30 April 2017

30th April 1948: wireless extension for Katie... and a galvanised bath

30 Fri. Cool, cloudy, light showers. To butchers also bought tinned goods, paid for the papers, bought sweets, fish, a galvanised bath among other things – all locally. Ran wires from the wireless in the dining room to Katie’s room where I have installed a loudspeaker; it works splendidly and she is pleased. Gwennie called.

29 April 2017

29th April 1948: Katie the lodger's day

29 Thur. Fairly mild after a night of rain. Mostly dull and cloudy. Took Katie’s photograph in the garden. Got her groceries at Eyles and her soap ration at Smaldons. Bought fish for myself and cats locally. Took Katie’s shoes for repair. Gwennie and Margaret called. Small amount of work in garden. Met Mrs. and Doris Bradley. Developed the photo of Katie: it was fully exposed and is a good negative.

28 April 2017

28th April 1948: gales... queues... food poisoning

28 Wed. Rather mild, cool at each end of day: some sunshine but rain setting in later. The wind of gale force died down with the rain. Stood in a very long cats’ meat queue at Morden and eventually got some. Got the groceries locally. A letter from Aunt Nellie saying Uncle Tom was laid up with food poisoning. Gwennie and Laurie called; gave them two photos of themselves: they were pleased.

27 April 2017

27th April 1948: heavenly day

27 Tues. Very mild; lovely warm sunshine, cloudless sky all day; only a little wind which dropped at evening, which was heavenly. Cut the lawn: looks very nice for so early in the season. Bought fish locally also M.Q. developer. Twin red & black flex wire and metal polish in Wimbledon. More work putting up bean rods in evening. Took prints of the children’s group I took on Sunday, also of Alb, Lily, Hilary and Philip.

26 April 2017

26th April 1948: half-day off school for royal anniversary!

26 Mon. Mild, fine bright sunny day but the wind is still keen. Planted ferns and hypericum in the front garden, after much labour trying to break up the soil. Sowed more poppy seeds in the back garden. The King and Queen’s Silver Wedding: the school children had a half-day holiday. Bought fish in Morden.

25 April 2017

25th April 1948: jaunty tortoise

25 Sun. Very cool, sunny morning, cloudy later; a cold NE wind of hurricane force. Gwennie, Laurie, Donald and Margaret came in afternoon for me to take their photograph which I developed along with the one I took at Tolworth on 18th inst. Alb, Lily and Anthony paid a surprise visit and had tea here – without Ciss as she had gone to Edie Hopkins at Stoneleigh. The tortoise which was in the garden last summer came this afternoon walking along the garden path with quite a jaunty gait and seemed quite happy to be here but I now know where it lives so took it back to Roy Eves in Bronson Road.

24 April 2017

24th April 1948: callers and manure

24 Sat. Mild, much sunshine, steady SW breeze but a pleasant day. Weeding in the garden. Planted carnation cuttings. Dug over and manured border for runner beans. Put up rods for same. Gwennie, Laurie and Margaret called. Laurie finished the birthday card. Aunt Liza called. Bought fish at Merton.

23 April 2017

23rd April 1948: buns, duck egg, chocolate... happy days

23 Fri. Mild, sunny afternoon; chilly E wind. To butchers, got rolled lamb for us and a tin of corned beef for Katie. Also to pay for the papers and get sweets. Got Katie’s groceries including 4 eggs and a duck’s egg. Bought buns for ourselves and a nice chocolate cake for Katie. Gwennie and little Margaret called: I was very happy. Aunt Liza gave me some carnation cuttings.

22 April 2017

22nd April 1948: gave piano lesson

22 Thur. Mild but the stiff E breeze made it seem cold, dull showery morning, sunny later. To Wimbledon, also to all the flower shops to buy a root of phlox but failed. To butchers. Started to dig the front garden and lay it out with a diamond pattern bed: very hard work, the ground is like concrete, it has been neglected since the bombing. Started to make a rockery at end of garden: plenty of large concrete blocks from the dismantled shelter. John Child brought the bag back I lent him. Connie Freeman came in for a piano lesson.

21 April 2017

21st April 1948: stewed figs

21 Wed. Becoming rather warm as the day wore on. Sunny morning, dull, showers later. Got the groceries and other things locally. Dug up, divided and planted out five ferns. Also the evergreen hedges in the front garden. Stewed some figs and made custard; gave some to Katie who liked it. Gwennie brought little Margaret who put a cross beside her name on the birthday card.

20 April 2017

20th April 1948: garden planting

20 Tues. Becoming rather warm, lovely sunny day like summer. A rather stiff breeze but it did not chill to-day. Bought and planted a doz. antirrhinums also some auriculas. Sowed marigold and poppy seeds. Dear Gwennie painted three more pansies on her card; this finishes her work, only a little more lettering remains to be done by Laurie.

19 April 2017

19th April 1948: death levy... and rotting church

19 Mon. Very mild, some soft hazy sunshine, not much wind, pleasant. Bought several packets of flower seeds and fish locally. Met dear Gladys, oh, she is nice. She told me Russell is in hospital. Sowed seeds of sweet peas, clarkia, and marigolds (two sorts.) Dear Gwennie called; Katie gave her an orange. Paid the Slate Club, there was a death levy for Mr. Adams. The timbers in the roof of the Church are seriously attacked with dry rot and parts of the roof are covered with tarpaulin.

18 April 2017

18th April 1948: plastic helicopter, anyone?

18 Sun. Mild, fine sunny day but a steady SW breeze kept it cool. Cycled to Tolworth. Took a plastic model helicopter to Anthony but he did not appreciate it. Took my camera to take a group of Alb, Lily and him, but he would not be taken. Hilary and her husband were there so included them in the picture.

17 April 2017

17th April 1948: veggie refuse for sweet peas

17 Sat. Rather mild, dull, showers, the E wind tends to veer S. Got Ciss’ shoes from the repairers, bought fish and a paper locally. Dug a deep trench in garden and buried a thick layer of vegetable refuse to make a bed for a row of sweet peas.

16 April 2017

16th April 1948: nice cats' meat... at last!

16 Fri. Very cool, but a bright sunny cloudless day with a rough cold E wind strong enough to blow a sheet of corrugated iron from the top of a shed next door and hurl it down the garden. The new growth on the roses is badly nipped; I have to keep cutting them back owing to the cold weather damage. However the cherry blossom is lovely and lilac is nearly out. Got the usual shopping locally also at last I got some nice cats' meat at Morden.

15 April 2017

15th April 1948: bought groceries for the lodger

15 Thur. Mild, bright sunshine – and cloudless sky all day but the E wind is cold. To butchers, also got groceries for Katie. Bought fish at Morden. Made a good hotbed and sowed ridge cucumber seeds. Gwennie, Donald and Margaret called. Margaret is getting loving and turns to me for comfort if she falls which she frequently does.

14 April 2017

14th April 1948: Aunt Hannah referred on to another hospital

14 Wed. Mild, dull morning but some hazy sunshine later. All four children called; Gwennie and Laurie did some printing to the birthday card. Planted mint roots. John Child called to dig up a root of rhubarb I had promised, gave him flower roots as well. Aunt Liza called to say that Aunt Hannah who went to hospital to-day came back again: she is to wait a call to go to a London Hospital: probably Gower Street. Wrote all the news to Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie.

13 April 2017

13th April 1948: Aunt to have operation at Nelson Hospital

13 Tues. Becoming very mild; fine sunny morning, cloudy later: pleasant. Renewed the wireless licence and posted a letter. Took Ciss’ shoes for repair. Bought fish at Merton. Turned over part of garden for a cucumber bed. Aunt Hannah called in morning to say she is going into Nelson Hospital tomorrow to have a growth removed from her breast. She is 79: I am a little disturbed.

12 April 2017

12th April 1948: plenty of veggie purchases for the garden

12 Mon. Cold night and morning but fine mild sunny afternoon; little wind. Bought a small plastic helicopter model* at the post-office for Anthony. Pruned Aunt Hannah’s roses. Bought hop manure, beetroot, cucumber and sweet pea seeds. Sowed beetroot seeds.

*Note: Anthony bought one for himself a few years back, as well! Radio controlled - well, uncontrollable in fact. He doesn't recall Fred's.

11 April 2017

11th April 1948: Sunday kids and I made music

11 Sun. Mild, fine bright sunny day; the wind is still chilly. A crowd of children called. Played some light music on the piano to-day. To Aunt Liza’s in evening otherwise did not go out.

10 April 2017

10th April 1048: poor, nipped roses

10 Sat. Mild but although the wind is S it is still chilly. A few sunny periods. The new growth on the roses is badly nipped by wind and frost; had to cut them back once again. To Merton to buy fish and to Boots: bought oranges locally. Met dear Laura. Divided the bright yellow flowered perennials and sent two roots to Mrs. Child by John. Gwennie and Margaret called. Ciss had a letter from Dear Connie who is in Eire for a holiday.

9 April 2017

9th April 1948: the rehoused friends after war damage

9 Fri. Rather mild, much less wind, some sunny periods. The usual Fri. morning shopping. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Saw the grave; the daffodils and narcissus are now at their best and the grave looks lovely. Gwennie finished the pansy picture on the front of her card. Played cards with her. Took some roots to Mrs. Hicks and some to Mrs. Child. So I saw Mrs. Hicks’ newly built flat and Mrs. Child’s new house.

8 April 2017

8th April 1948: to food office for Katie's coupons

8 Thur. Would have been rather mild but for the bitterly cold wind which was most violent. Alternate sunshine and heavy clouds with some hail. To the food office at Morden to get counterfoils for Katie’s ration book – got her rations at Eyles. Bought fish in Morden also something at Boots. Gwennie brought Margaret who is now showing unmistakeable signs that she is growing fond of me.

7 April 2017

7th April 1948: Uncles Tom, Dan and Ben in focus

7 Wed. Mild, fine sunny till late afternoon when it was dull and much cooler. Got the groceries also to the fish shop. Letter from Uncle Tom; he was pleased with the photos I sent him and would like me to photograph him and Aunt Nellie. Gwennie and Laurie did a very little work on the birthday card. Mrs Alderton called in evening to see how Katie was getting on. Uncle Ben sent me a telescope that used to belong to Uncle Dan. It will be useful to me.

6 April 2017

6th April 1948: Katie 'registers' with milkman, butcher & grocer

6 Tues. Rather mild, mostly heavy clouds, the bitter wind still blows. Gwennie and Laurie called. Bought fish in afternoon. Katie Shimps wants to be registered with our milkman, butcher and grocer and got their consent. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom and enclosed two different views of the grave.

5 April 2017

5th April 1948: gas ring fitted for Katie

5 Mon. Cold, fearful skies but some sunny periods nevertheless: the cold wind is dreadful and is nipping the new growths of vegetation. Gwennie called; she makes slow progress on her card. The gas man fitted a ring for Katie to boil a kettle on. To Morden to buy fish. Made a number of fine prints of the new negative of the grave.

4 April 2017

4th April 1948: Katie the lodger arrives

4 Sun. Cold; heavy rain till afternoon: very heavy clouds, but the wind dropped by night. Anne and Victor called quite early before going to Sunday School. Mrs Alderton** and her sister Mrs. Schimps came in afternoon with some luggage. Mrs Schimps (Katie) will occupy the front bedroom as a lodger: she cannot get fixed up comfortably elsewhere. She seemed very pleased; she will be away all day. Developed the plate I took of the grave yesterday, it is splendid in every way – fully exposed, needle sharp detail and gradation perfect.

**Note: Mrs Alderton lived a few miles away, at 94 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth. I believe she was from Austria originally.

3 April 2017

3rd April 1948: flesh-tinted spec frames

3 Sat. Cold, some bright sunny periods but mostly heavy clouds and violent wind. To Merton Churchyard to take another photo of the grave and was lucky with the sunshine. Then to Wimbledon to collect my spectacles from Wenban. They are for reading only and are in flesh tinted plastic frames with large Torex lenses: they cost £3.10.0. Then to Durbins to buy 100 sheets of Ridax gaslight paper by Gaevairt price 8/7d. Made a number of most excellent prints of both views of the grave.

2 April 2017

2nd April 1948: crumpets

2 Fri. Cold, very heavy clouds, bitter rough wind; rain most of the day: not nice. Did a lot of shopping in morning – all locally; met Arthur Swift**. Stayed in the rest of the day. Was toasting crumpets when Ciss came home with Cousin Maud, the latter accepted and enjoyed one.

**Note: on many occasions Fred has recorded meeting Arthur Swift (from 'Park Way' - or Parkway). He once met Arthur shortly after he came out of hospital, his having been run down by a car one night during a WWII blackout. Illustration: Google Earth with Arthur's home, 5 Parkway, marked by a cross.

Come to Margate!

To Miss French, at home, from Margate, 12 July, probably 1911. It is suggested to her as a change from W. (Weymouth). Margate has 'beautiful drives and motor boats'.

1 April 2017

1st April 1948: plate photography

1 April. Thur. Rather cold, fitful skies, heavy showers, very rough & gusty but the sun came through for a few short periods. The children called; Gwennie painted another flower on the card. To butchers and fish shop. The grave looks very nice and I took another view of it to-day. To Aunt Liza in evening. Developed the plate and got a fine negative.

Photo: not Fred's, but the now fallen cross, located and photographed by readers of these diaries, Sean and Nora Galvin.