October. Night walks on Downs. Terrible train accident. Diarist reassured, Mary surprized. Miners cash in at Reading. U.S. election. Giles and N. Smith. Fawley Court demolished.
Friday, Oct 3rd
Barrack room lawyer on staff spreading dissatisfaction because when on general duty does not have free dinners. Much legal subtlety and quibbling. What queer folk some teachers are!
Saturday, Oct 4th
Hilary came over for tea. Said food at Leighton Park inferior to Long Dene!
Tuesday, Oct 7th
A difficult day. Telephone never stopped ringing and very long House Committee, which sat and gossiped. Some nice-minded parents said that all staff children put in A forms for that reason. A good thing, I think, that I am cut off from local gossip.
Molly came over for night and we went to see a delightful film about Assisi and Rome, Never Take No For An Answer, about a small boy who went to see the Holy Father because his donkey Violetta was sick.
Wednesday, Oct 8th
We went up to the lane to the Downs and walked over to Blewbury for dinner and started back about 7.30. The stars were out and one planet (?Venus) hung low in the east. The constellations were not very easy to pick out, but the starlight made it possible to walk back without a torch for the most part. As we reached the top of Lowbury the waning moon rose through a cloud bank, orange and low. I was anxious to do this walk across the Downs at night for I felt if I did not soon I never would. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but Mary said it made her legs ache. She would go no further than describing it as "curious". It was very cold and the wind, when you met it, icy. It took 2 hours in the dark.
Friday, Oct 10th
The second worst train accident in this country occurred this week. An express train from Perth ran into the rear of a suburban train standing in Harrow & Wealdstone Station. The accident had hardly happened when the down Manchester Express hauled by two engines emerged from a tunnel at speed and ploughed into the wreckage. 108 dead and 160 wounded.
Saturday, Oct 15th
Letter from John Ounsted saying Hilary by their standards showed signs of being lazy and they planned to keep up the pressure. Was that all right? Replied Yes!.
Saturday, Oct 25th
Had to put in an appearance at the Old Boys' Match. Came up at 4 o'clock, had a quick cup of tea and then over to Mary's. We had an excellent dinner at the Queen's Head, Newbury. Ever since the summer I had been rather worried about my inadequacies (or what I felt were my inadequacies, for Mary denied them) as her partner. This was especially the case in Switzerland because we did not seem as marvelously successful as we had been the year before. Failures or comparative failures due to lack of time and so on in the flat had followed and made me even more worried. However this was a wonderful experience, which happened to us four times, so we felt extraordinarily happy and free from care. I was reassured and Mary was surprized.
Sunday, Oct 26th
Heard another story on Friday of the underworld of the welfare state. Miners put by Land Settlement body at Caversham and supplied with houses and gardens in 1937 - 38. Brought up in condemned houses in Wales. Land Settlement body now wound up. Offered miners houses at £400. They immediately sold them for £1,400. Some moved into condemned houses in Reading, which they bought very cheaply; others moved back where they had come from in Wales! The lot in Reading have practically blackmailed the Corporation so have been left where they are.
The American presidential election is now in the last week. Eisenhower has said that if he is elected he will go to Korea to end the war. How?? But apparently this has won him a lot of votes. Alistaire Cooke called it "a blockbuster". As candidate the general has been a disappointment. He has fallen into the clutches of the old guard Republicans and tried to be all things to all men, including the dregs like Senator McCarthy.
Thursday, Oct 30th
My two history boys, Giles and N. Smith, said they found the Tudors very interesting. Feel very encouraged.
Fawley Court, which the Mackenzies bought for £158,500 a hundred years ago, knocked down yesterday for £7,600 to a firm of house breakers. The stretch of the river bank between Phyllis Court and the Boat House was bought by the Regatta stewards.