January. Boxing the diaries. Tintern Abbey. Work conditions at Min of Food. Cost of divorce. General gloom.
Wednesday, Jan 2nd
Went over to tea and supper with Mary. Read her parts of my diary for 1951. She said it was high time it was put in a tin box and not be handed over to Hilary before we were safely dead.
Thursday, Jan 3rd
N. went over to conference at Bristol. Set off to Molly’s farm, but the roads were icy and very slippery. Saw a bus in the ditch and sand lorry overturned in road. It took us nearly two [father and son] hours to do 24 miles. Beyond Streatly as the sun got up it gradually improved. Reached Holly Bush Farm about 3.30. Had tea and supper and pushed on to Ross about 9.30 where we got 2 very nice comfortable bedrooms at The Swan.
Friday, Jan 4th
Decided to go to see Tintern Abbey as I had never been there before. Had cup of tea at Monmouth, which is a poor place. Then along the Wye valley till about 12 we reached the Abbey. I was surprized by its height and the amount of domestic buildings that remained. There are some lovely views of the church from the cloisters. In summer it is crowded with charabancs and trippers, but on this cold winter day we had it all to ourselves, except for a flock of sheep who were nibbling the turf. We climbed up above the valley to see the views from there. Reached Molly’s for tea.
Saturday, Jan 5th
We arrived at the farm at about 10.30. We walked around looking at the cows and nearer fields. The man before Molly was there for 10 years and the cowsheds and dairy are convenient and well planned. No indoor w.c. but w. as well as c. outside. A nice kitchen and two sitting rooms, one small and easily heated. Upstairs a big landing and three bedrooms. Very nice altogether I thought. Molly was very gloomy and seemed to find the financial responsibility and £2000 overdraft a great burden. I could hardly get a smile out of her. Her best cow, for which she had paid £100, had mastitis and this had much depressed her.
Went by the Stroud road to find the monks of Prinknash Abbey. We went into the tiny church and then to the site of the new church which at the moment consists of some slabs of concrete put down in 1939 and not added to since. Lunch at The Fleece at Cirencester. Home about 6 o’clock to find Nora had arrived before us.
Can now say with William W
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee
O sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer thro’ the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee.
A very beautiful valley and still more beautiful in 1798. Did not realize before he was not at the Abbey but some miles higher up the river.
Monday, Jan 8th
Suit still too long in sleeve and trousers, so took it into Reading. Bought a tin box for the diary, 33/-, which will hold about 12 years. Marjorie Wilkinson and Ioan moved to a cottage called The Pod in the Fairmile and Nora invited them to a high tea.
Tuesday, Jan 8th
Supper with Mary. Told her I was thinking of applying for post as lecturer at Nottingham in February and had got particulars.
Wednesday, Jan 9th
Missed Donald Heath, who came up to tell me he was now L.R.C.S.
Friday, Jan 11th
Have taught Hilary 12 lessons of Latin for Today and finished Chaucer’s Prologue these holidays.
Saturday, Jan 12th
Much depressed as suit still not really wearable in spite of shortening of cuffs and trousers. Wish had not bought it – really a false economy.
Monday, Jan 14th
Took suit to alter, but as it will cost £2 – 10 do not appear to have saved much. A fearfully dull lecture at the W.E.A. but borrowed Romilie’s English Life and Leisure, most interesting, but rather depressing. Thinks much promiscuity. Always thought so myself.
Wednesday, Jan 16th
To tea with Mary, then up to Waterloo. Dinner in station restaurant, 7/6 each, and to Festival Hall concert, London Philharmonic, Sir Adrian Bolt, Elgar’s Falstaff and Eroica. A lovely place to circulate in between music and after concert not hurried out, but sat in comfort and spaciousness drinking coffee till 10.40, a quite continental atmosphere for London. A lovely concert hall, everything devised like a great cello or double bass for listening to music, worthy acoustically of Beethoven’s soaring themes.
Mary telling me of typist who gave up her job in M of Food because she had to take her knitting with her every day and got tired of it. While there she noticed some of the electricians working very late and supposed it must be most important work, but was told they worked to 12.30 each night so they could fill in the time sheets for a night shift and be payed double.
Last Monday the top brass including Sir George (?) Gater came to see the biology lab. Sir G went through the school with a tooth comb. He was a large alert man, very friendly but acute. He was sent out by the group to make me a little speech which was so encouraging and complimentary that it seemed certain that I should not get my lab !
Friday, Jan 18th
Over to Reading to see a solicitor by appointment, enquired about divorce. It appears more straightforward from the legal point of view than I expected and costs about £50 - £70. Alimony is one third of joint income. Time about two months at Reading, shorter at London. After this I went to see Mary. She said she had been thinking of the benefits, but she put forward all the difficulties, and especially the effect on her father if she appeared in the papers as co-respondent. This worried her most of all.
Went up to Long Grasses lane, very cold. Hedgerows full of birds, saw bullfinch and some long tailed tits, now rather rare since the great frosts of 1946
Wednesday, Jan 23rd
Went over to Reading about two and very naughtily went to the cinema with Mary to see Le Ronde, an excellent French film.
Thursday, Jan 24th
The anniversary of January 24th, 1940. Sent greetings telegram to Mary. Much wonder where we shall be next year. Perhaps Nottingham a castle in the air and still here and M still my ”umarried wife”.
Yesterday morning the dog bit the postman. Today up comes police constable. I think he is after a report on boy who left last term and has been run in for larceny in London. Not at all! Will I make a statement ! I, foreseeing a long writing out in notebook, point out that the dog is not mine – I do not pay the licence – and so got rid of time wasting visitor.
Friday, Jan 25th
Mary’s birthday on Sunday but we decided to celebrate today. Went to Ship and had a nice meal in warmth and comfort. Then went back to her flat and went to bed to get warmth and to be close to each other.
Monday, Jan 28th
Nora talking of painting house. Told her I did not intend to stay on here after March 1953. Her first reaction was Hilary’s fees and her job in Oxfordshire, where she felt she could not stay, and has given up Harrow.
Tuesday, Jan 29th
To add to general gloom car would not start. Garage said it needs new block, pistons and crank shaft, about £30.