the shed already, shall be able to put baths and wringer in making more room in our scullery (ex coal-house). Hallgarth brought wages draft last night and said he would bring salvage money when collected. I don’t envy him his job. Father is going to the Air-craft recognition lecture tomorrow morning so will probably get it then. Sollum and Halfaya surrendered and we appear to be keeping upper hand of Luftwaffe the other side of Libya. It has been a cold quiet day looking like snow, thawed a little at midday. Rene came this afternoon and had tea. I stewed a few dried prunes, pears and apricots which were mixed with apricots, they were excellent, we had them just warm, as the weather is so cold. Jean went to the delves to skate yesterday afternoon. A few boys were there but only Dennis [Raynor] and Chris [Lammiman] on skates. D skates well but Chris after a bump or two gave up. Jean skates alright and would do well with a little practise, but the ice was rough and she fell forward heavily once and shook herself, not to mention the ice, so after a couple more bumps she left, after about 1½ hours. She is rather stiff and bruised, it is a pity she can’t get a pal and do a little every day while it lasts. Ron took his skates back with him and a pair for Vic. They want to go to G[rims]by again to the ice rink. Last time they went they found they could not hire skates. We are listening to Community singing in the Forces programme, from S. Wales, very good. So far no In[come] Tax money has been deducted from Father’s wages tho’ he pays 9D a week more H. Insurance ie 2/0. H and L. I think benefits are increased. He has a bit of Rheum. this week-end. Rene’s cold seems a little better, it is not in her head so much as limbs and stomach. Father feels better for weeks leave.

Sollum and Halfaya Pass in were close to the border between Egypt and Libya. There is now a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the area.

Dennis Raynor, nephew, Ken’s brother, was the elder son of Eff and Frank (see 9 Dec. 1940).

‘H & L’ may have meant Health and Labour (Insurance) which presumably provided some cover for sickness or loss of employment income.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?
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  1. The delves where we used to skate and catch newts was between the house May used to live in (Sunny Side)and was close to the sand hills known to us locals as Mt Sinai as it was the highest sand hills anywhere along the coast. The field belonged to the Dako Nottingham boys brigade, and had a windmill in the field. During the winter the skating on there was very good and during the summer we used to make rafts and wade into the water. The Crested Newts were magnificent, and the toads and frogs had a whale of a time there. It was quite eerie listening to them. Memories.

    Paddy Coote

  2. Great to hear your memories Paddy. Sunny Side was of course where May lived until just before the first year of the war, when she moved to Lenton Lodge.


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