Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunday 11th July 1937

I thought my day was over but it was only just beginning. At Shenfield the train was split in half; I did not know this and did not bother to enquire. Being in the rear portion I presently arrived at Chelmsford. Could have jumped out at Shenfield but – fatalistically – and foolishly – stayed where I was. No chance of supper at Chelmsford but I managed to get some cigarettes from a machine. Dozed in the waiting room, awoke, caught the 2:18 to Brentwood. Walked from Brentwood back to Shenfield – about two miles. I felt weak, and longed for a cup of tea! Hot tea! (I saw the Great Bear sprawling in the northern sky. Eastwards I saw a lightness creep into the dark sky.)

Shenfield station was closed. I climbed the embankment, went on the platform and found a porter. Yes, there was a chance that the guard of the newspaper train might let me travel in the van. The train arrived about 4 o’clock. The porters unloaded many parcels of Sunday newspapers. The guard nodded towards the van. I went aboard and sat down. We rattled on our way. At Billericay and Rayleigh I helped with the unloading. Twilight. I saw a bird flying. “Most people don’t know when it gets light” said the guard, looking out at the morning fields. The newspapers were all gone now. The van swayed. At Rochford the train stopped. I got out. The train went on. It was broad daylight. I walked across the fields, wet with dew. Behind me the sun, just clear of the horizon, was like a blazing orange.

Reached Roedean 5 o’clock. My supper was on the table. Habit is strong! Whilst I ate ravenously, I read a book and afterwards I smoked. Bed. Three hours of deepest sleep.

I had breakfast and was at the drill hall by 11 o’clock. Again I was number four, on the fuse dial. Hope I keep the job.

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