October. Britain in 3Ds. Few things better, most worse. Prize day returns. Goering evades hangman. Britain Can Make It. Peter Flemming - bogus and a snob.
Saturday, Oct 5th
Some wit returning from the East said that to judge from the hoardings the govt was offering three things, Diphtheria, VD and Death on the Roads.
Had the ex-head of the Royal School, Addis Ababa, to stay for the night. Described how Haille Selassie came to the school with a fruitcake and a fish slice with which he cut the cake into small squares to regale the boys. After they had partaken of the royal bounty he returned to his limousine in which he sat and cried to the boys “Push!”
The verdict at Nuremberg this week. Most people uneasy at sentence of death on two soldiers, Keitel and Jodl; also all our consciences uneasy because not sure that the men who used the atom bomb ought not to be in the dock too. Trial conducted in a fair and dignified way, but wonder whether history will say it was well done and marked the rousing of the world conscience against crimes against humanity itself.
The governors met this week. They had to elect a new chairman, but when I enquired whether we would get some one other than the decayed landowner he replied, “You’ll have to wait for an act of God” - been waiting for 12 years. I have evaded Prize Day since 1939, but will have to have one this autumn, though books are still very difficult to get.
Razor blades are now very plentiful, but you can’t get shaving soap, only cream, because some speaker on the B.B.C. advised housewives to buy if for washing clothes. Shirts are difficult too; some at one shop ordered in January arrived in September and all sold out within the week – and only 4 dozen at that. Transport is certainly very much better but one of the few things that is. Coal, milk, tyres, bread, clothes bad or worse. Chicken mash cut this week from 40lbs to 16!
Sunday, Oct 6th
For the first time since the war we are back on Greenwich time, neither summer nor double summer. Nora could not sleep and brought the breakfast in at 7 G.M.T. Eggs in short supply. My five old hens lay about 7 a week and the pullets have not begun.
Sunday, Oct 13th
Came down by train yesterday from Reading to Gomshall and walked with M to Holmbury St Mary where stayed at the youth hostel. This had been built for the job before the war and was very nice indeed, although the beds only had sleeping bags on them and they were very hard. Walked to Leith Hill and back by Friday Street to Gomshall. On Leith Hill we cooked our lunch on a fire we made in a sandpit. It was a cold and sunless weekend which was disappointing as Friday was a brilliant day. The paths through the woods among the browning bracken, beech and pine, sandy and soft to the feet, were delightful and we met hardly any other walkers.
Monday, Oct 14th
The Paris Peace Conference ended today in a state of exhaustion. Characteristically Molotoff had the last word by saying he was unready when his turn came…. Now the recommendations of the conference go back to the Council of Foreign Ministers, which will meet in New York…
Thursday, Oct 17th
Goering slipped through our fingers after all. Three quarters of an hour before he was to be hanged in Nuremberg jail he committed suicide by taking cyanide. How he concealed or obtained it is a mystery. The rest were hanged, beginning with Ribbentrop. In fact all the leaders escaped the gallows, Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and now Goering.
The bodies of the Nazi leaders cremated and ashes dispersed secretly – that we hope will be the end of what began in 1919.
The Queen Elizabeth now making a maiden voyage to New York as a passenger liner with Mr Molotoff on board. Remember the Queen went up to Scotland launch her just before the war broke out…..
Saturday, Oct 19th
Went over to see Aunt Alice. Had tea from a service bought as a wedding present for Grandmother in 1853, guess a model, hand-painted with flowers and stencilling, from the Great Exhibition of two years earlier.
Several of the boys have been up to see the Britain Can Make It exhibition at the Victoria & Albert.
Sunday, Oct 20th
The Americans are now short of meat. Price controls were taken off by Congress in the summer and in spite of rocketing prices the consumers ate more than the usual supply. Taking advantage of this, the meat packers kept back supplies and have produced a near vegetarian U.S.A. in order to discredit the govt and smash up all the controls.
All the opposition to the planned economy of Roosevelt is gaining momentum and “free enterprise” is endeavouring to head as fast as possible to the economic anarchy of the pre-New Deal era. What an undisciplined people they are! How Molotoff and the communists must despise their lack of plan. Unfortunately we are involved too, e.g., there is now a leather shortage as by holding back slaughtering, or slaughtering on the black market where hides could not be sold, has produced a run on the S. American market and prices we cannot afford to pay. For now we have to shop as a nation very carefully, picking and choosing our markets for purchases in relation to capacity to export to pay for them.
Saturday, Oct 27th
Peter Fleming came to talk to Teachers Group on “Education as he had seen it on his travels”, but he proved quite bogus, had prepared nothing, had no ideas worth mentioning and was well ginned up. A snob.
Nora went up to London and had tea with one of the Long Dene teachers – now left – who said Hilary ought to have a job where he could deal with people as he got on so well with his group and was so sensitive to people’s feelings.
This week Churchill sounded a warning in the debate on foreign affairs….. He asked how many Russian divisions were on a war footing on the line from the Baltic to the Greek frontier. This question gave a shock to the house….