27 May 2017
27 Thur. Rather cool, dull, less wind, but a few short periods of feeble sunshine. Got Katie’s groceries and to the butcher’s. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish while there I noticed two very large long R.A.F. vans placed end to end to form a long room in which was housed a free R.A.F. Exhibition. I went in but could not make a close inspection but had the ‘radar’ equipment demonstrated to me. I also saw a gas-turbine jet propulsion unit with parts cut away to show the mechanism – it was all too wonderful for me.
26 May 2017
26 Wed. Very cool, dull; cool, stiff breeze, very heavy showers in morning including hail storms of great severity which laid like snow also a thunder storm of some violence. Got the groceries including tinned peas and a steak and kidney pudding in a tin, also cats fish and a haddock which we had for tea. Gwennie and Donald called to borrow a jam jar. Gwennie’s teacher asked her to get some fish for the school aquarium so she took the jar and a net to the lake at Cannon Hill Common to catch some “tiddlers” or tadpoles but came back empty handed, or should I say empty jarred.
25 May 2017
25 Tues. Rather cold, dull; rain commencing in evening: we need it very much. Bought a few things locally in morning. To Wimbledon in afternoon; bought peat & hop mixture at Woolworth’s: it is a safe organic fertilizer. Played much Beethoven to-day and am getting back into practice again.
24 May 2017
23 May 2017
22 May 2017
22 Sat. Becoming rather warm: fine and sunny and the wind which is less is tending to veer SW. Did the shopping early, Gwennie came in afternoon, we played table tennis, she won three games to my two - of course. She stayed to tea. Donald came to fetch her home and he stayed and had bread and honey. Mrs Alderton came to see Katie. Katie gave me a shilling for getting her rations – bless her, I suppose she feels indebted to me. Bought 3 Woodward’s Outdoor Wonder tomato plants of the greengrocer: planted them in evening. Made a few more prints of Katie’s photo – as she asked for 4 more.
21 May 2017
21 Fri. Cold, dull, windy morning but the sun came out in afternoon and while it shone it was lovely but the evening was cold again although the wind dropped. Got the weekend provisions – all locally. Saw Dad’s and Mother’s grave, it is now ready for some summer plants. Finished washing the painted walls of the scullery. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom, his birthday is Monday.
20 May 2017
20 Thur. Rather cold, dull, but becoming sunny and milder in afternoon; rough E wind. Got Katie’s rations also bought nice liver. Dear Gwennie called, followed later by Janet Absalom who wanted Gwennie to play in the road. Gwennie did not want to so Janet came in – the first time she has been here: amused them both.
19 May 2017
During the war years, Uncle Fred mentioned visits from John, a young serving airman, from Basingstoke, nephew of Fred's sister-in-law, Lily French. John Hodgkins, RAFVR, served in 428 'Ghost' Squadron (named 'Ghost' because they flew at night). This was a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron based in Yorkshire, part of our own RAF Bomber Command.
On the night of 3rd October 1943, John died while taking part in a mission over Germany. When his death was confirmed the following year, Uncle Fred wrote: 'I mourn his loss deeply. He used to like to come here to listen to my poor playing on the piano; he was fond of Mozart. He came to tea here only a week before he was posted as missing and I am glad I told him how much I admired his courage and applauded his exploits. R.I.P.'
A few of John's wartime letters, sent to his Aunt and Uncle, have been inherited by me, the Editor of this blog, a baby and toddler at the time. I am frequently mentioned in the letters. I have now published these, along with extensive notes, as a short Kindle book. If you wish to 'LOOK INSIDE' the book or see a description, this is a LINK to the Amazon address.
Regards to all readers of this blog,
19 Wed. Warm, lovely bright sunny day; the wind was not quite so strong but bad enough and still E. Got the groceries in morning. Went with Gwennie, Laurie and Donald to Cannon Hill Common where we played three cricket matches the three versus me. They won two matches to my one: oh, it was hard not to win! I mean it took a lot of engineering in order to lose, but I managed the results as I desired. Donald lost one of his stumps, broke his bat and lost the lemonade bottle but we all had a jolly good time: I am sure I did.
18 May 2017
18 Tues. Warmer if anything; sunshine all day but the E wind is as violent as ever. Coming back along the bye-pass I could hardly move against the onslaught of the wind when cycling home after buying two tobacco plants and a newspaper. I later planted the nicotianas to give them their proper name. Donald came three times also Gwennie and Margaret. The tortoise turned up again to-day and the children fed it with green peas: I took it back once again.
17 May 2017
17 Whit Monday. Brilliant sunshine without a cloud all day: there was good power in the sun but the raging E wind is as bad as ever. Planted and staked eight “Stonor’s Exhibition” tomato plants. Watered almost the whole garden in evening: the wind has turned it into an arid desert. Cycled to Old Malden where I met Ciss, Alb, Lily and Anthony having a walk.
16 May 2017
16 Sun. Would have been even warmer than yesterday but an even more violent E wind blew with sudden gusts that jarred the house: the sun shone without a cloud all day. The children called but Clifford is in hospital with scarlet fever. Did not go out.
15 May 2017
|1948 was an interesting year to visit Jaywick.|
In this still from a British Pathe newsreel,
holidaymakers are being rescued from
flooded houses at Jaywick. [Copyright: film for sale at
15 Sat. Would have been rather warm but for an E wind of gale violence but the sun shone gloriously all day. Bought fish locally in afternoon. Also bought eight tomato plants – Stonor’s Exhibition in West Barnes Lane @ 7½ ea. The Thompsons are home to-day after a week at Jaywick near Clacton. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald called. Did a morning’s digging and weeding in the garden.
14 May 2017
14 Fri. Becoming rather warm; lovely, fine, sunny day. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally, also bought cats meat at Morden. In afternoon bought red and black flex at Woolworth’s in Wimbledon and later laid it to connect a loudspeaker in the dining room to the set. Watered the garden; the rainfall this year has been very small.
13 May 2017
13 Thur. Becoming very mild; dull to start with but a sunny afternoon. Got Katie’s rations. Gave her the photos: she is very pleased and wants four more. Planted three dwarf dahlias in the front garden also Virginia and night-scented stock. Short cycle ride in evening. Cousin Maud called.
12 May 2017
11 May 2017
11 Tues. Rather warm, dull, calm. Some soft rain in morning, showers at night with a few peals of thunder. Bought fish locally in afternoon also three Coltness Gem dahlias – yellow, crimson and terra-cotta orange. Bought Virginia stock seed at Merton. Alan Spooner called in evening: he is now out of the army.
Note: Alan Spooner is a friend who shares a love of model planes and playing with wireless sets. He once broke his nose whilst playing rugby.
10 May 2017
10 Mon. Very mild, very dull; not much wind; dull but not unpleasant. Took Katie’s photo again as in the first one she could not open her eyes on account of the bright sunshine. Sowed two lines of night-scented stock seed and did some weeding. Bought fish at Merton. Developed Katie’s photo. And, judging by the negative, it could hardly be better.
9 May 2017
9 Sun. Fine, sunny day, becoming rather warm but a stiff E breeze. The Thompsons have gone to Jaywick on the east coast so the party of Sunday School children was smaller. For a cycle ride to Worcester Park and Ewell, returning via N. Cheam and Morden.
8 May 2017
8 Sat. Very mild, bright sunshine all day; stiff E breeze. The first roses are out on the Climbing Mme E. Heriot at the front door, one of good colour and shape. Bought cats fish locally, also sweet pea seeds, got the accumulator and a paper. Saw Merton bat, also saw several matches on the Playing Fields.
7 May 2017
7 Fri. Mild; nice sunny day with little wind. Got the groceries for Katie, also to butchers etc. all locally, but queued up at Morden for cats’ meat. Went to see Uncle Ben at Malden in afternoon; gave him a photo of the grave with Dad’s inscription on it. Sowed more poppy seed in evening.
6 May 2017
5 May 2017
5 Wed. Cool, some sunny periods in morning; stiff SW breeze. Got the groceries etc in morning. The sweep came to do the dining room chimney. I swept the walls cleaned the paintwork and scrubbed the floor etc. and put back pictures and other furniture: the room is now spring-cleaned and finished.
4 May 2017
4 Tues. Very cool, dull, windy but a little finer later. Letter from Uncle Tom. Sent him a letter including 2/6d postal order. Gwennie brought the loaf. Walked along rail path in evening. White may is out also chestnut blossom and cow parsley. The country looks lovely but a pity the weather is so cold. Katie gave us some chocolate sweets she had made; they were very nice.
3 Mon. Severe morning frost; cold, dull day. Sowed runner bean seed in spite of the weather also “gleam” nasturtium seeds. Took a food parcel intended for Germany to Morden Food Office to be stamped also accompanying papers, then posted it at Morden Post Office, postage was 3/9d. I posted this for Katie who sent it to a relative of hers at Dresden. Bought good cats meat at Morden.
1 May. Sat. Cool, very heavy clouds, small amount of sun in morning otherwise dull. Heavy showers, one peal of thunder. Wrote Capt. Marshall thanking him for the parcel of foodstuffs received yesterday from Australia. Letter from Aunt Nellie saying Uncle Tom is getting over food poisoning. Gwennie and Laurie called. Bought fish locally. Painted the sitting room door with cream high-gloss paint: looks superb. Made six prints of the Thompson children’s photo, also four prints of the one I took of Katie. Mrs. Alderton called; she is Katie’s sister, both Austrian.
2 May 2017
2 Wed. Rather cold, dull, showers, gales of SW wind which almost blew me to a standstill when cycling against it: a few periods of weak sunshine. Got the groceries as usual on Wed. also fish and a ball of string. Gwennie called in afternoon, she has badly knocked her eyebrow and cheek in a fall at school. Played and beat her at table tennis.