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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

1948 June

June. D-Day service. Showing too much buttock. Mixed school still controversial. Comus a success. Old Boys' supper. Encouraged by H.M.I. Crisis in Berlin.

Sunday, June 6th
Weather continues fearful. Had a D-Day service on Friday and read them Joshua 1, which I believe many chaplains used at that time. Started the assembly with an extract from The Observer, bowdlerised however as it talked of sending indecent post cards to your most respectable friends.

Used our first legitimate petrol to go over to see Aunt Alice at Watford, a work of charity rather than pleasure.
The British plan for a months truce in Palestine accepted by U.N.O. and likely to be accepted by the Jews and Arabs….
Abolition of death penalty set back by House of Lords, who can now pose as representing public opinion and revising the opinion of the House of Commons accordingly. Poor, as H of C ahead of public opinion, and a good thing too.
Domestic science teacher brought me a fork bent into S shape. Exhibited it to natives and told them metalwork was not on the curriculum at present (Loud laughter).
Saw a good film, Mine Own Executioner, and now reading book [by Nigel Balchin].

Monday, June 7th
Rehearsal of Comus. A light wind and aeroplanes circling around so often impossible to hear. Water nymphs great hefty wenches dressed to show too much buttock; what fun we have in mixed schools! Not enough people for rather sombre background of yew hedge and dull red brick I thought, and trouble taken not rewarded enough from spectators point of view.

Tuesday, June 8th
Six power agreement on Germany – if the French Chamber does not reject it, which seems quite likely. Spent a futile afternoon on a thieving case, wasting petrol going out to Nuffield to check on a boy’s story, which in the end proved to be quite true. Last night read Dr Bolfry at my house; 24 turned up, so rather a crush. Think (James) Bridie perhaps half tight himself when he wrote play.
Have revived controversy about mixed school by getting W.E.A. to pass resolution. This started correspondence in local paper, much I suspect to governors’ disgust, and I let on the result of parents’ vote in 1946. [Ed: No reference in Diary to what parents' vote was, but evidently clear majority in favour of mixed school]

Saturday, June 12th
Comus went off very well after all. Saw it on Tuesday and Thursday. Verse speaking and movement both of very high standard and everyone very pleased. Chairman of the governors came on Thursday, but really thought he might die in his deck chair. Couldn’t get to his feet for God Save the King, and then couldn’t get his hat off. Had a party at home afterwards and 12 parents to supper before.
Hilary home for half term. “You don’t get much come back with Hilary,” Nora said, quoting his tutor. Dutch-Norfolk strain on her side evidently a dominant, not recessive, characteristic! Has failed to reach status as “doubtful case” in school entrance exam (11 plus).

Sunday, June 13th
The Bishop of Thirsty Island, alias John Hunter, arrived to stay the night. Hilary very interested in his gaiters, cross and ring.

Monday, June 14th
One of those days when one could not turn round for jobs and everybody kept ringing me up at the same time. Reflected that John Hunter had become very old and how much younger I had remained, but Nora said you always think that of yourself anyway!

Thursday, June 17th
Old Boys Supper last night after cricket match, but hardly anyone turned up and supper was very poor. They charged 4/- too. On Wednesday H.M.I. (Inspector of schools), Mr Barrow, a very learned man, came in. Spent 10.30 till 12.30 arguing about religion, then went out and looked at bees, then to see school dinner served. After dinner he sat in the common room and chatted to staff. Said it was a nice school and a nice staff – very heartened by this encouragement..

Saturday, June 19th
Very thundery, showery, and yet windy and damp. An unpleasant sort of June. Went over to Reading to be massaged, appointment at 10.30, started from house at 9.15, back at 12.40, three and a half hours for half an hour in Reading. The effect of not having a car and travelling by bus and standing in queues. Bought some cherries for 2/- a lb.

Wednesday, June 23rd
Went to see a Chaplin film, M. Verdoux, but very poor stuff, though some good Chaplinesque touches.

Thursday, June 24th
The Keble Association dinner at the college – a very pleasant social occasion and more people there I knew than I expected. Ran into an American from Alabama first with whom I nearly had a row because I said the Americans were frightened of communism. “I would have you know that the U. S. of America is not frightened of anything!” Sat opposite the Bishop of Chicago at dinner and the Bishop of the Solomon Islands at breakfast. The latter, old Baddesley, a tough. When ordered to leave in 1942 he took to the bush and evaded the Japs until the Americans arrived. Was put to sleep in the Chapel Block 10, either the room I had in 1917 or the one below, I am not sure which.

Saturday, June 25th
Went to beech woods above Hambleden. Yesterday Nora picked up a couple of Danish university students with packs on the Iffley Road and when I got back from Mary about 11.30 they were installed for the night. Brothers, one to be a lawyer, the other a teacher, English excellent, a charming pair.
Crisis in Berlin. The Russians have stopped all transport from the west and are refusing to pass in food from the east. This because we refused to allow them to control issue of old and new currency in Berlin. We issued a new currency in the west last week. It looks as though they are prepared to starve out our sector of Berlin. As Germans regard Berlin as only possible capital, if we loose Berlin we are one step towards losing the rest of Germany – quite apart from blow to prestige as we have previously declared our intention of staying.. They have got us in a fix, it seems to me, as by simply sitting still they can reduce Berlin to chaos, while if we want to re-victual it we shall have to use force and this may mean war. Churchill said in a speech tonight that we are faced with a crisis like that of Munich. Are we to sell out the Berliners to appease the Russians. “I cannot guarantee that even a firm and resolute course will ward off the dangers that are now threatening us, but I am sure that such a course is not merely the best but the only chance of preventing a third war”.

Sunday, June 27th
The Russians want to make the troops’ and the administrators’ position impossible, they want to revenge themselves on the Berliners, who have defied them, and they want to show that they mean business while we do not. The Americans have increased their air services and no doubt we could maintain our garrison in that way, but would be the use if we stay as spectators powerless to prevent the starvation of two million Berliners….

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