30 July 2016

17th March 1947: fifteen killed in 98mph gales

17 Mon. During the early hours until daylight, the wind blew with very great violence; as I lay in bed the house shuddered and trembled with the shock. Gusts up to 77 m.p.h. were recorded in London, while gusts up to 98 m.p.h. were registered in other parts of England. As a result of the gale 15 people were killed – even houses were blown down. In contrast the day was comparatively mild and calm with some pleasant sunshine. Out only to buy fish locally. Remade the centre and one side path of garden with ashes. Dug over a border in preparation for planting shallots. Chased after the dog from next door which escaped while their front door was open. Had great difficulty in catching it and bringing it back from half-way down Edna Road: wish I had let it go: it is a beastly little thing and the cause of much nuisance. Repaired Donald’s little four-wheeled truck. The last of the “iceberg” beneath the dining room window disappeared to-day, so the snow has gone at last!

29 July 2016

15th-16th March 1947: gales... and an awful noise!

15 Sat. Severe white frost, 6 degs below but slightly thawing by midday, freezing again by afternoon when it began to snow heavily until an inch had fallen. Late at night it began to thaw again and the snow turned to rain: a bitter E wind. Summer time began to-day and clocks and watches were put on one hour. Gwennie and Laurie called each with a kazoo saxophone – oh, what an awful noise. To Merton to buy fish, lights, cod liver oil and malt and a paper. Played dominoes with Ciss.

16 Sun. Moderately mild, some sun early, dull, rain and a full gale later. Short walk in afternoon. John Child called as usual. Got Colombo and other long distance stations on the short waves.

28 July 2016

13th-14th March 1947: snow and 'cutting' northerly

13 Thur. Rather mild, 51 degs, dull, rain most of the day. There is still some snow left and the “iceberg” outside the dining room window is still 16 ins high. To butchers, fish shop and oil shop in morning. Gwennie and Laurie called in afternoon and had a lesson on whist.

14 Fri. Very cold, only a few degrees above freezing, very dull, snowing most of the day, cutting N wind. Got all the usual Fri. provisions: bought 7 lbs of Rito* fertiliser. Did a lot of house cleaning and altogether did a day’s hard work. Gwennie showed me a crayon picture she did at school.

*Claimed to be the sweepings from the yard of the Molassine Company, Greenwich - see under heading 'Molasses incident photo' on this London archaeological website - and our blog reader Fern has found this photo - link here - of an infamous incident when a storage tank of treacly molasses - the thick, dark brown juice obtained from raw sugar during the refining process - leaked from a vast storage tank.

27 July 2016

11th-12th March 1947: Fred has his school examination papers

11 Tues. Very cold, very dull, very bitter NW wind – an awful day. Cycled to Morden and stood in the catsmeat queue for ¾ of an hour and got some very good meat, also bought saccharin and watercress there. Laurie called to have a lesson in whist; I am teaching him and Gwennie. To station to get a paper.

12 Wed. Morning frost; only a degree or two above freezing all day; very dull, rain commencing midday. Got the groceries locally and took a note to Lily in Botsford. Showed Gwennie my school examination papers and drawings, also school groups: she was very interested. Donald has German measles.

26 July 2016

10th March 1947: no cats' meat available

10 Mon. Rather cold but thawing quite rapidly. The garden was white to begin the day but the ground was showing through in many places by the end of the day. Very dismal, misty rain commencing midday. Cycled to Morden in morning but cats meat shop shut.: bought a pocket book at Woolworths. Cycled to Merton in afternoon but no cats meat there so went to Wimbledon and bought fish. Bought bush tomato seeds at Woolworth’s.

25 July 2016

8th-9th March 1947: Colombo calling

8 Sat. Frost less severe, rising to 6 degs above freezing during the day: some sunshine in afternoon: 4 degs above freezing at night. To Merton to buy fish, haricot beans, split peas etc. Walked there through several inches of slush: in places the pavements are under several inches of slushy water: I have never seen such bad conditions.

9 Sun. Rather cold; actually up to 6 degrees above freezing was recorded: fine sunny day but slight rain at night. The three children called in morning and several others later on their way to Sunday School. John Child called in evening to hear how the short waves were coming in; they should be affected by sunspot activity but I received Radio S.E.A.C. Colombo very loudly.