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Friday, 8 October 2010

1952 September

September. Farnborough Air Show disaster. Coal and Steel Union. Leighton Park at £93 per term. Sir Ronald Davidson. Mavis Wheeler marries.
Monday, Sept 1st
    Went into Reading to buy Hilary clothes. Got a suit, 2 flannel trousers, a jacket for £20.  Klaus Boehm arrived from Long Dene, a nice person.
Friday, Sept 5th
    The freshly painted rugger posts are up. I hate to see them. They speak to me of mud, cold and damp.
Saturday, Sept 6th
    Turned very chilly. Went to an absurd W.E.A. quiz for which I had to compose the questions. This took most of the morning and was an imposition! Hilary came and wore his new dark go-to-meeting suit, tie and collar. He looked very grown up and neat - hardly recognizable!
Monday, Sept 8th
    While we were at the quiz on Saturday we heard of disaster at Farnborough Air Show. A new jet aircraft dived towards the field and broke the sound barrier with the characteristic whoof! whoof! Explosion was heard, then he flew past and started to turn, bits began falling off and the two engines broke adrift, one went through the roof of a hangar, the other came hurtling across and landed right among the spectators, of whom 28 were killed. Our hostess had one son among the spectators. We heard the story from her.
    Hilary's 16th birthday. We gave him money to buy an atlas.
Wednesday, Sept 10
    A very happy day. Picked up Mary and went to Cliveden. In spite of our poverty and bill for £90 for Hilary's first term at Leighton Park went reckless and had dinner at George & Dragon, Marlow.
Friday, Sept 12th
    Rather a wasted morning with the old and new secretary Mrs Richardson £2 short on petty cash. Nearly driven potty by the explanations given. In the afternoon went to see Sister Carrie from the novel by Theodor Dreiser with Laurence Olivier. Very good indeed but very depressing. Ran for just about two hours and in that time followed Olivier from a prosperous partner in a restaurant in Chicago to a starving bum in New York because he married the wrong woman and ran away with the woman he loved. On Monday Gone with the Wind ran for three hours and 30 minutes and after one hour 20 minutes I came out leaving Hilary and Nora to it.
Saturday, Sept 13th
    Finished extracting honey. Have still about 300 lb left from 1950 and 51 so hardly worth taking it off. Sold 150 lb this year, 200 the year before.
Monday,  Sept 15th
    First day of term. Hard at it from 9 o'clock to 6 and then found the hens had not been fed and eaten their eggs. Oh dear! Really feeling I am getting to old at 52 for the first day of term. Too much detail and too much press of time. 
    The six coal and steel countries (Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) have voted for a federal union. Events are moving.
     Just had a bill from Leighton park for £93. Discussion with Nora on how to raise £270 a year for two years without ruination. Insurance amounts to £155, which won't meet one year's fees. Want if possible to pay as much as possible out of income without touching exiguous savings.
Tuesday, Sept 16th
    The prefects, bless them, very keen to improve their room, putting up curtains, bringing flowers and even two armchairs from home.
Wednesday, Sept 17th
    Tom's daughter Mavis married at Fawley. Went to church but not to reception.
Sunday, Sept 21st
    Chores most of the day. Reading an account of the atomic traitors, Alan Nunn May, Karl Fuchs and Pontecorvo by Alan Moorehead. The first very interesting, the second a human tragedy and the third possibly not a traitor at all.
    While I was writing I suddenly remembered this must be the anniversary of the day when Con and I declared our love in 1931, but such is human memory that I had to look up an old diary of 1935.
Monday, Sept 22nd
    Today the last stage of Hilary's school life began - his two years in sixth form at Leighton Park. Nora went over by bus as car would not hold Hilary's two cases and three passengers. We met at Reckitt House. Here we had tea with Mr Fawcett, his house master, and the parents of new boys. There were 70 boys in the house. Mr Fawcett himself is a tall and bearded pirate, Mrs F short and fat but suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. I hope Hilary will make his mark in the house. I think he should for Long Dene has given him a fresh outlook and though he is still shy he is not afraid. He has a very nice manner (when he likes) and a pleasant deep voice. He certainly looked well today in his new sports coat, grey saxony trousers and Leighton Park tie.
Thursday, Sept 25th
    New governor, Sir Ronald Davidson, came up to see the school. A rather quaint old boy who knew absolutely nothing about state day schools but a fair exchange for that old bully Ashford.
Sunday, Sept 28th
    Hilary arrived about 3.30. At 6.15 drove him with the bicycle on the rear bumper to Reckitt House in time for prayers.  He seems to like his boys and the school.

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