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26 May 2012

24 May 1942: Sunday visitors

24 Sun. Mild, chilly wind, heavy showers but a little weak sunshine. Dad came in the morning and returned to Tolworth in evening. Clifford Garen(?) & Gwen called prior to going to Sunday School. Mrs.Akroyd to tea. Walk in evening. Met Mrs.Child's sister with Audrey, John, Peter & Jenifer. Later met Chas, Ruby & Alma Cook, also Len & Emily Garrod. Watched grand tennis doubles at Holland Gardens. Really inspiring play and I thanked the players after the match and was honoured at being able to raise my hat at them. I saw them last year.

23 May 1942: search for cat food

23 Sat. Mild, cloudy, fresh wind, rain commencing in afternoon & continuing till midnight & beyond. Did shopping locally and then a hunt for cats' food all over Merton & Wimbledon returning along rail path in the rain.

25 May 2012

22 May 1942: tanks & roses

22 Fri. Mild, cloudy, heavy showers but a few nice sunny intervals. Did all the usual Friday morning shopping. Also along rail path to Wimledon to buy a few things at Woolworth's. Sent Uncle Tom a letter, birthday card & postal order. Saw two large lorries in Coombe Lane each one carrying an army tank with soldiers in the turrets. First roses out on climbing Mme. Edouard Herriot at the front door.

21 May 2012

21 May 1942: liver & meat day

21 Thur. Mild, dull, heavy clouds till mid-afternoon. To Merton to buy cats' meat; got some liver and meat. Some work in the garden. Put up short curtains in the back windows, also put up pictures after cleaning. Short cycle ride along Westway.

On this day: Hitler delays invasion of Malta, awaiting fall of Egypt.

20 May 2012

20 May 1942: ration books

20 Wed. Very mild, mostly cloudy but quite pleasant. To the butchers and fish shop in morning also to get the new clothing and personal ration books at the local public library. Quite a lot of gardening in afternoon including potting up tomato plants & sowing seeds of my own multiflora calandula. Alan Spooner called with his bike with the new three-speed wheel. We went for a ride, he riding my bike and I riding his: quite good but his 3 speed control needs a little attention.

19 May 1942: no dog thanks

19 Tues. Very mild, cloudy but some nice periods of genial sunshine. To Merton to buy fish. Met Fred Spooner. To Mrs. Ashenden to say I cannot mind her dog. Met Uncle Alf. Planted another white geranium on dear Mother's grave. Ron Cooper had breakfast and then returned to Farnborough, Hants.

Note: you may be interested in: BBC: WWII People's War. Love & Farnborough.

18 May 1942: Air Ministry expert

18 Mon. Very mild, mostly cloudy, showers. To Morden to buy fish. It isd a pleasant walk to Morden along Merton Way. Alan Spooner called to show me his new 3-speed back cycle wheel. Ron Cooper called in his car and stayed the night. We went to Wimbledon Common to see the new beam aerials that have been erected there. He came home and worked out the wavelength and angle of the beam from the estimated size. He is an Air Ministry expert.

17 May 1942: Wimbledon's war

17 Sun. Very mild, a lovely sunny morning, but nice altogether and slight rain at night. A lot of children came in to see my aereoplanes. Mrs. Jordan came to tea. Walk on the Common in evening, saw Mr. Double with his aero. Had a look at two big aerial systems on the Common, also saw an armoured machine-gun turret. Len & Emily Garrod called; he borrowed my micrometer.

16 May 1942: cemetery routine

16 Sat. Between very mild and rather warm. Cloudy but some genial sunshine later. Helped to cook the midday dinner as usual. Got the groceries and then to get cats' meat at Merton. Planted two pink geraniums on the Field's grave and one white one on Mother's grave. I should have taken a second one but will have to do that later on.

15 May 1942: bought plants at door

15 Fri. Mild, some pleasant sunshine. Did all the usual shopping in the morning including going to Merton to buy sprats. Alb sent two marrow plants which I put in straight away. Bought cheap tomato plants at the door. Aunt Liza called. A lot of buds coming on the roses. 

17 May 2012

14 May 1942: inspiring preacher

14 Thur. Mild, cloudy and dull but not unpleasant because of the calm air. To Merton to buy cod cutlets. Also bought two lovely white geraniums and two double pink ones - 1/3* each in pots. In evening to the Church to hear the week-night meeting of the Church Anniversary. The chief speaker was Dr.Luke Wiseman who gave a most inspiring address lasting an hour. Although 84 he is still a most powerful and dramatic orator. I owe a great deal to his influence.

*one shilling and threepence (about 6.25p each in modern money)
**Rev Frederick Luke Wiseman. Born in York, 1858 - died 16 Jan 1944. Evangelist, orator, elder statesman of Methodist church, gifted musician. Click for biography. 

13 May 1942: paper for munitions

13 Wed. Mild, dull after rain. I did shopping in morning as it is early closing. Alan called in afternoon. Sorted out some old, unwanted music, the paper is wanted for salvage for munitions.

12 May 1942: dying 78 weds 38; I disapprove!

12 Tues. Mild, becoming cool; dull, chilly wind, rain at night. To Merton to buy fish also bought sausage meat locally. Uncle Henry called to collect a werdding presnt from Mrs.Jones. He looks deathly; I am sure he is suffering from advanced arterio-sclerosis. He is 78 and proposes marrying Miss Killick a hospital nurse aged 38. I told him I disapproved which surprised him very much! 

12 May 2012

11 May 1942: rhubarb & geraniums

11 Mon. Very mild, cloudy after the rain but some delightful sunshine in afternoon. To Merton thence to Morden where I bought some fish and home along Merton Way. I enjoyed the latter part of the walk. Audrey Child called in evening for some rhubarb. To Merton churchyard in evening to plant geraniums on Dear Mother's grave also the same on the Field's which I have undertaken to keep in order. To pay the Slate Club contributions.

10 May 1942: rain, thank God

10 Sun. Rather cool, dull, the much desired rain came  at last in the afternoon and continued until night and beyond: thank God. Jean and Arthur Child to tea. Started writing letter to Chas.Staden.

On this day. Winston Churchill in a broadcast. There is winter, you know, in Russia... Hitler forgot about this Russian winter.He must have been very loosely educated. We all heard about it at school, but he forgot it. I have never made such a bad mistake as that.

11 May 2012

9 May 1942: disastrous spring drought

9 Sat. Mild, bright sunshine all day but its effect was completely nullified by the cold, driving east wind - terrible. This spring is disastrous for newly planted things and seedlings. The drought is serious; no rain for a month. Got the groceries and then to Merton to buy herrings. Met Harold and Winnie as I did last Saturday. Planted a few lichens in the garden. 

10 May 2012

8 May 1942: air-raid warning

8 Fri. Cool, some weak sunshine and a rough, chilly east wind. To butchers, the cold meat (?) shop and to get some cakes in morning. To Merton to buy fish in afternoon. Put up new short curtains in front upstairs bedroom. The following should have been mentioned first. Raid warnings from 1.55 a.m. to 2.45 a.m. nothing occurred; first syrens for a long time.

Note: it is Fred's question mark in brackets, in the original diary.

7 May 1942: perfect day for planting

7 Thur. Warm: 68 degs, 108 in the sun: not a cloud all day; perfect. Bought Paul Crampnel geraniums & some tomato plants by Raynes Park Sta in morning. Also some alyssum & lichnis in afternoon and some fish for dinner. Planted dear Mothers grave with alyssum & lichnis and put some of the latter on Mr & Mrs Field's grave for Jessie Hodges. Planted the tomatoes in garden also some other work. 

8 May 2012

6 May 1942: care for graves

Rather warm; perfectly lovely day. Warm sunshine without a moment's break all day. To shops in morning. To dear Mother's grave in evening to take off the bulbs. Met Jessie Field, now Mrs Hoidges there tending her parents grave. She lives right away so she asked me if I would put some plants on for her which I agreed to do.

5 May 1942: cat food scarcity

Very mild to rather warm, lovely genial sunshine all day. Cycled till I found something for Dinkey to eat: very difficult getting food for cats. Sowed runner bean seeds.

4 May 1942: pigs & poppies

Very mild, some pleasant sunshine; very nice spring day. To Merton to buy some fish. Aunt Liza and little Gwen called; took her to see Winsley's little pigs. Planted poppy seeds and other work in garden. Many buds coming on the roses now and the new growth so far has not been affected by late frosts: good.

5 May 2012

3 May 1942: relations in uniform

3 Sun. Mild, nice sunny day: pleasant. Alb, Lily and baby Anthony, Dad from Tolworth also John from Basingstoke in Air Force uniform - he is a wireless operator of a bomber crew, and Lily's sister Nellie. Walk on the Common in evening.


Photo: John (Hodgkins) from (12 Soper Grove), Basingstoke in Air Force uniform. He was the son of Nellie and Frank Hodgkins. Nellie was Lily's sister; Lily was Fred's sister-in-law. (The photo is from present editor's collection.)

2 May 1942: planted lettuces

2 Sat. Mild, cool east wind, small amount of weak, hazy sunshine. Got the groceries etc, also to Merton where I met Harold and Winnie. Planted some more lettuces and dug over & tidied up the garden which is looking quite trim now.

2 May 2012

1st May 1942: a serious drought

1 May Fri. Mild, less wind, some cloud and six(?) spots of rain. The drought surely must break soon: it is serious. Did a lot of shopping and all without going far afield. Alan Spooner called with a recod for me to play. Finished re-making the centre garden path and planted some lettuces sent by Albert.

30 April 1942: met Mr Dyke

30 Thur. The bitter east wind was less severe to-day and completely died down at night. The brilliant sun shone all day. To Wimbledon along rail path to buy a few things; met Mr Dyke (Wyke?) who I had not seen for years. Started re-laying the centre path in garden. The ground is dry and dusty.

1 May 2012

29 April 1942: tuned the piano

29 Wed. The sun shone from a cloudles sky all day but the driving east wind continues and is damaging the new growth of plants. To grocers only in morning. Tuned the piano; first time for years. 

28 April 1942: wind hurls stones

28 Tues. Wilder than ever: the wind is blowing as hard as I can remember. It licks up showers of little stones and hurls them about: I got some in my face. But the R.A.F. are still flying. To butchers in morning. Letter from Uncle Tom - replied.