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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1954: October - December

The Diarist in 1954

October. Germany to join NATO. Lady Helen Asquith. Hazel R. Mr Attrill and facts of life. Phyllis McB seeks sanctuary.

Monday, Oct 4th
    Germany to be given back her sovereignty and occupation ended, but undertakes not to manufacture atomic weapons, guided missiles, long-range bombers and warships. Is also to join NATO and all forces to be under Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Germany undertakes never to use force to re-unite Europe. We are to keep four divisions in Europe, thus the French get their guarantee and we get a more flexible and less supranational organisation than the E.D.C. Surely the French Assembly will not stall again.
Wednesday, Oct 6th
    Went over to Mary's for supper, after which we went to see Romeo and Juliet. Had high hopes of it, but they were disappointed. They wasted so much time racing round the streets of Verona that there was less and less time for Shakespeare. There were compensations. Some of the scenes were very beautiful and the costumes were lovely. 
Saturday, October 9th    
    Met Con and Allen at the N.B.L. for lunch. Felt quite nervous while waiting for Con, who was a little late. However, there she was, looking very well in black. Allen, or Jeff as she called him, was a little bald man with a pleasant and intelligent face. It turned out he had been ordained deacon, with some misgivings, in the Episcopal Church of Scotland and had done a year "parsoning" but had got out of being "priested" and joined the R.A.F. and then when he came out had taken up adult education. Con seemed older in manner and rather vague and forgetful. I thought how different she, Mary and Nora were, and how each brought her own "aura" with her. 
Monday, Oct 11th
    A busy day. Lady Helen Asquith from 10 - 12.45. A fine woman, beautiful manners and highly intelligent, but somehow reminded me a bit of Rosalind Hill, something withdrawn and almost other worldly about her.
    Went over to High Wycombe and gave a talk to the Townswomen's Guild on the National Trust. Went off very well. The man who operated the slides was a very pleasant Yorkshireman who talked about High Wycombe's Teddy Boys with drainpipe trousers and long jackets jiving at the Town Hall. 
Wednesday, Oct 13th
    Reading the Aga Kahn's autobiography. A good chap. In his long life of 78 years he has never been bored. He ends:
    Life in the ultimate analysis has taught me one enduring lesson. The subject should always disappear in the object. In our ordinary affections for one another, in our daily work with hand or brain, we most of us discover soon enough that any lasting satisfaction, any contentment that we can achieve, is the result of forgetting self, of merging subject with object in a harmony that is of body, mind and spirit.
Saturday, Oct 16th
    To London with Hazel Reynolds and Thomas. The former very grown up in light-grey suit, brown gloves, shoes and nylons and a tarbosh-like hat with a tassel; the latter with a yellow tie with horses heads on it, of which I did not approve.
    We walked to the Abbey down Whitehall. The royal tombs were covered with green tarpaulins as they were cleaning the apse, but we saw Henry VII's chapel, the tombs of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Mary Stuart and Elizabeth. Then we went onto the chapter house, which was like a morgue for you have to wear overshoes. Walked back to the N.B.L., as there was a bus strike, through St James's Park and St James's Palace. Here we had a good lunch and the children, who were charming with each other and with me, very thrilled with choosing menu. Walked to the Portrait Gallery and sweated round to 4.15, most exhausting. Then by tube to Paddinton, where we had buns and tea at Lyons, and caught 5.15 to Henley.
Sunday, Oct 17th
    One seems to exchange one illness for another! Testicles better, but rheumatism raising its ugly head again.
Tuesday, Oct 19th
    Feel very tired today - slept badly and a very stormy night and muggy day. Nora making chutney, which stinks the house out. Why?
Wednesday, Oct 20th
    Governors' meeting. This time the Rev: Canon attacked the scripture question again and announced, to my great surprize, that "the Obliging Man" [Mr Attrill] wanted to leave and become ordained. I, however, was keeping him from being an expert on religious instruction. Why teach woodwork? Why not, I replied, turn the woodwork master to teach scripture!
    The question of a woman doctor to inspect girls came up. Alderman Hamilton enlivened the meeting by asking what she inspected!
Thursday, Oct 21st
    Told the Obliging Man I had heard he was thinking of leaving, as I wanted to warn him against confiding in the Canon. He seems to me very naive ever to have done so. Of course he wasn't thinking of leaving immediately, but apparently was reading theology and saving up! He does not know the facts of life, poor chap, but he'll soon learn them if he associates much with the clergy!
Monday, Oct 25th
    Western European Union is accepted by the powers! Germany becomes a full member of NATO and submits her armaments industries to the supervision of a European agency. She thus returns, we hope, to the friendly relations she had with the rest before Hitler..... Perhaps this is the beginning of a movement which may lead to European federation and its chief architects will have been Stalin and Molotoff! I began my Diary in May, 1940, just before the worst moments of the war. The wheel has now come more than a full circle.
Tuesday, Oct 26th
    Phyllis turned up in a great state. Found her lying on the sofa in tears. James turns out to be petty financial crook and perhaps mentally unstable [Diarist's remark inserted later: Not a bit of it - as stable as I am!]. She has determined to leave him and would like to bring Jimmie and Johnnie here. The other possibility is an old lady in the New Forest, but she would not feel safe from James there. Agreed that she could come here. Nora in her element planning the get-away from Empshott Lodge.
November. Devil dancing on Fridays? Mrs Attrill tired out. Prize Day: Not a word about the poor HM. Churchill at 80.

Monday, Nov 1st
    This was D day. Nora got the word on the telephone from Empshott as soon as James left for London and sent off a taxidriver with Eve Weiss's brake. The convoy of the brake and Phyllis's Armstrong Siddley, packed with suit cases, clothes, books, children's toys, Phyllis, Jimmie, Johnnie, the French nanny, Micheline, from Dijon, who had only been told at nine o'clock that morning that Phyllis was leaving her husband, a fact she accepted with Gallic common sense, set off for Henley. At Odiham the car boiled so a taxi was hired and the party arrived here safely at 2 o'clock. The children tired, so tired they had to be given phenolbarbitone to get them off. Phyllis went off to sleep at Eve Weiss's and we all retired to bed as soon as possible; 
Tuesday, Nov 2nd
    An atmosphere of tension prevailed. The house was carefully locked all day and incoming calls were taken by Nora or myself. Phyllis went to the magistrates' clerk to issue a summons for custody of the children. 
Wednesday, Nov 3rd
    By today things were sorting themselves out. The children went to the nursery school in the morning. Phyllis took a furnished cottage near the bottom of New Street and agreed to meet James at her solicitor's tomorrow. Some of the general confusion of packages and suit cases has disappeared from the hall and corridor. The boys continued very noisy, but they would occasionally leave their mother. Some good stories coming out about James. Showed infantile tendencies, as at a flat at Worthing with Phyllis he peed on the carpet! Little Jimmie will only go to bed with a half gallon paraffin can. That must mean something!
    In the middle of all this a great sensation on the staff. One of the R.D.C. [Rural District Council?] representatives reported the discussion about R.I. [religious instruction] to the R.D.C. and a paragraph about it appeared in the Henley Standard. "R.I. at the Grammar School", in which the word "heathen" was introduced. Clem said what are we going to do? "Put on a mask and devil dance on Fridays," I replied! Miss Hunter is also indignant and is writing a letter to the paper - Mrs Cook too. Said I shall open the paper on Friday with trembling hands!
    Wrote to St Andrew's House and Dr Dawson at Droitwich for booking for weekend, for my right hip is getting very painful and difficult to sit.
Thursday, Nov 4th
   Phyllis went up to see James and was away to 3.30. She was a bit frightened that James might come down to kidnap the children, so I came over to lunch and posted Mrs Loader in the house with typewriter from 2 to 3, though as I said to Hilary he would have to use a helicopter. The children were fearfully noisy; they bawl and shout so. Perhaps it's partly due to the fact that there are two. They went down to the nursery class in a taxi, so that kept them busy all morning.  All precautions were quite unnecessary as James had no idea where they were.  Phyllis now seems determined to lease a cottage in Wharf Lane for the winter.
    Had asked fifth form children to bring a cutting from the paper about local government. John Clifford produced cutting about R.I. - much amusement all round.
Friday, Nov 5th
    Had fixed this for half term so the fireworks could be let off safely away from school.
    Reached Droitwich at 1.14. It all rapidly came back to me from my last long visit in 1950., but I must say I had not remembered how forbidding the chocolate brown paint of St Andrew's House was in fact. I had been given an enormous twin bedded room on the first floor. It seemed to be used as a repository for unwanted furniture. Next door was an apparently bedridden old lady at whom the Vicar was shouting. She let out some fearful groans in the night. Macabre!
Saturday, Nov 6th
    Met Mary on the 5.5 from Reading. I introduced her to the enormous bedroom. After dinner we went to the cinema to see Dial M For Murder and arrived back at 10.30 to find the hotel locked up! This was the first time we had been able to lie together since midsummer because of the B. Coli. We had intercourse twice, the first was long and affectionate and the second active and deep, but both were wonderful and satisfying and lovely.
Sunday, Nov 7th
    At 10.30 set out for a swim. On Friday and Saturday the swim was nearly empty, today quite full and atmosphere quite different, family parties with some quite small children, good looking young wives and husbands. Struck as usual by how pleasant people look without their clothes and how drab and sordid and class-marked they look as soon as they put their clothes on. 
    Had a delicious lunch of roast chicken. This afternoon we decided to be French and spend it in the French manner, so as soon as our meal was digested a bit we got into bed and went to sleep in each others arms. About three we woke up and had a lovely intercourse. I hope we did not disturb the old lady by our joy, but I think she was deaf! Saw Mary off by the 6.17 train for Oxford. A most lovely and memorable day for both of us after fourth months abstinence.
    Felt very tied and no wonder! Was greeted this morning with "You've lost your wife!"
Wednesday, Nov 10th
    Phyllis went up to London. At 1.30 Eve Weiss rang and very bolshy; said Phyllis must shoulder her responsibilities. She'd had enough. Why not get busy with her brake and my car and move them into the house Phyllis has rented in Wharf Lane while she was away? Did not think this would do, but when found French nanny said she was moving on Friday, determined to get her shifted at all costs tomorrow.
Thursday, Nov 11th
    Departure of Phyllis, Jimmie, Johnnie and Micheline to Wharf Lane [Old Ship House]. Peace restored. Yesterday tried a little discipline on Johnnie. He was sleeping after lunch in Hilary's room, but started calling for Micheline. I appeared and asked if he called for Micheline. He took one look at me and then said, "I made a mistake." "Yes" I said, "you did!" - and heard no more.
    James McBunie is now going to doctors who will sort out his attitude to life, which appears to be, "Have what you want and think how to pay for it later!" Always travel first class and get your suits in Savile Row.
Monday, Nov 15th
    Mrs Attrill appeared to complain about the way the music competition is organized, though nothing to do with her. After listening patiently (I hope) to a great flood of words, asked, for diversion's sake, what she proposed to do for a play this year. Replied she would not do a play at all, utterly tired and worn out! Asked if she intended to leave, said yes, at end of summer term, but had not discussed it with Norman yet. Started off on "hope to have a baby, and might have done if not too tired in summer holiday by play" However, Eric 40 so she can hardly be very surprized, feel more sorry for Norman! However she might be better if she gave up - a job and marriage does seem to be too much for her. It is clear no one can do a play while she is about, though no doubt "Uncle Edgar" (Mr Hirons) would be only too pleased to do some rubbish like Tons of Money.
 Friday, Nov 19th
    A letter of thanks from Phyllis yesterday. I really do not know how to thank you, or what to say to express my gratitude, for all that you have done for me and the boys. I cannot think who else would have been so kind, thoughtful, long suffering and forbearing. Of ones friends sometimes one partner, sometimes another is disposed to help, rarely indeed husband and wife combine to help in the way you did for us. I shall feel it is an enriched friendship for the rest of my life. Very handsome, especially in view of Nov 10th
    A new ream of paper for Diary cost £1-17-4, of which 6s 10d is still purchase tax.
    Been reading a good new life of Gladstone by Philip Magnus. Very good and interesting. For the first time tells you about his rescue work in the London streets and also his curious naive attitude to many things. The old Queen's dislike and rudeness also clear; no constitutional monarch but a self-willed, difficult and selfish old devil. 
Saturday, Nov 20th
    Up to Ministry of Education at new offices in Curzon Street to read report on Grammar School in 1909, pretty grim, three forms in one room, etc.   
    Then went to Forbes House behind St George's Hospital to see the Diaghilev exhibition. You went up the the first floor and then through a series of rooms of various sizes, all completely blacked out, some papered in exotic designs, one scented, all hot and airless, till eventually you reached the main staircase. Half way down this was a tableau of the Sleeping Beauty and at the bottom a lot of chairs were grouped in the blue light round a big fire, where you could listen to ballet music. It was all a bit nostalgic, especially when they played the music from ballets that you had seen in the 1920s. I thought very much of those distant days 30 years ago; Les Matelots, The Three Cornered Hat, Le Boutique Fantasque and Bernard Hillis, when we used to go up to the Coliseum to see one ballet in a variety programme between trick cyclists and black minstrels.
    Then to see Terence Rattigan's new play, Separate Tables. I thought this very good, most sympathetic and understanding, extremely well played by Eric Portman, who doubled in parts of the boozy north country journalist, ex-politician, and the phony major who was bound over for molesting women in cinemas, and Margaret Leighton, who did the  same with the smart wife, ex model, and neurotic repressed daughter of a dominating mother.
Tuesday, Nov 23rd
    Prize Day! After the remarks of old Denham about the music last year I stuck to Jerusalem this year, and then of course he did not come. The Mer and Mrs Mer came with their chains of office, and 10 ton Annie, Miss Man [Miss J. de L. Mann, Principal of St Hilda's College]. She was a little long-winded, but very friendly and kind. I said my usual piece about the staff and how wonderful they were, but no one said a word about the poor bloody headmaster - and never have. No one appears to think he might need a word of encouragement!
    The chairman made some remarks about "the leak" and the word "heathen". The governor who made these remarks appeared, but he did not seem very popular. 
Wednesday, Nov 24th
    Clem had a theory that the crowd on Prize Day was really due to the remarks about scripture in the local paper. Wondered if I should have said I much regretted there would be no devil dancing that afternoon.    

Friday, Nov 26th
    A fearful gale and rain at night. Great gusts of water across the Reading road near Harpsden. One ship broke up off the Pembrokeshire coast and the Goodwin Lightship broke adrift and most of the crew were drowned.
Monday, Nov 29th
    A fearful day of wind and rain. River rising fast and well into Roberts' house at Shiplake, so that Rosetta Roberts could not come with sixth form to see Romeo & Juliet. We started at 5.45 and got there in good time, but had the usual objectionable driver who stopped the bus because we tried to open the windows.
    Juliet was middle aged and had a capacious bosom, whereas her mother looked as if she might well have been her daughter. Romeo on the other hand looked the part and both Mercutio and Tybalt were satisfactory.
Tuesday, Nov 30th
     First listen to the Bishop of Bristol on the Schools Broadcast and then to the ceremony at West minister Hall where a portrait and a book of signatures were presented to the Prime Minister [Churchill's 80th birthday]. Before the P.M. came in, great deep drums beat out the victory sign ... - As the hall was cold, the V.I.P.s had thermostatically controlled backwarmers. I told the children they must remember this - the ceremony, not the back warmers - to tell to their grandchildren.
    Noted signs today that B. Coli active again, or might be. Damn! N. advised me to go to Hartley as soon as possible to get a check up. What a bore! Damn again!
December. Canon Pachyderm. Lionel Lait. Clem on "the well found ship." "Muffs and Morals". 1954 year when "shops are full at last."
Thursday, Dec 2nd
    Wondered whether to complain to the owner of the bus company about rudeness of driver on Monday. My Mary and Mary C both said yes! There was far too much of this sort of thing and if the customer put up with it there would be more. In the end I found the manager amiable and apologetic. I told him we were paying and expected politeness.
Monday, Dec 6th
    The House Choir Competition was judged by Mrs Sanderson. A very nice woman who had been music mistress at Roedean and had recently been in Kenya. She said how badly the women behaved in Nairobi. They came in slung about with revolvers, though they were unnecessary in the city and liable to be stolen, and shouted and abused anyone who got in their way.
Tuesday, Dec 7th
    A bicycle case. Indignant parent threatened to report boys for "malicious damage" to Superintendent of Police because valves removed from his son's bicycle - and he an old boy and a policeman too! Found three were involved. End of term staff meeting, amiable but lengthy.
Wednesday, Dec 8th
    An extraordinary storm for December. Torrents of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning. It started about two o'clock and lasted, with clear intervals, till midnight. The barometer fell rapidly and there were whirlwinds in Dorset and London. 
Thursday, Dec 9th
    Canon Crosse came up to see me about his carol service. Found him more nasty than ever and could hardly keep my temper. I had to listen to him about "the church" status of the old Grammar School, how the public schoolboys liked chapel, what he had done for the Foundation Funds and so on; finally I agreed to let him up tomorrow to talk for five minutes (it'll last for 15 at least) to get rid of him. I don't think I have met anyone in Henley I dislike more except old Sir Cyril Ashford.
Friday, Dec 10th
 As I expected, the pachydermous Canon arrived for assembly. I had told the staff before they need not stay, but Brind was marooned on his organ stool and had to listen with me to an explanation of how the Canon had sung in the Bach choir, was a friend of various distinguished musicians, and been a H.M. for 25 years etc. He also wandered off to the skulls of the Three Wise Men at Strasbourg and ended up to my surprize talking about Our Lady.
Saturday, Dec 11th
    The Prefects' Party. Not many staff came and we had tea so early that not a few were late. The Head Boy, Lionel Lait, sat next me and made polite conversation - and a very good speech! The prefects did an A.A.Milne play, but spent most of the time dancing. Hilary came and danced vigorously too. 
Sunday, Dec 12th
    Reading Sir Edward Spears first volume, Assignment with Catastrophe, a fascinating account in diary form of the collapse of France and his contact with the Reynaud government, Gamelin, Petain, Weygand, Darlan, and of Churchill's visits to Paris in May 1940. Incompetence, corruption, disunity.
Tuesday, Dec 14th
    Packed up at school as well as I was able and left directions for Mary C and Clem, hoping for the best, then at 4.15 drove over to Reading and caught the train for Droitwich.
Wednesday, Dec 15th
    A continental breakfast in bed, but at the rather early hour of 8 o'clock.  Had the first reclining bath. Went to the very good little Public Library and got out Priestley's last novel and Jacquetta Hawkes' sequel to A Land - Man on Earth -  and most impressed by it too. 
    And Keble! Now Carpenter, the Warden whom I regarded as Hilary's last hope, had been made the new bishop of Oxford. What a curse! Except possibly he may expedite the departure of the Pachyderm.
Friday, Dec 17th
    Took the bus to Tewkesbury. A lovely day with bright sun and no wind. On the right the Malverns stood silhouetted misty and greeny-yellow and all round the fields lay flooded with unruffled water in which the trees were so clearly reflected that they seemed to be standing on their heads. I was gay and happy, so that when I saw the Abbey tower of Tewkesbury, touched to a delicate shade of pink by the midday sun, I suddenly thought I would go up to the top. From there you could see the Severn flooding to the sea and look up the valley of the Avon to Stratford.  I climbed down as the Angelus was rung and sat before the Lady Chapel finishing a letter to Mary. I was looking at the cards in the north aisle when Molly came in. She said I looked very thin, but I had just climbed the tower (I did not tell her as I thought she might think my rheumatism bogus). 
    Told Molly about Jimmie and Johnnie, Phyllis and James. She was highly amused. The farm apparently made £200 profit one year, £200 loss the next!
Sunday, Dec 19th
    Went over to Worcester, to Cathedral for ordination service; wanted to see what I had missed! Far from impressive service. Bishop one of the most miserable clerics I have seen for a long time. Only four ordinands and two going to Nigeria anyway. King John, rapacious, evil and lecherous, lay in front of the altar surrounded by C13th architecture and illuminated by 20th century lighting. Wondered what he would have made of it.
    Finished Jaquetta. On page 132 she writes: I believe the love of man and woman, resting on perfect sexual union and flowering from these dark roots into the tenderest affection and understanding, to be one of the high achievements of mankind. indeed sexual love itself, though I have called it dark because it plunges us into the depths of the unconscious, is in itself a subtle and very human thing. Our lovemaking can be further removed from the animals than very many activities of our daily lives, bringing us a marvellous blending of bodily and mental experience, heightened and magnified by a potent emotional charge. It can be experienced like bubbles of pure spirit rising through the dark waters of the unconscious mind.
Monday, Dec 20th
    I was much pleased by the arrival of Mary Clayden's Christmas present - Osborne's Dictionary of Domestic Architecture. -  a lovely book to have. I got it out from Reading Library and took it with me when we went to Syon House and she had remembered this and bought it for me. She is a dear. I wrote and told her so!
Thursday, Dec 23rd
    A letter from Clem: I want you to know what a lovely experience it was to take the end of term service. All round I could see the kindness and goodness. For those few minutes I was at the helm of a well designed and well found ship. I could never design such a ship, never maintain it, not could keep it long on its true course, but I do know a good ship. Very nice of him. I expect he took to heart what I said after speech day - no word of praise for the H.M.!
Friday, Dec 24th
    Not one of my good days. Left Droitwich at 11.30, but got into wrong half of train and found I was going to Gloucester instead of Oxford. Had hoped to arrive at Reading at 2.30. Finally arrived at 5.30. Mary still waiting for train to Oxford on same platform. Was able to give her my little bottle of scent and to hold her hands and kiss her in the obscurity of the far end of the platform. Then went out to find Hilary and Nora waiting in the car. House seemed very cold after Ayrshire Hotel, but lots of Christmas cards.
Christmas Day
    A fine but dull day. We had our presents at breakfast. Nora had masses, Hilary and I few! After breakfast I went over to school to deal with urgent correspondence. Next corrected Hilary's Latin exercises, which were rather good for one term, I thought. Our dinner about one o'clock; a fowl, celery, potatoes, bread sauce, sausages, bacon, stuffing, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy sauce and mince pies; Graves. By the time we had finished and were drinking tea the Queen was speaking as it was three o'clock. She was rather nasal, but short, and what she said was good.
    It was rather a dull Christmas, but I had a strange thought at dinner. We were sitting three at the table and there was an empty side on my right with Hilary sitting opposite and Nora on my left. Hilary's brother of 1935, who died, should have been sitting there - he would have been 19!
Sunday, Dec 26th
    A rather irritating day. I suppose it was partly because I find the house so untidy and because it's untidy, uncomfortable; partly also because Hilary never does the necessary chores, like feeding the hens or getting the coal in, until the last possible minute. 
    Ioan turned up with Marjorie. He had been doing the pools, but had won nothing. Said it was a bit like belief in God, didn't cost you much and might bring a big return. - Cynical, isn't he, said Hilary!
Monday, Dec 27th
    Caught the 10.55 to Worcester with two paper carrier bags and sandwich lunch. Here I got out and spent the afternoon in the cathedral. Noticed some visitors trying to read a slate leger stone in the centre aisle. It had been considerably worn by the feet of passers-by, but commemorated someone whose wife had been a Dame of the British Empire. This aroused my curiosity and I leaned over to see who it could be and was surprized to find that under it lay the ashes of Stanley Baldwin, "Sometime Prime Minister of Great Britain". King John at one end, Uncle Stan at the other! Found the hotel very full still.
Tuesday, Dec 28th
    Last night the French Assembly decided to vote for the 2nd and 3rd articles of the Brussels Treaty after rejecting Article 1, the rearmament of Germany. Tomorrow or Thursday they will have to vote again on Article 1. The attitude of the deputies appears to be "Please, it wasn't me" - they want the treaty, but they do not want to appear to have voted for it when they have to face their constituents. Also the M.R.P. hate the P.M. because his plan took the place of their plan. 
Wednesday, Dec 29th
    Lay in bed at eight o'clock waiting for my breakfast tray to arrive and noticed how the mild weather and sun had made the birds sing. Had my bath at 10 and returned to hotel for massage. Had a letter from Mary C thanking me for The Nebuly Coat. "This is my first letter of thanks because I liked your present more than any other."
Thursday, Dec 30th
    The masseuse came up at 8.30 in order to free the day for me, which was very nice of her. I went over on the 10 o'clock bus to Tewkesbury, retrieved my umbrella at The Ancient Grudge and met Molly in the Abbey. We had lunch again at the Hope Pole (7/6).
    It was a rich morning for letters - Mary, Nora, Con and Maud all wrote. Con to enquire after my health as she had heard from Molly I was poorly and had had a vivid dream about me!
    We heard tonight that the French P.M. got the rejected article of the agreement through the Assembly by 27 votes.
Friday, Dec 31st
    Had a bath and long rigorous massage. The afternoon I spent mostly in the library. I found an interesting book by Pearl Binder, Muffs and Morals. Codpieces were apparently prescribed by the church when tunics grew very short about 1450, but instead of hiding men's things they drew attention to them. They lasted about 100 years and passed out with the more old-fashioned Elizabethans. As so often the remedy was an aggravation of the disease it was supposed to cure;
    I knew that eighteenth century women wore no knickers, for caricaturists like Rowlandson made that very plain, and Ensor in England 1870 - 1914 points out that these articles made it possible for women to play tennis and bicycle at the end of the nineteenth century. Curious that Jane Austen's young ladies were unfurnished with what even the most advanced consider necessary today when out of slacks!
    The Revolution introduced the clinging dress without padding or stiffening and made of thin and often white material copied from the Greek. As it was so thin, like a modern nightdress, and often dampened, some French women wore tights. Later the demi mondaines started half tights or pants. These were thought most immoral for some reason, but gradually they were adopted in England by the aristocracy, who were certainly wearing them by 1850. It took 30 years for them to spread to the lower classes. I remember Mother's huge white linen garments with frills at the bottom of the legs and a large square panel at the back, which fastened by two buttons at the corners to the waist belt.
    Well, we have come to the end of 1954. It has been more like 1928 than any other year since - a prosperous year! The shops are full. The last rationing has come to an end. Meat is dear and a Sunday joint may cost 10/- or 12/-, but outdoor picnics for Mary and I are no longer difficult, except financially. Tea has soared. The shops at Christmas were full of turkeys, chickens and joints, and the grocers too; such sights as Hilary has certainly never seen; and the fruit shops gleaming with oranges, grapes, dates, figs and nuts. 
    The traffic jams have got worse and worse as more and more cars come on the roads and little attempt has been made to tackle them.
    We have had an appalling summer, the coldest since 1922, wet, windy and usually raining hardest at the weekends. It was the wettest summer since 1903 and the rainfall of June, July and August has only been exceeded in 1912 and 1879 sine detailed records started in 1869.
    I remember the August of 1912 because we were on holiday at Southwold. For days on end we were indoors in a small lodging and Mother and Molly had difficulty in reaching London because of the floods. Father and I went by sea!

1 comment:

  1. where did you get this? this seems to be a rather personal collection of stories about my grandmother...