History is never quite as real as when it is told by those who lived it. Ruby Thompson, living during the World War ll London Blitz bombing blasts history out of the realm of dry, dusty names and dates and places the reader in the midst of the terrifying events as they unfold. This is very important documentation and will have tremendous appeal to those who have an avid interest in the effect of the war on ordinary citizens.
March 2, 1941 I am so tired and so bored I don’t know what to do
with myself. I feel my age this week all right. Artie
being at home, is just that one more to cook for, etc.,
and I’m tired out. It is shocking, really. Artie is very
busy with the girls, trying to shake Edna, and rushing
Mary Bernadette. It is all really very amusing, but Ted
talks and talks to me about the boy, his manners, his
ignorance’s, his stupidities, etc., until I could scream.
He cross-questions me about the boy until I could swear.
It’s all so petty. Talk about a gossip! Ted is the equal of
any old village woman.
Artie spent yesterday afternoon with Mary. Last night
he visited the Pullans, without Edna. This morning Artie
and Mary went up to communion together (Ted tells me)
and afterward Artie went home to Mary’s for breakfast
not showing up here until dinnertime. All very amusing,
really, though Ted is scolding to me about it. This after-
noon Artie had gone to see Edna; his third visit only for
this leave. He visited her Tuesday night, and took her
to the movies on Thursday. I told him not to bring her
back here for tea today. For one thing, I’m too tired for
company; and for another, since they are quarreling, it
might be embarrassing to Edna to visit here today.
Ted has just gone out for benediction. He was out all
last night, fire spotting, and went direct to church this
morning. Church! I’m tired of that too. All last week
there were talks on the radio, Three men and a Parson, a sort of radio mission. The Parson was Canon Cockin,
of St. Paul’s, and he is giving two sermons today, one of
which we have already heard. What struck me in the
“talks” was that they would never convince anybody to
join the church; in fact, they were hardly “Christian” at
all. However, I can’t stop to write about them now. It’s
time to listen to the news. Yesterday Bulgaria signed up
with the Axis.
March 7, 1941 I have bought yet another copy of, The Brides Cookery
Book, put out by the Oxford University Press. The first
copy I bought I sent to Eddie’s wife, the second copy I gave
to Lillian Young, a year ago last New Year’s, when she got
married. Now this third one I intend to keep for myself.
I intend to start as though I was a bride, and work from
their small quantity recipes. All my old familiar recipes
are family sized and large family at that; moreover, they
are mostly American and none of them work in well to
this Darby and Joan English establishment. This bride’s
book is a very satisfactory one, on all counts. I shall stick
to it, just as though I was a greenhorn, and forget all my
March 10, 1941 It was another awful night. The moon is coming
up to the full, and the cold has moderated so the air
bombardment has begun again in grim earnest. It’s
simply devilish. How much longer will it go on? Hitler
is winning. Last week he swallowed Bulgaria. This week
he is cajoling and threatening Greece, Yugoslavia, and
Turkey; by next week he probably will have swallowed
down all three. There is constant talk of the coming
invasion of Britain. My God! It’s awful! This is how men
run the world! War, bloody war.
There are planes streaming over, going toward the
West. Last Tuesday we raided the Lofotan Islands, and
destroyed all the Fish Oil Works there. We also brought
back over three hundred young Norwegians, to join the
fight from here. America has passed the Lease and Loan
Bill. Ex King Alphonso of Spain had died in Rome. Well,
that’s one bad egg out of the way.
March 12, 1941 I have just been enjoying a lovely hour, sitting in the
rocker by the fire, smoking cigarettes, and listening to
a program of pleasing gramophone records on the radio.
I’m awfully tired today because yesterday I worked
too hard. These past two weeks, Lily, my charlady, has
not shown up, and on this Monday I got a letter from
her saying she had rheumatism so she was giving up
her work. That suits me all right. She usually brought
her baby with her, a little boy of sixteen months, and
he was becoming somewhat of a nuisance. Anyhow, my
first response to her letter was, good! I don’t like women
about. I like the house to myself. As Kay once said of
Sheila, I guess I am anti-social.
Anyhow I am feeling fine. I suppose the spring sap is
Well, yesterday, after fixing up the laundry, I set to
work and cleaned the kitchen properly, and I actually
washed the floor, a job I haven’t done for forty years. Of
course I couldn’t kneel to do it, but I was able to do it by
standing and stooping down. Luckily it is only a small
kitchen. I enjoyed doing it, and was pleased with myself
and with the job when I was finished. It made me very
tired, and in the night, and throughout today, my legs
have been aching in new places, behind the knees, the
backs of the thighs. I still feel fine. I had intended to
do the bathroom today, but it has turned out to be an extraordinarily cold day, too cold to be upstairs. So I am
spending a lazy day. I put on new plasters this morning
and that’s an hour’s job anyhow.
I’ve been writing letters. When Artie was here, that
put me out of my scribbling scribe, but today I felt the
writers itch returning, so I may begin scribbling again
soon. Last night I was dreaming of the time when all
the children were small, but it was a nightmare. I was
fleeing with them from something, along hot summer
roads, and I couldn’t keep them together, nor travel
fast enough. It was probably some fright to my old sub
conscious induced by the raiding going on overhead. It
was another bad night, though not so bad as Sunday and
Today has been quiet all day, probably because
of unfavorable weather. It is very cold and looks like
snow. Perhaps it is snowing across the Channel and the
Gerry’s won’t take off. If so, I hope it continues unfavorable tonight, so that we can all get a proper night’s sleep.
When the war is over and we can once more sleep peace-
fully in our beds, those of us who are left alive, what
Heaven that will be!
March 13, 1941 It was another dreadful night. The first alarm did
not sound until about ten o’clock, but from then on
there was no quiet until morning. However, the B.B.C.
reported that the worst attack of the night had been on
Merseyside, and we had brought down nine bombers in
that district. Well, if we could bring down nine during
the night, the attack must have been colossal. Hell, hell,
hell! Last Sunday a high explosive fell here in Wolsey
Road. It demolished twelve houses, and in one bungalow
alone seven people were killed, amongst them a baby
only two months old. This is the sort of incident that makes me faint with nausea. To think of that young
mother who endured her pregnancy and her labor, only
to be destroyed, with her child, after only two months,
Oh God, there are no words for this sort of crime and
This world is hell, and Hitler is Satan himself. The
last war convinced me of the reality of the Devil: this war
reinforces that conviction. I say, men create war; yes, but
the evil in men’s hearts, which creates this sort of war,
is the devil’s evil itself. Yesterday there was assassination in Istanbul. Mr. Rendell, the late British minister in
Sofia, had arrived with his daughter and the staffs of the
Legation and Consulate in Sofia. Ten minutes after they
arrived at their hotel an explosion of extreme violence
occurred. It completely wrecked the ground floor of the
hotel, killed three people outright, and seriously injured
many more. Two of our English lady typists have since
died this morning from their injuries. This is senseless
murder and destruction. A time bomb had been hidden
in a suitcase. I suppose some devil thought that a clever
idea. Oh God, deliver us from evil, from Satan and his
evildoers who prowl through the world seeking the
destruction of souls, of souls and of bodies! Last night
the R.A.F. bombed Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin. So it
goes. Battledore and Shuttlecock. Aerial warfare. What
The whole invention of the flying machine has been
a curse. There was no need for men to fly the skies. I
should think the invention of the flying machine has
wrought more destruction to the world than any other of
the inventions of man. Well, time passes. Peace will have
to return to the world some day and then what? If only
we can live through the war!
March 14, 1941
A heavy gun going off near by ever since nine o’clock,
but no alert has been sounded so far. We have had
another very bad night.
These last two days I have been reading a book
strangely entitled, If I Laugh, but its motto is, And if
I laugh at any mortal thing, Tis that I may not weep.
(Byron. Don Juan.) Subtitle: The chronicle of my strange
adventures in the great Paris Exodus - June 1940. By
Downing is a British journalist who had been a
liaison of the French ministry of information. He left
Paris on the night of June 12, with an Englishwoman,
Mrs. Hawksley, and the two of them cycled south, six
hundred miles, into Spain, in fourteen days. This book
is an account of the trip, an eyewitness account of France
as she collapsed. It is terrible. One gets a glimpse of the
rottenness of France, and why she collapsed. If Hitler
thought the English was as rotten and as spineless as the
French, no wonder he declared he would dictate peace to
the world from Buckingham Palace on August fifteenth.
No wonder our soldiers say of this war, as they said
of the last, that they don’t like the French. Of course
they don’t. The English and the French are not natural
friends, they never have been, and they never will be.
In reading this book I have thought of Eddie’s comment
last summer. I’m not a bit sorry for the French, he wrote.
They got what was coming to them, and they deserved it.
Another thing that occurs to me, though there isn’t
a hint of it in this book of Downing’s, is the rottenness
of Catholic countries. Consider Spain, Italy, Ireland,
Belgium, France; quarrelsome, unreliable, treacherous,
uncooperating, dirty, even amongst themselves, let
alone towards their neighbors. How one loathes the
politicians, own included!
March 15, 1941 A quiet empty morning: Ted at the office, and no
cooking to do because I have some left over stew to
warm in the oven, and some left over ginger pudding
to re-heat to follow. Sainsbury’s have just brought me
a chicken. It is only a stewing bird, but it will make a
dinner for tomorrow. This morning is very cold, frost
again last night, and though it was sunny first thing, it
is now clouding over. We had another shocking night,
but the B.B.C. says the worst of the attack was on Clyde-
side, where one hundred bombers attacked for hours.
The spring offensive is definitely on, and all this week, of
course, there is full moon light. Moon rises at ten to one
tonight, and Ted is on duty on top of Lyon’s all tonight. I
don’t know who will be the more frightened, he or I.
When Artie was home he gave me some money, and I
put in an order for some second hand books from Boot’s
sale. I asked for twenty-six, I got sixteen, which were
delivered yesterday; price one pound eleven pence and
six pennies. Yes, I keep on buying books: my opium,
probably only the undertaker will ever stop me.
March 16, 1941 The night was not too bad. In the evening we had a
heavy raid with incendiaries following everywhere, but
the all clear was given soon after midnight and the rest
of the night was quiet. This afternoon we found a stick
of an incendiary bomb leaning against our garden fence
at the bottom of the garden, Owelett’s side, so it came
pretty near to setting us alight, but didn’t. Ted went off
to his home guard drill at ten-thirty, and this afternoon
he had a knights meeting. No visitors today, so that’s
lucky, for he is just about all in. Our chicken was damned
tough. I’ve been cooking it again all afternoon, in hopes
to make it ultimately eatable. Tea also was a failure. We tried a tin of corned mutton we are being urged to eat.
It’s awful muck, and has given both of us indigestion.
As a matter of fact it has made Ted downright bilious,
but this may be because of his tiredness, and besides he
has caught a cold, up on Lyon’s roof all night, with the
weather damp and cold. He’s too old for such doings.
Three times today we have been given instructions
over the air, what to do in case of invasion. This is
becoming a constant cry of “Wolf” and pretty soon we
shan’t pay any attention to it.
Also we heard a recording of a speech President
Roosevelt made last night, from Washington. It was
picked up here in its entirety at three-thirty a.m. this
morning, and given over the air in full at one-thirty this
afternoon. It’s a wonderful speech. He declares that
America is united behind the democracies, that she will
have no compromise with the dictators, and is all out
for aid for Britain and aid right up to total victory. He
warns America to be ready for sacrifices. He pledges the
fullest and ever increasing aid in the fight for liberty,
until total victory is won, for Britain, Greece, China and
all governments in exile whose homelands are temporarily occupied by aggressors. He said that Britain and
her Grecian Allies needed ships, planes, food, tanks,
guns and ammunition and supplies of all kinds, and
they would get them. He called on Americans to make
sacrifices to speed production. He said, I hope that the
watchword, ‘Speed, and speed now,’ will find its way into
every home in the nation. So: America is definitely and
practically in the war. Once again, America will help the
British win a great war. God Bless Franklin Roosevelt.
March 17, 1941 It is St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve received a box of
shamrocks from Mrs. Jude! This is my long morning. I have been up since six
o’clock, and all my jobs are finished now until its time to
cook dinner. I’ve a two-pound joint of loin of pork, and I
hope it won’t be tough. I’m longing for a good meal. I’d
like to sit down to a good lamb chop, or a piece of fillet.
The deprivation of good fresh meat is the greatest deprivation of the war to me. I can get along without sugar
and jams, and eggs and butter and fruit and cakes, but
it’s a penance not to be able to get enough fresh meat. I
seem to need meat, and I’m never properly fed without it.
When Ted called me this morning I was deep in a
dream of my girlhood. It was one of my packing night-
mares. I was in my old bedroom at home, and I was
taking my things out of the old yellow chest of drawers,
to pack for my first trip to America. Mother and Dad were
there too. Mother was in character, fussing and bustling
and supervising every item, arguing and bossing, and
making me tired, as she always did, and Dad was just
sitting watching, looking patient and saying nothing as
he would have been in real life. Mother was obstruction and interfering, as per her usual style; and Dad just
standing by, in his style.
I’ve been thinking about the dream ever since: sort
of re-feeling it. For one thing, it was queer to think of
myself so far back in time, no husband, no children, no
America, no infirmities. I was getting ready for America.
America, the two loves of my life: Dad and America. In
my father’s house are many mansions. What does that
mean? To me there is only one house, one mansion, and
one home: Six Angel Road, my father’s house. Actually
no other house has ever been home to me except that
one. That one is home no longer. The house is still there,
Mother is still there, the identical furnishings are still
there, but something has vanished from it besides Dad,
What? Was it the habitat of my girlhood? I don’t know.
All I know is, that was home, and now that has gone I
have no home in this world, nor never shall have. All the
homes I have had with Ted, strange houses, perching
places only, where I have been a bird on the bough, never
a bird in the nest. Perhaps if I could once have made
the material home I desired? Perhaps then I could have
made myself a home. I don’t know.
It can still come over me that Ted is a stranger.
Together we have loved seven men into being, but to my
innermost woman Ted remains an outsider, a stranger.
Not only to my innermost being, to the outer woman
too, very often. I listen to Ted talking, I have to, and
I can’t help myself! I listen to his reiterative platitudinous piffle, to his forty-year-old jokes, and the more
he talks the more I am positive it’s nothing to do with
me. He’s nothing to do with me. Our ways could part
tomorrow, and I could forget him. Very easily. In spite
of blood and children we have never really commingled.
We are strangers. Does he love me? Do I love him? Silly
questions. My father, there is the unbreakable bond,
there is love, real love with its instant understanding,
entire comprehension, complete at oneness in heart and
mind and soul. My father. Father fixation of course, in
Freud’s language. You see, to just dream of my father, I
am flooded with a fullness of happiness, contentment,
and peace and joy that no other human being had ever
given me, nor ever can give me. Father and daughter. If
you happen to have the same sort of minds, the same
kind of temperaments, the father-daughter relationship
is the most harmonious and most satisfying relationship
possible in this world. Father and son may be theological:
in fact it is only theological, for in life it spells friction: but
father and daughter is the real thing. The complement
of sex, without the flesh, and without the fights. More
satisfying then the mother and son relationship,
the male partner remains the upholder and protects, as
the woman wishes him to be. You know, mothers can get
awful tired of being mothers!
March 19, 1941 Last night was terrible. London had the longest alert
so far of the war. Alarm went off before eleven p.m. and
the all clear not given until after five this morning. The
noise was incessant. We could hear the bombs, and the
incendiaries falling all over the place, although none fell
in our immediate blocks. The one o’clock news said the
raiders passed over London and the Eastern counties,
and concentrated their attack on Hall.
Today the figures are given for last week’s heavy
raids on Merseyside and Clyde. They are: about five
hundred killed and five hundred seriously injured. The
Clyde area, nights of March Thirteenth, and Fourteenth,
approximately five hundred killed and eight hundred
seriously injured. This is devilish fiendish air-war, every
casualty a civilian. I think the very name of Germany
will be hated from henceforth till the end of time.
I am frightfully tired today, not only could I not sleep
last night, I could not control my trembling, and continuous trembling seems to exhaust the body as much as
continuous work. Today, so far, has been quiet, though I
can hear our planes zooming about now. When the moon
rises at about one forty-five tonight I expect the slaughter
will begin again. God help us!
Mary Jude has phoned, and will be in to tea tonight.
I wrote to her mother yesterday, to acknowledge the
shamrock she sent me for St. Patrick’s Day.
I also had to write to Edna Renacre. When Ted came
home at dinnertime he found a bouquet of red carnations
stuck in the water bucket by the door. Tucked inside
was a card from Edna, with birthday wishes. She had remembered the date but had forgotten the month. It
was very sweet of her to leave them for me. Edna, Artie’s
problem is quite a problem. I’ve also written a long letter
to Johnnie, and one to Mrs. Lillian Berry, Bill’s mother.
I’m in the mood for letter writing, which is a rare mood
nowadays. I mean to write some more, to all the boys,
but am too tired to do any more writing today. Au-Revoir.
March 20, 1941 I’ve been house cleaning, and now am very tired.
However, I feel very satisfied with myself! This morning
managed to do the bathroom as well as the little kitchen.
Also did down the stairs and the little hall. I’m getting
on. Anyhow, I ought to be able to take care of this house
single handed, and after all, there are only the two of us
We suffered another shocking night, but it slackened
about one a.m. so we managed to get some good sleep.
The main attack was on London. Four hospitals were
bombed and a hostelry wrecked, besides many houses.
We had over five thousand incendiaries on Romford last
Saturday night. Yesterday it was Hall that got the worst
The attack began early after tea yesterday, Mary
Jude was here, and we began to think she would have to
stay all night; however in a fairish lull about eleven p.m.
Ted was able to take her home. She is sleeping alone in
their house, a very brave little girl, I think, especially as
Carlton Road quite often gets hit. I have no news from
Hammersmith, but presume all is well there or I should
have been informed otherwise.
March 22, 1941 I have just been talking with the milkman who has
been telling me of this week’s damage. Wednesday was the most awful night. Most of the damage was between
Stratford and Aldgate. Coming this way, Ilford got eight
land mines. Barking-Side, Canning Town, Eastham,
frightful,frightful. In Stratford: Boardman’s, Roberto’s, the co-op, all down. These were tremendous shops,
stretching for blocks. The milkman says the people from
Canning Town and hundreds of them; he also says that
many of them are up at their town hall, demanding
that we bomb back at the people of Berlin. As soon as
darkness falls, every night, they begin to tremble, raids
or no raids. Yes. Oh, what a devil’s war this is!
London was quiet last night. B.B.C. stated in the
early news that the main attack of the night had been on
a town in the South West of England. This was probably
Bristol. Thursday’s main attack was on Plymouth. It
seems now the tactics are, to concentrate on one big
town each night, and wipe it out. Meanwhile the politicians soft-soap us.
We have queer weather today. It is a day of November
like darkness. It was a day like the day when France fell.
Oh God! Let time pass quickly! Bring us soon to the end
of this hellish destruction and terror.
March 25, 1941 Lady Day
Yugoslavia has signed the Tripartite Pact and become
a partner of the Axis. I think this war can go on indefinitely. Country by country Hitler swallows Europe; his
supplies will become inexhaustible.
Outside it is raining, so maybe we will have a quiet
night tonight. We did have a quiet night last night, no
raiders anywhere at all over Britain. The weather is
queer, dark, like November. The Essex people call it
blight, but who cares if blight means a night without the
Germans? Last Sunday was observed as a National day
of prayer, by order of the King. What good does that do?
We have had several days of National prayer, but Hitler
strides on and on just the same, and prayer is never going
to stop him.
Oh the damn foolishness of war, and the ineptitude of
politicians!! This world that men have made! Why bother
God about it? If only men would get together to see how
they could stop the war. Oh what fools men are, and how
I hate them!
March 27, 1941 I wakened in the night from one of the most agonizing
dreams I have ever had. I was weeping, and must have
been crying for some time, for my pillow was wet from
my tears. At bedtime Ted had loved me, and we had been
happy together for a while. My last thoughts as I fell
asleep on my own sofa were of Hitler. Hitler is reported
to be a woman hater. Certainly he is a bachelor, and
one never hears rumors of him indulging himself with
any ladyloves. It is supposed he is a frigid celibate. I
was thinking, yes of course, he has to be, because if he
could ever feel a manly or human tenderness he could
not continue with his perpetual cruelties. Perhaps if
he could love just one woman, perhaps then he could
ease into normal manhood. Perhaps! Oh my God! The
time Hitler makes us waste time thinking about him!
So when I fell asleep I was assuaged and content, mind
Some hours later I was dreaming of Tenafly, a
dreadful dream. I was back in five hundred and twenty-three, but the house was falling to pieces. I knew I was
there without Ted, but the boys were still children;
they were the children we had left; and they were busy
earning their livings. The queer thing was they were
naked, and all seemed only about twelve or fourteen
years old. I had arrived upon them unexpectedly, and they were concerned as to where I should sleep and what
they could give me to eat. There was nothing, no comfort
of any sort. Rain was teeming down, and Johnnie was
digging a trench under the front porch. There were other
trenches there, like a series of graves and it seemed these
were to be our beds. Inside the house the floors were
broken, so Johnnie explained that it was much better
to sleep on the ground. He’d got to hurry away to New
York, to his job, so he explained to me just how I was to
dig my trench, and not to let it connect with any of the
others because that would let the rats through. Oh no!
He didn’t mind the rats! And no! It was no use trying to
get rid of them, you would only get another there were so
many of them. When he got to town he’d speak to Christian fund, and see if he could get a loan to buy some food.
Then Jimmie appeared, also quite naked, and he had a
mason jar in his hand with some musty dried prunes in
it. There he began to eat, but then Johnnie pounced on
him, and they fought for the prunes. They were for supper
tonight, Johnnie said, That’s all we’ve got to eat.
They had to catch a train, and off they went, down
Sunset Lane, in the rain teeming down on them, and
their bodies shining with the wet. I was counting their
ribs. Then I wakened, crying and crying, and some
moments before I could realize it was only a dream. Then
I went back to sleep, and lo, I was right back again in the
same dream. I was trying desperately to find something
for them to eat. The Rosa brothers came by and gave me
a basket of earthy old roots, and a peach basket with a
layer of dry wormy strawberries. Nothing was any good,
but I scrubbed off some of the vegetables and put them
on to brew a soup. Then the Rosa brothers began to pick
over the strawberries, and they ate the best of them. Of
course, they said, we only gave them to you because they are no good. You can’t have the good ones. Naturally we
shall take those back again.
Then I was trying to clean the house, but there were
no tools, neither was there any furniture. Some curtains
were still hanging at the windows, so I took them down,
and they choked me with dust. I saw I could make them
into pajamas, and I began to cut them out, and to hurry
and hurry, so that I could have them made by the time
the boys returned, so that I could have something to
cover their nakedness. So, crying into my sewing, the
dream faded away and then it was morning.
See how a soul holds its grief’s. It is now more then
thirteen years since Ted broke up the family and we left
Tenafly. The boys are all married men with families of
their own; they have succeeded in life and they do not
need a mother. I am a mother who needs them. I am a
mother who was destroyed in her maternity. When Ted
broke his family he broke me, and I suppose that deep
down in my subconscious self I have never forgiven him
nor ever shall be able to. There are some wounds that
never heal. Nature is violated, what could you do about
Well, the boys hold no resentment. I don’t think I do
either, not anymore. So much time has passed. The boys
don’t need me, can’t ever possibly need me now and they
weren’t permanently harmed (or were they?) They never
did hold resentment. That was plain even in my dream.
Johnnie didn’t show any resentment at the awful nakedness, cold, wet, hunger and poverty in which he stood. I
was the one distressed, not Johnnie, nor any of the boys.
They were the men who were accepting things as they
were, and blaming nobody. Yes, Ted has done what he
wanted to do. He has always done what he wanted to do.
He has realized his dreams. At what cost to me, to his
children! It wasn’t good for them to leave them the way they were left. No, it was damnable. So, this morning I
am tired. The dream exhausted me.
One o’clock news was good news. At two o’clock this
morning the young King Peter threw over the traitor
Yugoslav Government and assumed control of his
country. The army and all his people back him. Prince
Paul, the former Regent, has fled, whereabouts not yet
known. The two Cabinet ministers who went to Vienna to
sign adherence to the axis have been arrested. General
Sinovitch has been charged by the young King with the
formation of a new cabinet. There are efforts of popular
rejoicings everywhere throughout the country. Churchill
has answered this as, Great news. The Yugoslav Nation, says Churchill, has found its soul.
The Nine o’clock news was further good news. Keran,
the Italian stronghold in Eritrea has fallen, and Harar,
the second city of Abyssinia is also in our hands. So
both Hitler and Mussolini have received severe setbacks
March 29, 1941 For months now I have been listening each week day
morning to the, Lift up your Hearts and Kitchen Front
talks from the B.B.C. and I want to say what rubbish
they are. It is absolute rubbish and also impertinence.
To take, The Kitchen Front series first. More often
than not a man gives the talks. He will be either facetious
or condescending. When women give the talks they are
simply silly. Oh these are substitute dishes! They are
so simply nauseating. Who does the B.B.C. suppose pays
the slightest serous attention to them? The public knows
jolly well what rations are; but it also knows what can
and can’t be done in cookery. It jolly well knows you can’t
feed the family a dessert of turnip pie, or milk your tea
with oatmeal water.
There are straightforward and standard ways of
cooking all known foods, why foozle them? Make an
omelet for three people, says the B.B.C. with one egg,
two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and two tablespoons of
milk and water. Well, that is not an omelet, nor will one
egg make a breakfast for three people. What kind of fools
do they take the public for? The food problem in Britain
is damned serious all right, but we don’t fool ourselves
we are all fed when we are not. We will eat what ever is
available, but we won’t fool ourselves that it is appetizing
or satisfactory. We certainly won’t spoil what is available
by trying to make it masquerade as what it isn’t.
As for the religious talks, they too are fooling. This
is another sort of fake. Speakers, some of them parsons,
some non-conformist ministers, give puerile up lift
anecdotes, religious pep talks. It is just awful. It seems
to me instead of handing out their pious platitudes, they
would be totally impersonal, not inflict themselves upon
us, but would quietly rend from the scriptures, or from
the Book of Common Prayer, say, the morning prayer
and the Collect for the Day, they would be a thousand
times more effective; they would then have sincerity
and dignity, and true Englishness and old beauty and
abiding Christian feeling; instead of which the religion
they try to put over is just as silly, pretentious, impossible, ridiculous and fake, and nauseating, as, The
Kitchen Front Cookery.
March 30, 1941 It was on the News this evening that there has been
a great naval battle in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham is in command. Three
Italian cruisers and two Italian destroyers have been
sunk, without a loss of one boat, or even one man, of
our own! The whole battle carried on in darkness. There will be Fuller details to follow later. Also there is a
news item that the Vatican today broadcast, in French,
to unoccupied France. The subject of the talk was of
the growing paganism of the world and particularly in
Germany, where Hitler desires that all baptisms may
be deferred until the age of twenty, so that only state
will be allowed to instruct the young. Very nice!! Why
doesn’t the Vatican broadcast to Italy about the, growing
paganism of the world? Why doesn’t the Pope speak out
to his Italians, and denounce their own lies, treacheries
and aggressions? Why doesn’t the Pope say, not merely
to his Italians, but to the world, that war is devilish,
and that the Nazi’s and fascists who engineered this
war upon Europe, are criminals? Why doesn’t he tell his
people to overthrow their fool Mussolini, whose actions
are destroying them? No, the Pope says nothing!
March 31, 1941 The Times this morning carries a note from a correspondent in Belgrade. He writes: Belgrade March 30th During the crisis, which has shaken the Yugoslav
nation the part played by the Patriarch of the Serb
Orthodox Church, Gavril, recalls that of the Bishops of
Medieval England, when the church directed the King’s
policy and kept his conscience. Although the full story
of his activity during these fateful weeks is not known,
the Yugoslav people feel instinctively that if he had not
resisted the Regent’s Cabinet and mobilized all the forces
of the Orthodox Church to that end, Yugoslav today would
be another of Hitler’s serf states. Hence the Patriarch’s
intervention is stirring the public imagination today. Not
only did the Patriarch head the Orthodox Church openly
in the fight to oppose the Three-Power-Pact as it affects
Yugoslavia, but in the critical days just before the minis-
ters left for Vienna, when German diplomatic pressure
was at its height, the mind of Prince Paul undecided, and
the issue still doubtful, he gathered all the influence and
the authority of the church into opposition against the
policy of capitulation.
Good! Here at last is one great primate who has dared
to stand up for the right, and to defy tyrants to their
faces. I wonder if such forthrightness can cause the Pope
to feel ashamed of himself. I wonder. Here in England,
last year, the Protestants were saying, Well the Pope will
soon stop the war. He has only to speak to his Catholics,
and they’ll soon put and end to the axis. Oh yeah! As
the boys say. The old Pope, Pius XI might have spoken
out only might. Certainly this Pope has said nothing; he
minds his place. Posh!