April Fools Day today — and why on earth should everyone think it might be my birthday?

   In Gym at school we played a vigorous game of Skittleball. I had a short Choir Practice in the Gallery at 1.0pm.

   After school I brought home all my school books except two. I came home on the S.B. as usual.

   This evening Dad and I took Ginger for a run and then I played out for a short time. I have just finished reading my library book. It is now 8.30pm.

For the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10


   Last day of term — hooray. There was no morning assembly in Big School. Instead everyone celebrated the occasion by scrawling queer slogans on the paradoxically yellow blackboards.

   First period Mr. Ballance read some poetry to us [and I collected 2/9 Cot-Fund], 2nd period Mr. Rees read some of Moby Dick to us. After break there were House Meetings & then the Breaking Up ceremony.

   I arrived home at five to one. This afternoon I went to St Andrews. B’ham City:— Merrick; Green, Jennings; Badham, Duckhouse, Ferris; Stewart, Jordan, Dailey, Harris, Laing. [Jordan got Blues’ goal and] Lishman scored for Arsenal. Result 1–1.

   Tonight I took all the family’s books back to the Library.

God is ... working salvation in the midst of the earth. Psalm 74:12


   I got up at about 9.0am this morning. It was only 8.0 by the clock but the clocks were put forward an hour last night.

   Before breakfast I cycled [up Shirley Road, then along Stratford Road] right through Shirley. A strong wind has been blowing all the day. This morning we lit a fire in the garden and burnt a lot of rubbish.

   I stayed in this afternoon. It was raining most of the time. I was reading The Mystery of Cranston School by Michael Poole. It is a super book.

Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord ... but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God. 2 Timothy 1:8


   First day of the holiday — and what a day. It has been raining in showers on and off most of the time. On the whole though, it has been a nice day.

   I got up at the usual time this morning. After breakfast I sorted out all the waste paper [and took it to the waste paper bin in the front of a house, just round the corner of Wetherby Road, in Olton Boulevard East]. At 12.0pm I went to meet Clarice and Julia coming home from [Hartfield Crescent] school. Mam had been doing washing all the morning but what with the wind the washing kept on falling down or getting caught in the rose bushes. Anyway, the washing had to be done three times over.

   This afternoon after taking Ginger for a walk Mam and I took the carpet up so that we could lay it down flat again.

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever. Psalm 89:1


   I got Clarice and Julia up this morning, got their breakfast and saw them off to school so that Mam could stay in bed longer.

   I did not do much in the morning but at 11.30am I took Ginger for a walk to Woodcock Lane and saw the two midday [London] expresses. The first — 5075 Wellington — was painted in an experimental livery and had a small, L.M.S. type No. plate on the boiler [smokebox door] instead of having the no. painted on [the buffer beam. This locomotive, built in 1923, was originally Devizes Castle but is one of 12 Castle class locos, numbers 5071–5082 whose name has been changed during the war.]

   This afternoon I stayed in reading The New School at Shropp by G. Hadath [which I got from the Library. Today’s Comet was on sale at Wells’ newsagents. It is No. 67 (New Series) and contains comic strips, stories, articles, Soccer Hints by Kenneth Wolstenholme the B.B.C. sports commentator, and film star photographs — Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Lockwood and Louisa Horton. Also on sale is the 1st issue of The Planet, 32 pages, 3d].

   It was raining cats & dogs when I went to Scouts this evening. We didn’t do much except a bit of map-reading.

Let us lift up our hearts unto God in the heavens. Lamentations 3:41


   It was my turn to stay in bed this morning; I did not wake up until 11.0 o’clock. Before dinner I went down the village with Ginger.

   After dinner I played out for a bit and then stayed in until 4.30 when I had to meet Dad at the top of Shirley Road so that he could take her [Ginger] to Earlswood. It was pouring with rain but I was able to cycle back on Dad’s bike: he cycles every day to the B.S.A., Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook.

   Mam & Dad have had my school report:—

ENGLISH   Quite good.

HISTORY   Fair: written work poor.

GEOGRAPHY   Satisfactory. (Mr. W.L. Whalley)

FRENCH   Fair. Tries. (Mr. W.D. Rees)

LATIN   Fair steady work. (Mr. F.L. Kay)

MATHEMATICS   Fair only, but he tries hard. (Mr. N.J.F. Craig)

PHYSICS   Rather weak. Must work very hard. (Mr. O.M. Mathews)

CHEMISTRY   Satisfactory work and progress. (Mr. J.B. Guy)

BIOLOGY   (left blank as it is not part of the curriculum)

ARTS & CRAFTS   Good work — less progress than I expected from him, though. (Mr. J.B. Hurn)

FORM MASTER   A keen & steady worker whose progress is satisfactory.

HEADMASTER   A good report. Full steam ahead now! T.E.B.H. (Mr. Howarth)

We go back to school on 5th May.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Timothy 1:9


   This morning Mam and I went up town to do some shopping. It was bitterly cold and raining half the time.

   In the afternoon I went to town again and then stayed in until nearly tea-time. [I wanted to have a look at the bookshops — W.H. Smith’s, the Midland Educational, Hudson’s — which there wasn’t time for in the morning. To make the journey worthwhile Mam said I could get her a dozen boxes of Moreland’s “England’s Glory” matches (approximately 48 matches per box) for 1/- instead of 1½d each, so saving 6d. Coming home on the 31A in the front seat upstairs I was reading the jokes on the back of the match-boxes when one of a group of boys snatched a box from me as they were getting off. I was very upset about it.]

   After tea I played outside in the street until 8.15pm.

I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever; I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah. Psalm 61:4


   I played outside most of the morning. It was warmer and for a change, there were no April showers.

   We did not have dinner until after 2.30pm. Then we had a game in the street [with the other children] until nearly tea-time.

   After tea I went out again and this time everyone played Rugger — at least a sort of Rugger.

   It is just after 8 o’clock and as usual Mam and Dad are at the cinema. They have gone to the Olton to see Major Barbara (A), with Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison and Robert Morley. It is an old film (1941), originally a play by George Bernard Shaw, about an armaments millionaire giving money to the Salvation Army to please his daughter who is a Major.

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. John 13:23


   I didn’t do a great deal this morning, I played out for some time until dinner.

   During the afternoon I stayed in listening to the England v Scotland match at Wembley. Result 1–3. Meanwhile at Hinckley Ginger was second in the seventh race, being beaten by only a foot.

   At half past five I went to get Dad’s medicine [from Verrier’s the chemist] and I got a Sports Argus [from Dorlings] at the same time.

   After tea I played outside until 8.0pm. It is now nearly 9.0pm. It has been a very nice day, the sunniest since August last, but it has been the wettest week of the year.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35


   Before breakfast this morning, I walked with Ginger down Shaftmoor Lane, along Reddings Lane and Stratford Road, and back home down Shirley Road — about five miles in an hour and a half.

   After breakfast I finished cutting the front lawn and levelling it off as best as possible.

   This afternoon it rained a little just before we went to the Mission. Ron Tilsley was the speaker.

   After tea this evening I played outside until 7.30pm and played “Crib” with Dad until 8.40.

For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14


   This morning I sorted amongst the photographs etc. in the two suitcases. [We have lots of photos taken by Dad before the war, many of them of Mam, and of Dad’s parents, and Mam has saved her birthday cards too. We love looking at them. There are also a few photos I have been taking, but my first two — of Clarice and Julia in a cornfield at Solihull — are double exposures as I did not wind the film on.]

   After dinner at half-past two, I went with Ginger and Bryan Peters [who lives just off Circular Road, at 1 Starcross Road] to St. Helen’s woods, Solihull [where I took the two dud photos]. In the woods I noticed Lesser Celandines and Wood Anemones. Of the birds there was a large number of magpies and chaffinches. We walked around for some time and arrived back home for 5.15pm.

   This evening I have been listening to the wireless as usual.

We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. Hebrews 2:9


   This morning I received a letter from [Fred] Oxley, [telling me about the Organ recital at the Town Hall tomorrow, where he will meet me].

   Bryan Peters and I went to Snow Hill at 10.0am by train. We caught the 10.52 from Acocks Green and came back on the 12.45.

   This afternoon I had intended to take Ginger for a walk but it looked as if it was going to rain so I changed my mind and cut half of the lawn. It did rain a little.

   I am listening at this moment to the 100th broadcast of Much Binding in the Marsh.

   [I think this is the third peace-time series. The first began on Thursday 2nd January 1947, and the second on Friday 26th November 1947. The third series started on Tuesday 21st September last year. However, Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh began as a wartime entertainment for the forces overseas and was first broadcast in ENSA Half Hour on Tuesday 4th January 1944. It was part of a show called Middle East Merry-Go-Round, which later (Friday 17th March 1944) became Mediterranean Merry-Go-Round and then (from Friday 12th January 1945) Merry-Go-Round. It was devised and presented entirely by servicemen.

   Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, written by Richard Murdoch and Kenneth Horne, was supposed to be a remote R.A.F. fighter station in Laughter Command. The Naval contribution to Merry-Go-Round, called H.M.S. Waterlogged, written by Eric Barker, was set aboard ship at Sinking-in-the-Ooze. The Army edition, written by Charlie Chester, was Studio Stand Easy. After the War Merry-Go-Round became Much-Binding-in-the Marsh, H.M.S. Waterlogged became Waterlogged Spa, and Studio Stand Easy became Stand Easy.]

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6


   I awoke several times during the early hours of this morning in order to see the Total Eclipse of the moon but the sky was too cloudy. I got up at 9.45am and after breakfast Bryan Peters and I plus Ginger Brownhound went for a walk along the [Grand Union] canal from Yardley Road to Lincoln Road North. There were plenty of birds to be seen, Blackbirds, Starlings, Sparrows, Blue Tits, Bullfinches, Chaffinches, a Tree Pipit and a Garden Warbler, Thrushes and Wrens.

   After dinner I went to the Organ Recital given by Dr. Geo. Thalben Ball which included Sonata on the 94th Psalm (Reubke) and Toccata in F (Bach). When I got back, I finished cutting the lawn and trimming the edges.

Keep me, O LORD. Psalm 140:4


   This morning B.W.P. and I took Ginger for a walk from Olton to Solihull Wharf along the Grand Union Canal. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining continually. Of birds we saw a Carrion Crow, Greenfinch, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Coal and Great Tits, and a Whitethroat. The butterflies we saw were a Green Veined White, Peacocks, Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells, Graylings and Small Whites. We collected several wild flowers, Celandines, Wood Sorrel, Furze, Coltsfoot and Germander Speedwell. It was a morning very well spent.

   I hadn’t much to do this afternoon. I played out most of the time with Bryan. We also logged the birds etc which we saw in the morning.

   I am listening just now to “Twenty Questions”.

I called upon the LORD in distress. Psalm 118:5


   It was very warm this morning and after I had done the washing-up I sat in the garden reading.

   After dinner I went with the others to Widney Manor on the train. I collected several wild flowers and pressed them on the spot. There weren’t any unusual birds strangely enough.

   It is 8.30pm now. Mam and Dad are at the cinema as usual.

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. Psalm 118:5


   Dad started his holiday [from work] today. This morning I went down to the Library and changed all the books.

   After dinner and before I went to the match I cut the front lawn.

   I was at the match nearly an hour before the kick off. B’ham City:— Merrick; Green, Jennings; Dorman, Duckhouse, Ferris; Berry, Stewart, Badham, Jordan, Laing. Blackpool:— Farm; Shimwell, Suart; Johnston, Hayward, Kelly; Adams, Mortenson, Garrett, Davidson, Wardle. It was not a very good game [and ended in a 1–1 draw. Jordan scored for Blues and Mortenson for Blackpool. I met Stan Mortensen when we were on holiday in Blackpool and he signed a photograph for me.]

   Dad didn’t come. Ginger as] “Esor” ran in the 6th race at Hinckley today in trap 6. She was 2nd again!

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10


   After breakfast this morning [Easter Day] I went with Julia to the Methodist Church, Botteville Road. I did not do much else before dinner, though Dad and I did take Ginger for a run in the park.

   After dinner I played football for two and a half hours in the park. A former Irish footballer gave us some tips on heading, throwing in, trapping, and taking penalties.

   After tea I played out until 8 o’clock. It is now half past; I am going to bed in a minute.

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do Thy will, O God. Hebrews 10:7


   Today [Bank Holiday] we went to Yarningale. We just managed to catch the 9.20am train from the station, though Dad had no time to buy the tickets and paid at Hatton.

   We set out from there at a steady pace and arrived at the common at about 11.30. On the way I pressed several wild flowers and I also noticed several Ringed Plovers which at first I thought were Magpies.

   After we had had a meal I took Ginger for a walk on the common. When I got back the other people had arrived. Later on we all went to some woods to pick primroses and I found two nests there.

   After tea several of us played Cricket. I went in a car half way to the station because I had a blister on my heel. We caught the 8.44 train.

The LORD is my shepherd. Psalm 23:1


   I had quite a big blister on my right heel when I awoke this morning, and I had it bathed before breakfast.

   After breakfast I rode on the bike to the village and got my copy of the Wizard. I bathed my ankle while I was reading the last instalment of “The Goalmaker” — one of the best stories I have ever read.

   I also took down all the latest weather readings — this Easter has been the warmest in living memory, according to the newspapers.

   This afternoon I read Fall In by Gunby Hadath.

   Today has not been so nice as yesterday; it is a bit cooler and the sky is cloudy though it has not rained — yet!

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8


   This morning we went to Dudley Zoo for the day. We missed the 31A ’bus but we were in Dudley by 12.45pm [the journey by Midland Red ’bus from Edmund Street taking 46 minutes]. There were hundreds of people there. We spent all the afternoon walking around. Clarice, Julia and I also went in the Castle Keep. I bought the Official Guide of the Castle giving a full history of it.

   At one cage people were throwing coppers to the Chimpanzees who picked them up and placed them in a money box. They even understood when the keeper placed a ha’penny on a shelf and told them to get that. They were given pieces of orange to eat. The one chimp threw peel out of the cage but the younger ate all of his. A Giant Tortoise there which I was told was 200 was also very interesting.

Jesus. Luke 1:1


   I didn’t do much this morning for it was raining.

   This afternoon Fred Oxley came for tea and he played the piano for us. He brought me a lot of foreign stamps for my collection and also five albums of cigarette cards. [They are: Sea Fishes, a set of 50 issued with John Player’s cigarettes in November 1935, British Fresh-Water Fishes (50, Player’s), Aeroplanes (Civil) (50, Player’s, August 1935), The Kings and Queens of England 1066–1935 (50, Player’s, April 1935) and The Reign of H.M. King George V 1910–1935 Silver Jubilee, 50 cards issued by W.D. & H.O. Wills in April 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee.]

   Oxley had to go home at 7.0pm. I went with him to the 11 ’bus. [He lives at 16 Cornfield Road, Northfield.]

   It is now 8.30. I am listening to “Twenty Questions”.

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry and will save them. Psalm 145:19


   I stayed in most of this morning but I did take Ginger for a walk.

   After dinner I went to the Warwick Cinema with Clarice and Julia and Eileen [Prentice, who lives at 151 next door]. We saw Eddie Dean, Roscoe Ateo, in Wild West, U, (Cinecolor), and the Bowery Boys in Newshounds, U. They were both good films. I had a bath after I came home.

   I am sitting at the table as usual this evening. It is 8.15pm now. Mam and Dad are the cinema and I am listening to My Brother Jonathan [adapted from the novel by Francis Brett Young].

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4


   Before breakfast this morning I went with Ginger on the Yardley Road to get a pair of shoes from the shoe-repairers. Later on in the morning I went down the village.

   After dinner I cut the lawn again and also listened to the F.A. Amateur Cup Final between Bromley and Romford. Bromley won 1–nil.

   Ginger won her first race at Hinckley this afternoon by five lengths in 30.05 seconds. She was in trap 3 in Race 7. Bravo! Ginger Brownhound.

The LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Isaiah 60:20


   Sweets and Chocolate came off the ration today. I woke up fairly early this morning and with Ginger I went down to Davis’s in the village and bought a “Mars” [bar] each for Mam and Dad and a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut Chocolate for myself. There was a small queue.

   This morning we took Ginger for a run as usual.

   After dinner we went to the Mission where a male voice quartet sang. Mr. Curtis was the speaker.

   We had tea at about six o’clock and afterwards I played out for some time. At 8.15pm I played “Crib”

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:36


   This morning I played out for some time and also sorted out a few hundred stamps.

   This afternoon I went for a walk with Ginger. Julia [who is 7½] came with me on her bike. We walked to Kathleen Road, Hay Mills, and along Coventry Road, coming home again along Yardley Road. [I love to see the trolley buses on Coventry Road; No.15 shown here was scrapped in June 1945. Kathleen Road is where we lived for a short time before moving to Acocks Green in about June 1941.]

   It rained twice or three times so we sheltered in some shops that had chocolate in the windows. There was quite a big queue for sweets in Woolworth’s but the Mail states that sweet-buying has been normal.

   Bob [Robert F. Vitoria] our new lodger came home for his first meal here at 6.30pm.

LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm 90:1


   This morning I went down the village early and then at 9.30am John and I and Brownhound went for a walk. We walked along Yardley Road, Coventry Rd (where we had a look round the circus at Heybarnes) and round Small Heath Park a couple of times. We went out at the wrong entrance and we must have walked about aimlessly for a short time. We did find the right entrance finally however, and walked back along Golden Hillock Rd. and Warwick Rd. I arrived back at 12.30.

   This afternoon I lay reading on the lawn with Ginger. It is 8.30 now.

There shall no evil happen to the just. Proverbs 12:21


   I did not do a great deal this morning. I went down the village and took Ginger for a walk. I intended to go to the Organ Recital at 1.15pm but the dinner was not ready early enough.

   This afternoon I stayed in. [Aunt] Greta came at 2.30. At five o’clock I played out for an hour.

   This evening Bob showed me his album of British Colonials and we looked up some stamps in my [1939 Stanley Gibbons’ Simplified Stamp] Catalogue. We exchanged a few stamps as well.

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:41


   The main item of interest to me today was the Partial Eclipse of the Sun this morning. The prospects of one’s being able to see the eclipse did not appear good as the sky was cloudy. However at 8.5am, 10 mins before the eclipse reached its maximum, the clouds parted and the eclipse could be clearly seen at intervals. I watched it until 9.5, then I went to the Library. On my way back I had a last glimpse and saw the moon just moving away from the top left hand corner of the sun.

   Later on I took Ginger for a walk and after dinner I was out with her again for an hour and a half.

   This evening I played out for 30 mins. though it was raining.

Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope. Zechariah 9:12


   Mam had to go to hospital as usual this morning. After I had been down the village I took Ginger out for an hour and a quarter. I got some dinner for Clarice and Julia.

   This afternoon I lit a bonfire in the garden and burnt the rubbish. went out to play after that. Mam arrived at about 5.0pm and I stayed out until 6.15 when it started to rain.

   This evening Mam and Dad have gone to the Olton cinema and Bob has gone to the Warwick so I am all alone. I painted a picture. It is getting on for 9 o’clock and I am just going to bed.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18


   The first thing I did this morning was to fetch the Birmingham Gazette which was a souvenir issue for the Cup Final. I took Ginger with me.

   Just before breakfast I received a letter from the “Midland Red” which contained the latest Fleet Reference Book. I played in the street just before dinner.

   After dinner Bob and I went to the B’ham City 0 v Aston Villa 1 (Craddock) match [at St. Andrews. It was the last home game of a very disappointing season. Birmingham City:— Merrick; McDonnell, Green; Dorman, Duckhouse, Ferris; Stewart, Jordan, Badham, Harris, Laing. The attendance was 45,000].

   Meanwhile the Cup Final was taking place. Wolves:— Williams; Pritchard, Springthorpe; W. Crook, Shorthouse, Wright; Hancocks, Smyth, Pye, Dunn, Mullen. Leicester City:— Bradley; Jelly, Scott; Harrison (W), Plummer, King; Griffiths, Lee, Harrison (J), Chisholm, Adam. Scorers: Pye 2, Smyth; Griffiths [so Wolverhampton Wanderers won 3–1].

   Ginger was 3rd at Hinckley.

I am the LORD thy God. Isaiah 48:17

Previous chapter || Next chapter || Index || Search
webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30