Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tuesday 20th December 1938

Drove Southendwards. It’s glorious, in the new car, to realise that one has power! With the Austin Seven one had to struggle and strain always. Can I get past before the distant lorry approaches? Now I must gather speed, so that I can climb the hill!
Until I reached Rettendon there was only the driving, biting snow of the last two days. But then I found large flakes falling and deep, frozen snow on the roads. Driving became very slow and cautious.

On the island at Rayleigh Weir stood three Carter Paterson lorries, like wreckage washed up by the tide. I went down into South Benfleet in bottom gear! Took an order (for coffin polish!) from Alden and a short contract for U/coat Paste White. Hellish cold! My feet felt frozen; my hands, lips and neck felt bloody awful!

The radiator boiled at Leigh. I’d been expecting it; saw many cars along the road in a similar plight. I could only pour in half a kettle-full of cold water, which meant that most of the lower radiator was frozen. An enquiry from Scott-Hudson’s and an order from Howards Dairies. I gloomily drove into a garage at Southend – well, more resigned than gloomy! – but to my delight they found that the radiator had more or less thawed again. I bought their last (and expensive) tin of anti-freeze mixture and departed with fewer qualms.

Tea at a snug café in Southend. Slinky stood outside. Started with magnificent ease when I returned. Called at Oakdene. Took off my wet shoes and socks, put on a woolly pair and cowered over the fire. Did my office work and had a jolly good wash. Lois and I went to the Elocution class. Hellish cold there, too.

The cold, slippery drive back to Chelmsford. Frozen snow everywhere now. Finished my reports, did various odd jobs, and caught the midnight mail out.

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