Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday 30th July 1939

After tea I drove slowly to Great Yeldham. Parked the car in a rough track that led to a ford across the Colne. Presently Lois came, dressed in white, with a scarlet kerchief. We went to Ashen and leaned on a bridge above a stream. Taking stones from her mouth as she chewed damsons (or plums). Angel hurled them into the brook, indicating points at which she had previously seen water rats.

We drove slowly and vaguely to Castle Hedingham, taking many wrong turnings and not worrying in the least. I sang. I felt hungry and suddenly felt weak with hunger. For a few moments I gazed feverishly around the empty fields in search of a café. Then I remembered Lois had brought some apples. I stopped abruptly. Presently my teeth sank into a juicy apple of exactly the right texture and hardness. It was a Sturmer, Lois said and she could also recommend Granny Smith’s apples. Oh yes, I must certainly ask for a Granny Smith’s apple next time I went into a fruiterers.

At last, just at nightfall, Slinky crawled into Castle Hedingham. The castle loomed vaguely on the hill above; it looked unreal, like a cardboard castle in a stage scene. Went into a pub for cider. Still faint for nourishment, I also had bread, cheese and tomatoes. A shilling altogether. A Roman Catholic priest, in full war paint, sat in the bar, talking to some of the men. Beside him was a half pint glass tankard of beer. He held his cigarette rather awkwardly, like a lady, not like a heavy smoker. He listened intently to the jokes and gossip and smiled broadly.

When we got outside I said to Angel: “I’ll just go into the yard and see if there is a suicide buried there. Of course it’s not a cross roads but still”. Angel said, “Yes, see if there’s one for me, too, will you?” “Suicide at the cross roads” is our new code-phrase for going to the lavatory. It used to be “going to the telephone” at one time.

Did not drive right up to The White Hart. Went past it, then Lois got out and walked back. As I returned I saw her just crossing the road to go in doors. Under trees the road was dappled shadows. In open country, with the moon in a cloudless sky, I only used sidelights. Thus robbed of all artificial lighting, the road became a silver ribbon.

Home 12:30 Read in bed a little – I usually do. Sleep was permitted to approach at 1:30.

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