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Monday, 30 August 2010

1949 July

July. Satin brassieres at Regatta. Freda Cripps. Attrills. Vernon Mills. Nora meets Mary. Weepy Miss Hunter resigns. Rolf from Denmark.

Monday, July 4th
On Thursday Nora and I took tea down to the Bucks side and watched the rowing. St Peter’s Hall, our crew, did well but were beaten after a good race.
On Friday went to see the Munich Pictures at the National Gallery and the Vienna Pictures at the Tate. The National Gallery was the best from the point of view of painting, but the Tate contained the magnificent Tintoretto, Susannah and the Elders, which was one of the finest pictures of either exhibition. Though I had a postcard of this, little thought either that I should go to Vienna or the picture would come to London. One of the good things that has come out of the war.
Saturday went to regatta. Banks very crowded compared with Thursday and some odd types, including women wearing trousers and white satin brassieres only. What would Grandpa Atkins have made of them I wonder. Mrs Churchill, Clemmie, gave away prizes and we saw her as she went down the course with the Diamonds (scullers). Her appearance greeted with clapping. Reading the second volume of Their Finest Hour but not as fascinating as Vol I.
To-day the drought broke. It was time, everything baked and yellow. In the end very little rain fell and the drought went on as dry as ever.

Friday, July 8th
Terrific heat in examination room where School Certificate and Higher School Certificate candidates stewing. One girl, Freda Cripps, brought in a piece of honeysuckle each day. Down to Molly. The Cotswolds lovely in the level light of evening. The evenings at Roel Hill very cold.

Saturday, July 9th
Went into Winchcombe for lunch, of which I am becoming rather fond, and bought four books at Mr Tovey’s eccentric bookshop. Went out after tea to pick strawberries in Finting Wood. As difficult as whortleberries. Ate the strawberries at supper with lots of sugar and cream. They were sharp but with a most strawberry flavour. I had never in 49 years eaten a dish of wild strawberries before.

Sunday, July 10th
Drove back with five pullets in great heat

Monday, July 11th
Read of Juno and the Paycock under the walnut tree on the lawn. Mr Attrill and I only men. Eric Cunnington read Daly to my Paycock. She favoured a Scots accent flavoured with American.

Tuesday, July 12th
Temperatures again in 80s and 90s.

Wednesday, July 13th
Cleared out backroom in preparation for extracting (honey). Think it may be average year and wonder if I shall get 400lbs. Speriamo!

Thursday, July 14th
Wind blew from west with promise of some rain but none came until about 10 o’clock at night. Lay in bed with windows open and listened to rain falling and water gurgling in gutters. Lovely!

Friday, July 15th
Humidity still high. As soon as got examination sets beetled down to town and bought 5/ - of salmon stewed it after school and into Reading with a bottle of cider. After supper went to bed and slept with each together twice, first time very tenderly, gently and slowly and then again quickly, actively and in silence, but both times with joy.

Saturday, July 16th
Thunderous and several patches of really heavy rainfall. Getting extracting gear washed and ready.

Sunday, July 17th
Really heavy thunder and rain on and off all day. Water cascading in fountains from school roof and guttering. Bees had a day off and clung in masses round the hive entrances. Nora wrote to Mary suggesting that for sake of Hilary’s peace of mind we should try to penetrate the iron curtain of our relationship up to date. Wish we could but human relationships the most difficult of all to make a success. Private Angelo easier in fiction than in real life.
Vernon Mills came over to tea. Is thinking of taking up politics as a career! Goes round speaking and is vice chairman of Reading Conservative Party. He and Nora had a field day planning programme for the Danish boy.
Dock strike still on over unloading of two Canadian ships that dockers consider black but union leaders say not. Another unofficial strike which seems to arise from failure of leaders to keep in touch with rank and file so that dockers distrust them….
Stafford Cripps to go into a Swiss nursing home in a few weeks. Should think in danger of burning himself out. There are to be some cuts in dollar buying of tobacco and sugar

Wednesday, July 20th
Mary rang up Nora and asked her to tea. I drove Nora over and then went to be massaged. Nora was half an hour late meeting me at the Public Library, but the visit was a success. To Nora Mary appeared attractive, to Mary Nora seemed nice to her. The meeting was social and kept off the topic of the relationship. I felt very relieved that it went well and without strain. I hardly thought Mary would bring it off so soon as she was very reluctant to do anything before her holiday.

Saturday, July 23rd
Danish boy Rolf Thorup arrived. When Nora gave up addressing him in French, he understood well and his accent excellent after two years work and a Linguaphone course.

Sunday, July 24th
Went down with Rolf to Display Day at Long Dene. One of the hottest days of this hot summer. Hilary met us on the way up from the station. The boys walked far apart and exchanged sidelong glances when they believed the other was not looking. There were three plays, dancing and madrigals, but the new (outdoor) theatre, though an excellent piece of work, faced south and was unshaded. The audience boiled and steamed and sweated. We retired under a hawthorne where we were slightly cooler but could not see very well. As usual the dancing, display and acting was excellent. We came back in a train like the Black Hole and arrived at Reading very fed up.

Tuesday, July 26th
Miss Hunter suddenly announced she was leaving at the end of term on a sudden impulse (which is the only way she can take a decision). I did not welcome it at this stage though obviously she ought to leave.

Wednesday, July 27th
Parents match. Much hard hitting, good cricket to watch, a draw. Vernon Mills arrived to act as team leader for the boys.

Thursday, July 28th
Miss Hunter staggered down to assembly in a weeping condition. Ten minutes before she had still not made up her mind about the new girl prefects. It was a hot and tiring day. One of the asses in the sixth form cut the bell rope in the tower and poured some sand out of a fire bucket outside my door which did not improve my temper much.

Friday, July 29th
First day of the holiday. Had breakfast in bed and spent the morning with bees. Vernon Mills, Rolf and Hilary went to London sightseeing.

Sunday, July 31st
Lent Ioan (Vaughan Jones) my Churchill Vol I. He found it a revelation as he was a schoolboy and knew nothing of the politics of the 1931 - 1939 period and could not make out how everyone had been so completely wrong.

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