Monday, April 21, 2008

Thursday 29th December 1938

Stopped for a haircut at Towcester. The barber told me of his old loves (thirty years ago!) whilst I was in the chair. Original theme, for a barber!

Took Slinky B to a garage for air. She did not need oil or distilled water. She’s given no trouble since the gasket blew. “So early, one morning…” we sang in unison, as Slinky purred southwards. We only knew one verse and the refrain!

Aylesbury. Lunch at “The Folly Inn” How changed from my last visit! (When cycling from Nottingham to Thorpe.) Now it’s a modern cocktails place, blast it! We were going to Amersham but – “Oh, lets go to Ibstone, instead!” So I turned around, drove back a little way and took the Princes Risborough road. We were soon driving back into winter! A drizzle of rain – and the twin windscreen wipers began to swish monotonously to and fro. Patches of snow in the fields. As we climbed into the Chilterns, these patches became wider and more frequent. We drove up to Ibstone Common through snow-clad woods from which a faint white vapour was arising in occasional spirals. Snow vapour?

Left our kit at The Fox Inn – a small beerhouse – and tramped. Through falling rain, fallen snow, and coldness. Through woods, down a steep slope to a valley of virgin snow. I felt sans energy very rapidly! We cautiously circled the precincts of a large house. Silent, lifeless, except for smoke rising into the still air from the chimneys. The rain had stopped, and the silent woods became even quieter. We did not meet a soul during our tramp; no signs of life except for beasts in the fields.
Only the still house brooded, impotent yet dynamic. At nightfall, with some difficulty, we found our way up to the road again. (Hell of a climb for weary limbs.)

Once I leaned against a tree trunk in a wood, relaxed and inert for a moment. I looked upwards. Saw the tree swaying silently, rhythmically, beautifully. The wind here was moving all the trees in the wood. Glorious to be so cold, tired and hungry when, at “The Fox” we could sit in comfortable chairs by a blazing fire and then draw up to the table for a jolly good tea! Cups of steaming tea! Nectar neat! Clothes were drying by the fire. “We seem a comfortable couple” quoted Angel as she sat knitting a jumper, whilst I read a story (pages torn out of the magazine from which she was taking her pattern). The fire was primitive but very warm; it was not on the hearth but suspended just above in a sort of iron basket.

Stella and Martin Chattan, of Colchester.

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