January. Shall we see 1930 standards again? Deadman's dummy. Coal shortage, strikes. Doctor arrested. Canon Crosse. Professional woman's day. Whalemeat.
Saturday, Jan 4th
Molly came down to stay. Unfortunately we already had a women called Judith staying in the house finishing a portrait of Hilary – a rather odd and peculiar women whom I do not like. Yesterday had a visitor, the new assistant director, going round trying to infuse some hope and enthusiasm into the headmasters after so many years of neglect! Quite a nice chap – gave him a 1 lb jar of honey. Molly still on the lookout for a farm, but cousin Geoffrey Wilson at [?Altarnum, Cornwall] cannot get a tap or a sink put in house as no permit.
Hilary taken to Maskelyn’s Magic in London, but trains disorganized by coal shortage and late getting home. Extensive train cuts announced this week because of it. Beginning to wonder whether we will ever recover to 1930 standards of living – 1914 we shall never see!
Monday, Jan 6th
Portrait of Hilary finished, good but flat. The artist then fortunately went back to London, as when not painting she sat right over the fire and kept it off everyone else, so I called her Asbestos Jane.
Heath came up and told me of funeral superstitions in Henley – his grandfather died last week. The family mourners would not start as there were 9, an odd number, so one was the “deadman’s dummy”. He had to go up to another part of the town and fetch someone else to make 10. When they did start the neighbours rushed up and flung the front door open “to let out the spirit.”
Thursday, Jan 9th
Got the remainder of the bees carried up to the field with the help of Molly and Donald Heath. A nice warm morning, but colder later. Donald came to tea and we had our usual argument about science, religion and the universe, to which Hilary listened wide-eyed, though what he made of it I don’t know.
Strike of lorry drivers in London – an unofficial strike - so meat rations short next week.
Molly thinking to teaching Poles English
Friday, Jan 10th
Lunch with Mary. Molly left. Nora went up to London with Hilary and saw the much-praised French film, Les enfants du paradis, which she enjoyed very much. A severe white frost at first, then fog, then milder, then rain.
Molly still looking for a farm in Gloucestershire or West Country. As God did not intend me to be a farmer with this rheumatism, I shall have to extend my bees and chickens (when I can get food again)
Saw in our local press to-day that one of Henley’s doctors run in for conspiring to commit sodomy at Slough. Rather suspected that he was a homosexual, but think high time law was altered and homosexuals left alone.
Monday, Jan 13th
Arthritic complaints so subject to the weather. Leg bad yesterday because, I think, of fall in barometer.
School started to-day, but the painters are still in which makes things difficult. This afternoon old Canon Crosse, the new rector, ex-headmaster of Ardingley, came up to see me. Not an attractive man, rather like a great big blundering bumble bee. His great idea now is to infiltrate into school to teach scripture. Don’t want him at any price, but he is a persistent and insensitive person who will probably be a nuisance anyway. I have no time for the clergy of the Church of England, and have not had since St John’s, Leatherhead, days, of which this chap rather reminds me.
Nora met Margaret Burton in town. As usual very cynical and disillusioned, still living with her friend in one room; says it does not matter how much you earn you still have to live in one room. Nora stood in a queue for ”damaged apples”. Day of professional woman done, pace Margaret, after earning living professional woman goes home to clean room.
Thursday, Jan 16th
Warmer weather to-day and glass high. Bees flying in clouds on their new site, but I noticed that a few went back to their old site under the fir trees, particularly one hive, which was odd.
The strike of transport workers was called off to-day, but troops have been called in to work, and so men will not be able to start work till Saturday.
A chap flew in a jet plane to-day from Paris to London in 20 minutes, the time it takes me to drive from Henley to Reading!
Monday, Jan 20th
Found the first week at school, standing and teaching, very trying to my leg, which does not seem to be getting any better. Cyril Peach came over to tea with the little woman, Miss K. Brett, he is marrying at Easter. Whether he is marrying her for personal reasons or for business reasons I wondered. He is giving up his junior school at Reading, or rather it is giving him up in 1948. Miss Brett has a school for girls aged 5 – 10, so they are going into partnership and will take boys as well.
Molly and I clipped the wings of a hen we thought roosting out as it rarely came to be fed with the rest, but nothing happened. It did not go in with the rest and disappeared, and we supposed it had died. But yesterday it turned up with four day-old chicks!
Whale is being sold, though I don’t quite know where, and there is much discussion as to whether it should rightly be sold by butchers or fishmongers and whether you should use fish knives or not. It is supposed to have the texture of strong liver. “Strong “ in what sense?
Saturday, Jan 25th
On Thursday evening Nora went to Exeter and on Friday she went to see Dartington School. The H.M. (Mr Currie) agreed to take Hilary next term and we shall close with the offer. While Nora away, went to over to M’s, says she loses about six books a week eaten by dogs!
Had a traveller with an artificial leg to see me. Says he changes his socks once a month instead of weekly. Last saw him before the war, in which he lost the leg by one of our own shells at an A.A. site.
Sunday, Jan 26th
Light fall of snow and bitter east wind. Did not venture out all day. Some talk in papers of reduction in income tax. Hope so, certainly some kick is needed or we shall never get the production which the government insists is so necessary. People are fed up; they want jam to-day.
J. L. Garvin died last week. Always remember sitting in the J.C.R. at Keble reading his attacks on the Versailles Treaty. He was then at the height of his power.
Russians are believed to be in a bad way. There appears to have been a very bad harvest in Ukraine and threat of famine there affecting a larger area than in 1921. The wretchedness of the Russians not due only to after effects of war. The leaders have played their cards with iron faces and fought every inch, but their recent change of front in relation to the democracies arises from their inability to prevent the truth of Russia’s need and exhaustion from coming out. Help is urgently needed from the West and their peoples must be prepared for this.