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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

1965 - Westcote Parish Matters, Churchill's Death

Saturday, Jan 16th - Today received from Somerset House my paternal grandparents’ marriage certificate and discovered that my grandparents were ‘in trade’ - one a grocer and the other a baker in Chatham! What would Molly have said? Perhaps it explains Father’s lack of interest in his family and Mother’s remark that the Barnes were a very narrow lot of extreme respectability.

[See 1965 index at end of this post]

Tuesday, Jan 19th - The Grand Old Man has been lying in a coma after a stroke last Friday at his home in Kensington.

(1965) Sunday, Jan 24th - When I woke up the snow had melted. Switched on wireless for the weather just before nine and heard music but the penny did not drop. The grand old man to whom we owed more than we could ever repay had died less than an hour before.
‘The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we stand up to him all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for will sink within the abyss of a new Dark Age......Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire  and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.’’ June 18, 1940.
‘The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour’. 12.11.40
Sir Winston is to be given a funeral comparable to that of the Duke of Wellington. Lying in state in Westminster Hall, procession to St Paul’s, back by river to Waterloo, and then rail to Bladon Church outside the park at Blenheim. Bladon is not much of a place (I looked in to see the graves of his father and mother last summer) but as the only two other prime ministers buried the Abbey this century are Bonar Law and Neville Chamberlain, he should certainly not be put in with those members of the 3rd XI.
A great burst of words about him in the papers and on the wireless. I liked as well as any what Lady Asquith said in the House of Lords.
‘Few men have touched such heights and depths of triumph and disaster. It was in his darkest days that that I thought he was the greatest. I am thinking of the 1930s, when he was in the shadows, at odds with his own party and with all the powers-that-be. He saw so clearly the danger, the deadly peril that encompassed us. He saw the danger and the choice we must make. To him it was a stark, simple, moral choice between tyranny and freedom, good and evil, life and death. He dedicated all his powers of vision, persuasion and expression to awaken the sleeping conscience of the nation to its peril and to its honour, and he failed. Awakening came from the fulfilment of the doom he prophesied and did his utmost to divert. He created in each of us his own heroic image of ourselves so that we were transmuted by his faith into the people he believed in. The resolve to keep unbroken that pattern of greatness which he impressed upon the spirit of the nation - this is the tribute he would choose from us to-day.’
[Editor: The story goes that a young civil servant was sent to see Churchill to discuss his funeral arrangements and suggested that it would be much simpler for the coffin to be sent to Bladon via Paddington Station rather than Waterloo. Churchill said he would agree to that only if De Gaulle died before he did, but if de Gaulle were still to be alive, he insisted on Waterloo!]

Tuesday, Jan 26th - Went round to visit the Roberts and to see old blind Miss Butterfield. She has a ‘talking book’ of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Old Mrs Roberts and Cill were present. The former makes little effort. ‘Butters’, however, is mentally very active and consequently very frustrated. As she cannot read the Radio Times she frequently gets the time of the programmes wrong.

Saturday, Jan 30th - The funeral was comparable only to those of Nelson and Wellington. We watched on Miss Worgan’s television. The weather was Siberian, but the sun  shone through the icy wind.  I left when they reached St Paul’s and listened to the remainder at home. Miss Worgan had not bothered to black out the windows. The curtains were inadequate and the image in consequence faint. The coffin on its gun carriage covered with the union flag moved packed in a solid phalanx of seamen. As it left the Palace the guns sounded sinister at intervals along the route. The funeral marches of Handel, Chopin, and Beethoven were played by the regimental bands.
Behind the gun carriage, used for royal funerals, since and including Queen Victoria, came the family. First walked the men, in gloomy contrast to all the uniforms in top hats and black overcoats, Randolf and Christopher Soames in front. Then two antique looking coaches with Lady Churchill, the daughters and daughter in law.
In contrast the rest was service precision and history aplenty - the Guards, his first regiment of Hussars, the Marines in their white belts and gaiters, the fighter pilots of 1940, now grown rather stout and middle aged - his two standards, the Garter and the Cinq Ports, the decorations carried on cushions by officers who had them slung on ribbons round their necks (like men selling toys in the street), the state trumpeters, the Herolds, the Yeomen of the Guard, the Lord Mayor with the Sword of State, the Archbishop and the Bishop of London in tall mitres.
Inside the cameras picked out the Prime Minister and for the first time the Cardinal of Westminster and the Papal Nuncio seated among the congregation. They were offered placed in the stalls, but cautiously preferred to sit behind the cabinet!
As the gun carriage came up Ludgate Hill the pall bearers moved down the great flight of steps. They included Eden, Macmillan and, a fine gesture, old Attlee very very shaky and slow with a stick to help him. The Queen had already arrived with the Duke and Prince Charles, the first reigning monarch ever to attend the funeral of a subject. Allanbrooke and Cunningham were dead, but Eisenhower was there and de Gaulle, towering over the rest as the head of the French state.
Characteristically Winston had chosen his own hymns - Bunyan Fight the Good Fight, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and O God Our Help. The service ended with the trumpets sounding high up in the dome, the Last Post and then after a silence Reveille blown by a single trumpeter.
By Tower Pier the pipers were playing and as the coffin was taken on board the waiting launch the guns fired again from the Tower. The cranes on the wharfs dipped their jibs in salute.
The bosuns piped him aboard and as the launches moved away, a typical Churchillian touch, Rule Britannia sounded across the waters. Only one tribute more remained - the boom of 16 Lightnings of Fighter Command roaring and dipping over the river. The tide was at flood.

Why did Churchill fail in the 30s? He had matchless powers of communication in speech and writing and, though he had no press backing, he had articles regularly in the Evening Standard and the Telegraph. Did people pay no attention to him because the editors of The Times and Mr Baldwin told them not to?? Because he had been wrong over India, because he had been wrong over the General Strike, because he had stuck by Edward VIII at the time of the abdication? Hardly. Because he had been wrong it did not mean he was wrong over Hitler. It was the impossibility of making people see what seemed obvious about Hitler (and seems obvious to-day) which was so frustrating.
Perhaps he was distrusted because it was believed he liked and enjoyed war in romantic terms (Omdurman, the Dardanelles, Archangel, and so on). Yet how anyone who read
The World Crisis and The Aftermath could believe this I cannot understand. He was preoccupied with the problem of how to mobilize force to prevent a major war; to keep the peace ‘arm and stand by the Covenant’ was his cry. In 1936 Hitler could have been overthrown without any difficulty, or at worst by a small war instead of a huge one.
Today again the anxiety aroused by any proposal to use force, e.g., over South Africa, over Cuba, over the spread of nuclear weapons, to prevent small wars becoming big ones, is with us again. Our debt to him is showing how a terrible war might have been avoided by wisdom and courage.

Thursday, Feb 4th - Went into the Roberts at 7 o’clock to read The Corner That Held Them to blind Miss Butterfield. Now I have started I shall have to go on, but I am very sorry for her and she is very patient, aged 79.

February 19th - Ruth to lunch. By herself without Molly Ruth seemed to have changed a great deal. She was brisker, less sentimental, more sure of herself. We both remarked on it and found her much improved. There was no atmosphere of disapproval which was so marked when Molly was present. Very odd.

Saturday, Feb 20th - We spent an interesting morning working on the French clock. The flowers and figure were hardly visible. The figure was revealed as a young man sending a note to his love attached to a pigeon. Father bought it at Lady Meaux’s sale in 19?10. It must have been made in Paris for Maples. Very elegant!

Sunday, Feb 21st - Abuse in Burton’s Nights - one woman to another - ‘When thou pissest thou swishest; if thou turd thou gruntest like like a busten wine skin or an elephant transmogrified; if thou go to the water closet thou needest one to wash thy gap and pluck out the hairs that overgrow it’.

Tuesday, Feb 23rd - To Oxford to meet Nora. In afternoon visited the new St Catherine’s College by this Danish architect [Arne Jacobsen]. Material concrete and yellow brick. No curves of any kind. No sculpture, decoration, carving, ornament of any kind. Hall was open. No windows; top-lighted between concrete beams. No colour except Master’s chair at high table in red leather instead of ply. A Spartan barracks. You waited for the Storm Troopers to march in. Felt our architects might have done better and struck a mean between Butterfield and Belsen.

Sunday, February 28th - To Coventry to see the Cathedral. We last saw it in the summer of 1960 when it was surrounded by hoardings and full of the noise of cranes and concrete mixers. The great design now stood complete; huge, dignified and immensely strong and full of Christian symbolism. I most enjoyed the chapels of Unity, of Service and of Gethsemane, next the eight carved stone inscriptions, then the concrete columns supporting the roof and finally the richness of the nave windows. The great tapestry had majesty but was spoilt by the insect-like body of the Christ and the drug addict symbols of the evangelists or beasts. One of the few things I disliked was the Swedish window at the head of the ‘north’ aisle which looked too much like a pack of cards, but the great windows of the nave and baptistry were magnificent.  Although much has been made of the ‘modern’ character of the Coventry it is basically a very conventional plan.

Monday, March 1st - Twenty five years on! I gave Mary a silver broach and she gave me a Polish peasant rug for my bedroom At breakfast my darling Mary was so overcome that she wept.

Thursday, March 4th - A swingeing blizzard. The post arrived but otherwise only the snowplough outside on the road.

Friday, March 5th - By the end of the morning we had cleared a passage the width of the car through the drifts which was two feet deep in some places. In the afternoon we were able to go to Stow and shop.

Tuesday, March 9th - For our first year here I kept a record of flying. It worked out as follows: 365 days: 132 days no flying; 328 nights no flying, 37 flying.

Friday, March 19th - To Oxford to meet Nora and Hilary. Nora’s birthday.

Monday, March 22nd - Had to take Hilary into Cheltenham with me on Saturday afternoon as going to a Beekeepers’ meeting. He went to a film. Sunday wet and miserable. By evening we had reached a point where he spoke less and less and I tried to keep things going by asking questions to which he replied as shortly as possible. He appeared depressed (whether he really was or what about it was impossible to tell). It proved impossible to get anything out of him about his future plans. As usual Mary got no encouragement for the meals she provided for him for the arrangements she made for his comfort, nor I, when I got him a copy of the will, received any commendation for my efforts to secure him Father’s money. If only he sometimes showed appreciation of what we do for him it would be nice!

Wednesday, March 25th - Miss Butterfield, who came round for a session of The Corner That Held Them to-night, said ‘When I was in Buda attending a European conference on prostitution....”!

Friday, March 26th - Over to R.D.C. offices to see Surveyor and Clerk about the tip ‘on Tattles’. The surveyor disclaims all interest, Clerk says it is a matter of finding out to whom the land belongs. Though friendly and interested clear we shall get nowhere through them. Advised me to get in touch with Scaramangar at farm, R.D.C. representative. Rang him up, Eton and Brasenose, cultured voice, grandfather massacred by the Turks, Father a refugee, his main object to avoid incurring any expense - and avoid meeting me.
To Humanists in Cheltenham. There were about 40 people there, including a rather nasty young parson who explained in the coffee interval how he kept order during religious instruction at the parish secondary modern school by hitting the nearest boy on entry hard over the head with a bunch of keys. Felt sorry I had stood him a cup of coffee, but not much, 1/-!

Wednesday, March 31st - Bought a motor mower for £33. As Mary said, you could buy a suit for that, but neither she nor I can cut the grass with the beastly little push mower. Now I can do it, and did it in no time.

Sunday, April 4th - A rather social day. Our neighbours the newly married Marcia and Graham Kitchin in to tea. He is talkative but speaks badly and grammar poor, her speech much better - as so often with girls.

Monday, April 8 - A lovely day and everything went right. We set off about half past ten for Stratford intending to have a look at some part of the newly cleared Stratford Canal. It began to rain so we went to Charlecote instead. The Gatehouse had been restored and the first floor opened as a Lucy museum. The house had been much improved since we last went there in 1955 as had the gardens. Near the entrance there was a  very pleasant restaurant newly opened where we had lunch for 10/- each. After this in nice time for Love’s Labours Lost. A beautiful production. L.L.L 16 years ago! Charlecote 10 years ago! ‘We shall never grow younger.’

Good Friday, April 16th - A gardening day. Started drizzling, but soon cleared and was sunny and pleasant.
Mary back from Oxford where there had been trouble with old Mr Pierce. He wanted us to go over on Easter Day and turned nasty when she said we couldn’t. The aim of the doctors to keep us alive indefinitely is dubious. Left to himself he would have died about 70 from prostate trouble. Operated on for that he now lives on to nearly 90. For the last 15 months he has spent nine in bed. For nine months, Mrs Pierce, 86, carries his meals upstairs, makes his bed and so on. When he feels like it he shouts to summon the old lady up a steep flight of stairs. He will not have an Elsan and a bed on the ground floor (the old WC has been turned into a coal shed) which he very well could in the summer. So they go on. Clearly the old man expected to be looked after by Mary and that is why he was so furious when I married her. Even the doctor says he is one of his most uncooperative patients. Mary puts it down to senility but my view is that he has always dominated his family and got his way in everything.

Sunday, May 2nd - Miss Worgan came in and told us that after the war Mother Geraldine at the Convent  wanted to build a new chapel. Knowing she would not get planning permission, she described it as a dining room. It was she considered not inaccurate as there they intended to have the Lord’s Supper!

Thursday, May 6th - Cheltenham. Looked by motos and coat of arms in library. Found my signet ring - ‘an arm embowed, in hand a battle axe proper’ - ‘Haec manus ob parium’ - This hand for my country - not Atkins or Law but Mactier (Scots). Grandma Atkins’ eldest sister Margaret, born 1816, married a Mr Robert Mactier, and it his coat of arms I am wearing.
The two kinds of buttons I have: - i) two grayhound heads, erased, add orsed, collared and ringed (ii) a demi heraldic tiger proper, erminéee, ducally gorged (and chained) nor Honor et Vistus - are both Atkins, the first Somerset, Herts and Glos, the second Cork. Why did the Cork family use the English arms?

Monday, May 10th - When I was eight years old and hardly interested in social reform, the Liberal government introduced an old age pension of 5/-a week for those with an income of less than 10/-, when I was 48 pensions were extended to the whole population by Aneurin Bevan. This morning my first quarter old age pension arrived by post at a rate of £6-10s a week for myself and Mary - taxed!

Wednesday, May 12th - In evening went to Parish Meeting and to my surprize was elected chairman! Scaramangar obviously wants to be rid of it. The meeting decided to buy the Tithe Barn from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for £1. It is pretty ruinous and we shall have to raise a quarter of the cost of putting in lavatories and kitchen to get a grant for remaining three quarters. At present there is not tuppence to rub together.

Saturday, May 15th - A cooler day. Social! Coffee with the Garlicks (!) at Churchill. A nice old house and garden. The three women (Mary excluded), shouted like schoolgirls reclining on a mattress on the lawn, our hostess displaying her pubic hair, while I, Garlick and the Colonel sat in almost complete silence. At teatime we worked off Miss Leopold. Rang up Crickhowell and booked room for Monday. Mary pleased.

Thursday, May 27th - (See remark about surveyor March 27) This morning a bulldozer turned up on Tattles. I went to see what was happening and soon the surveyor arrived in his car. The bulldozer made an excellent job of it, burying car bodies and all sorts of junk. Next thing to do was to get temporary notice board painted and put up. The invaluable Mr Kitchin next door made that and as dusk fell I went over with in the Arctic wind to erect it.

Friday, May 28th - More alarms and excursions. Miss Blackwell and her old mother live near the church. The former runs the youth club while she studies for the Lambeth Diploma in religious instruction, the latter is obviously neurotic. I had the idea of asking the youth club to help clear up Tattles, but since the bulldozer had been thought as well to call in and explain. The pair had just had a row with old Bubb. He now is thinking of withdrawing the offer of the Tithe Barn because he wants the sale of intoxicants forbidden, whereas Scaramanga says you can get no grant from the Rural Community Council if there is a restrictive clause in the conveyance. Mrs Blackwell had apparently told him she would report him to the Bishop, a thing an incumbent hardly welcomes, and accused him of knowing about the R.C. grant before the Parish Meeting took place. I had hardly got back from the Blackwells’ when the Rector appeared. I tried without taking sides to calm him down. I can see the Tithe Barn is going to rival the urinal in Clochmerle!
To Humanist meeting in Cheltenham. The talk was called the Psychology of Humanism, but consisted of two tests which you marked yourself. The first was supposed to measure how anti-authoritarian you were, +/-. I scored -59, which seemed a rather extreme result. The second measured introversion. I score very high on extroversion so think I must have cheated a bit.

Saturday, May 29th - The rector rang up to say he had changed his mind and we could have the Tithe Barn after all. I had hardly lain down after lunch when the bell rang. Two girls to say a man was tipping! I got hold of Kitchen and drove up. A wretched man in a van had dumped wood and stones. He said it was only a few twigs. At this rate it will soon be as bad as before.

Monday, May 31st - Confirmed that Miss Leopold would contribute to price of seed for Tattles, Scaramanga away so called on Gibson who said he would roll the seed in with his tractor but would have to borrow Scarry’s roller. Could not get much help with posts, but eventually by asking everyone I found my way to Bruerne Sawmills where I got some larch for 1/- a time.
Hardly lain down after lunch, Bell! Squadron Leader in answer to complaint of low flying plane. It appeared a Shackleton was landing and because the runway was only just long enough it had to come in very low to make it.

Tuesday, June 1st - In to Gloucester to get grass seed from West Midland Farmers. Had to go to Gloucester Docks. Never knew such a place existed.

Wednesday, June 2nd - In afternoon a lovely sun but cool wind. Walked along the derelict railroad from bridge on road to Lower Harford to reach our hill above Windrush. As you walked along you could appreciate the immense effort of construction and the skill of the planners. How going by train to Cheltenham with the Crab in 1919 could I have guessed that over 40 years later I would walk a stretch of line with no rails, sleepers or signals accompanied by my wife!

Friday, June 4th - At three o’clock Mr Gibson came turned up with Mr Scaramanga’s heavy roller on his Ferguson. Before lunch Mary and I had gone out broadcasting grass seed. We had never done it on this biblical scale before. ‘Ecce exut qui seminat seminare’. The ground had become so hard since it was bulldozed, it was surprising that the roller had any effect on it, but it did. Rain is promised over the weekend.

Saturday, June 5th - Heard today that all the Hunt children speak with lisp because for a long time Mrs Fred Hunt had no teeth!

Monday, June 14th - Plumber and boy arrived and quickly dismantled fire place. New stove arrived.

Wednesday, June 16th - Yesterday the plumber’s mate discovered the tip at Tattles had been closed. On Monday evening Kitchen and I went and put in posts and wire.
Listened to part of a mammoth debate (called a teach-in) in the Oxford Union on the war in Vietnam. Started at 2.30. I heard some of it from 8 - 11, including Michael Stewart, the foreign secretary. Every angle was explored. About 11 the S. Vietnamese ambassador turned up. His English was a minus quantity and I gave up - taught-out.

Friday, June 18th - The pop group the Beatles given M.B.E.s in Birthday Honours. Some people sending theirs back in protest. Another view is object of exercise to bring whole honour system in disrepute.

Tuesday, June 29th - Mary had a bad night with the planes to 2 a.m. and wanted to get away from them so we went to Roel. We walked down to the brow. On the way back we wanted to go in the bracken, so Mary slipped off her pants and we did. It was spontaneous and lovely on the grassy slope in the open air.

Thursday, July 1st - Reading Vansittart in Office on the futilities of government in the ‘30s. Churchill asked after Munich if he would have gone to meet Hitler and replied ‘Yes, but I would have invited him to meet me in the North Sea on board a British battleship’.

Tuesday, July 6th - Drove to Althorp House. The later Spencers have gone in for portraits beginning with Van Dyck and going on by Lely, Reynolds and Gainsborough to the latest by Sargent and Augustus John. We were sitting on a seat near the entrance after tea when a ravaged lady with beautiful manners came up and started talking to us. We had seen her portrait as a bride in the house and recognized her still. It was the Countess. She took us into the rose garden where she gave Mary a flower of [?]Zepherme Dronni.

Sunday, July 11th - A month ago the last steam train puffed out of Paddington. Soon the engines will be extinct as the dodo. The Castles, the Kings and the Halls which carried us backward and forward to Devon for our holidays between 1905 and 1955 are being cut up for scrap. I never thought I should write their obituary.

Wednesday, July 14th - Mariner IV launched into space seven and a half months ago, now about 7000 miles from Mars, will start taking picture of the planet to-night. Ever since I was a boy have seen illustrations of the Martian canals. May now find out if they actually exist.

Thursday, July 15th - Spent a large part of yesterday scraping garage doors with glass. When Graham Kitchen came home from work he lent me his electric drill with a sandpaper buff. In half an hour had gone over the door I had so laboriously scraped and done most f the second. I had never used a power tool before.

Wednesday, July 21st - To see Dodington, the Regency home of the slave owning Codringtons. You approach Dodington by a mile-long drive up a Cotswold valley through the park and enter a great Corinthian portico into a hall of Roman proportions, resembling Syon House. We arrived just behind a coach load of women so decided to let them get ahead by strolling across the lawns. On our return to see the interior a horde of French schoolboys swarmed in. Educational value nil, nuisance value maximum!

Thursday, July 22nd - Saw in Times that that horrible man Lipscomb has got a headship in Lancashire. He has been at Henley eight  years. Sent fat old Goring Thomas, chairman of the governors, a postcard with ‘Congratulations’ on it. A letter from Wilk, ‘Glory, glory Halleluja.’

Tuesday, July 27th - The government has introduced what is in effect a third budget. They have had to trim expenditure on schools, hospitals and housing, cut defence and reduce time of hire purchase loans. Exports have not risen as they hoped but consumption has. This gives us time to reorganise industry in the long run while living within our means in the short run. In the long run we have to adjust our economy to the loss of our empire and the end of our role as being eastern policeman and keeping up with the American giant. Our future lies in Europe, but our neighbours, especially W. German, have not got the remains of the late Victorian industries like cotton and coal, or hangover of inter-war trade union practices of transport and docks as liabilities. Last night had a ‘teach-in’ on ‘Getting Britain Going’. One railway trade union official described a meeting at which out of a membership of 400 nine turned up, three close to retirement, and after much debate decided to buy a new kettle for the shunters’ room.

Monday, Aug 16th - P.C. from Hilary. Nicholas liked presents and birthday party a success. My raucous horn impounded as tricycle used indoors, but bell allowed.

Thursday, Aug 19 - Took Cill for a drive to Hawling and Guiting. Mrs Roberts told me they had to have Cill certified to get her to go to a mental hospital; when she was better the job was to get her to leave! Her life seems to have been one setback after another, failed L.S.E. at Cambridge in war, not commissioned in ATS, when she started social work in London had bad nervous breakdown, operation for cancer of breast, still an out-patient at Littlemore.
When Miss Butterfield round for reading of Nebuly Coat suggested she we should be on  Christian name terms. She went very red. Felt rather like Mr Bucktrout or Mr Gosheron in All Passion Spent.

Sunday, Aug 22nd - Michael to lunch from Adlestrop. What a rewarding pupil he is! Sensible, cultured, and good for children to know. Curiously there has been a bad riot in the Negro quarter of Los Angeles. This has meant that Pymonie has been saddled with ‘Little P’, Jeremy’s wild oat, whom she had for the summer. Michael says he a very odd and disagreeable child as well he might be. His father won’t have anything to do with him. The mother is in California and glad one imagines to postpone his return.

Wednesday, August 25th - Cut the turf back where it has grown over the concrete platform of Coronation Seat. Two girls; Wendy from the pub and her cousin Gillian Acock, came and helped me oil it.

Sept 2nd - Hamlet with David Warner, tall and wrangling with a mop of tow coloured hair, odd man out in this hard, cynical court of elderly councillors. Ophelia excellent, her madness really manic. Came out bemused after 3 hours 40 minutes. Hamlet so supremely great that like one of the symphonies you are enriched by all the varying performances. I saw H. B. Irving first when I was 17, then George Hayes in the war (second), Olivier, John Gielgud, Paul Schofield, Richard Burton. I think the latter most memorable, Olivier the best verse speaker.

Saturday, Sept 4th - To beekeepers Convention at Cheltenham. About 100 or more beekeepers. It is generally agreed that this is one of the worst years since the war. I took off about 8lbs from four hives of dark hawthorne honey. Price is 5/9.

Monday, Sept 6th - Miss Birch to lunch. Heard story of boy Cork, who had been told by his mother that he could never be a father. Pymonie takes him to Dr. King and goes into the consulting room with him. After examination, probably to annoy Pymonie, King says, ‘Well, chum, your cock’s as good as mine or any other man’s!’

Wednesday, Sept 8th - Hilary’s 29h birthday - Celebrated by a lunch at the Bay Tree. Toasted him and Nicholas in lemon squash.

Friday, Sept 10th - Honey count: 1957 - 170 lbs; 1958 - 0; 1959 - 45; 1960 - 40; 1961- 191; 1962 - 95; 1963 - 20; 1964 114; 1965 - 8. [Added later: 1966 114].
Have spent this year £9 9s on bulbs. The Chinese say ‘If you have two loaves, sell one and buy a lily.’

Sunday, Sept 19th - Ruth to lunch and tea. Both Mary and I impressed by how much improved she is on her own, less sentimental and more self-reliant altogether. Quite amusing sometimes too. Felt that I could overcome my old impatience and dislike. Molly’s influence very odd. You feel none of that coldness and disapproval that was so marked in Molly.  

Tuesday, Sept 28th - [Diarist and Mary drove to Exmouth where they spent the next week on holiday]

Thursday, Oct 30th - [To Shillingford] We cut all four graves, Grannie’s, Uncle’s, Maud’s and Molly’s. Ran into a man who turned out to be my old boyhood contemporary from the Glebe Farm, Johnnie Lear

Friday, Oct 1 - Had our lunch beside the stream between Pizwell and Runnage. Found old Mrs Coaker [at Runnage] baby sitting at the farm while Richard Coaker went into Exeter for an x-ray of kidneys. He has only one child, Phillip, about four. We were ushered into the parlour which was much less comfortable than the warm kitchen. Margaret, now a strapping wench and much pleasanter than I remembered, produced a ceremonial cup of tea. Mrs Coaker chatted away and was very pleased we had called to see her. She is not happy on the Moor and she and Margaret  are living in a primitive unfurnished cottage near Widdicombe. Mrs C remarked that although the price of honey had gone up from 3/- to 5/- a pound, the monks [from Buckfast Abbey] still only proffered a pound for their hives. She said we did not want to spend people’s money to get to the moon. Had not got enough to spend it on here.

Saturday, Oct 2nd - We went into Father’s old home in Exton, Glenbanna, now renamed Milestone. We were welcomed by a charming Mrs McDougal, who showed us the garden and gave us coffee. The apple trees I had planted in 1922 now shaded the windows and the Lombardy poplar I brought out from Exeter in the guard’s van was 40ft.

Tuesday, Oct 12th - U.N. Assembly by 107 to 2 called on Britain to use all possible measures to prevent Rhodesian independence and if it occurs to take all necessary steps to put an end to the rebellion.
[A considerable portion of the Diary in the second half of 1965 is taken up with entries on the Rhodesia crisis, omitted from the extracts published here]

Wednesday, Oct 13th - I sent Con a postcard from Exmouth. To-day a letter arrived asking if I would like to meet her for lunch. This provoked an emotional outburst from Mary. ‘I was conducting a secret correspondence.’ I replied that I would enjoy meeting Con and it really did not seem to do any harm to anyone. One meeting in 25 years at 11 year intervals was not when all was said and done a lot.

Friday, Oct 22nd - Tonight Mary started up on my lunching with Con. She would never have believed I would allow Con ‘to come between us’. Said I didn’t see how she could at 65+. Con had never recognized her at the time of our marriage, never sent any polite message, never been friendly when she rang up when Molly was ill.

Thursday, Oct 28th - Set off  with Cill Roberts to see Timon of Athens. The first half till Timon’s madness went very well. But the second half with its ferocious denunciation of greed and lust was less successful. The play is haunted by sex and disease. No wonder it is not often done. I now find that with Timon I have seen all the plays except Pericles and Titus Andronicus.

Wednesday, Nov 4th - Mary’s mother phoned to say father had developed anaemia and would probably pass into a coma. Mary decided to go home to-morrow.

Sunday, Nov 11th - Mary rang up about eleven o’clock. When her mother got up this morning she called in Mary and they found her father was dead. She said she had bad news  but it was really a release for everyone. I reckon he will have a masonic funeral for he was very prominent in the masons at one time.

Monday, Nov 8th - To Piccadilly and National Book League. Soon Con arrived. Eleven years had left their mark on her - and on me? - her eyes were tired and lined, her bust had got bigger and heavier. Her hair was greyer or whiter and she was proud that she used no tinting. She wore  a large circular black fur hat. During lunch we talked mainly of Nicholas, Hilary and Molly. Con handed out a few side swipes. ‘If Hilary did not bother about people, he was like me. He grumbled as I used to do.’ Molly had complained to Con that we showed no interest in the farm. ‘I ought to have got Molly away from the farm earlier and asserted myself as her brother.’
Con would only drink tomato juice I gathered that she and her solicitor had drunk a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape the night before. She likes to save up and then blow the money on a hotel dinner, wine and comfort. Had been keeping a bawdy story for years to tell me. When in Holland she nearly killed a Belgian gentleman who was swiving her. Getting confused in the stress of the act she kept crying ‘Plus fort, plus for’ when what she really meant was ‘Trop fort, trop fort.’ Said to her confusion that I should certainly record the the result of fucking in a foreign tongue.
I wonder if I shall meet her again. Felt it would have been nice if she had made any reference to Mary but this was clearly too much to expect.

Thursday, Nov 11th (Armistice Day) - Went to Roberts to mend Ciceley’s table, which had lost a leg. Coffee with the old ladies. Mrs R described how her cat lost a leg in a reaping machine and how she took it up to Sister Margaret at the Convent who did it in with a hammer. This appealed to our sense of the ridiculous and we began laughing.
This afternoon I went to Witney with Mr Kitchen so that he could point out to me where, when laying a cable across the Windrush in 1958, he found a stone axehead [from 3000 BC]

Friday, Nov 12th - A hard day’s work. To Mr Pierce’s funeral. Lunch with Douglas (son) and grandson and granddaughter. Tried at first to make conversation but soon gave it up in despair. No come back! No interest! House perishing cold, not warm all day. Crematorium very pleasant. A solid mass of black coated elderly gentlemen on left, Masons. After service we were ushered out to see where the family wanted a commemorative rose to be

Friday, Nov 19th - The village Christmas bazaar from 4 to 7. Masses of clothes, junk and jumble, and a missionary stall, next to which the colonel and I ran a bottle store. The hall crowded with children of the Hunts.

Saturday, Nov 20th - Mary’s Godson, Richard Waller, came for the day. Very shy at first and thought he was going to be a scientific non-talker, but soon warmed up and became quite interesting. He had been educated in Tanganyika until he was 13, came to Wycombe Grammar School, went to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he got a first in mechanical science tripos. In January goes to an academic job in Brisbane.

Sunday, Nov 21st - Gill [Miss Gill] and Jane came to tea to tell us about their trip to Greece. 4,000 miles. They struck some bad roads under repair in Greece, but not a single puncture. They are a highly intelligent pair and we both enjoyed their visit.

Saturday, Nov 27th - Very cold north-west wind. Stayed in all day. Read Waugh’s Unconditional Surrender. It is very well written, but I found it depressing. Played Scrabble with Mary and lost by about 140 points!

Monday, Dec 6th - Have been in Cheltenham three days running, Saturday to fetch roses, Sunday to Humanists, to-day for Christmas shopping. Yesterday evening we listened to three talks on humanism given by the BBC this autumn. Mr and Mrs Jane Wynne Wilson live in a big modern bungalow in Charlton Kings. Present an ex- communist beaver from Winchcombe, young architect’s wife, civil servant secretary and journalist. It was all very pleasant and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, Dec 13th - Trouble at breakfast. Mary complained I was developing a social life in Cheltenham and going to houses without her. When I told her that she had been invited to come on Saturday she said (i) she didn’t know the people and (ii) had nothing to go in. ‘I was secretive’; After breakfast found her sitting on bed in tears. When asked what was the matter, said she couldn’t cope. Told her she had a nice husband, a nice house and a nice garden  and she ought to be happy enough!!

Wednesday, Dec 22nd - Letter from Hilary to say Lise pregnant. If girl, to  be called Vibeke. Good news, very pleased.

Christmas Day, - Hilary gave me A.J.P. Taylor’s England 1914-1945, a splendid gift. I now have 11 volumes. Lunch turkey with raisin and apple stuffing, bread sauce, sprouts and roast potatoes, followed by strawberries in jelly. Graves. Was glad we decided to defer plum pudding till to-morrow.
Mary’s mother who live in a house on the High Street next to Queen’s recalled a fire there in 1886 when she was carried to a neighbour’s house in a blanket. She also remembered being taken on Christmas morning to see the Boar’s Head and hearing the trumpet which summoned the college to dinner.  She remembers going down to the two path to see a coach and six being driven over the frozen river in January 1891.

Monday, Dec 27th - Went into coffee with ‘Marsh’ next door. Graham did not attend. He was busy with old Stevens building a garden shed.

Tuesday, Dec 28th - Listened to the service opening the 900th anniversary year of Westminster Abbey. Eric Abbott, sometime warden of Keble, had chosen ‘One people’ as his text. All the people of the world flocked to see the church; to them it said ‘Yes, ye are brethren; God has made of one blood all the nations of men’; the world has become a neighbourhood; men are developing a universal conscience which would not allow justice to be denied; there was a growth of ecumenical conscience among Christians.

Friday, Dec 31st - 1965 a rather dull year. A very poor cloudy summer, cold and sunless. It started with Winston’s state funeral. There have been two wars in progress, between India and Pakistan and the hideous situation in Vietnam where the year started with 27,000 American “advisers’ and ended with bombing of the north and 180,000 ground troops. The Queen’s visit to Germany marked the final reconciliation with our late enemies. The President has got the Civil Rights Bill through Congress ‘Their cause is our cause too’ an end to bigotry and injustice.
In material things average annual spending per head is calculated to have rise by 25% since 1955. The rise in standards has occurred in private motoring, equipment and accommodation in the home, women and children’s clothes and cosmetics. Car owners have nearly doubled. More people live in houses built since the war. Consumption of electricity and gas has doubled, Vacuum cleaners, television sets and washing machines are owned by a majority. Refrigerators and lawn mowers have spread to the working classes. Cinema going has fallen from 23 million a week to less than 7.  Holidays abroad have risen from 2 mill to 6 mill. The recognition of the usefulness of academic education has increased following the the rise in white collar workers in industry of nearly 15%.

Christmas cards 57. Books read 46

Index 1965
Aeroplanes -  March 19. May 31, Althorpe House - July 6.   Barnes family - Jan 16.  Beatles - June 18. Bubb, Rector - May 28, 29-  Butterfield, Miss - Jan 26, Mar 25, Coaker, Mrs - Oct 1. Collard,  Michael - Aug 22. Coats of Arms - May 6. Con  - Oct 10, 22, Nov 8. Churchill, Jan 19, 24, 30. July 1.  Coventry Cathedral - Feb 28.  Exton - Oct 2. French clock - Feb 20.  Garlicks -  May 15. Gibson, Mr - June 4, Gill, Miss - Nov 21.  Hilary - March 22, Aug 16, Nov 8, Dec 22.  Honey - Sep 4, 10. Hunt  family - June 5. Kitchin, Mr & Mrs - April 2, May 27, 29, July 15, Nov 11, Dec 2.  Leopold ,  Miss - May 31,  Lipscombe - July 22. Mary - March 1, Dec 13, Moeran, Pymonie & Jeremy - Aug 22, Sep 6 . Old Age Pension -  May 10. Pierce, Mr & Mrs -  April 16, Nov 4, 11, 12, Dec 25.   Roberts family - Jan 26, Feb 4, Aug 19,  Ruth - Feb 19, Sep 19, Nov 1, . Scaramangar - Mar 26, May 31,  Shillingford - Oct 30, St Catherine's College - Feb 23. Stratford - April 8, Aug 2, Oct 28, Waller, Richard - Nov 20.  Westcote - Mar 26, May 12, May 27, 28,  Worgan, Miss - Jan 30, May .,

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