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Thursday, 9 September 2010

1950 July

July. Lazy. Korea a try-out for Germany? Frau Paterna. Attrill as Quince. US bomber bases.

Saturday, July 1st
Had planned to go down to Hilary to visit Penshurst but be rang up to say he was playing in a tennis match, so went on the Downs with Nora. Viper Bugloss, Lady’s Bedstraw, Rock Roses, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Purple Orchis in abundance and limes in lane leading up in full flower. We had a nice lazy day after a trying week at school, and chicken for supper too!

Sunday, July 2nd
Last massage, I hope. Back better, but hip joint and leg will never be much good. Wrote for tickets to Savoy to French railways.
Best opinion that campaign in Korea likely to be long. One wit (who proved to be wrong) said U.S. would send all possible aid short of help!

Monday, July 3rd
Reading My People, My People, an account from letters and diaries of a Canadian married to a German, both highly intelligent university people, anti-Nazi etc. Lived near Munster, man in air force ground staff and eventually captured in France. When village over run she worked for a year as interpreter for military government. The story runs from 1936 to 1946 when the man was released and able to rejoin his wife. She was left with two small children to face the oncoming invaders and each did not know for months if the other had survived.
Looking back on what has happened, the policy of grinding Germany to rubble with all government collapsed seems to have been a disastrous folly. It simply made possible the wholesale and unjustifiable expulsions from Eastern Germany, the creation of a communist-dominated Poland with the Russians on the Elbe.
She reports the looting and bad behaviour of the allied troops, the acquiescence of the allies in the excesses of the D.P.s [Displaced Persons], and he of his experience in the French transit camps being slowly starved while the Americans threw food away. Not a pretty story, and all the time we were saved from a like fate by the Channel.
A terrific downpour of rain that lasted nearly all day.

Tuesday, July 4th
A dull heavy day with no sun but threats of thunder. Everything damp and sodden. Hope it will cheer up for Regatta. The young men’s wet clothes smelled worse than cats’ fish [The young men a four from St Peter's Hall, Oxford]
While picking black currants I said to Nora, “The trouble with me is that I am so lazy.” “Never mind,” said N, “think of the happiness you give people.” Mary Clayden says she has never been so happy in her work. Very nice of her, hope deserved. She (N) added, “Con always said you were lazy;”
School certificate English essay this morning asked to describe a picture they would like to paint. One girl described a perfect adolescent dream of herself waiting in a castle for the coming of something. It was full of imagery of water, doors, drawbridges, the symbolism of which would have been obvious to the psychologists.

Wednesday, July 5th
School shut for Regatta till Monday. Mary came over and I took her down to see the Regatta. There had been heavy rain and the weather was dull and stuffy, but I managed to get a fire going for tea in the Fawley Meadows. We took our supper into the beech woods off the Marlow road. There were not many people on our side of the river, but to my disgust one woman (with mistaken kindness) offered to boil our kettle on her primus!

Thursday, July 6th
I took Mary to Cliveden, which is only open on Thursday afternoons. We had long planned this excursion and, though the weather was dull and thundery with drizzle at intervals, it was lovely. The lawns and vistas, the distant view from the great terrace, the greens of the nearer groups of trees giving way to the blues of the further horizon were like a great Fragonard come to life.
The house, which we went over, was rather dull by comparison with the, landscape gardening, but what undoubtedly gave one most pleasure was Pluto raping Proserpine on the great lawn! With his left hand firmly under her bottom, he appeared to be about to pitch her, like putting the weight, to his right front, towards which he gazes. Prosperpine makes an elegant gesture with her hand and looks towards the the point of impact, meanwhile stretching her sightly right leg down in Pluto’s fork, modestly concealing his testicles with her calf.
The Astor who bought Hever Castle and Cliveden had been American minister to Italy before he settled in England and became a naturalized Englishman and evidently this accounts for Proserpine and also a very handsome balustrade from the Borghese Gardens
We wandered round the gardens after having tea in a little oriental temple in the water garden. As we sat kissing in it, I named it the temple of consummated love, but our luck was out and all the hotels in Maidenhead were full and I had to take Mary back to the flat. She was very disappointed and wept.

Saturday, July 8th
To Penshurst station, where I happened on a bus which took me to the village, a good two miles. Looked over the church, in which Lord Gort (Diary, June 1st, 1940) lies buried, for his daughter married Lord de L’Isle & Dudley, the present owner of Penshurst Place. A neat and tiny feudal village with most expensive hotel. Sat on very decayed seat, which might have been 400 years old but which commemorated the jubilee of George V, and waited for Hilary, who arrived about 12 o’clock. We had lunch in the park. Nora had given us a jam jar filled with raspberries. These we topped up with ice cream bought from a fat and cheerful woman at the village bakers and it made a super sweet. In the afternoon we went round the house and gardens, as I had planned to do 30 years ago, a long deferred but much enjoyed treat. Got back about 9.30 through streets packed with people and cars for the Regatta fireworks. The young men have gone, leaving a cheque for £31.
Sunday, July 9th
The news bad to-day. Seems very doubtful if the Americans can build up quickly enough to hold Korea….. The Russians are ready to risk a war or they would not have allowed an invasion. Are they therefore much more confident and prepared than we think? ….. Do they intend Korea as a try out for Germany?….. The Yalta-Potsdam idea of dividing lines between western and eastern spheres no longer holds good. Russia’s protégés have a right to aggression for the sake of national unity and disregard existing dividing lines. If Korea, why not Persia, Bulgarian Macedonia against Jugoslavia, or Greece, but most obviously of all – Germany. In the eastern zone an army, the People’s Police, is being raised and this could be used for “national unity”. It may be much later than we think!
Told Nora my conclusions. If the U.N. defeat the North Koreans and then fail to reach a settlement with the Russians, we are, sooner or later, in for a third world war. A terribly depressing conclusion to reach five years after the last one.
The hopeless thing is the obscurity of Russian policy – like prospecting for diamonds in a municipal rubbish heap, said Peter Fleming. The Germans are sometimes stupid, the Italians silly, the Japanese inane, but the Russians are so unaccountable no one can tell what they are at.
MacArthur, the general commanding our forces, the White Mikado, defender of Coreggidor, the island hopper of the Pacific war, is now an old man of 70. Is he still mentally alert and flexible? Let us hope so!

Tuesday, July 11th
This morning the American positions were penetrated under cover of fog, the American tanks appear to have been out-gunned, and they had to pull back again to a new defensive line. To-night we heard an American correspondent, relayed from Tokyo. He said the American G.I.s he met had never before heard a shot fired in anger and did not know what it was all about.
Went down to smell the tobacco plants on the terrace after dusk. I said to Nora they smelled as lovely as Miss Perkins. “Look, they are pink underneath,” she replied. “So perhaps is she,” I answered!

Wednesday, July 12th
The row Mary was heating up came to a head. As usual got nowhere.

Thursday, July 13th
Rang up for an appointment with dentist. Given one at end of September. Such is life under the N.H.S.!

Friday, July 14th
Went over to Mary and told some home truths about my character, “ourselves as others see us”.

Saturday, July 15th
Ladies in retirement! Visited Aunt and Rusby. The D.P. and husband have refused to do any more work on ground that Rusby watches them. Aunt has taken R to task and now she is melancholy. They have to get their own meals for the first time for years and no one is on speaking terms with anyone else!
An interesting talk on the communist government of China by an Australian. Has the backing of the people because efficient and honest. Has developed since 1928 out of touch with other communist movements and among the peasants of western and central China. Mao a communist longer in power than Stalin and recognized as the leader of a great people. Has the support of the bureaucrats….. Is Chinese, i.e., will claim all historic China including Formosa and Tibet, and the inheritance of the empire, e.g., has moved capital back to Peking and may make the Forbidden City a Chinese Kremlin. Is developing industry and giving the peasants their land. On the whole a reassuring picture and justifies our recognition of the People’s Government.

Sunday, July 16th
“I tell you with the utmost earnestness that my own anxieties about the safety, not only of the free world but of our own hearths and homes, remind me often of the summer of 1940.” Churchill in a speech to the party in Plymouth yesterday.
Public thinking is far behind events: 1) Planned aggression on June 25th. 2) Prompt and vigorous reaction of U.S. and U.N. 3) The failure of the reaction to make any impression on the aggressors, who are triumphant. The South Koreans have not been saved; they are being fought over. The pettiest Russian puppet state has defied the world and got away with it. It is not enough to drive the invaders out of Korea; we have to make it certain that another Korea will not be staged elsewhere.
It may be convenient to pretend that Russia is not involved, but we must not deceive ourselves. The N. Koreans were armed, equipped, trained and set in action by the Kremlin as much as the Czech communists in 1948. The kernel of the invading army is formed by two Korean divisions and Siberian immigrants which fought against the Germans on the eastern front plus soldiers from the Chinese armies in Manchuria. The Russian planners took the measure of the South Koreans, the occupation forces in Japan and any other western troops available in Malaya or Hong Kong, and they have up till now been right…..
We are as weak in local defence in Europe where there are far more powerful Russian satellites than in Korea….. We seem to have planned for aggression from Russia and not seen the possibility of local aggression, which may lose us all Europe and Asia….. That means we must ourselves rearm and that means continued austerity and curtailment of money spent on social welfare.
In 1934 people were taken in by Hitler’s peace talk and by the social improvements he was making in Germany. To-day we may feel doubtful about the worth of the South Korean state and the American support, but that is not the point; we are in danger of attack in Europe, and unless we back up the U.N. the smaller nations will not either. The U.S. is waiting for a lead from us.

Wednesday, July 19th
An Elizabethan fête in the church at Phyllis Court. Attrill roped in to play Quince in The Dream and Queen Elizabeth rowed in barge from Leander Club across the river. I did not go, but met Mary at Marlow and we went to West Wycombe. Had tea by the car and then saw over the house, both funny and vulgar. Terrific Raphaelesque painting on ceiling, triumph of Bacchus etc, and everywheree nymphs and goddesses. Happened to glance up staircase and found myself looking straight at a female bottom, went over to window and found one sprawling on stomach and showing the same part of herself to the best advantage. The guide told us when we went into dining room, which was obviously in use, that Lady Dashwood did not like us to step on the carpet, which had once been a fine Aubusson, but was full of large holes below the table! One could imagine them catching their feet on it when they got up from dinner! The chairs were in little better state and much of the contents was worse for wear. The lawns and groves were lovely and we were often moved to kiss as we wandered over them.

Friday, July 21st
Nora took Hilary to Liverpool St station and saw him off on the Harwich train.

Saturday, July 22nd
Frau Paterna from Hamburg and her adopted son Thomas, aged 11, arrived for lunch. She was much aged, but it was 14 years (1936) since we had last seen her. The nephew she brought then was dead in Russia. I remember her asking me if I thought war was likely and I replied yes I did. Thomas is a very nice leggy small boy, 11, who played the flute and was very keen on dogs, so he had a good time with the spaniel. He also climbed trees and did a jigsaw
I met Mary at 5.30 and drove over to The Bear at Hungerford. We had a very pleasant large room. It was “a dinner and drink” hotel; masses came in for the purpose, but very few stayed there.

Sunday, July 23rd
To Marlborough, beyond Marlborough to The Sanctuary, where the ridgeway crosses the Bath Road, a lovely situation spoilt by a petrol shack; then to Silbury, on to Avebury, and to Devizes, a queer town, all one way streets. Then to Urchfont and Potterne. We found plenty of Pearces in the electoral register, but only one grave with the name. Got home about 10.15. A good day. [Mary was a Pearce with family roots in Potterne]

Monday, July 24th
Nora went off very early and I got the Paternas’ breakfast. To my suprize when the taxi arrived, Thomas flung his arms around me and kissed me.

Tuesday, July 245th
The swimming sports were very different from last year. It rained and I sat under an umbrella most of the time from 11 – 1. In the afternoon we had the last house match and it kept off for that. Busy with the usual end of term stuff, reports, prefect making, book collecting etc.
A long letter from Hilary. He had a good journey to Copenhagen, the sea was calm, the boat comfortable, the train uncomfortable but fast.
Frau Parterna was pessimistic. She said she saw no way of preventing the spread of communism in Europe. The Germans are seriously alarmed by the Korean war and no wonder. Three allied divisions face about 30 Russian….. We can hardly expect them to be enthusiastic about an atomic war in which the bombs would be dropped on them.

Wednesday, July 26th
Gave the VIth a talk on Korea which made them pretty gloomy.

July 27th
Took Nora over to see Cliveden. Had lunch and tea in the water garden and saw the tiny open air theatre which we had missed on July 6th. A lovely day with white clouds and the lawns very green and fresh and masses of fish in the ponds, which came to be fed with breadcrumbs and cake.

Friday, July 28th
Debate in Parliament on Korea. Churchill said the Soviet had 175 active divisions, perhaps half, 80, could be used against us in western Europe, one third armoured; against these we had 12 divisions, less than 2 armoured.
“If the Soviets with their armoured columns could be at Calais and reach the Channel before any substantial reinforcements could arrive upon the scene, then we ourselves, although protected from an immediate invasion by the anti-tank obstacle of the Channel, with its waves, tides and storms, will be subject to a bombardment by rocket propelled and guided missiles incomparably more severe than anything we have endured.”
The Americans had an immense lead in atom bombs and two years ago the government agreed to establishing a bomber base in East Anglia - one of the most important – with 180 planes in three bomber groups. It is this deterrent we are living on now.
We have been brought up very short against the facts of out situation and it is very unpleasant, not to say terrifying.
Saturday, July 29th
Leonora Cook, medical missionary, staying here. A grim women without much sense of humour. Said that owing to cast system in India, the exodus of Moslems left a complete dearth of many crafts, bakers, potters, cobblers, tailors, etc, and in exchange a surplus of clerks and shopkeepers. Would rather be in India than Pakistan [she was in what is now Bangla Desh] as medical standards much higher there.
The chairman of the Security Council next month would be a Russian. After eight months boycott they have suddenly announced they are coming back on Tuesday next to take the chair. Whether they hope to trade something for Korea or whether they intend to throw a spanner in the works of the Security Council, I and no one else knows.
The communists making an all out attack in Korea, hoping to drive the out bridgehead before the divisions from the U.S. arrive.

Sunday, July 30th
Put the clearers on hives with Tom to lift yesterday and most ready for taking off honey on Friday.
Attlee spoke to-night, quite well, but he is not an impressive broadcaster. His misfortune is that most people compare him with the Great Wurlitzer.

Monday, July 31st
Had a boy to help Tom take off the honey, but some bees got into his veil and stung him on the nose, when he dropped his end of the stretcher. As this was his first experience it was a bad show and I doubt if we shall see him again. Tom and I had to do the best we could by ourselves. While I was away with Mary a telegram arrived from Aunt to say Rusby was going into hospital to-morrow.

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