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31 December 2015

6th-8th April 1946: walking stick with pen, pencil, microscope & inkpot

The Big Wheel, Earl's Court Exhibition, taken about 1900
6 Sat. Very cool, some sunshine, chilly E wind. Took a note to Mrs. Child and met her later with Jennifer at Merton. Bought fish there and some scouring powder at Morden. Dug up, divided and re-planted a large Michaelmas daisy. Saw dear Mother’s grave, the daffodils are superb.

7 Sun. Rather mild but a stiff sou’wester made it seem chilly: bright sunshine all day. Cycled to Richmond Park and found to my disappointment that both the Pen Ponds had been drained and were overgrown with tall grass and reeds. Ciss went to Tolworth and found Dad a little better: Uncle Dick was just coming away when Ciss arrived. Drew a picture of roses to make a birthday card for Gwennie to give to her mother. Gwennie is going to paint it.


Extract from article on the Big Wheel


8 Mon. Mild, dull, rather cool wind. Gwennie and Donald called: showed them the walking stick which Miss Gardner gave me when I was a boy. It has a concealed inkpot and combined pen and pencil and a microscope which when looked through shows a picture of the Big Wheel at Earl’s Court Exhibition where the stick was bought. Farley’s brought the new dressing table in medium oak with a large plate glass mirror. They also took away the organ, armchair, music cabinet and other pieces of furniture for repair and repolishing. To Morden to buy fish.












30 December 2015

4th-5th April 1946: playing shops

4 Thur. Warm, hazy, sultry, but a lot of sun through overhead here. To Farley’s to give them the order to repair the furniture. Thence to butchers and to buy cats meat at Merton. Saw dear Mother’s grave: the daffodils (Carlton) are superb: the scillas make a fine contrast of colour with their deep blue. Dug up and divided a large clump of Michaelmas daisy. All three children called and played shops in the front garden. They came again with two sorts of birthday cake it is their father’s birthday to-day.


5 Fri. Very cool, very dull, rain all day. Did the usual shopping locally, got a nice piece of fillet of beef, some brisket (cooked) and some corned beef at the butchers. Bought a jar of Brand’s Essence for Ciss to take to Dad. She went to see him this evening and he is about the same. Gwennie and the others called: read a chapter out of a children’s book to her which she seemed to enjoy. Her cough – poor dear is still very bad.

29 December 2015

1st-3rd April1946: Dad ill... best weather for 90 years

1 April. Mon. Very mild, much sunshine, but spoilt by a stiff E wind. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom. Bought fish in Wimbledon in morning. To Tolworth in afternoon to see Dad. He seems to have taken a turn for the better but the doctor speaks with some reserve: he will see Dad tomorrow and may be he will pass an opinion then. Aunt Hannah called.

2 Tues. Rather warm in afternoon, the sunshine was lovely and warm, but the easterly breeze still blows so that you get a hot-cold effect. Gwennie and Donald brought meat for the cats. To Wimbledon in afternoon bought a dish cloth, fish paste, Maplemeat, a naphtha garden lime. Applied the latter to bed where I intend to grow beans. Ciss went to Tolworth to see Dad: he had a bad night but was better this evening.


3 Wed. Warm: glorious sunny day; even the morning and evening was warm. The grandest day for the time of year since records were taken 90 years ago. Got the groceries locally also fish at Morden and an order form from Morden fuel office. Pruned Aunt Hannah’s roses in afternoon.

26 December 2015

30th-31st March 1946: first boat race since war

30 Sat. Mild, some nice sunshine but a fresh E wind. Cycled to Cheam to buy a pound of cats meat in morning. Gave Laurie a root of hypericum which his father planted. Aunt Liza called. Listened to broadcast commentary on the boat race which Oxford won by three lengths in 10 mins 54 secs – the first race since before the war. To Merton to buy fish. Dug up overgrown Michaelmas daisy, divided and re-planted: a heavy job. Farley’s man came to see the damaged furniture – he will submit an estimate.


31 Sun. Mild, fine sunny day but spoilt by a stiff cold E breeze. Short cycle ride nearly to Worcester Park. Ciss went to Tolworth to find Alb and Lily a little better than they were but Dad was in bed: he has had the ’flu but his heart is causing some concern.

25 December 2015

Happy Christmas, folks!

A hand-painted Christmas postcard
 postmarked Kennington (London), 24 Dec 1907 
to Mr & Mrs F French, 69 Chestnut Road, Raynes Park. 
Was the 69 in error? Others in family at No 66.

28-29th March 1946: churchyard blooms


Photos: Sean Galvin
28 Thur. Mild, fine sunny day: the nicest day this year, so far. Bought a few things locally in morning also to Merton. Saw dear Mother’s grave: the blue scillas are lovely but the daffodils are not out yet. The lesser celandine made a bright show in the churchyard and I picked a few blooms to show Gwennie when she called with Donald in afternoon. Sowed Webbs Wonderful lettuce in garden, also applied naphtha lime and replanted a golden rod.


29 Fri. Very mild, lovely sunny day. Got the usual provisions including a nice piece of veal. To Merton to buy cod cutlets, two pieces for 1/8. Gwennie and Donald called wearing boat race favours Gwennie Cambridge and Donald Oxford. Dug up, divided and replanted an ox-eye daisy and a golden rod root.

24 December 2015

26-27th March 1946: garden paths... & lemon curd tart+cream

26 Tues. Morning frost and fog, but a clear, mild, sunny day following: the nicest day since October. In morning to get accumulators and cellophane jam pot covers. The three children called: gave them a lemon curd tart each and some chocolate cream; very much appreciated. Did some weeding in the garden and made up another side path.


27 Wed. Cold, morning and night; rather mild day of misty sunshine. Got the groceries locally also envelopes and postal order and stamps. Bought fish & split peas at Morden. Re-made centre path of garden and trimmed the edges; looks good. Pruned the sweet briar. Gave Addie Veale some roots of bordering campanula.

23 December 2015

24th-25th March 1946: Gwennie loves Uncle Fred

24 Sun. Cool, dismal, calm. Clifford and Laurie were amused with the magnets. Walked to Holland Gardens in afternoon. Aunt Hannah to tea also Mrs. Akroyd.


25 Mon. Cold, foggy morning, but when the sun came through it became fine and clear with some warmth in the sun. To Morden to buy cats meat also something locally. Bought a 10 ft ash pole at Smaldons which I later put into the ground as a pillar for Pauls Scarlet Climbing rose. The three children called: Gwennie said “I love Uncle Fred” which touched me deeply.

22 December 2015

22nd-23rd March 1946: pork, sweets, fish, haricot beans, dried peas

22 Fri. Cool, very dull; rain all day. Got a nice piece of pork this morning. Did other shopping locally including buying 1/2 lb of sweets. Short walk along Coombe Lane in afternoon. Fitted improved centring device to R & A loud-speaker with good results.


23 Sat. Rather mild, fine, bright sunny day, but stiff N breeze. Gwennie & Laurie called, gave her the card with flower that changes its colour. Went to see Cousin Len and his wife’s baby boy Joseph, Peter: a dear little chap with very large dark grey blue eyes. Bought fish at Merton and Wimbledon: bought haricot beans and dried green peas at Merton. Started cleaning the windows yesterday and finished them to-day.

21 December 2015

20th-21st March 1946: flower disc card for Gwennie

20 Wed. Mild fine with some hazy sunshine but a stiff, fresh breeze. Got the groceries locally also soap, pilchards & meat paste at Smaldon’s. Bought fish at Morden. Made a pretty card for Gwennie. It has a flower on it and underneath is a revolving disc of many colours. When the disc is revolved the flower changes colour with a description of the shade in a panel above. More work preparing the onion bed.


21 Thur. Rather mild, some sun early, but dull, rain later; stiff fresh breeze. Did some shopping locally, also bought fish in Wimbledon. Sowed two rows of “James/Keeping” onion seed.

20 December 2015

18th-19th March 1946: dried blood & lime

18 Mon. Rather mild, dull, fresh wind. To Morden cats meat shop. Did some work in garden including re-laying a side path. Paid the Club. Fitted new high-tension to Mrs. Akroyd’s wireless.


19 Tues. Cold, becoming mild, some hazy sunshine which was most welcome. Bought garden lime, dried blood and a packet of crimson globe beet. Applied lime and blood to proposed onion bed. Sprayed the fruit bushes with derris liquid. Gwennie and Donald came. Mrs Collis brought a present for Ciss who is 60 today. Mrs Collis liked a newly decorated living room.

19 December 2015

16th-17th March 1946: swapped papers

16 Sat. Black frost, even colder than yesterday but less wind; very dull. Connie Freeman brought her new baby sister Phyllis for me to see. A lovely baby with large dark green-grey eyes, and a most bewitching smile: I was charmed. To Merton to buy cats meat. Made and fitted new centralising device for R & A loudspeaker, not quite satisfactory.


17 Sun. Black morning frost, but less cold later; very dull. The children called and were interested in two powerful magnets I showed them. Peter Child came and brought a Wimbledon Boro News in exchange for a Methodist Recorder.

18 December 2015

14th -15th March 1946: oil 1/6d a gallon; pail of coal as gift

14 Thur. Very cold, dismal, bitter E wind. To Merton to buy something at Boots, thence to Wimbledon to buy cats meat. To local butchers. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald called presumably to have a lark with me: they do enjoy coming here although I can scarcely afford the time to amuse them. Went out to buy paraffin but met Pamela also out to buy oil. She told me the only shop selling oil was the garage round the corner so we went together and got some at 1/6 a gallon.


15 Fri. Bitterly cold, dismal, cutting NE wind. Got the usual Friday shopping locally including a nice piece of brisket. Went along rail path in afternoon. Took a pail of coal to Chas and Doris as they are very short of coal and we have sufficient.

17 December 2015

12th-13th March 1946: Russia invades Persia

12 Tues. Very cold to rather mild, dull, gentle wind from the S. All three children made a stay this afternoon and Gwennie is becoming quite boisterous – a sure sign she is getting better.


13 Wed. Very cold, dismal; howling, bitter E wind. Got the groceries locally. To Morden in a raging wind on my bike to buy fish and fish paste. Got a letter from Capt. Marshall who is in Germany. Did a very neat-fingered repair to speech-coil connections of R & A loudspeaker… The international position is very strained and Russia has invaded Persia in some strength.

16 December 2015

11th March 1946: this was banana day! And utility furniture.

11 Mon. Black frost but less severe. Hazy, calm, with a suspicion of sunshine midday. To Merton thence to Morden to buy cats meat. Also got a form* for obtaining utility* furniture. Bought derris liquid for spraying the gooseberry bushes. Took accumulator, bought liquid glue, and saccharin. Saw Gwennie and Laurie coming back from the World’s Stores with a bag containing 3/4 worth of bananas. Too heavy for them to carry really, so I slung the bag from the handle-bar of my bike and wheeled it home. They later brought a banana each for me and Ciss. They were followed by a crowd of children who had never seen a banana before. I showed them how to skin them. Told Mrs. Conley where they could be obtained and Len Conley went and got some which they had for tea and liked them very much: Ann was excited. It’s been a great day for them to-day.
Applying for a
'Household Buying Permit'
for Utility Furniture

*Note:
Utility furniture refers to furniture produced in the United Kingdom during and just after World War II, under a Government scheme which was designed to cope with shortages of raw materials and rationing of consumption. Introduced in 1942, the Utility Furniture Scheme continued into post-war austerity and lasted until 1952. (Photo and text: Wikipedia - utility furniture photos & details


15 December 2015

9th-10th March 1946: hundreds queue for BANANAS

9 Sat. Severe black frost, clear air but dull. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Also bought clear dope** at Norman’s. He has now been discharged from the Air Force and I had not seen him since the beginning of the war. A shop at Merton had bananas for sale: there was a queue of people 100 yards long and three or four abreast. Took out the R & A speaker from the radio-gram and replaced it with the Magnavose as the other needs some attention.

**The liquid which is like varnish and which Fred applied to the tissue he put over the wings of model aircraft.

10 Sun. Severe white frost. Very cold day, hazy calm. Ciss went to Hornsea to see Cousin Will, his wife and two daughters. Ciss could not therefore take the children to Sunday School. Jean Child was to have taken them but she is unwell. I started down the road with about a dozen children but Audrey Child, John and Jennifer then came up so I left them to go along together. Short cycle ride in afternoon along Grand Drive and Hillcross Avenue.

Note the Comment on this post... below

14 December 2015

7th-8th March 1946: children not seen bananas... yet

7 Thur. Very cold, just above freezing, dismal, cruel NE wind. To the butchers, also did other shopping locally, both morning and afternoon. Wrote a letter of wireless information to Chas. Staden.


8 Fri. Very hard black frost, very cold, dull day, wind still NE. Got all the usual provisions locally including two 4 ozs of different sorts of chocolates. To Wimbledon along rail path in afternoon to buy something: saw one of the big ugly goods engines on an up express. Gwennie went out to-day and I met her in the road: she had been on a fruitless journey to the greengrocers to buy bananas: they told her there will be some tomorrow. Bananas were stopped at the beginning of the war and children do not know what they are like and are very excited of having something they have neither seen or tasted before. Maybe, many will not like them at least, to begin with.

13 December 2015

5th-6th March 1946: firewood and vitimins for delicate child

5 Tues. Very cold, half-dark, rain all day and the last of the snow disappeared by midday. Did not go shopping today. Doris called to get some firewood as we still have a lot of bomb-debris in stock and she has no wood and very little coal: Gwennie must have a fire in her bedroom as she is still in delicate health. Letter from Chas. Staden.


6 Wed. Very cold. Half-dark, rain, sleet or snow all day; howling N wind. Got the groceries locally. Bought a jar of Vimaltol a very delectable malt, orange halibut oil with vitamins and minerals body-building and nerve-tonic food for little Gwennie, a present from me as she is unwell and hope it will do her good. Took it to her and she tasted it; it is very attractive for children: she did not seem very well. Repaired my bedroom clock as it kept stopping.

12 December 2015

3rd-4th March 1946: winter weather

3 Sun. Very cold; quite a heavy fall of snow greeted us this morning, dull day becoming very gloomy and calm: a slight thaw midday lessened the quantity of snow. An uneventful day save for the children calling on their way to Sunday School. A little auburn-haired girl named Margaret who stays week-ends at Mr Morris’s next door came to-day.

4 Mon. Morning frost, half-dark all day. Snow till afternoon then it turned to rain with a slight thaw. In morning splashed my way on my bike through thick slushy snow to take something to Mrs. Collis and to buy something locally. In afternoon to Merton cats meat shop – a dreadful journey in foul weather

11 December 2015

2nd March 1946: 'residents' candidate gets my vote

2 Sat. very cold, dismal, snowing all day: just about freezing point, bitter, driving N wind. Leonard, Victor and Ann Conley brought a football which leaked; I patched the puncture and blew it up hard with my bike pump. Bought a new 120V. high-tension battery and grid-bias battery and fitted same with good results. I voted in afternoon for the residents candidate Le Gros Clark in the local Council election. Bought fish locally.

10 December 2015

1st March 1946: sun a dull red ball

1 Fri. Only 3 degrees of frost to-day with a slight thaw in afternoon bringing down an avalanche of snow from the roof, but freezing again later. Dull, misty, with the sun a dull red ball in the sky; N wind. Got a piece of pork this week; did the usual shopping locally also got some nice cats meat at Merton.

9 December 2015

28th Feb 1946: queues of 100 at fish shops

28 Thur. Ten degrees below freezing, very dismal, inclined to be foggy but calm. Bought a few things locally in morning and spent the afternoon touring the district to buy something for dinner and the cats but failed. Only two fish shops for miles had anything to sell but in both cases the queue was far too long, about a hundred people in each: I could not stand all that time in several degrees of frost. Things don’t get much better.

8 December 2015

26th-27th Feb 1946: snow.....ing

26 Tues. Very cold, becoming frosty at night. Very dismal; day commencing with a downpour of rain which gradually changed to sleet then to snow which continued all day and at night there was 1½ ins. with snow still falling. To the local butchers and fish shop. Doris called to say Gwennie was in bed and had a cough.


27 Wed. Very cold: two inches of frozen crunchy snow. The day was clear & some sunshine which caused a partial thaw but freezing hard again at night. Got the groceries locally and some fish at Morden. Went to see Gwennie who was up for a short while and helped her paint some texts in a book while she amused herself before the fire.

7 December 2015

24th-25th Feb 1946: six cats + one dog

24 Sun. Very cold, some bright periods, less wind. Walked a little way down Coombe Lane in afternoon. Mrs Akroyd came to tea: Mrs. Child also paid a fleeting visit.


25 Mon. Very cold, very dull, drizzle, calm. To Merton to buy something; also to Morden to buy cats meat. Got Ciss’ shoes from repair at Easam’s. Re-made side path in garden. Was visited to-day by seven cats and a dog: six cats all at once – lovely, but I don’t like dogs.

6 December 2015

22nd-23rd Feb 1946: ghosts

22 Fri. Hard, black frost, cold, cloudy day; bitter N wind. Got the usual Fri. shopping, all locally. Had a house full of noisy children playing “ghosts”. Gwennie, Laurie, Donald, Ann and Victor. Lily and Anthony called in afternoon; she like the re-decorated living room. Anthony brought some fine railway books.


23 Sat. Very cold, a deluge to begin the day, some sunny periods later; terrific NW wind. To the local greengrocers in morning. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Got blown and buffeted to a standstill on my bike coming back. Am watching hopefully two rose buds developing on the climbing rose at front door. Repaired hat-rack in the hall. Made & fitted new spring to hook on door of cupboard under the stairs.

5 December 2015

20th-21st Feb 1946: tinned treacle pud for 1/- and 4 ration points

20 Wed. Cold, fitful, cloudy but with some brilliant periods of sunshine; very rough N wind, gales of frozen snow. Got the groceries including a tinned treacle pudding for 1/- and four points. Cousin Maud came to stay the night. She has come up from Preston to have an interview at a school at Putney with a view to a position on the teaching staff there.


21 Thur. Very cold, some sunny periods after a light fall of snow in the night, driving bitter N wind. Posted a parcel to Rev. Chas. Staden. To Wimbledon to buy fish. Gwennie and Laurie called and told them about the coltsfoot flowers now coming out. Laurie has had a fall and somewhat spoilt the look of his nose and mouth. Cousin Maud called to say she has got the post of music mistress at a Putney school. She has held a similar post at Preston for a great many years.

4 December 2015

18th-19th Feb 1946: meat queue

18 Mon. Rather cold, dismal, damp, calm. To Morden to buy fish. Planted the shallots and started clearing grass from a side path. Started playing the Waldstein Sonata: it will take serious study. Started writing a technical letter to Rev. Chas. Staden.


19 Tues. Rather mild, some sunny periods, but a very stiff NW wind. To N Cheam to buy cats meat and got some good meat after standing in a very long queue for 1½ hours. Gwennie brought some pieces for Dinky; she is very bright and charming. To Wimbledon in afternoon to buy something at the Health Food stores.

1 December 2015

16th-17th Feb 1946: meat shortage... magic lantern... Life Brigade

16 Sat. Rather mild, dismal, drizzle most of the day. Cycled to Cheam but meat shop closed. To Morden where I bought sprats, thence to Merton but meat shop to have meat at one o’clock so came home. To Merton again in afternoon and got some meat. Did a few more painting jobs including some picture frames.


17 Sun. Rather cold, clear, much sunshine of the pale wintry sort. Connie Bradley is 46 to-day: God bless her. Cycled to Wimbledon Common as it was fine this afternoon: saw a few model planes there but they did not fly as their owners were unskilled. Went to see the magic lantern show at Chas and Doris. Gwennie is resplendent to-day in her new Girls Life Brigade uniform. She is very proud of it and has worn it all day with the hat on as well indoors. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom.