September. Toughs on Temple Island. Bernard Shaw. Rearming West Germany. "All hurry and worry." Korea, 38th parallel
Friday, Sept 1st
Went on river in canoe in afternoon with our tea as far as Greenlands. The statue no longer in the temple on Temple Island as some toughs removed it at Regatta and in trying to get away dropped it in the river.
Saturday, Sept 2nd
Went on Downs in afternoon, which was fine and sunny and stayed out to 6.30. Hilary does things when asked, not always with good grace, but, as Nora says, never by any chance volunteers to do or get anything for her.
Wednesday, Sept 6th
School started. Told children orchard out of bounds and no good going there as I had been in first and got all apples, as Len had.
Stopping fell out of back tooth and no appointment for a fortnight. However got ex-school dentist to see me within half an hour and put in a temporary filling. When I said I was willing to pay, he said no, accepted as a casual patient under N.H. scheme and given a bit of paper to that effect.
Friday, Sept 8th
Hilary’s 14th birthday, dull, cold and rainy by evening. Father bought me a wrist watch in 1913, which lasted until 1937, when I bought a new one in France – Lagny sur Mere – for the exhibition. When father died in 1940, I used his wrist watch which I am wearing now. Nora took my watch, but the window was broken so I gave it to Hilary to take into Reading and get it mended. He was very cheerful all day though there was not much for him to do. Had some nice Irish Dundee cake for tea. In the evening went to The Angel, mushroom soup, chicken, apple tart, then to an emotional and, I thought, poor play about a young murderer, very unsuitable for a 14-year-old anyway.
Saturday, Sept 9th
Over to Reigate on a duty visit to Audrey, Nora’s niece, and Basil the gasman in their new flat. I inspected photographs of honeymoon, flat and garden and had a high tea which had been prepared with much labour and nervousness and some omissions!
Sunday, Sept 10th
Started off for Mary’s at about 11.0. the day began damp and musty but improved and sunny periods in the afternoon. We went on the Streatley Downs where we looked at the Pralognan photographs. On the whole they were excellent, better than Mary’s in previous years, but may have been prejudiced as I took some myself!
Monday, Sept 11th
Three hours ago General Smuts died in Pretoria. Bernard Shaw broke a thigh yesterday and operated on to-day. Wonder if he will recover, in his mid-nineties. Started making efforts to sell honey at 3/3 lb – 3/6 last year.
Tuesday, Sept 12th
Lord Samuel said on Smuts: “He brought sagacity to the service of righteousness – of such is the salt of the earth.” Lord Samuel himself a philosopher, statesman; liberal and writer and an excellent choice for the broadcast.
The Commons debating the extension of conscription to two years. Churchill said Europe needed 70 divisions for the defence – 20 British, 20 French, 20 U.S. and 10 from the rest. Western ministers in New York discussing rearming of West Germany or the creation of a western police force to balance that being set up in the eastern zone.
Wednesday, Sept 13th
Took car to Pangbourne and walked to Goring along river to Basildon. Got a bus but conductor refused to stop short of Pangbourne; however it was signalled by a man on the road, so we got out about 10 yards short of the car instead three quarters of a mile. This kind of thing makes you realize you are in England where the conductors are "for the law” – and what a law, too, the greatest inconvenience for the greatest number!
Friday, Sept 15th
Battle of Britain Day. Clem read the lesson from Joshua 1, read same passages from Churchill as last year and then Brind played the Trumpet Tune and Air.
MacArthur has taken the offensive. A seaborne landing near Seoul in attempt to finish war by getting across supply lines.
We went to the Playhouse to see an amusing play about a doctor who brought a mermaid called Miranda back to London from Cornwall and the domestic disturbances, broken engagements, etc, this caused before the wife guessed what she was and [Miranda] solved the problem by diving into the Thames. The last line of the play left you (and the wife) guessing whether she was pregnant or not.
Saturday, Sept 16th
Went over to lunch on Ewelme Downs. The day was cloudy but clear and for the first time I saw the Radcliffe Camera and St Mary’s spire through field glasses. There was an air display at Benson Aerodrome and we had flights of spitfires and jets, etc, and diving and climbing by single fighters.
I said to Hilary, “Your grandfather often used to say, “What’s your hurry?” to which he [grandfather?] replied: “Mother is all hurry and worry.”
Sunday, Sept 7th
Bottled honey, packed some for rail, fed bees after changing feeders, boiled syrup, wrote letters and in interval read book [Churchill, third volume]. Very high wind most of the day which made things most unpleasant.
Hope that if the northern landing goes well Korean war will soon be over, unless Chinese troops intervene…..
The Atlantic ministers meeting in the U.S. but apparently cannot reach agreement on German rearmament. The French fighting shy of it and the Americans feel that western European powers not pulling their weight and leaving too much to them.
Government decided to press ahead with steel nationalization. Perhaps they feel that this will make it easier for them to control their left wing over wage restrictions and if they did not they might get a breaking away over rearmament.
Tuesday, Sept 19th
Presentation to Miss Hunter at 3 o’clock followed by tea. I spoke and tried, I was told successfully, to keep the party in a cheerful frame of mind by trying out several old cracks, then we gave Miss Hunter the book with names of subscribers and a cheque for £82. She made a very nice speech in reply and mentioned various individuals. Then we had a stand up tea, most exhausting, in the dining room.
I ended: “We ask her to accept this with our thanks and appreciation for all that you have done for us as a school and for us as individuals and, as a token that, we want to give back to her in affection and goodwill some of the care and trouble that she has devoted to our welfare.”
Saturday, Sept 23rd
This week Hilary listened to the whole of St Joan, following most of it in the text…… The old man is still in hospital but seems to be getting on quite well.
To-day Hilary went off to Sutton by bicycle to stay with Rita for night on way home [on way back to school at Chiddingstone]
Mrs Dryden-Donkin, when asked by the lift man in Heelas how Mr D-D was, said, “He’s been promoted.” Lift man, ex petty officer, said he was glad to hear it. Came to ask Mary what she meant, told he was dead! Mrs D-D of spiritualist fraternity. Consternation of lift man. Made him feel quite queer, he said.
Tuesday, Sept 26th
A busy day, two staff away, a nursing exhibition in a big trailer caravan in morning, a visit to the dentist at 12.30, house committee in the afternoon. Another bad colliery disaster with fire and a number of lives lost.
The Americans seem to be making a rapid end to the Korean war and have captured Seoul…. If we still have time, the Korean war has galvanized the west into fresh activity.
Wednesday, Sept 27th
Went over with fifth formers to Stratford to see Julius Caesar [John Gielgud as Caesar]. A fearfully cold day. Took them to the church and the gardens at New Place. They were a very childish lot who fought in the bus and threw their drink about, but less noisy than last summer and bus was faster and more comfortable. We took a little over two hours coming back. The play as nobly performed, but tailed off at the end.
The question now is whether the UN forces should cross the 38th parallel and unify Korea….. A decision will have to be taken very soon.
In the north of England last evening the sun and the moon appeared blue (once in a blue moon). A pilot went up and found a layer of fine dust at 47,000 feet like an industrial haze.
Friday, Sept 29th
A good job of work by the U.N. forces. The 38th parallel reached from Seoul and on the east coast. The troops have been ordered to halt and regroup. The rather dubious Syngman Rhee has been installed in Seoul by MacArthur, but nevertheless a great moral victory for the forces of freedom.
Saturday, Sept 30th
Went over to Hungerford with Mary, stayed at The Three Swans. Reading the new Hemingway, Over the River and into the Trees. Rather the same theme as Farewell to Arms. The Hemingway slang now outdated, though in his day he started the tough school of novelists.