All posts tagged Tom

Sun. Mar.5. 7 P.M. [1944]
# WEATHER SUNNY BUT WIND ICY
# RADIO GARDENER’S BOOK OBTAINED
# WILL’S COASTGUARD WATCH TIMES CHANGE
# CLOTHES RECYCLED EARN COUPONS
# ANOTHER VILLAGE LAD ON EMBARKATION LEAVE

Very cold but snow almost gone, sun quite warm out of icy wind. Rene did not come yest. but Jean went to see her. She sent cakes and “Village Memories” of Mr Middleton of Radio gardening fame. Tom had changed my library book at Boots’ for me. Jean went to Chapel this morning, was late for dinner. I gather she and David and Ken exchanged a few compliments re B.B. [Boys’ Brigade] and G.L.B. [Girls’ Life Brigade]. She did not get to Sunday School as she had a lot of home-work to do. It is a bug-bear this homework. Rene came this afternoon and had a cup of tea. Father is on watch at 8.p.m so shall soon have to get his supper.

10.PM. Father had his supper and went on watch at 8 o’ c. This new time arrangement mixes one up. He came off at 8 am, went on at 8 p.m tonight, off at 2 a.m and on again at 12 to 6 p.m to-morrow. I have written to Ron and to Jock. Kettle is nearly boiling for bottles and it is time Jean was in bed. She has washed her hair and set waves with grips. I gave Mrs Hutton her [Jean’s] old house shoes on Fri. She seemed very grateful and said she would give me one or two coupons for them. One has to be very careful in giving things away as people’s pride is easily hurt, but in these days we can always make the shortage of coupons the excuse for passing things on and most people are glad of them. (Glad of them must be a Lincs expression. I’m sure it is not grammatical.) We have had no letter from Ron for a week, hope there is one tomorrow. Chas. Parrish is on leave, Mr P. thinks his Regt. is going abroad as he has 16 days. Expect they will feel it a lot, as he is only boy and not too strong, also both girls are away now. He can hardly be 20 yet I think. Finns have not come to a decision yet. Bulgars feeling for peace but immense difficulties in the way.

Mrs Hutton, here, was probably of the family which had been evacuated from Grimsby, at first to Hogsthorpe, and at that time believed to be living almost next door, in ‘Red Tiles’ no longer used by the Army (see 11 Apr 1941).

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

Mon. Feb. 7. 44. 8.30. a.m.
# JEAN’S BIRTHDAY VISITORS
# COASTGUARDS’ AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION TEST
# ORANGES FOR MARMALADE

It is very dull but not so bitterly cold this morning. We had sleet on Sat and yesterday was icily cold. I did not get to Chapel at night as the cold wind took my breath just to go outside. Rene came in afternoon. Tom was preaching at night so she was going. Jean had a lot of home-work to do as she got none done on Sat. It was her birthday. Joyce, Mavis, Ken [R] and David came for tea. Joy[ce] had to go home on 8.30 bus’ so they all went then. Joy. brought her a bottle of Yard[ley] Lav[ender] scent, very nice. Mav. “The Fluter’s Ball” and Ken two handkerchiefs. Had a letter from Vamplew. Military have his bungalow. Father has an aeroplane test today. He does not like that part of his duties. For one thing the test is not carried out fairly and another is he finds it difficult to remember names and numbers. Also it does not seem to be of any use to them, so long as they know enemy planes from our own it should be enough and leave the rest to the R.O.C. [Royal Observer Corps].

I have got wash-pot on for small wash. (I do not intend to take another house without a copper if I can help it.) We did a large one last week and I don’t intend doing many today as the weather doesn’t look too good. We got 5lb oranges on Sat. I hope to make some marmalade.

David Sparling was the son of a naval petty officer, based at ‘Royal Arthur’, whose family lodged with Herbert and Annie Faulkner (see 9 Feb 1942).

The present of ‘The Fluter’s Ball’ may have been sheet music (for piano) with lyrics from the original ‘Phil the Fluther’s Ball’ by Percy French.

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’?

Fri. Nov. 5 8.15. a.m. [1943]
# GUY FAWKES DAY – 20 YEARS PREVIOUSLY
# AUTUMN CLEANING POSTPONED
# RISING COSTS AND RATIONING
# ‘MAKE DO AND MEND’ ADVICE
# CHERRY JAM ENJOYED

November 5th. Guy Fawkes Day. What funny things stay in our minds. Now almost the only Guy F. day I remember particularly, is the one when we lived at Lab[urnum] Cott[age] and autumn-cleaned kitchen. I remember it was a wet day. I whitewashed ceiling or was it still boards and did I wash them? I think, in fact I’m sure, I papered it and Father painted it red. That must be almost 20 years ago and the same paint is still on tho’ I remember we were told we had to paint it inside every 5 years. Well, Goslings never painted it all the 17 years they were there and the same wallpaper is still on sit[ting] room wall that I put on unless it has fallen off now the house is empty. I do remember Amy came on day when we were at Sunny Side on G.F. day and I always used to think I was late if I hadn’t aut-cleaned by then. I haven’t started yet this year but it doesn’t seem so urgent when we have no seaside visitors, and flies are barely gone now as the weather has been so open. Caught mouse No. 2 in trap last night.

I rose at 7 this morning. Father went on watch at 6 am, he brought me a cup of tea and bre. and butt. Perhaps the thought of the fire already made tempted me and I had slept well all night. Am afraid Jean is in for a cold, hope it isn’t the flu’ which is very prevalent at Sk[egness]. Miss Baker called yesterday to tell Rene the time of parade to Church on Sunday. She had a linen tea-cloth in her hand, said she got it at Hall’s, don’t know price, 1 cou. It was not large, about what we used to give 1/0 for but looked as if it would wash thin. They are 4/3 to 8/6 now. I used to give 10D or 1/0 for what I did not get with Watson’s soap coupons and they were linen of a good average quality. Have no coup. to spare for any just now. The last I bought is not very big but good and I gave 1/6 for it at Stow’s but that is a long time since. I have spent most of my coups early this time on 1 pr. stk [stockings] 1 pair shoes and 2 nightdresses. As I had bought no stks for year, no shoes for over 2 years and no nt-drs since the war started I was hardly extravagant. Things wear out eventually however well you treat them. I got a “Mend and Make do” book Govt. issue 3 from Sk. but found very few new ideas. At my time of life one has found out and tried a good many things if money has never been very plentiful. Well it all comes in useful now. It is pretty hard going for people who have always been able to buy new when old things looked shabby and who have never remade and adapted things. One of the things was how to lengthen jumper that had run up too short, as they will in spite of careful washing, in time. I smiled when I put on mine this morning and noticed in the mirror that it was lengthened with a piece of corded velvet to match colour, and not lately either.

Rene and T[om] brought my groceries down last night. She had got me 1lb Tickler’s cherry Jam. I had some once from Cook’s at Grimsby. It was lovely, but was never able to get any more. Tried to make some once but it was not a success. Had some visitors in who had lived in Belgium (it was 1939) and I asked her if she had made any (she had her home made jam with her). She said not in Eng. and she thought she bought a special kind of cherry for it in Belgium.

Goslings, mentioned here, were almost certainly ‘Jonty’ and his wife Mary (see photograph 14 Mar 1943), on the assumption that ‘Laburnum Cottage’ had been an alternative name for ‘Keal Cottage’ (see Village Map). Jonty, who outlived his wife, was believed to have died during the first half of 1943. Two sons, Syd and Ernest, and their families, lived in the village but neither of their homes was likely to have been known as ‘Laburnum Cottage’.

Soap coupons were those issued by Watsons, the manufacturers.

Ticklers’ jam – a popular brand since World War I.

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

Fri. 29 Oct 8.20 a.m [1943]
# FAMILY VISITORS BRING NEWS
# NEPHEW FRANK’S WEDDING
# PRISONER EXCHANGE REPORTED
# RED CROSS PRAISED
# BLIND P.OW. CENTRE IN GERMANY
# PARCEL POSTED TO RON

The fog has persisted all the week. Think it will clear to-day. On Wed it cleared a few hours in the middle of the day and the clothes finished drying. I had put a fire in room as I did not think it would clear but as soon as I had got a [clothes-] horse-full round fire the sun broke thro’! I put sheets and heavy things out and everything was dry by dinner time and ironed before tea. Keith and Marian came on Thur aft. Also Lau[rence] who had travelled by night to get an extra day at home. He walked in before 8 a.m. to his mother’s surprise. Mary came with them but would not stay tea. Marian’s brother is in India now. He was in N.A. [North Africa] last year when Ron was. He has been hurt or wounded. He does not tell them what happened, only they are not to worry. He is out of hospital and on crutches now. Lau. has a stripe, he is in office work. He amused himself on piano for an hour or more after tea. Jean did not get much homework done. Keith and Marian chuckled over Nip. Ann [Nipper Annual] part of the time. She does her hair in the fashionable roll now. It is so pretty it looks nice however she does it. I had a letter from Frank Lewis’s new wife on Wed and a large piece of bride’s cake which was very good.

A lot of prisoners have been exchanged with Gers this week, the wounded of course. How pleased they will be to get home. They all say the Red + is a marvellous institution and that they would fare badly but for its care. We must give all we can to it. It does one good to read about the selfless actions amongst the prisoners. When one ship docked a man ran to the side and called “Cynthia”. A woman on quay-side answered and scores of men took up the cry. It seems she was taken prisoner in France whilst lorry driving and in the camp where she was interned she tended and nursed the sick and wounded. She is a cousin of Earl of Southesk. Then there is Viscount Normanton who thro’ the Red + got materials sent to him and taught 15 blind men to read Braille. Above all there is the major who would not come home, he is an ophthalmic surgeon and spends all his time operating and doctoring men whose eyes are injured. The Gers. have been very good in giving him facilities for doing this, and he wrote home to his wife for his case of instruments which was despatched and received. He has a wife and three bonny children yet altho’ he could have come home he elected to remain a prisoner so that he can continue to help his wounded, blinded fellow prisoners. He has already helped many back to sight again. He had written to his wife some time since to tell her he should not come this time. In spite of her disappointment, how proud she must feel and what a noble heritage to hand down to his children. All honour to those and countless more we shall never know of who imitate their Master who “went about doing good”.

[Aside: Household coal supply to be cut down again so must be extra careful.] Yesterday we posted Ron’s parcel and sincerely hope he gets it. Rene and I had both been wishing we could include cakes. As she said, “you don’t get the taste of home so well out of razor blades and soap etc.” However, we are not allowed to send anything eatable and of course they are not in need of it. Tom sent him a new pack of cards like those he gave us last year and we put a new face-flannel in and thread etc. Persil as he has to do his own washing, night-lights in a tin in case they melted. We sewed it up in a cotton covering over the paper one after packing them in a cardboard box. Letters have to be posted before Nov. 10. so must write to Jock again.

Frank Lewis, nephew, son of Jesse and Emily (May’s sister), had married Alice.

11th Earl of Southesk, Lord Carnegie, was related, by marriage, to the Royal family.

Lieutenant the Marquess of Normanby, of the Green Howards (not ‘Viscount Normanton’) and Major David Charters, Royal Army Medical Corps, an ophthalmic surgeon, were both prisoners of war who became attached to the German ‘POW Centre for the Blind’ at Kloster Haina.

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

Sun Sep 5 9.30 a.m. [1943]
# ‘TAXI’ WORK FOR WILL
# MEAL PLANNING
# FIRST DAYS OF WAR RECALLED
# RUSSIAN CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT REPORTED
# MORE FRUIT BOTTLING AND JAMMING

Father has just gone to take “locals” to their appointments. There are only 2 today as Tom had done some exchanging. Father is taking Mr Miles along with him to Sk[egness] stn. (Mrs Atkinson’s son in law). It is spitting with rain and looks as if it might be a wet day. Wind came East last night and it turned cold. Rene came to fetch her cake. Tom came with her. Jean has just got up and is having bag of crisps for breakfast. Father had porridge and then boiled bacon. I had bread and butter. Our butter ration only lasts until about Wed. We don’t have it at breakfast-time except on Sunday. The bread is very good this week-end, for a change. I could always make a good meal of good bread and butter. I cooked joint yesterday so shall only make a rice pudding to-day, and probably fry the veg. left from yesterday.

It is quite close indoors although it is very dull. The summer seems to have broken very early, tho’ I hope we get a nice lot of fine days before winter comes. It is not a bit like the first Sunday of the war. I remember it was hot and lovely. Ron came from Chapel with the expected news that we were at war. He and Ralph had made up their minds to join the Navy at once. Well, that did not come off and it was more than a year before Ron was actually in the forces though he joined HG or rather L.D.V [Local Defence Volunteers] the day it was formed. I remember him getting up to go on duty at midnight the night the news came that “Hitler had left Berlin” which really meant I think that invasion fleet was on its way. I can recall the cold clammy fear that came over me when Father slipped down from the box to tell us. Jean and I were sleeping in room then and Ron in scull[ery]. Well it was quickly stopped, Gers never got near enough to invade, and we were told later that 30,000 Ger. bodies were washed up on the shores of France. All the story will probably not be told until after the war, but the rumour was that they poured oil on the water to smooth waves for shallow invasion boats and that it was fired.

This morning the Russians announced the forming of an established Church. Molotov had been at conference and Stalin approved of it. I hope this is the beginning of better things. No fresh news from Italy, the heavy fighting there not reached yet. Hope we soon get another letter from Ron. Emmie had one dated Aug 20th and he was fit and well then. I hear on Radio that Reggio (It[aly]) airfield can be used and wonder if he will go there. I hear too of Gers bombing our air bases and wonder how they fare. We know so little, perhaps it is as well.

We have had a busy week jamming and bottling fruit. There is so much fruit and so little sugar. G.ma gave me some of her big pears and Mary sent a basket of hazel pears, fine ones, we had some stewed yesterday with a junket. I must bottle some if I have enough sugar. Have made bramble and apple jam (seedless), bramble vinegar and damson jam this week. Also bottled damsons. We hope to make apple-pulp this week. We have not made any before. F Raynor came yesterday afternoon and plastered ceiling in Wilsons’ room and outside window. No more mice since Mrs W. was here.

William (‘Bill’) Miles, married to Mrs Atkinson’s daughter, Alice, lived in Nottingham and owned a holiday home, ‘Landseer Bungalow’, in Landseer Avenue (see Village Map).

The Local Defence Volunteers or LDV (later known as the Home Guard) was formed of undrafted 17-65 year-old men, following a call by War Minister Anthony Eden after Germany’s unchallenged invasion of France in May 1940. It was nicknamed ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’. (See also 26 May 1942.)

The rumours described apparently resulted from a major British propaganda exercise, supported by demonstrations of some capability to ‘set the Channel on fire’ using oil pipelines. The propaganda was believed to have played a part in the German decision, on 17th September 1940, to postpone indefinitely the planned invasion by sea, ‘Operation Sea Lion’, which never took place.

Stalin gave orders to re-establish the Russian Orthodox Church, resulting in the appointment of Patriarch Sergius, but under very firm political control.

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

Mon Aug. 30. 8.40. a.m. [1943]
# RENE COLLECTING FOR RED CROSS
# TOM PREACHING AT METHODIST CHAPEL
# JEAN TAKES IN FRUIT FOR SCHOOL DINNERS
# DELAYED LETTERS ARRIVE FROM RON
# GERMAN YOKE IN SCANDINAVIA CHALLENGED

Jean and Father have departed. I am not working to-day. Rene will probably collect Red + pennies and we will wash tomorrow. Wrote a long letter to Ron yesterday and went to Chapel evening service. Tom preached. He is a good preacher and gives the impression that he has spent time and thought on his preparation. Mary and C[harles] were there. M. looks and sounds worn out with sorrow. We are not wearing black. M of course was in blk with white blouse. I hope she won’t think it heathen but I resolved long since that I would only go in blk for anyone very near and then only for a short time. There is scarcely a home without loss and if all wore black it would have a very depressing effect and that is the last thing that we need.

Tom gathered blk.berries and gave them to Jean to take to school for jam for winter puddings. Mr. Sp[endlove] says the jam allowance is totally inadequate for school dinner but that the Gov[ernme]nt would let them have sugar if children brought fruit. It is very windy this morning and is just coming a shower. I expect Ron would like to see it. He says he understands now why the poets write of England’s green and pleasant pasture lands. We had letter from him on Sat. date July 23, and airgraph Aug 11, so had been delayed. Think he would be in Malta then. He had collected bits of wood to make a frame to keep his bed off the ground, tho’ it would not be comfortable. Says he has almost forgotten what its like to sleep on a proper bed. Poor boys, they remind me of little motherless children, tho’ I know they are full of resources and by no means as helpless as we are apt to think them. Father is coming off box at 11 to go to station.

Russians are keeping up their advances well. Trouble seems to be boiling up in Denmark and Sweden now. Danes are getting tired of the German yoke which presses ever more heavily. Danish king is kept a prisoner in his palace. Swedes are being severely reprimanded by Ger. press for their own press’s way of discussing the war. I have seen the last few sheaves of a fodder stack thrown out sometimes and the mice, which hitherto the cat has been able to catch one by one and devour, run out in all directions. The cat is so bewildered that most of them get away. Well I think Hitler is getting nearly to that, but I think he will be fortunate if he gets away. I rather think the mice will continue and rend him. Summer seems to have slipped away with our hour of D[ouble] summer time. These last few days have felt very like Autumn, a damp close atmosphere that depresses one. Let’s hope we have a month or six weeks of golden Autumn days yet before winter. It is not Sep. yet so we could get two months fine weather yet. It was open weather until Xmas last year.

Mary and Charles Hill were in mourning for their son Raymond, recently reported lost in action (see 24 Aug. 1943).

Ron had in fact already been moved from Malta to Sicily on 20th July.

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

Tue July 20 8.30 P.M. [1943]
# CORNED MUTTON TO REPLACE CORNED BEEF
# SEA DEFENCES DAMAGED BY WEATHER
# A VISIT FROM COUSIN AMY
# REPORTS OF SUCCESS IN SICILY
# ANOTHER NEPHEW TO WED
# MORE GUESTS EXPECTED

Jean stayed at Jessie’s for tea on Thurs. Had ham she says. Friday morning Father and Jean got their breakfast and brought mine before going on watch and to school. I rose about 11 o’c. Father had taken cinders out so I took mats up and sw[ept] and dusted leaving mats for Father to shake at 2 o’c. By then I was crocked up again. I let Father go to but[cher's] cart with Peter and Pe. let me have 2 tins corned beef. Said they were the last. After this it is to be corned mutton. I have heard it is very good. Expect we shall soon know. It is very misty and damp to-night, yet strange to say I feel better this last hour since the fog thickened (it was hazy all day) than I have for some days. Perhaps it has turned colder. Tom and Rene called a while since and he said it was the weather he loved with the mist wrapping round like a blanket. Well he is welcome to it, but I don’t like the clammy feel of it. Says the sea has come in up to Cousins’ bungalow again. The workmen are busy putting “kids” in the broken bank. Father says if they run a couple of rows of barbed wire across the gap it would be quite as effective! We did not have a gale with these tides so they were not so picturesque or so destructive as the Apr. tides.

I stayed in bed Sat morning and Jean brought me a letter up just before ten a.m. It was from Amy to say she and Aunt Jet (Ken came too) were coming in Tagg’s car about 12 o’clock. I got up at once and we got the oven started and cooked Sunday beef with York[shire] pud, rice p[udding] and stewed log[an]berries. Also new potatoes but we had no sec. vegetable. A. said she was bringing provisions. It proved to be tin[ned] beef and cooked bacon and some bought tarts. She had been out day before too. We managed alright and dinner was cooked in good time. Jean had got on pretty well downstairs. Father went to Hall’s for groceries and got me some cake too. I dusted down the stairs and made beds as soon as I was dressed. Room was clean as we had not been in since Wed. when I cleaned it well. They all looked fairly well, indeed very well. Aunt J is about as usual, never content but rather more frail I think. Jean managed to get Ken to the sea after dinner, but she says he is very shy. Rene took a snap of us sitting on the seat by the back door. It was very hot there in spite of the cold wind. Ken is making a rockery and took several bits of my rock plants to set on it so hope they grow.

We have a third of Sicily in our hands and a lot of prisoners. Catania still holds out. I wrote and sent a letter to Ron on Sunday. I wish he could get it by next Sun. Jul. 25 as it is the anniversary of his wedding. I must write to Emmie too this week. It doesn’t seem possible that a year has slipped by so quickly. Norman [Lammiman] is to be married next week. He is 21.

Gladys brought Eileen down this afternoon. She came with her G.ma [Harriet] Sunday night too. She is a sweet little babe and grows fast. Spot came too and Bill nearly wept when Father stroked her. Gl. brought a letter about two ladies who want to come on a visit. I wrote an answer for them to send back, though I would have preferred to deal directly with them. I set £2.2. a week for 1 b. room with 2 beds and sit. rm. and attendance. If they come it will be a little towards the rent. I can only do with them when Jean is at home in the mornings to help and she is only home from Fri. Jy. 23 to Tue Aug 17 so we’ll have to make our fortune quickly if at all! A lot of the mist has cleared. We are going to bed. Father on watch until 2 a.m. We are expecting Elsie Russell and friend some day this week.

‘Kids’ were bundles of thorny sticks, usually cut from hawthorn hedges. They were used to hold sand to build dunes with marram grass to form sea defences. ‘Kidding’ was a related local expression for collecting material for firewood sticks.

Frank Tagg was a farmer in Trusthorpe.

‘Spot’ was Herbert and Annie Faulkner’s (Eileen’s parents’) dog.

Elsie Russell was Emmie’s cousin.

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

Thursday July 15 1943 4.50. P.M. [1943]
# ANOTHER DIARY BOOK OPENS WITH POEM
# POURING RAIN ON ST SWITHIN’S DAY
# FEARS OF CROP DAMAGE
# LETTERS FROM RON IN MALTA

St. Swithin’s Day and it’s pouring down
In a thunder-shower from the clouds
For forty days says the old wives tale
It will rain either more or less.

It is almost 5 o’clock and pouring with rain. I think it is a thunder shower tho’ I’ve heard no thunder. It has cooled the air, I believe. I feel a little relief already. The soft south-west wind completely overpowers me. I heard a few hailstones patter on the porch then. Hope it won’t rain in my bedroom window but I can’t go up. I wonder if the shed door is open, if it is it will rain right in. Expect Jean will shelter at Jessie’s. The rain will do good in the gardens if it doesn’t beat everything down. Hope it won’t “lay” the corn tho’ I should think it’s early enough to get up again yet. Rene and Tom called this morning and brought me some peas. I had to hurry then to get dinner and over-tired myself and have been done up ever since. Kitchen has not been swept or dusted.

Had a letter and a letter-card (airmail) today from Ron. Letter written Jul. 1st and card 6th. Ron in Malta when he wrote this. It’s nice to get them so quickly. The flies seem a terrible pest and he says it’s far too hot to go out unless necessary. At the bottom of his A.M. letter there is a tiny P.S. to say his parcel has arrived. [Aside: Parcel arrived on July 6 in Malta.] I can’t remember what date it was sent. He is in billets now in a village and says not to worry if he misses writing occasionally, it is not always possible to write every few days. I hope he gets his mail tho’. Said he had been reading in [Skegness] Standard about our Apr. Gale so that had been a long time on the way. It seems to have stopped raining so hope Jean won’t be long. I want her to go to Hall’s for me for Sw[eet] Nitre.

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