All posts tagged Rene

Fri Jan. 28. 8.30 a.m. [1944]
# MEN’S UTILITY SUITS UNPOPULAR
# AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY AND EXPLOSION
# GERMAN RADIO SILENCED BY BOMBING
# CHURCHILL REASSURES AUSTRALIA ON JAPANESE
# SHORT DIARY BOOK COMPLETED

Probably most of the utility suits will have to be kept and exported after the war. It seems utility suits can be made by government orders, but they can’t make the men buy them. Indeed they can’t buy many suits at all as by the time socks and underclothes and boots are provided it would be difficult to find 26 cou[pon]s for a suit. It must be a problem where there are growing boys of from 14 to 17 wanting suits as big as their father’s and growing out of them and wearing them out much quicker.

We heard our planes going out again around 6 o’c last night. They began to return before ten o’c and seemed to be droning around for hours. Once there was an explosion which rattled doors and windows. On the 9 o’c news we were informed that several Ger. Stations were off the air, and that before going off they had warned the listeners that the enemy planes reported earlier, were travelling in a S.E. direction. How quickly news travels now. Father has started patrol to-day. It was so dark he did not start until 8.15. It still blows the soft warm wind like yesterday, but not so strong yet tho’ it keeps freshening. It still sounds like rain. We thought it would have rained yesterday.

I went to meet Jean at Cooper’s last night when she left school. Got her pair of navy shoes with suede inset 17/9. The heels are rather high as she has only had flat heels before, except her white ones for weddings. I hope she will be able to wear them. I also bought myself a pair like Rene bought this week but black. Had only 3D left out of 25/0 Xmas money which I had saved for them. Still 24/9 is not very much for these days and I would have paid that for Jean’s. Hers had been in stock some time and were much better than some higher-priced ones we saw. Have finished one of Rene’s gloves and my quilt is progressing steadily. Had a letter from Emmie yesterday, she has got Jean’s wool, so I must get my cardigan finished ready to start Jean’s jumper when it comes. We have a nice pattern.

Fierce fighting is going on now in Italy and Gers are turning attention to the allied landing party between them and Rome. Should think the next two months will do a lot at them. Churchill has given the Australians an assurance that we shall fight until Japs are beaten. We are apt to forget the war with Japs when we talk of the war being over soon or rather, I think we hide from the thought of it, but it is there none the less and will have to be gone thro’. If Ron is sent out there instead of coming home it will be a bitter disappointment for all of us. But it may well happen I am afraid. He has got African Star and Clasp, Emmie says. We are so pleased. Well here’s the end of this attenuated book. Am pleased the next is larger. This has lasted just two weeks, so no great amount of history made.

A little scrap in the warring years
To be read some day with smiles or tears
When we add up the sums of loss and gain
That emerge from this time of toil and pain.

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

Tue Jan. 25. 10.o’c. P.M. [1944]
# HOME MADE TOFFEE ENJOYED
# ANOTHER SOFT TOY MADE
# IMPROVEMENTS IN MEN’S CLOTHING

This morning our toffee was nicely set and very good. We have eaten all of it. The wind rose to a gale last night. I was pleased when Father got home just after 12 o’c. I got very little sleep until morning and felt too tired and unwell to get up at 7 o’c. so Jean rose and put the kettle on the stove and lit the fire which refused to burn. She brought me some tea and got her own breakfast. She walked to catch the bus’ as the wind was so strong tho’ gradually lessening. When I rose the fire had gone out again and when I relit it took a long time to get really going. Think it was a bad load of coal or there was too much draught for it as wind was in the door. However it was burning fairly well when Father got up. I felt better for staying in bed, but it made me late with work. Rene stayed at Bev[erley] to wash her own things and as it looked like rain waited to take them in before coming about 3.30. My clothes got half-dry yesterday and as it was bright and sunny and wind not too strong I put them out for an hour or two and they got dry. I folded them after dinner and have left them to be ironed tomorrow. Eff came after dinner. I paid for meal and the lb of marmalade she let me have. She stayed a good while and helped me fold sheets. I have done a bit more to my quilt tonight sewed and stuffed the doll I cut out, body ought to have been bigger, finished thumb on Rene’s glove and started second finger. My little ex[ercise] book won’t contain much history as it is almost full. Jean has bought me a larger one today for 9D, this was 5D I think and we used to get a big one for 1D or 2D. Men are to have all the pockets in their suits again and trouser turn-ups. Utility suits (men’s) are to be 20 cou[pons] instead of 26. Think no one buys them unless obliged and shopkeepers have a lot on their hands.

Meal, here, was probably barley-meal for pigs, or it could have meant ‘fish and chips’ which Eff may have previously collected and brought for the family as she sometimes did (see 5 Sep 1942).

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

Sun Jan. 23 7.45 PM [1944]
# MINERS’ WAGES AND COAL PRICES INCREASE
# ALLIED ADVANCES IN ITALY
# BNAF SOLDIERS RETURN TO BRITAIN
# NEW BICYCLE FOR RENE

Miners’ wages, including those of “Bevin’s boys” are raised. Coal and coke is up 3/0 from 1 Feb. In Italy part of 5th Army has landed between German divisions and Rome, West coast Italy. It was a successful operation and we have advanced several miles inland. Russians doing so well in North that Finns are wondering whether Gers are going to be able to hold them. More and more Forces reported all over as returned from B.N.A.F. Alex, May L’s husband came to Newark on leave last week. He went out round about time Ron did. Wonder if Frank Adams will come too. He was in Sicily, but has been in B.N.A.F. some time now.

Rene has her new bicycle a Rudge. Very pleased with it. I tried it on lawn and as it is a modern type with little room between seat and handles I got my foot fast and sat down flat on lawn to the no small amusement of Rene and Jean and Elsie G[rantham]. Neither cycle or I was hurt except a wee bit of skin of my thumb knuckle which was bruised too (I bathed it in boracic). I am very stiff to-day tho’ about neck and shoulders so expect I wrenched them a bit.

Jean went to C[entral] Hall Fri. night to see a film Rev. Hodgson had brought. It was “Mr Deed goes to town” and very good. Ron saw it in London when he went with B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and I believe he saw it some years later in Sk[egness]. The “Panto” Aladdin is at Sk. Only one matinee (on Sat) which was booked weeks before so had no chance to see it as last bus is at 7.15. Mrs Hall and [Mrs] Cooper went and Father fetched them back at 5 from mat[inee] as they knew bus’ would be packed. Rene came before tea, had a cup and piece of cake but not a full tea. Tom had gone on patrol. The flower I made for her coat looks very nice.

I have started to read Don Quixote, have read extracts before of course, but have never read all of it. It belongs to Mavis. I am expecting to enjoy it. Jean is enchanted with it. Have written to Ron and Mrs Fletcher and Bessie Brown. It is nice to get letters thro’ to Ron so quickly. Had a letter from Mrs Russell Fri. She says Emmie had just had 10 letters from him, very cheerful ones. She says they hope to come in June. Was not at work yet but hoping to start in a day or two.

Bread is very dry and chaffy but we must not complain as we have bacon and dripping in addition to butter and marg. ration. It was a very wet night but turned fair about 10 o’c. A.M. and was a bright sunny day tho’ windy, a west wind which went after a sudden squall about 5.45. Have turned out all my cut flowers and still snowdrops will not be out yet and my one anemone bud grows so slowly. I have a wee chrysanthemum plant in a can which is just coming into flower only one bloom tho’. I think it will be white tho’ at first I thought it was yellow. Eff came Sat afternoon, brought me some fat bacon, 1/0 lb which will be useful.

Bevin’s Boys’ were industrial/ mine-work conscripts. Although some were conscientious objectors many had elected to join the forces but were not given the choice, as May noted. (This policy also caused problems after the war, when ex-servicemen received more favourable support.) Ernest Bevin (Labour Party) was Minister of Labour and National Service in the coalition government.

Operation Shingle’ began with the Anzio landings on the west coast of Italy on 22 January 1944.

Alec Hunter (written as Alex) was the husband of sister Emily’s daughter May, née Lewis (see 18 May 1941).

Mrs Cooper, wife of Walter Cooper, cobbler, whose home and shoe-shop was near Belton’s garage at that time, is probably meant here. Walter was in the local group of the Royal Observer Corps and their son, Eric, in the Boys’ Brigade.

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

Wed Jan 19. 10.P.M. [1944]
# JEAN PLAYING HOCKEY
# MAKING SOFT TOYS FOR SALE
# SEWING AND KNITTING TASKS

It seemed a little brighter early to-day so did some washing, however before dinner it turned very damp again, the little wind there was fell and it kept spitting with rain, and about 4 o’c came on to rain in good earnest. Jean had been playing hockey and her stockings and legs were very muddy. A mad idea to play on such wet ground as there is now. It was still pouring with rain at 9 o’c. I can hear the hump, hump of the sea so think tide is in. Father is on watch until 12 o’c. Yesterday I sent Aunt Jet some bits of cloth for her rug. She said she had not enough. Post 9D. I doubt if they were worth it. I also put 2 balls coloured cotton in, left over from slipper making, for her to knit up if she liked, as she says knitting cotton is dear and no one pays her for her dish-cloths. The time hangs heavy on her hands as being almost blind there is little she can do. I told her I wanted it for a tea-cosy as my wool one is worn out.

I have made another soft toy, an elephant this time. Jim Hall says a licence is needed to make toys for sale, and that there is a big purchase tax on them, hence the price. So I shan’t make my fortune toy-making. Still it may come in useful. They make very nice presents at any time, and children are ever with us. I have made Jumbo red eyes, don’t know if that is correct, but I recollect reading of an elephant with “wicked red eyes” and they look very effective against the grey cloth. I must make him a back-cloth and perhaps a head-square out of Emmie’s scraps of red silk. We had a letter written Jan 1st from Ron today and an A.M.L. written on 9th so that is very good indeed. The A.M.L was in answer to my letter of Dec. 23. I think that is about the quickest exchange we have had. He is very well.

I must finish off a few of my sewing jobs soon now as it will soon be time to turn out drawers and cupboards ready for Spring cleaning. I have a blouse of Jean’s to make, it’s cut out and I have just started it. Then I am determined to get my kapok quilt done, I have made a start. I have started to knit new palms and fingers to Rene’s old gloves and my cardigan is only half finished. I have a new pair of sleeves cut out ready to renovate a dress for myself. Last week I made 5 buttonholes of leather and the petals left over from Jean’s cap at Rene’s wedding. 3 for [sister] Em L’s girls, one Rene is having and one Jean took to Doreen [Hodgson]. Rene has brought a knitted tea-cosy to send to Em. It is knitted like a dress with a little doll at top with a bonnet, very pretty. They are belated Xmas presents. Eff came for “Standard” which we had borrowed, as I sent new one to Ron in mistake.

Doreen Hodgson, Jean’s school class-mate and long-term friend, lived in Skegness.

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

Sun Jan. 16 8.35. a.m. [1944]
# BLACKOUT DIFFICULTIES
# CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ‘MAGIC GARDEN’
# RON CONFIDENT IN ALLIED VICTORY

It is a rime frost this morning, everything white and icy. I thought it was as, tho’ not cold in bed, every time I moved I seemed to feel an icy breath. I discovered too after getting up that I had left the window open, which is not always possible now we have to “black-out”. It is difficult with casements to get a light-proof curtain if there is the least bit of wind. We leave door open to landing when we shut the window. Both were open last night so perhaps that is why I slept so well. We were never used to sleeping with closed windows. Father went on watch at 6. a.m. so, tempted by the fire, I rose at 7.30 and have had my breakfast of tea and toast by it after taking Jean cup of tea and bread and butter. The cat, Snip, sat at my feet looking for a piece of crust now and then. She loves toast and Sprogg is learning to like it too, but his cough still persists and he had to go out again after his milk.

I have been reading a rather sentimental chapter on rooks, in Bac[helor] in Arcady (it is a totally different book to any other I have read by Halliwell Sutcliffe, tho’ his style of writing comes out here and there the same as in his books of feud and clannish war on the dark moors). The rook chapter brought back very vividly to me autumn days at “Woodvilla”. The misty autumn mornings melting into the brief golden hours of late Sept or October, with the sound of the rooks, caw, caw, caw, from the elms and oaks at the old Trusthorpe Hall. A few late plums still on the boughs, juicy apples, and sweet little pears on the high pear tree, mostly at the top, from which we brought them down with wildly aimed sticks, and ate them sitting on the chain [chair?] swing which was made with a pole from forks in lower branches of the two main trunks that sprang from the roots. There was a sparsely planted hedge or thicket about 3 yds deep planted at the far end of the orchard and I remember the first time I ventured (the small bushes then well above my small height) thro’ the little opening in it where Grandmother used to go to wave a duster when it was time for Grandfather to come to dinner, if he were working at the next yard. It was a great adventure, I fearfully parted the branches and won thro’ to the ploughed field beyond and viewed my familiar world from an unfamiliar angle. I could see the backs of the houses I only knew from the front, and all the way to the sea, at least a mile away but quite hidden from view, when in the orchard. The railway too running between us and the sea and beyond it I knew between rail and sea was my own home. I saw the little house only on Thursday very little changed, except a glass room built over door and pump to the little gate.

May’s grandparents outside Wood Villa, their home near Trusthorpe Hall, around 1895

May’s grandparents outside Wood Villa, their home near Trusthorpe Hall, around 1895

On Thursday we had two letters from Ron and 6 on Friday and Rene had one too. So quite up to date again. He is well and sounds in capital spirits and very confident of victory. He had received denture washer and was very pleased as his was completely worn out.

Halliwell Sutcliffe, author, was mentioned in the notes added to the previous Diary entry (see 14 Jan 1944).

May’s grandmother, her father’s mother, was Charlotte, née Selby, Simpson.

May’s grandfather, her father’s father, was John Simpson.

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

Friday January 14. 1944
8.15. a.m
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK BEGINS
# BATTLE OF BRITAIN RECALLED
# BACON AND HAMS INSPECTED
# MORNING STAR OVER CHAPEL POINT

This little book so small and slim,
An emblem of the shortage caused by war,
May yet contain a tale of deeds more grim
Than written in the books that went before.

I wonder what will have happened in this grim struggle before these few pages are filled. I did not intend it to be a record of war, when I started my diary, just our ordinary doings during the days of war. In spite of good intentions the war creeps in, as it has crept in and around all our daily life. So tho’ no record of battles and campaigns is kept, a little of the trend of war is threaded thro’. The second front looms ever nearer, then we shall feel the effects in this country, more than we have done since the “Battle of Britain” and how very little we knew of that down here just sheltered behind the sand-hills, while the tide of war went over only a few stray bombs that only damaged property, not people, fell round us.

Wed. night the newly-hung bacon which was just beginning to sparkle with dry salt crystals, turned wet again, I think it was the rain and humid atmosphere. Hams wept salt tears all day yesterday and even the flitches, hung in the white-tiled corner near the fire were weeping by evening. Weather has changed again, I looked out when Jean went to school and it was clear and cold, the morning star shining brightly over the Point. I hope it does not freeze with the sunrise as I put my chrysants out in the rain yesterday and forgot to bring them in, and they have been in so long it would nip the new shoots I expect. The two cats have eaten their bread and milk and are sleeping on the mat. Snip nodding upright but “The Sprogg” curled in a ball. He still coughs but I am sure he does his best to suppress it, as I put him outside if he coughs more than once. I do not think it healthy to have sick cats in the house, and they are hardy and have plenty of cover to go to.

Rene said Mrs Shales had fallen and hurt herself. She stood on a chair to reach something and it was not level and she over-balanced. Rene did not know until yesterday, she was getting over it then but had been pretty bad. Rene was going in again at night. She herself does not look too well. Think she had a chill early in the week, probably got it on wash-day, it was so cold. I am reading the book, “Bachelor in Arcady” which Aunt Jet gave Jean (she sent “The Rosary” to Mavis). It is very readable and amusing. She also gave her 5/0. Amy gave her two for music.

Flitch – side of bacon – salted and cured abdominal wall of a side of pork.

‘Bachelor in Arcady’, was written by Halliwell Sutcliffe who died in 1932. He wrote many popular novels, most of them historical romances set in the Yorkshire Dales.

‘The Rosary’ by Florence Louisa Barclay was first published in 1909. It has been described as one of the most beautiful books ever written, and the author compared to Jane Austen. It is available in the publc domain as a free e-book.

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

Sun. Jan. 9. 8.30. P.M [1944]
# WELSH SOLDIERS ATTEND CHAPEL SERVICE
# CHANGES TO FOOD RATIONING
# CONCERNS ABOUT JAPAN PROLONGING WAR

Dull morning, turning to drizzle at dinner-time then to steady rain. Still raining at 8.30. It has been damp and chilly, but not bitterly cold. Saw a bus load of H.Gs [Home Guards] come by this morning. Jean went to Chapel, said about 15 soldiers were there, they are a lot of them Welsh. Some have already gone on leave. Jean said Tom said a few words of welcome to them, he was preaching next Sunday and would have some Welsh tunes for them to sing. Father took Spence to Louth Hos[pital] to-day so Jean (who has a cold and did not go in rain to S.S. [Sunday School]) and I went in car to Rene’s and had tea with her and came home with Father after he had brought Mrs Spence to her house. He had a cup of tea, but came home for his meal as it was so wet and soon dark. We had canned Vic[toria] Plums with egg custard for tea. Very nice. “Bill” was distinctly annoyed because we took up all the hearthrug. The kitten is grown very big and is very playful. Rene let me have ¼ tea as I am quite out. New period starts tomorrow. Tinned Herrings, Pilchards and Mack[erel] need less points. We are not very fond of tinned fish, except salmon and do not care for that very often. It needs too many points to get much of it now. Sprogg still has a cough and Jean is doctoring him with Tibs. Doesn’t seem to ail much but doesn’t wash himself much and looks very grubby. Jean and Father both seem to have a slight return of their colds. I do hope Jean will be able to start school.

Charles came yesterday to see if Father could fetch Ke[ith] and Ma[rion] from Sk[egness] Stn. at 8 p.m. but he has not enough light and was on watch too. C[laude] Evison could not either so don’t know what they would do, take a taxi I expect. They had just sent a telegram in the morning. It is early for another. I do hope he [Keith] is not on Draft Leave so soon after losing Raymond. I am afraid there will be a lot have to go soon now. Russians are 10 miles over Polish border now and pushing on. Tonight Stuart Hibbert [Hibberd] reminded us that the end of the German War did not mean the end of the war as a whole and that we should still have a tough job to conquer the Japs. Somehow we seem to push this distant war out of our minds as much as we can, forgetting that covering it up does not alter the fact of its serious existence. I hope Ron does not have to go out there, but then I don’t want him to come home just now either. We do not know what to wish for them. It is best to leave it, and live from day to day, thankful that so far he is spared. Oh, if it were only all over, and no more “wars or rumours of war”.

‘Spence’ was believed to be Mr Spence whose wife was previously mentioned (see 2 Feb 1943).

Stuart Hibberd was a well known BBC radio announcer.

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

Mon Jan. 3 10.15 PM [1944]
# GLOVES KNITTED FOR PRISONERS OF WAR
# MENDING, SEWING AND QUILTING
# MANY LETTERS TO AND FRO
# RENE RED CROSS COLLECTING
# EVENING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
# MONTGOMERY’S ‘FAREWELL’ SPEECH
# CHURCHILL AND ROOSEVELT UNWELL

It is time we were in bed. Father is on watch until 12 o’c and Jean is “doing” her hair ie to say putting curlers in. I seem to have had a busy evening. First I knitted the welt and started thumb of P.O.W. gloves (2nd glove) which I have neglected rather since having ‘flu’. I also started back of my blue Cardigan. Then I cut out paper pattern of elephant, don’t think it will be so difficult as “Scottie”, mended my vest, and sewed a seam-rent in a pillow-case. I washed Jean’s hair and combed it when dry and put ointment on. Also did a bit of quilting on Rene’s 2nd slipper, will really try to get them finished. Have read a little too, and skimmed the paper, and put a new loop on kettle holder. A varied evening!

Sirdar Helmet and Glove Knitting Pattern

Sirdar Helmet and Glove Knitting Pattern

Wrote to Ron and Dennis yesterday but not posted letters yet. Den. is at Stratford-on-Avon. He sent me a Xmas card. Jean wrote an A.M.Letter to Ron too. Had a letter from Sybil A[dams] this morning, says Pat. loves the dog. Syb. thinks the dog very nice and says if she had not known I had made it would have thought it was a shop one, or words to that effect. Rather like Ron when he said a cake I had made was as good as a bought one! Still I expect they both meant it as a compliment. It has been wet nearly all day. Rene collected part of Red + pennies and Nursing money, then gave up and came for dinner, she did not start out again as rain turned from blustering showers to steady rain. She had a cup of tea about 4 o’c and then went home. Father has been to Sk[egness] twice to-day. He got £1.7.6 as he brought T. Stone’s daughter and someone to Hogs[thorpe] on his last return journey so made it almost a double one.

Planes are droning around, wonder if they are just going out, they sound strangely like those we used to call “wuffers”. 4 were shot down London way last night. Some damage done and a few casualties. Heard a recording of Montgomery’s speech tonight, his farewell to the Eighth Army. He is in England now to be head of the British part of invasion Army under General Eisenhower. It was an inspiring speech. He is a fine good man. Russians within 15 miles of old Polish frontier in one place, but still a long way from Ger tho’ they are driving Gers before them in many sectors of the fighting. Moscow’s guns were fired in salute again tonight. Churchill is convalescent, and F.D.R. [Roosevelt] has influ[enza] now. It must be the second time as I remember when Den. was in Scotland he was in hospital with it and F.D.R. had it too. A lot of people have had it twice in England too. It is waning rapidly now but Drs say the dangerous days are not over yet. It has not been particularly cold today. Sprogg has a cough, Jean is going to buy “Tibs” for both cats.

Knitting for Prisoners of War was possibly for German prisoners in England – or for inclusion in parcels (mainly food) sent by the Red Cross to British servicemen held in Germany. The nearest POW camp was in Bilsby from where prisoners were allowed to make and sell small items such as wooden toys.

‘Seam-rent’ probably meant a torn seam in the pillow case.

‘Nursing money’ was presumably payment or ‘expenses’ for nursing work undertaken by Rene or Red Cross colleagues.

Field Marshal Montgomery’s farewell speech to men of the 8th Army was given in Italy.

Tom (‘Tally’) Stones was a retired blacksmith of Hogsthorpe (succeeded by his son, Arthur).

US President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was well known for his broadcast ‘Fireside Chats‘.

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

Sun Jan 2. 9.15 a.m [1944]
# ABSENCES OF RON AND EMMIE REGRETTED
# JEAN ENJOYS SUNDAY SCHOOL PARTY
# PIG ‘OUT OF THE WAY’ BEFORE CHRISTMAS
# FRESH COD FROM BEACH

Bright cold morning, after a gusty night, wind has fallen again just now. We seem strange now that Emmie has gone. As usual, I miss her when I wake in the night, as I miss Ron still or shall I say, as I think of Ron always if I wake? One does not really “miss” anyone after a time tho’ some we miss longer than others. After that we grow used to them being away, tho’ we think no less of them and long for their return. Ron looks much older and very grave in his photo and has grown strangely like Father in it. Mr. Baysley remarked on his likeness to his father on Thurs. ev. They were so disappointed, as their leave had been cancelled at the last minute. They had packed, sent on food and clothes to Plymouth (Mrs B’s home) and arranged for daughter to go there for weekend to finish leave. Now, she is on the way to Sk[egness] to travel alone all day and arrive at destination (Exeter) about 7 o’c p.m with probably a long walk before her as she lives some way out.

Jean went to S.S. [Sunday School] party and enjoyed it, said there were almost more children not belonging S.S there than those who did belong. Jean got 3/6 on savings card given in place of book. Arrived home about 9.30. Mrs Pimp. and Colleen came home with her, tho’ it was moonlight and she was not nervous. I made a bit of barm cake on Fri. not very fruity, only sult[ana]s to put in, but I had been longing for some. Years ago that was all the extra cake we had for Xmas. Made very rich and good, it got better with keeping, and people exchanged loaves. 7lbs of flour at least was the foundation, so that with sugar, lard or butter, and 3 or 4 lbs fruit and eggs it made about 1 st of cake. I had 4 small cakes, gave Rene one and Grandma one. She is looking better after a severe cold.

We killed our pig the week before Xmas. Daisy helped Rene get it out of the way. 24 st. cell. 18 lbs. We got another on 20th Dec. about 11 weeks old £2.6.3. and one for Eff. They are scarce and dear or we would have had two, and sold one in Spring.

Tom brought us some fish yesterday for dinner, he had picked up a fresh cod on beach Fri. aft. It was very good, have made remains into fish cakes, forgot them for our breakfast (Father is taking Miss Baysley to station) but am cooking them all now. Expect Jean will eat some. Emmie said that in one of her letters Ron said the boys told him he had lost his smile in his photo. I am pleased they think of him as always with a smile.

‘Getting the pig out of the way’ was described earlier (e.g. 31 Jan 1941). The word which appeared as ‘cell’ was presumably intended to be ‘kell’, the fat from the back of the pig’s stomach (weight 18lbs out of the total 24 stones weight of the pig in the case described here).

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

January 1st 1944. 9.20 a.m. Saturday
# DIARY RESUMED AFTER FIVE WEEKS’ NEGLECT
# FAMILY HAD ‘SPANISH FLU’ BUT MILDLY
# CHURCHILL BOUT OF PNEUMONIA REPORTED
# CHRISTMAS CARDS AND PRESENTS REVIEWED
# SOFT TOYS SENT AS PRESENTS
# RON’S WIFE EMMIE AS CHRISTMAS VISITOR
# NEWS FROM RON IN ITALY

I wrote the New Year date first on Emmie’s luggage label, and am writing now at 9.20 by firelight. I have put out the E.L. [electric light] but it is still too dark to see to write properly. It is milder but raining after a fine, bright, cold week. My diary has been neglected of late as colds and influenza have made all but necessary writing impossible. Jean and I still feel achy at times. We had the “Spanish flu” but very favourably Dr M[enzies] says as hundreds got pneumonia with it and hundreds have died of it. W.Churchill had another touch of ‘pneu’ when he got abroad this last time. We are hoping and praying this is the last war Xmas. We had Xmas Cards, photo and parcel and Airgraph Greetings from Ron, also an AG. from Jock. I had a calendar and white and purple heather from his wife, must write to her as I got very few letters at Xmas and sent only two cards. Had a card from Dennis. Must write to him. He is at Stratford-on-Avon.

Sent Sybil’s baby a little dog I had made of brown velvet stuffed kapok, also sent Gladys’ little girls a doll each. Rene made one and me the other and I dressed them. Jean sent books. All received them for Xmas. I prefer making animals to dolls, they don’t want dressing and look more professional when done. I have made a Scotch Terrier this week in brown velvet. It is larger than Patsy’s and took a lot of kapok to stuff it but it is a great success and very light in spite of bulk. It is getting lighter so will finish unblacking upstairs and start work. I have only washed up breakfast pots so far. Father and Jean have taken Emmie to meet 8.43 train at W[illough]by and should soon be back, tho’ they had to call at Baysleys I think on way home. It was so wet I did not feel like going and then I hate coming back in daylight to a blacked-out house and a table full of pots to wash.

7 o’c P.M. Rain ceased towards dinner-time, sun came out and it dried but turned very windy so did not attempt to go to S.S [Sunday School] Party. Jean is to come home with Pimp[erton]s, it should not be dark as moon does not set until 11.59. pm. Hope she is not late as Father is on watch at 12 mid.nt. Emmie, Rene, Jean and Father went to Mary’s to tea yesterday. It was cold and I did not feel up to going esp[ecially] as Father and I were there on Sun. Emmie came Xmas Eve and returned to-day so had a nice long visit. She posted us a blanket on 20th and it hasn’t turned up yet, very disappointing, hope it is not lost. Of course 18th was last day for parcels being guaranteed delivery for Xmas so let’s hope it arrives Mon. or Tues. Elsie G[rantham] came for supper on Mon. ev[ening]. Rene and T[om] could not come as he had a bad cold. El. had too and had lost her voice but suddenly recovered it just as she was going home about 11 o’c. She brought Emmie 6 eggs last night and said she had not lost it any more. Emmie took a chicken home for Sun. dinner also some apples from Rene. We had chickens for Xmas Day (Tom and Rene came) and Emmie said “Could we have apple sauce, as she did not like bread sau.” I had not had it with chicken before, but we all liked it, it is as good with ch. as with duck. We had bread sauce too. Emmie brought Rene another Pyrex casserole and Jean a book by Grey Owl.

Planes are wandering round, sound very queer, as if there were faint bumps every now and then. Father has just gone out for second time to listen. This aft. when Jean and I were upstairs we heard a small sound as if something were dropped on roof or as if the ceiling cracked. Father thinks perhaps it is wind that makes planes sound queer as it has got up very strong. Ron’s friend, Roy Paget has lost his brother (killed), Ron had met him. Ron received cable before his birthday and got his little calendar and B.Day and Xmas parcel well before Christmas Day. Hope he gets socks from W.V.S., Mr. Chips from us and socks from B. Legion safely before long. He sent Rene and Jean blue silk scarves from Tunis, a wallet for Dad and Gloves for me, also box face powder which Rene and I have shared. Emmie has received 4 prs Stks and Gloves from him, and he writes there is another parcel on the way for her so hope she gets them safely. Rene gave Jean a book she wanted and me pinafore and hairbrush. Jean gave me hkchfs [handkerchiefs] and economy labels, Father gave me 10/0 which I have not spent yet. Jean gave Rene writing paper and Father and I gave her a pinafore. Jean gave Father a book and Rene and I are giving him a ft. [fountain] pen or most of it. He says he will make up balance if we get him a good one.

The mother of little girls was probably Gladys, née Lewis, a daughter of May’s sister Emily (see 19 Feb 1942).

Baysleys were a naval family, based at ‘Royal Arthur’, living in a bungalow close to Tyler’s Bridge, near Commander Storer (see 21 May 1942).

Grey Owl’ was an English-born writer and conservationist, Archibald Belaney, who had lived in Canada and at some time had masqueraded as a Red Indian.

Goodbye Mr Chips’ was the novel about a kindly Latin teacher, written by James Hilton and first published as a book in 1934 (Little, Brown USA ; Hodder & Stoughton UK).

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