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Vicki Washuk World War ll Blitz  Buy On Smashwords    Also   Buy Diary's Here:
I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. 
Recently I started re-reading the World War ll journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not published and shared with the world. These diary excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle.
Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. 
5.0 out of 5 stars A choice pick, not to be overlooked, November 6, 2011 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

World War ll London Blitz Diary: 5-4-40 I was awakened during the night by the airplanes, which were screaming about quite a lot. This is not a bit unusual nowadays.


May 4, 1940
I was awakened during the night by the airplanes, which were screaming about quite a lot. This is not a bit unusual nowadays. One day this week a German bomber crashed at Claxton, causing one hundred and fifty-six casualties and destroying two streets. This was not deliberate bombing but an accident. It had been mine laying, so carried much explosives. Well, even here, I heard what must have been the detonations. Ted doesn’t hear these night noises, but is able to sleep right through them. By the way, our forces have evacuated themselves from Norway during this week, a very disturbing setback for us. So far, it seems to me Hitler wins everywhere he strikes; and as for Mr. Chamberlain and Winston Churchill, public opinion begins to be that they are too complacent and then too late. This isn’t a war record.
Joan arrived this morning. She has come for the weekend. George returned to France April 16, and Joan is staying in Hammersmith with Mother for the present.
May 5, 1940
Joan remarked that she had been going up to Westminster Cathedral, intended to visit the Brompton Oratory soon, and asked, would I take her to church with me today? Well, I said I would, so we got ready and I took her to High Mass at St. Mary’s at Hornchurch.
When I was explaining the missal to her, I noticed that I had marked the collect for this day in the missal. It is: “Almighty, Everlasting God, grant that our will may be ever devoted to thee, and that we may serve thy majesty with a sincere heart. Through our Lord.”
All this is something strangely coincidental. For I have been thinking of late whether perhaps I might resume attending mass again. Noting all these various finales which seem to occur now, with the beginnings of the new periods, and the taking up of residence in a new house, and all the events occurring about now, the time especially associated with the Holy Ghost, that member of the Holy Trinity which is so especially appealing to my crank mind. I had thought that perhaps I would resume the practice of my religion right now at this Whitsuntide. Then along comes Joan, who asks me to take her to church today. So we went. It was good, easy, peaceful, consoling.
Although Joan had no idea how to follow the mass, yet she was pervious to the atmosphere of serenity and devotion. As for myself, I entered into peace; it was as though I had never missed mass at all.
May 6, 1940
Joan returned to Hammersmith before dark. It has been a good visit. News from Cuthie, he is back at Driffield. He writes, “Scotland is a pain in the neck.”
May 7, 1940
I am very sleepy. I think it is the Spring Day. Anyhow, I’m tired from so much talking with Joan. I only see her about once a year, so we talk like a house afire.
Ted is still very disagreeable, and I expect he will remain so, until he has paid his last bill. He was very sarcastic at lunch about me not writing to Dorothy. Last week he climbed up into the attic, to find out what was there, and found two large trunks; one of ours, one of Dorothy’s. He said if I ever wrote to Dorothy, I could tell her to have it fetched away. I replied, I never wrote to her, and I didn’t know her address anyhow. At lunch today, he asked me had I written to Dorothy. I replied, of course not. Why? I asked did he wish me to write to her? Then he was off! Ten unending minutes of biting sarcasm about my indifference, etc., ending with, “Well, will you write to Dorothy?” I reply as, “No.” It’s his affair as much as mine. If he wants her to take her trunk away at once, why can’t he write to her about it? Why am I a sinner because it hadn’t occurred to me to do so?
O, funny man! He does make me tired. Another thing that makes me tired are these midday meals. Three square meals a day, and Ted at every one of them. We see too much of each other. A woman needs her day to herself. Midday dinner is a nuisance. That is what we have had ever since we returned to England. It means we are never free of each other for more than four hours at a stretch, often only three hours. Contact is too unbroken. No wonder there’s so much friction between us. We need rest from each other, and space between meetings. I need rest and spacing from the household chores. Even if I could have only one long day a week to myself it would be a blessed relief. But no, domestic life hasn’t been arranged that way. Life in England is a treadmill.
May 8, 1940
Men are fools. This fact has been noticed before, ten thousand times ten thousand; but I will note it again; men are fools. Why is the general war going on? It is because men will have it. Men are fools, collectively and individually. Men are fools. In the night, Ted loved me. Why couldn’t he have loved me before? Now for both of us our nerves are assuaged, the tension between us is lessened; and it is all so simple! Physical contact in affection. Lord! What fools we mortals are!
May 10, 1940
Germany has invaded Holland and Belgium, and completely over-runs Luxembourg. The news came through soon after six this morning. They have landed troops at the ports, and men from the air by parachute. The attack from the air has been terrific also. Both Holland and Belgium have appealed to us for help, and we are going to their assistance instantly. Half an hour ago our government, through the BBC, broadcast to all our Civil Defense Forces to stand-by and to be ready for any emergency; and to civilians to resume continuous carrying of gas masks, the putting of all home defense precautions in order, and for everybody to immediately acquaint themselves with their nearest air-raid shelter. Attack on England is imminent. The Germans may begin bombing us now, at any moment.
Perhaps the Germans have been encouraged to this move by the Rebate in Parliament this week on the Norwegian operations, the Division in the House, the criticisms of Mr. Chamberlain, and the Cabinet crisis. Who knows? Anyhow, here’s the war, in hellish earnest. Ten p.m. Mr. Chamberlain has resigned, and the King has appointed Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. So, another cabinet shuffles.
May 11, 1940
A special order has been passed to eliminate the Whitsuntide holiday. Monday will be a business day. All special Whitsun sport events have been cancelled, all rail and road excursion traffic, and all factories, banks, stock exchange, government offices, etc. will carry on as usual.
May 12, 1940 Whit Sunday
It is a gloriously beautiful day. Its blueness and sunshine is like the September weather when the war started.
Reports from the Netherlands are most serious. The Germans are landing parachutists by the hundreds. These Germans are disguised. Some even wear Dutch uniforms. Some are disguised as priests and even nuns. They are very young men, and many are dressed as women. When caught, they are “wiped out” the report says. As usual the Germans are bombing everything in sight, and especially the refugees along the roads. For pure wanton destructiveness they are even machine gunning the cattle in the fields. I went again to St. Mary’s for High Mass this morning and was able to pray.

May 13, 1940
Princess Juliana and her two babies, and Prince Bernhard, arrived in London this morning; and late this afternoon Queen Wilhelmina arrived also. She had been brought here on a British warship. Both the King and Queen met her at Liverpool St., as well as her own children, and she has accepted the hospitality of the King at Buckingham Palace. She had to flee for her life. The Germans meant to abduct her. In Norway, too, they tried especially hard to capture King Haakon. The fighting in Holland and Belgium is simply terrific.
May 15, 1940
At seven a.m. we heard that the Dutch have laid down their arms. After the Germans re-captured Rotterdam yesterday, the Netherlands Commander-in Chief issued an order to his troops concerned to cease fighting. To continue resistance was hopeless.
Now the struggle for Belgium proceeds. Already the battlefront extends over one hundred miles, from the Albert Canal to Llugwy, where the Germans are expected to try to break through the Maginot Line. There is furious fighting at Sedan, and a very great battle is expected in front of Brussels.
May 19, 1940 Trinity Sunday
I made an effort, and it was an effort, both physically, and of the will, and went to St. Edward’s for High Mass at eleven. Now I have resumed, I will continue. Coming out of church, joined by Mrs. Jude and Mary Bernadette, and Mrs. James. When we got to the Laurie, I was very pleased to see Ted waiting for me at the entrance to Ives Gardens. Here a Mr. Simpson, who appropriated Ted and walked ahead with him, joined us!
However, I was deeply pleased Ted had come to meet me, all the same; and I pray to God there is a new beginning for we two together, to be added to my other beginnings.
May 21, 1940
We received three letters from Cuthie this morning. Two for me and one for Ted all posted from Driffield. So he is safe, so far, thank God. The battle now raging in France and Belgium is the greatest of all time. It goes on without ceasing, day and night.
General Petain, now eighty-four years old, has been recalled from Madrid, where he had been sent as Ambassador at the end of the Spanish Civil War, and made Deputy Prime Minister of France. General Weygand, now seventy-three, has been recalled from Syria and appointed Chief of Staff of National Defense (in place of General Gamelan). It was these two great soldiers, under Foch, who finally brought victory to the Allies in the Great War, twenty years ago.
Every day for a week Dutch and Belgian refugees have been pouring into our southern ports, and, as in nineteen-fourteen, we are going to take care of them for the duration of the war. They have nothing left them but their lives. Many of them are wounded and are brought ashore in stretchers. Some infants have been born whilst their mothers were in the boats. The Germans deliberately machine-gun the refugees as they walk along the roads. War! German War!
May 22, 1940
Last night at seven p.m. we received a telegram from the air ministry to say that our son, Sergeant 581052, squadron seventy-seven, was reported missing. A letter would follow. The nine o’clock broadcast news reported that during the night a large force of R.A.F. bombers attacked troop concentrations in Cambrai Le Cateau St. Quentin area and that from these operations five of our aircraft failed to return. So we suppose Cuth were in one of these five.
The battle is frightful. The Germans have taken Amas and Amiens, and have reached as far as Abbeville in their drive to the coast. God help us all!
When Ted went out last night to church for benediction, for the May devotions, he showed the telegram to Father Bishop. About nine o’clock Father Bishop telephoned us that he would offer this morning’s mass for Cuthie and for our intentions. This was kind. I could not go out to Mass but I pray just the same. Today work has gone on as usual; Mrs. Bull here cleaning, Miss Coppen calling. Poor Cuthie, poor Cuthie!
May 23, 1940
The letter from the Air Ministry arrived by the first post this morning. They tell us that Cuthie was with the squadron that was sent out bombing in the vicinity of Amieus, in the morning of May 21, but that his machine failed to return to its base, so he must be counted missing. They add that this does not necessarily mean that he is either killed or wounded, and that if and when they receive extra knowledge of him, they will report to us at once. Yes, there is a hope he may still be alive. Sometimes crews escape from destroyed machines. He may be a prisoner behind the lines. He may be lying in a German hospital, or he may be with God in heaven. Wherever he is, we will pray for him without ceasing. The terror is surely upon England now. On Sunday ten thousand more children were evacuated from Kent and Essex; they were sent to Wales.
On Tuesday night we had raids over this neighborhood. The guns began about one-thirty. Neither Ted nor I were asleep. We had gone to bed grieving for Cuthie, and were wakeful. At two ten a.m. there was a most terrific explosion, which we supposed was a bomb. We did not get up, because no warning was sounded, so we inferred the action was not immediately over Romford. The firing went on for some time, thud-thud, and airplanes seemed to be screaming about everywhere. Then everything died down. Soon after four o’clock the racket began again, though there was no great explosion as at two. Last night was quiet, or else we were so tired that we slept through everything.
The weather is beautiful. This morning’s times say the British have counter-attacked between Anas and Donai, but the results are not known and the French morning communiquĂ© reports the re-taking of Arras.
May 25, 1940
Agnes Brauncy brought her fiancé here this afternoon to look at our Jacobean dining room suite, and they bought it outright. I had intended to go to confession today, but these visitors prevented me. This evening, utterly exhausted, I cannot possibly go out.
May 26, 1940
A day of public prayer, asked for by the King, and observed by every sect and denomination. I went out to early mass with Ted, at St. Edwards, but could not go up for communion. The church was packed and practically everybody going up to the rail, as at Christmas or Easter. When we returned home, Ted told me that he had asked Father Bishop to say tomorrow’s mass for Cuthie. So I asked Ted to telephone Father Bishop for me, and ask him would he hear my confession today. He set the time for four forty-five p.m. It had been my intention to ask him tomorrow to hear me, so that I might take communion on Tuesday for Cuth. Father Bishop is very kind and very understanding.
May 28, 1940
I went again to communion this morning with Ted. It is a week today since Cuth was lost. At eleven o’clock this morning came news that King Leopold of the Belgians had ordered the army under his command to cease fighting. This is most shocking news. M. Reynaud, the French Premier, gave the news in a broadcast. He told Paris, and the world, that the Belgium Army, on the order of King Leopold, who acted against the advice of his responsible ministers, has surrendered. Since four o’clock this morning the French and the British armies have been fighting alone in the north against the enemy. They still hold Calais, but the B.S.F. have had to evacuate from Boulogne.
However, at noon today, Mr. Pierlot, the Belgian Premier, broadcast from Paris, repudiating King Leopold, calling him a traitor, and accusing him of breaking the Belgian Constitution and saying that the Belgian Government intend to form a new army and to fight on. The battling is terrific. God help the world!
May 30, 1940
This is my last writing in this house. We move into number seventy-eight Western Road tomorrow. I am now about to bury this volume in my hatbox, so au-revoir. God help us and keep us all. Amen.


World War ll London Blitz Diary: 4-15-40 to 5-3-40



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April 15, 1940
I remain queer. In fact, I seem to have renewed my cold. Also, I’m walking very badly. I went downtown this afternoon, and hardly knew how to walk home.
Ted is very late for tea. He had been to the Western Roadhouse with Skilton to get ideas about the plumbing. Before he had finished eating, callers arrived. They were the John Thomson family from 80 Western Road. They stayed very late, but were agreeable company. In his youth, John Thomson had knocked around Canada and America, as a free-lance, much as Ted had done in the nineties, so they had a good time swapping stories.
April 18, 1940
I am fifty-six today: in poor health, and poor sprits. I heard from Artie this morning, but no word from Cuthie. He is probably out bombing over Norway. I have not heard from him in over a week. English troops have been landed in Norway, but, so far, it seems to me, the Germans are winning; certainly they are holding their own, in most of Norway. The Allies have taken Karvik, and mutilated the German navy, but today’s news says that the Germans are holding the iron-ore railways north of Karvik, and are fighting well.
As prophesized, the spring slaughter has begun. Artie is still with battalion in Sussex but for how long there now? No news from America. I received her usual sort of a letter from Mother.
The weather is abominable, very cold, very dull, and windy, and now commencing to rain. After a very severe winter, we are having a retarded spring. Frost every night this week. In Norway snow is still falling and, as in Finland, the troops are fighting on skis. What a war! What a world!
Well, this is the end of another seven-year period for me. For nearly a year I had been counting on it, looking forward to it, and thinking of it as another beginning; another fresh lap. In a way it will be, because of the purchase of the new house, the moving into of yet another home. This event was quite unforeseen by me. All through last fall I felt wonderfully well, and I imagined I was entering on a new period of fresh vigor, resilience, and good health. Apparently not; it was not to be. For weeks now I have been feeling wretchedly ill, and weak, and I have no zest left for anything. I am completely weary, in body, mind, and soul, and continuously I feel more ill than I remember feeling for years. Maybe I am only exhausted by the severity of the winter, and the strain of the war, but it is not like me to feel like this.
Well anyhow, it is still the end of one seven-year period, and the beginning of another. My life seems to fall into these natural periods more than most women. At twenty-one I married. During the next fourteen years I had my family, finishing with the twins when I was thirty-five. At forty-two came the end of Ted’s business life. It was in nineteen twenty-six that he resigned from office, and in nineteen twenty-seven he brought us back to England. In nineteen thirty-three, when I was forty-nine (seven times seven), I made my last trip to America, and it was then I made my wonderful, unforgettable round tour of the states. Now that I’ve reached fifty-six (eight sevens) I find that I have reached quiescence about the lots of mental troubles. All questions about belief, or beliefs, have left me. I am not concerned anymore about what I can or can’t believe. This is a great gain and a great rest.
I have attained an inner peace, and I think it is a peace I shall never lose. I can recognize what doesn’t matter, and never again will an argument ever coerce me. Circumstances may compel me to courses I shall not like, but they can never again compel my inner woman. She is free. What will she do with the next seven years? When I reach to sixty-three, if ever I do nine times seven, how will the world be, and how shall I be in it? Will my inner woman still be free and serene? Yes, I think she will be. What I have learnt, I have learnt; what I have reached into, I have reached into; and my joy no man can take from me. Absolutely, very literally, no man can take this from me. My husband may have become a bigger fool than ever, but my secret self he can never touch. I am myself, and I own myself, no matter what he thinks.
For now I know the things I know, and do the things I do, and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!
Of course I shall not be so outspoken as Dorothy Parker. Nevertheless, what Ted believes, or what he wishes to force me to believe, can never again have any effect upon me. I have outgrown him, passed him by.
So fifty-six is definitely some sort of an ending. What I am going into now, I do not know, but it is a new phase, I am sure. Perhaps destiny presents me the new house as a concrete symbol of it.
April 19, 1940
At tea tonight, speaking of the illness of young Clem Coppen’s husband, a man of thirty only, with cancer, hence passing on to speak of Mother, and all her various operations, and her indomitable health and toughness, I remarked that Mother hadn’t been able to pass her health and vitality to her children, not one of whom had ever been as strong as she was; to which Ted replied, “Of course not. That isn’t surprising at all. Children naturally take after their fathers, and though your father was excitable enough, and vehement sometimes, he never had the energy and activity that your mother had. He was a slower tempo and less strong altogether. It is the father who stamps the children, always. It is the father who is the important one, always. That is why our Lord couldn’t possibly have had a human father. It couldn’t have been seemly. You couldn’t imagine Saint Joseph being visited by a female angel, and begetting a child upon an angel, could you? Of course not! With the Blessed Virgin it was different. She could be overshadowed by the angel, the power of God, and not be contaminated by human intercourse. She received the seed from heaven, by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is simply unimaginable that our Lord could have had a human father! For then he would have been Joseph, not God, a sinful man.”
This threw me into the abyss. I made no reply, noteven the obvious one that the human embryo contains fifty-fifty of the hormones of its parents. I was simply stunned and disgusted by this fresh presentation of the old Christian and Jewish idea of the impurity of the flesh, the curse of sex, the virtue of Chastity, and the eternal inferiority of women. What is a wife? Still the old chattel: a concubine by night, and a servant by day; a creature without a soul; merely one of the creations of God, which exist for the use of man. My God! This Ted Thompson!
April 27, 1940
Ted is at Arden Cottage. I have had a busy week, with visitors every day, so I am tired. Yesterday the legal business about the purchase of numbers seventy-eight and eighty Western Road was completed, and the keys handed over to us by the lawyers. Ted has been seeing Skilton about installing plumbing, stoves, etc., and Harvey, the builder, to get estimates about turning the house into flats.
The result for me is that I view our immediate future with acute apprehension of trouble. Ted is going to have to spend money, real cash, and that will hurt. He will niggle and haggle and make absurd economies, and just as absurd splurges, and every time he has to pay out he will be as disagreeable as hell. He will be on my tracks about household expenditure. He’ll be after me turning out lights, fixing the stove, examining the pantry, and the dustbin; he’ll hound me for a half pence, and he’ll cry poverty, poverty until he’ll rouse me to fury and I shall hate him with a singing hatred. I know Ted. I’ve had some of him before.
With it all, I shan’t get what I want. He bought this property because he wanted to. He is going to fix it up the way he wants. Apparently he will consult me about items, but if I don’t agree to what he has already decided, or if I should make suggestions contrary to his ideas, I shall be all wrong, and in great disfavor. I want to like this new house. I want to settle into it comfortably. I suspect it is going to be the last home Ted and I will ever have together, and it can be made very nice. Oh the job of it! We shall both of us lose our tempers over and over again. I shall be disappointed about what I could get, and shan’t, and Ted will grizzle about the spending indefinitely. Well there will be no peace in the Thompson family. I can see for some long time to come. What a life!
Cuthie is now stationed in the north of Scotland for quick access to Norway. He has also been over Denmark this week. The twenty-sevens were registering today. So far, the Germans are holding on in Norway, but their losses are heavy. Our navy has done well, and Sweden reports that around Oslo alone three thousand German dead have been washed ashore. War. This is more wisdom of men.
April 28, 1940
I was in London during March, about the Aunties. I made inquiries at Stoneham’s about the books of Annie C. Bill. They traced two of them for me, and sent them to me this week. I hadn’t had time to look at them until today. I was examining one this morning whilst waiting for Ted to come into breakfast. (He left the house before seven a.m. and did not return until nine-thirty, all this time for one mass and his private devotions.)
I was suddenly surprised at myself by falling into a panic. When I heard Ted’s key in the door my heart began to beat like fury and I at once hid the book under the tea wagon. Why? It is a perfectly harmless book, and I have a perfect right to read it. Even if it was a rotten bad book, I’ve still got a perfect right to read it. You see what? I am afraid of Ted, still afraid of him! When we first married he began to deride the books I read, and this hurt me so much that I would never let him know what I was reading. I continued to read everything I wanted to read, but whatever the books were I would put them out of sight before he came home in the evenings; and on Sundays and holidays, when he was around the house, I never read anything at all except the newspapers and magazines. I never spoke to anyone, before him, of what I was reading. I kept up this habit until we left the states, and it is only since we have lived in Romford that I have read whatever books I wanted to, regardless of whether he was around or not. So this morning I was considerably surprised at myself, when in the midst of his approach I was flooded with feelings of guilt and fear.
Naturally my reason doesn’t assent to any of this, but my natural, physical, animal woman did quake, was afraid. Still, as of old, she is afraid of this man.
It took me hours to quell my disquiet, and it was not until afternoon that my heart returned to its normal beat. Queer, isn’t it? What one person can do to someone?
Evening. It is just as I foresaw: the economies are beginning at once. This afternoon Ted went round to Western Road to do some gardening at seventy-eight. He was very late returning for tea. It seems he had been visiting the other Thomson’s in number eighty. Mr. Thomson showed him their upper floor. Now, number seventy-eight has no bathroom, so Ted has planned to create a bathroom in the back bedroom. This is a very long narrow room, and one-third of it could easily be walled off to make a small bathroom, but by doing this, a portion of the room would be left without light, so a window would need to be cut on the sidewall. Now Ted has taken this whole matter up with the Skilton’s, and the room was to have been made into two, as I have just outlined.
In number eighty, where a bath and basin has been installed, everything has been left exposed; Ted has decided to do without a partition and a window in our house, because that will be cheaper. Exactly. It is cheap and nasty. He will discover other and similar economies. Probably he will dispense with a carpenter altogether, and all the built-in fixtures we need will be put up by his own butchering. This is quite likely. The furniture he said could be recovered will not go to the upholsterers. I never answered him when he told me of this cheaper bathroom plan. What could I have said? If he won’t spend money, I shall have to make do, as per usual.
I first saw through this new house on the evening of Saturday April 13.  Ted took me round there on his way to Bert’s, and left me to see through it alone. It was about half past seven in the evening, between lights. The effect of the place on me was to depress me. When I got back here, I began to cry and I think I cried all night. When Ted got back from Bert’s, I was hysterical. I told him I couldn’t make the move; I couldn’t live there. Wisely, he refrained from discussing the matter with me then but he assured me later in the week that he did intend to modernize the place, to install proper plumbing and stoves, etc. Then when I saw it the second time, going round there with him Sunday a week ago, the twenty-first, on a bright sunny afternoon, the place did look more attractive, did show possibilities for being made into a comfortable habitation. I felt reassured then. Now, home he comes with ideas as to how he needn’t do what he had planned to do, Gosh! It’s the devil!
April 29, 1940
I had a nice visit from Ethel Coppen today, but disagreeable words with Ted this evening. He began badgering me about the removal of our books. So far I haven’t been able to do any sorting out at all. I had visitors every day last week and this week is beginning the same. This is a job that needs thinking about and I must be in the mood for the thinking, or I can’t do it at all. Ted wants to drive me to it at once. When? How soon? When will I know? And so on. When I told him I didn’t know when I could do it, he became insulting, said I was a fool, wouldn’t cooperate, and I was more mulish than Selma. When I protested, “Don’t talk to me like that!” he said he would talk to me just as he pleased, that I was a fool, and that he thought less of my sense than ever. I said that when he talked to me like that he was being deliberately spiteful, and that it would do no good, because such talk only antagonized me. He said, then I was a bigger fool even than he had thought, and he went off by himself to the dining room. There he is now, listening to Shakespeare on the wireless. What a petty fellow! When he speaks to me so contemptuously, it is the inner man speaking, and I can see that is how really contemptuously he thinks of me. That doesn’t help at all.
I often think Ted is a fool, but I am very careful never to tell him so or even give him an inkling to guess on. I dissemble my thoughts. I play up to him all I can. It is my undeviating policy to live at peace, for I saw enough of marital quarrels between my parents, and I don’t want any quarreling in my life. Just the same, I have an awful crushed feeling tonight.
April 30, 1940
I have been putting away all my papers. I simply cannot write. So now I’ve lost stroke again. Maybe when the moving is over and we are seated in the new house, maybe I can begin again. For me, to write a continuous work without steady hours of reliable leisure is impossible.
Ted is still disagreeable. So far today he has not spoken to me yet. Of course he was out to early mass this morning, just the same.
May 3, 1940
This is our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. I thought perhaps we might have celebrated it a little; but no, Ted remains disagreeable and aloof. I don’t think he has spoken to me once today. Well, this is the end of another seven-year period. What will the next seven-year period of our marriage be like? Shall we grow less critical and kinder? I wonder.

World War ll London Blitz Diary: 3-3-40 to 4-14-40


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March 3, 1940
Artie came home for the weekend, which meant arriving at eight-thirty p.m. on Saturday night, and returning to the Barracks by eleven p.m. on Sunday, which meant leaving here at seven p.m.
Anyhow, we’ve seen him! He’s very well.
March 4, 1940
We received news from Harold. Kay gave birth to a nine and a half pound boy, January 17, 1940; baptized February 4, 1940 as Robert Anthony. Mother and child are both doing well.
March 7, 1940
Auntie Mary died this morning. Dropsy. Gladys was called from Plymouth yesterday. We met at Mother’s. Mother consented to allow Mary to be buried in the Brompton Cemetery grave, on top of Dad. The funeral will probably be on Tuesday next.
March 12, 1940
I just got back from a trip to Boots, to change a book. It took me one hour. This is serious. I am very tired. Auntie Mary was buried yesterday, so I had another day in town, going first to the cemetery, and then on to Mother’s. When I got back here I was quite exhausted. It is noticeable that I have lost considerable ground, physically. It must be because of this long shut-in winter we have just come through.
In the late fall I was quite pleased with myself. I was walking well and much easier, and better than for a long time past. Now, this past week or so, as the weather moderates, I find I am walking very badly again, and feeling great fatigue after doing so. This won’t do, and I am determined to correct it. I will try to make it a habit to go out for a short walk every possible day. Of course I can’t walk in the wet any more than I can walk on the snow or ice, but every day it doesn’t rain I will try to go at least around the block. All last night I could hardly sleep for the ache in my limbs; for even my arms ached, from climbing in and out of buses, carrying bags, gas mask, etc. My legs ache today. I suppose they are the winter-long, unused muscles of the thigh, now called into action, rebelling. Anyhow, I am going to do something about it. I don’t intend infirmities to increase on me if I can help it. These damned family legs are a curse all right, but I’m going to work at defying the curse.
So, though I only wanted to lie on the sofa, I made myself go out this afternoon. Every step was an effort, and it took me one whole hour to go and come, and now I’m just deadbeat. I went out, and I’ll go out. I will walk.
March 13, 1940
It is the defeat of the Finns. An armistice has been arranged between the Russians and the Finns, and the Finns have to accept the Russian peace terms. This is a major disaster. Both Britain and France were standing by, ready to send men, but neither Sweden nor Norway would permit passage of troops through their country, so Finland is obliged to surrender and to cede to Russia more than Russia asked for before the war began. Oh this beautiful world!
March 14, 1940
I woke to find snow falling again, and it snowed until noon. Selma telephoned in midmorning and asked could she come to lunch. I had to say yes, though I did not want her. She came, and stayed until nine p.m., and now I am absolutely tired out. She is the most completely boring person it is possible to come across. The next time she tries to plant herself on me like this I shall find excuses.
March 15, 1940
At dinnertime Ted said he thought he would go and have an organ practice before coming in to tea, so I took the opportunity of a long afternoon to go to the movies. We haven’t been to the pictures since New Year’s, because of the bad weather and the blackout. So I went to the Ritz and saw Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins playing in a version of an Edith Wharton story, The Old Maid.
After we had tea, Ted said, “I’ve a man coming to see me about something private at half-past seven. You might leave us alone, will you?”
I saw Ted let in a man in a very loud check overcoat and bright orange scarf. I thought it was someone about a house, or perhaps a “knight”, and left him to his men’s talk. The fellow stayed a long time until nearly nine and then Ted came to fetch me into the parlor, very exhilarated. He didn’t tell me the man’s name, but he said, “That’s a funny case for you! There’s a man, born a Jew, but never brought up as one. In business in this town he heard me talking somewhere, knew I was a Catholic, telephoned to ask, could he come and have a talk with me, and wants to know whether I think he ought to become a Catholic. Nice, isn’t it?”
“Very. Is his wife a Jewess?”
“No. Married to a Protestant. His wife turned Catholic some time ago and now he feels attracted to the church. Wonders what he ought to do about it. Got a son up at Cambridge. Good business. Gosh! The subjects we’ve been talking about!”
I didn’t say anything more. What would be the use? I reconsidered the glimpse of the man I had caught in the hall; a smallish, elderly man, loudly dressed, and with a sheepish, apologetic smile on his face. Another romantic with an inferiority complex, I suppose. Having a talkfest with another little man about his thoughts and his soul. Gr-r- it makes me sick. Only as recently as Wednesday night I had a dose of missionizing Catholicism.
Barbara Hayes called in, bringing some music for Ted, which she wants him to play at her wedding, which takes place on Easter Monday. Naturally we asked questions about the young man, and whether her family like him, and so on. She said, oh yes, they liked him, but the great drawback was that he was a Protestant. Drawback. He was a good Protestant, so they had hopes of him, and if we all prayed hard enough, no doubt he would see the light, and come into the church. Wouldn’t we please pray for her, and for her Jimmie’s conversion?
Of course Ted effusively promised to do so with their monopoly of truth and righteousness! My God, how they weary me!
March 16, 1940
Artie came in whilst I was washing up the tea things. He has leave until Sunday night.
March 21, 1940
It is the official first day of spring. I have a sore throat; also a sore temper. Ted is being most aggravating and silly. He is “playing” Holy Week to the limit, under-eating and over-praying, until he’s unbearable. He is deliberately making himself miserable “for Christ’s sake”. I don’t know what gratification or benefit Christ gets out of it, but I know what I get; which is a boring, scolding, unendurable fanatic. Throughout the week I have been listening to Ted talking at Artie, handing him out the most deadening platitudes and truisms with all the aplomb of a pope. As I listen to Ted, I just think he is one silly fool. He talks to Artie and me as though we knew nothing. Artie remains dutifully polite, and I say nothing.
Today I am cross. I think Ted is so preposterous. This is the incident that has enraged me. It occurred yesterday. As usual Ted got up early and went off to mass. The day went through as usual. Artie wasn’t here in the afternoon. He had gone swimming with Pauline Dunball. At teatime Ted came in very late. The office closes at five. Tea is supposed to be about five-fifteen p.m. Well, Ted didn’t come until seven-twenty p.m. and then he didn’t have his tea. “I’ve got to go to the church and see about the Easter music,” he said, and went right out again, not returning until eight-thirty; when he did eat his tea.
All right. That didn’t annoy me. I am used to Ted’s inconsiderateness about the tea meal. He treats the home like a restaurant and me like a servant, and comes when he is ready. At ten-thirty p.m. he went upstairs to bed. I decided to take a plate of cornflakes and hot milk before retiring. I have been sleeping very badly these last two weeks, and as I wanted to sleep, I thought the hot milk might induce sleep. Presently, after I had fixed the fire for the night, and was putting the scullery tidy and locking up, Ted appeared in the kitchen, in his pajamas, and in the devil of a temper. I looked at the clock. It was eleven ten p.m. So I had remained downstairs alone for forty minutes. Ted harangued me. He ordered me to bed. He asked me what I meant by “hanging about”.
I said, “Don’t talk to me like that.”
He said, “I will. I’ll talk to you just how I please. Go on upstairs, right away. I won’t have you staying around like this.”
I tried to laugh at him. He wouldn’t have it. I said, “You went up early tonight. I thought you wanted to sleep.”
“So I did,” he said. “But you know I can’t sleep until you settle down. You’ll come to bed when I do or I’ll sleep in another room. Do you hear me? Do you hear me?” And he stood behind me, threatening me, and herding me off like a sheep.
I was ready to go upstairs, so I went. I took my time about undressing, and I did not speak to him anymore, nor say goodnight when I got into bed. All the time I was undressing he kept raising his head from the pillow to look at the clock, and then dropping it back with a thud. He is so childish, so silly. I had trouble not to laugh. Well, I fell asleep.
This is Ted Thompson. This is my saint. He gets up very early every morning, so as to go to mass, because he wants to go. Then he wants to go to bed early, because he’s tired, so I must be tired and go too. I’m not tired. Although the clock says ten-thirty, it’s really only nine-thirty because of “summertime”, which has already started, and my brain is not ready for sleep. I expect that is why I have been so wakeful these past few weeks. I must go to bed; that is his lordship’s ruling. What about teatime? Doesn’t he owe me the courtesy of coming to meals at mealtime? As Johnny says, “There ain’t no justice.”
Today I’m not exactly angry, nor depressed, either. I’m just weary; weary of enduring one fool man. I’ve no hatred against the fellow in my heart, but distaste and a dislike for his personality strikes deeper and deeper into my mind and sensibilities, distaste and a dislike, which is becoming permanent. I think he’s one goddamn fool, and I long to get away from him, forever. I can’t get away from him. We’re married, God help us!
March 28, 1940
Easter is safely past. Artie returned to barracks on Sunday evening. Cuth came home early this morning. He has leave until April Eighth.
I have been very ill with the flu but am on the mend now. I haven’t been so ill for a very long time. On Easter Sunday I was especially bad. I felt that even for me death wasn’t very far away. However, I’m recovering. I am too sick to read; in these long days and nights of sleeplessness, my mind began its own composing again. It must be the spring! Anyhow, I’m all set to start out on the writing of a book. I can see the whole design of it, and get it down on the paper. I have already scribbled some notes for it, but I cannot begin to work at it systematically until after Cuthie goes back to Yorkshire.
I have an idea to recreate the large back bedroom as a sitting room, like it was when Charlie was here; and then I could work at my writing there, undisturbed. When I try to write in any of the downstairs rooms, I am always having to clear-away for meals, for visitors, etc. I was never able to work in the “little room” that was too small for my comfort, but if I could dispose myself, as I wished, in that big back room, I think I could use that as a work room, and come and go up there, as domestic times suited. Perhaps I can persuade Cuthie to change the furniture around for me before he leaves us; but of course, if he doesn’t want to, I can’t shift it.
Today Carter Paterson brought me two chairs form Shepherds Bush. One is Auntie Daisy’s rocker, and the other Auntie Mary Morris’. I am glad to get these chairs, but I don’t know where I am going to place them. If I could re-make that room into a study, I could use them very nicely up there. Anyhow, I am very glad to receive them; they are nice chairs, and they belonged to dear aunts, and I shall use them somewhere or other.
Meanwhile, it is Cuthie’s holidays. There is news this week of the birth of a son to John and Ruth, on March 6. Kay and Harold had a second son born on January 17.  This child they have named Robert Anthony. Eddie and Chic are yet to be heard from. We know they are “expecting” in March, and Cuth tells us their child was expected before Johnnie’s.
April 5, 1940
Edith and Monica were here for the day. My cold is still very bad. I have been sick again all this week.
I received important family news today. Ted and Cuthie have bought a pair of houses, numbers seventy-eight and eighty Western Road. They were auctioned on Wednesday, as one lot. Walter Wachett bid them in after they had passed Ted’s set limit of seven hundred and fifty pounds. However, Ted especially wanted number seventy-eight for us, and offered Wachett a profit to split. This Wachett refused: he had bought them as one, and would only sell as one. The upshot is that Cuthie decided he could buy one and have it paid for by the time he comes out of the R.A.F. So, it has been so arranged. Ted introduced Cuth to the bank, opened an account for him at Lloyds, and two deeds are to be drawn up; one for Cuth on number eighty and one for us on seventy-eight. Number seventy-eight is vacant, and in eighty, Mr. and Mrs. John Thomson reside. (No connection of ours, just a coincidence.

April 7, 1940
Artie managed to get home for dinner. I told him the news about the Western Road houses. We celebrated with the last of the Christmas pudding and a little bottle of champagne that Cuthie had smuggled in from France.
April 8, 1940
Cuth left for Driffield soon after nine this morning. He says he’ll probably be over the Rhine tomorrow.
April 9, 1940
The war spreads. Germany invaded both Denmark and Norway this morning, at six o’clock. She announced to the world that she had taken these countries under her protection, to “protect” them form the wicked Allies. Her protection works like this: she bombed Oslo from the air from two a.m. to five a.m. this morning. I suppose she “protected” Poland.
April 12, 1940
I went to the hairdresser’s, to have my hair curled, the whole head. It should be done about June or July, but with the war intensifying and spreading as it is doing, I figured I better have a long session with the machine now whilst things are still quiet in Romford. I don’t think many women are going to sit around in the beauty parlors once the bombs begin dropping.
April 14, 1940
Edna Renacre came here for tea. She borrowed some more Balzac, and in addition I gave her six odd volumes of fiction, to keep. I suppose we must have at least a couple thousand books in this house, and the problem is how to move them? The answer is to dispose of as many as possible. Some we can give to the public library, some send away for the soldiers, and some we can give to our friends. There still will be hundreds we won’t want to part with. This move is going to be similar to our move from Avenue A., Bayonne, to Bayside, Long Island. We are moving to a house, which is only half or less the size of this one. It’s a good thing. I’ll be glad to get rid of belongings.