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World War ll London Blitz:  Buy On Smashwords
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: 4-8-41 Yesterday afternoon, Sir Kingsly Wood presented his new budget to the House of Commons. It’s a terror. Income tax has been increased and it will be applied to the small incomes, which hitherto have been exempt from it. Income tax will start on all small per week incomes. This is terrific. This new, taxation of the smaller incomes, will not begin to operate until next January, but from now on people will find fewer goods available in the shops than there were last year.


April 8, 1941
Well, my impulsive shopping yesterday was an act of good judgment. My old subconscious must have had an acute and correct intuition about the coming scarcity of goods. Yesterday afternoon, Sir Kingsly Wood presented his new budget to the House of Commons. It’s a terror. Income tax has been increased and it will be applied to the small incomes, which hitherto have been exempt from it. Income tax will start on all small per week incomes. This is terrific. This new, taxation of the smaller incomes, will not begin to operate until next January, but from now on people will find fewer goods available in the shops than there were last year. The idea is, compulsory saving, because there is going to be nothing to buy. It is some scheme for avoiding inflation. Well, for some time there has been precious little to buy. The wonder is how the small shopkeepers keep going at all. Shop windows are practically empty, and when you get inside the shops, so are their shelves. How there can be much less I’m sure I don’t know. For months there has been no choice in buying; you had to take what the shopkeeper had, or else go without.
I had my difficulties yesterday in Stone’s. I went there primarily to buy some red woolen cloth, to combine with my red-velvet, to make a useable afternoon frock. Well, Stone’s had no red woolen cloth of any kind or any shade! Finally I bought a dress length of “brick” because it was the best tone I could approximate to my red velvet. Luckily I bought enough for a whole dress, thinking I would make up the velvet into a separate short jacket, to wear with it, or not, as I fancied. Later, at the silks counter, I did find a true match, so bought three and a quarter yards of it, sufficient to make a skirt. So I shall get my red “Sunday” dress anyhow, plus the brick wool I hadn’t counted on. That will make up for next winter. The piece of black silk I bought was their last seven yards of pure silk. This I really needed. I hate not to have a black silk dress in my wardrobe, and since I gave my last black silk to Auntie Lizzie, when Harry Hext died, I have never replaced it. Now I shall have a black silk dress again. I suppose that when the stocks of silks already in this country have been exhausted, there will be no more at all until the war is over, and imports begin again; and then, what will the prices be, I wonder?
The other goods I bought were their last piece of black worsted; this is a fine lightweight, to make a summer suit. I have no summer suit, so this also was needed. I also purchased a piece of Angora to make a shirt. This, and the red wool, is what I actually started out to buy. At Christmas time, Edna Renacre gave me a very fine cyclamen cardigan. I have never worn it, because I had nothing right to wear it with; but as I needed a new skirt, I thought if I matched to the cardigan, I should create a complete and pretty spring and summer rig; something fresh and light and pleasant to look at, yet warm to wear around when the fires go out. So I matched it in Angora. This will give me a good lightweight skirt to wear with blouses.
Then finally I bought a piece of lavender silk and cotton mixture, uncrushable weave, to make a summer frock. I suppose I didn’t really need this, for I have two blue silks, which I bought in 1939, besides a couple of leftover cotton frocks. It was attractive, and not too expensive.  Anyhow I did buy it. Today I am not a bit sorry I bought so much. Probably clothing will be returned soon, as well as food and coal. This might be all right if one started well stocked with clothes, but it just so happens that my wardrobe is in one of its low phases. Anyhow I’m jolly glad I bought all these goods, although I’ll still have my troubles paying for them. I am not going to worry about that. If I have to ask Ted for some private cash, he must scold if he must, but I shan’t worry a button. We are not paupers and I intend to look like a lady, and to feel like one. Let the men pay for the war; that’s their luxury. They wanted it.
April 9, 1941
Ever since the government stated that there would be no Good Friday holiday this year, a great fuss has been made about it. Yesterday the subject was taken up in The Lords. The Marques of Salisbury asked whether the attention of the present government had been called to the anxiety felt by a large section of opinion in the country by the suggested want of observance of Good Friday in the present week. He said that for centuries Good Friday had been set apart as almost the most sacred day in the year, and the practice had been universal that it should have due respect. He recognized that exigencies of the present were such that desirable practices should be intermitted for essential war work. He was sorry that it appeared in the public press that Easter Monday was to be set apart for holiday making in the circumstances.
It did seem strange that as between the two days, the modern Easter Monday shall be selected for the holiday and that all religious observance on Good Friday shall be treated as of less account. He was told that even the stock exchange was to be open on Good Friday.
Lord Moyne replied that the government could not possibly approve of the normal and traditional arrangements for the Easter holidays. It was only intended that the government’s advice should be applied to war services. The government was naturally anxious to get as much interruption for purposes of recreation and rest from the normal hard work of war production as was consistent with output, and which would not mean any slackening of the war effect. It was found that both Good Friday and Easter Monday could not be afforded as holidays. There were good reasons for the government, on industrial grounds, choosing Easter Monday, as they could not afford both days. It was better to get the longest possible break rather than have two breaks; one on Good Friday and one on Sunday with work in between. There was no objection to any class of retail shop closing partially or completely. It was not unpatriotic to close on Good Friday provided that was not in any way going to interfere with war output.
This is very practical. What I want to note is that for as long as I can remember in England, Good Friday has never been observed religiously, except by the few devout Church people. Chapel people never paid the slightest attention to it, and even among the Church people, only the pious. The Easter holidays represented overwhelmingly the first holiday of the New Year, the spring holidays. Everyone who could went away for a long break, and it was a favorite time for weddings for the working classes, just because it gave the longest break in the year. We were Church, but we never bothered to go to church on Good Fridays. Once, when I was a child, staying with Grandma Side at Neasden, Auntie May took me to the Three Hours, but Grandma didn’t bother to go. So, for people to make a fuss about losing the day on religious grounds is hypocritical. After all, everybody can remember the significance of the day if they want to. Nobody is prevented praying at any hour, and it has been pointed out, that even in the factories arrangements can be made for those who wish to go to church.
One factory manager has written to the Times to say: “I have issued the following notice to the factory with which I am concerned: Those who wish to absent themselves for one hour in order to be present at part of the Three Hours Service may do so by arrangement with their foreman and forewomen.”
Of course, but not many will. People don’t want Good Friday to go to church, but to go to Blackpool, or South End, or the football game. Ted says people don’t know what Good Friday means. Of course they don’t. Nor did they forty years ago, so why make a fuss about it now?
Last night’s raids were again concentrated on Coventry. At the first Coventry assault the Germans boasted that it was the very greatest air attack ever yet launched on any city anywhere. Today’s one o’clock news stated that last night’s attack was nearly as heavy as the first attack, and the extent of the casualties is not yet known. Poor Coventry. These last two nights have again been noisy with us. The raiding began around eleven p.m. on Monday, which was the first night alarm London had had for eighteen nights; quite a long spell of comparative peace.
It is a full moon on Friday, so for the rest of this week, and all next, we may expect trouble. The fighting in the Balkans is fierce and serious; the Germans pressing well in, already broken into the Varda Valley, though the Yugoslav’s have entered Sentari. It will take a few days, they say, before we can tell what is really happening in the Balkans. To me, a mere woman, it sounds as though the Germans are the main victors. My God! The Germans! Will the world ever forgive them?
April 10, 1941
I feel sick. I am not ill; it is simply the events. I have just been reading through today’s Times, and it is the news that makes me sick. This devilish war. The Germans are in Salonika. We are in Massawa. Belgrade, though declared an open city, has been destroyed from the air, worse than Rotterdam. It is true: the Germans must be vanquished, but oh, the cost! Last night was a bad night for me, though nothing fell here in Romford. The first alert went soon after eleven p.m.; the first guns were heard just after midnight. Another alert went at two forty a.m. but the guns sounded further off. Ted seemed to be sleeping most of the time, but I lay in the dark uncontrollably trembling, and with a most awful sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. I could neither weep nor pray; I could only endure through my fear. It is horrible. I have had no real sleep since Sunday so I’m awfully tired. Most of the bombing has been in the Midlands. Last night, they say, we brought down ten bombers, making thirteen altogether during the last twenty-four hours. My God! There goes the alarm again. Just 11 a.m.
April 12, 1941
I am dead tired. This is the ending of Lent, thank goodness. Ted has observed it all though, much more than was required of him, and with the usual result of crankiness. He is a trial. However, I suppose he could be worse, and certainly I ought to be used to him by this time. I think perhaps what bothers me most is the way he bores me. His silly talk, his devastating repetitiveness, it just wears me out. The older he grows the more like his brother Bert he becomes. The likeness is most marked, and it repeats itself again in Selma but in Selma all the peculiarities are exaggerated, so she is immediately much more obviously a fool. It is the unending repetitiveness that wears hardest on me. I get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. The same would-be jokes, the same clichés, the same items of facetiousness; my God, they make me groan. Moreover, I always know exactly what Ted is going to say about anything, all his judgments. It is dreadful. So there is nothing spontaneous in talk, nothing fresh, and nothing careless. Ponderosity! My God, it rolls me flat!
He was speaking of old man Wachett just now at dinner. Ted’s grandmothers, and Wachett’s grandmother, were sisters: the Misses Hunt of Barking. This was Ted’s mother’s mother. Well, it was definitely known that she was crazy in old age, and there are reports of the Wachettt grandmother being “odd.” Certainly the Wachetts are a fine assorted bunch of eccentrics. Now “old Wachett,” who is Bert’s age and who has been ill for a couple of years, is reported as “losing his mind,” having unaccounted spells of deliriousness and of forgetfulness, “mind wandering.” I should think that likely the Misses Hunt of Barking were responsible for setting flow a definite stream of madness, or at least, of mental deficiency. Selma grows madder every year, certainly Bert is “touched,” and I’m quite sure of Ted’s unbalance. Oh well, nothing can be changed now.
Both yesterday and this morning we slept late. There are only two mornings in the year there is no early mass to attend. I did not wake this morning until eight o’clock, though Ted went off soon after to play the Holy Saturday mass. He has been at church every day this week. Miss Hale is away on holiday, so Ted has been taking the organ.
All this, of course, Ted gives for nothing. One thing I must note about this Lenten time, this is the first time since we returned to England that Ted hasn’t gone out in the middle of the night of Good Friday to “keep watch.” Marvelous!
He must have concluded that with his entire organ playing and all his Home Guarding he was doing enough and that he had to sleep. He was sensible for once. Unless, of course, there was no night watching because of the war. Well, I shan’t go to mass tomorrow, Easter or no Easter. Nothing will induce me to sit through a church service until the war is over. Too many churches get bombed. Moreover, I expect Hitler is saving up something special for Easter Sunday. Monday is to be observed as a holiday, though yesterday was not observed as such.
Mary Bernadette came in at teatime. She has been in town working all day. She came to tell me Mrs. Jude is returning home May Third. She has had enough of Belfast. Belfast has had a bad bombing recently, so what’s the use of evacuating? Hitler bombs anywhere and everywhere. I’m hoping Ted brings me in a good book for the weekend. I am in the mood for reading and nothing else.
Easter Sunday, April 13, 1941
Ted is out playing the mass. A quiet night, and a warmer morning, though overcast. I have a small chicken to roast for dinner, with rice custard to follow: vegetables, mashed potatoes, and stringless green beans (out of a can). It does not feel especially like Easter to me. Anyhow, I never could follow the Liturgical year with enthusiasm. It always seems childish to me, too much in the neighborhood of fairytale. I cannot do all the pretending; moreover, I have always been bored with repetitions.
The book Ted brought in yesterday was Eric Gill’s autobiography, and he began to read it straightaway. Eric Gill, who only died this winter, was one of the more voluble converts to Rome, though God knows all the converts do an awful lot of talking about themselves and their souls and the true church. When I think of G.K. Chesterton and Dr. Orchard in such a hurry to turn their “spiritual” experiences into prompt cash!
Anyhow, before bedtime Ted had to begin commenting on Gill’s book, or rather, not Gill’s book, as a book, but about the fact that Gill’s father was a non-conformist “curate” in a chapel of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection. With this fact Ted was well away on his favorite topic of “Protestantism” and deploring all the things “Poor Protestants” don’t know. My God, it’s an awful subject! I get so weary of it, so sick of it. I answer nothing, but I get so filled with disgust and repugnance I have to keep tight hold of myself not to spill over and start screaming. I hate Ted’s bigotry, I hate his ignorance, and I hate his complacency. I’m afraid sometime I shall fly off the handle, and scream and scream. Ted is so impossible, and so unjust, and so censorious, I feel I want to fly at him and beat him. Poor fellow; he can’t help his ignorance and his prejudice, or he won’t and I can’t help him; but oh, how he poisons all religion for me, Catholic and Protestant alike, and always has done from the very beginning.
I pray for patience. I resolve my will for patience. To keep serene, to keep serene, that is my first desire, my deepest intention. Not only in my personal conflict with Ted, but in my contact with this awful world, this frightful war. From early childhood when I suffered continually from my mother’s violence and vehemence, for me the fairest and dearest virtue has always been serenity. Serenity. The very word itself is beautiful to me. God, keep me serene!
Easter Monday, April 14, 1941
Here I close up this book with today’s account in the Times of the Pope’s yesterday Easter broadcast. In effect, he has simply said to the axis powers, the German’s, and his own Italians, don’t hurt those you have conquered too much! There is not one word of reproof for the savageries committed daily, not one word against war, not one word. Is the Pope merely a quisling? There have been no big raids during this weekend, but only spasmodic bombings here and there. Rows of small houses have been knocked down, and people killed, but not in the thousands, as expected might happen. Here at home we have had a nice day. We had some young people in: Mary Bernadette and her fiancĂ©, Hugh Storr-Best; and Doris Pell, the little librarian. I had not seen Doris for a couple of years, or perhaps three. She is now twenty-three, but she gave me a disagreeable start to notice how even she was aging. She is no longer the radiant blond child I used to chat with in the library. She has become the tired businesswoman, all her color drained and with definitely a spinsterish air. She is only twenty-three.
I received the same shock of noticing the encroaching age when I was in Stone’s last week. Some of the assistants in Stones have been there as long as I have been going to the store, which, of course, is over thirteen years now. In the silks department the same two are still there, but when I saw them last week I saw them visibly perishing. They have become older and older, naturally. They are alive, and they are still working, but as women they have fallen into decay. They are literally perishing, drying out, desiccating, and dying on their feet, day by day and nobody noticing. How cruel nature is to women. If no man takes her in her first blooming, so quickly she withers away.

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