The Year Turns
1944 becomes 1945

by Marion F. Turner
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1944, December

Saturday 23:
   Off to Lincoln for Christmas! Meant to get to the station early in order to queue, but didn't get there till ten to 9. Luckily, because the train wasn't even in. Managed to squeeze into a seat when it did come and so on our way, full of beans!
   It was nice to see Lincoln again, especially in dry and pleasant weather! I always have a sentimental attachment to places where Harry and I have met.
   Met the 2.20 bus: no Harry, so went in search of food and was lured into Olde Coffee Shoppe by delicious fragrance of coffee-grinding. After indifferent meal of tepid sausage and mash (Lincoln Special), settled down to enjoy brew: horrible shock—bottled coffee! Left in disgust to do a spot of shopping.
   Later went for long walk for good of health. Time beginning to hang very heavily, it seemed so long before I'd see Harry. At last in despair returned to Room 15 to read till bus-time. H. arrived early, so blissful reunion followed.
   Roast goose for dinner, greatly enjoyed by all. Afterwards cosy first evening by gas fire, then to bed. Forced by unnatural husband to do exercises on floor, while husband peeped over edge of bed uttering ribald remarx.

Sunday 24:
   Greeted by some preposterous tale from H. about buzz-bomb passing over during the night. H. alleges that the sirens had gone, and the bomb had been heard coming nearer & nearer while people rushed down the corridor to the shelter. Found it hard to believe that I'd slept thru it all, but later heard people discussing it and decided H. couldn't have bribed them all to support his yarn, so became convince.
   Stopped cosily in bed while others stamped down to breakfast, then rose and breakfasted on buttered biscuits and orange squash. White fog without, could hardly see out of window. Went out for walk, and it was freezing cold. Fun, tho. After couple of hours or so, observed H's hair and coat beaded with moisture; self ditto, so decided to go back and get dry for lunch.
   Salmi of goose for lunch, in other words, presumably, last night's leftovers cooké up with gravy. Very nice, tho. Harry had veal & ham patty with spaghetti & tomato sauce; most intriguing. Flix in the afternoon; roast chicken for dinner. Spent evening spread out on floor with puzzles from Harry's Xmas stocking.

Monday 25:
   Didn't get up till 10.30: still misty outside. More biscuits & orange squash for breakfast. Went for a walk outside town. Everything was frosty—leaves & branches all outlined with frosty crystals, spiders' webs all sparkling, hedges silvered and still humg with scarlet berries. Thoroughly enjoyed it, despite frozen fingers.
   Christmas dinner instead of lunch—julienne soup, roast turkey & trimmings, Xmas pud & rum sauce, coffee.
   Whew! Staggered upstairs and collapsed, gasping. No ill effects, tho; in fact were both able to eat choc. at flix later on.
   Cold turkey at night, then quiet evening discussing former love affairs; most illuminating!

Tuesday 26:
   Last day. Always a slight depression on such a day which I can't shake off. Enjoyed it, but not like the other days. Very sad when train-time came. Fog was heavy and there was some doubt about Harry's bus to Cranwell; suggested stopping another night and felt happy hoping we might decide to do so; but it would have meant getting up at 5.30 am. for H. to catch early bus, so decided to carry on with usual train & leave H. to do his best. Sadder than ever at losing the last hope, and shed a tear at parting. Poor Harry nearly frozen still waiting to see me off, but manfully stuck it out till train left.
   Nearly frozen myself all the way up to Sheffield, where train arrived about 1½ hours late. Scrambled on dark cold M/cr train about 10 pm.; didn't start till 11.40, and hour late. Nearly died of cold.

Wednesday 27:
   Still travelling homewards in small hours. Luckily train arrived at 1.32, so was able to catch all-night train. Back to work after a few hours' sleep—what a struggle.
   Heard that M/cr had been peppered with buzzbombs on Sat. night while we had one at Lincoln. Everyone very gay at the office: lads playing football while Anne & Mr Lomas danced to the wireless. Started new gloves for H. at night, since fingers sticking pathetically out of old pair.

Thursday 28:
   Fearful fog all day. Kept gazing out of window to see if it was any clearer, but it got worse, till at last we couldn't even see across Piccadilly. Expected to get away early, and were all ready at 3.30, but no such luck. Greatly insulted when F.T. told us at 4.30 that we could go.
   Walked home with Anne; it was weird to hear the tramp of footsteps across the road, caused by multitudes of other walkers-home, and yet be able to see absolutely nothing.
   Back about 6 pm., where welcome letter from Harry awaited me. Gloves again all evening. Wrote after 6-roomed flat advertised in Guardian—hopeful!

Friday 29:
   Fog gone; didn't even get away early at night. Sirens went at 8.10 am., but heard nothing till all clear at 8.35. Buzz-bombs fell in Stockport. Gloves all evening. Earthquake about 2 am.

Much more effective to leave the above as it stands, but the earthquake must be elaborated. Was roused during the night by bed moving back & forward. Surprised, to say the least of it, but not sure whether only dreaming.
   Excited cries from new room confirmed reality. Wondered for a moment if a bomb had fallen near, but decided from lack of crashing and noises of debris falling, also nature of movement, that it was a natural phenomenon.
   Reflected that the old earth would be quite justified in gliving herself a good shake to get rid of us nasty pests destroying her surface. Then to sleep again.

Saturday 30:
   Washing, cleaning, knitting. No word of 6-roomed flat; had it, I'm afraid. Felt a trifle fedup, wishing we could get settled.

Sunday 31:
   Finished gloves, tidying flat. Harry arrived at 8 pm., cursing the transport. I was glad to see him. We remarked what a long time it seemed since Christmas. After feeding the brute, played cards till 1944 was nearly at an end. Then poor H. had to go out into the cold, in order to return af first-foot in 1945.

Goodbye, 1944!

1945, January

Monday 1st:
   Rushed to let Harry in as soon as 1945 began—I seemed to have missed him very much during the 5 minutes he was away! 1945 is going to make quite a difference to us; by the time it's over we shall have a baby, and I hope with all my heart we'll have our own home and Harry back in civvy street. It seems too good to be true, but I'm going to do all I can about the house, anyhow.
   To bed about 1 am. Party later on—indescribably dull. Time passed too quickly—wasted, really—till Harry had to go. Felt rather cheesed that we hadn't been able to spend the day on our own; H. looked a bit the same way too.
   It was a wrench to see him go, feeling we hadn't had the full benefit of our weekend. But it was great to have him home for the New Year. We had a much nicer time this Xmas and New Year than last year—wonder what the next will be like?
   Reading "The Moon & Sixpence" at the office. "The Mysteries of Udolpho" is my book at home; quite entertaining sort of thriller. I can't help wishing, now they're all shut up in the grim old castle, that Stella Gibbons could take a hand in it and send a second Flora Post along to tidy things up as she did at Cold Comfort Farm.
   The ingredients are all there—the wicked, cruel Signor, his evil companions, the band of savage desperadoes, the ill-natured but oppressed Segnoia, the helpless but good Emily with lover in the background, the haunted castle with roof falling in here & there, the secret prisoner—I can just see Flora cutting a swathe thru them all!

Thursday 4:
   After house in Victoria St., Longsight, but hopeless; fearful-looking place, dirty & dull.

Friday 5:
   Went to see flat in Hyde Rd., but after much seeking discovered it to be over a fish & chip shop. It was let, anyhow. But I wouldn't have had it. Luck is not in yet!

Monday 8:
   Had a letter from Dorothy Dawson with some bad news—George is missing from a training flight. He'd been in Canada for nearly 2 years and was just about due to come home. It seems really unbelievable; I can't think that he will never come back. "Missing" does leave a germ of hope; I'd like to think Dorothy will have better news soon. She doesn't seem very hopeful, but I don't think she has fully realised it yet.
   She suggested coming to see me after P.H. arrives; I'd like that very much. Hope to heck we can get a house of some sort, then I can invite people; gosh, it would seem too good to be true if we got settled after all these years of wishing!

Editor's notes: George remained missing, P.H. was born at the end of May, 1945, and they didn't get their house until 1947, one jump ahead of an attempt by Manchester council to requisition it.
   With the war in Europe over by May of 1945, Harry was hoping to be demobbed but he was sent to India instead to work on radar coverage for the war in the Far East. He arrived just as Japan surrendered and remained stuck there until the end of 1946.
   Marion might have been wakened by the Manchester earthquake on 1944/12/29 but she was able to sleep through the Great Romiley Earthquake on 2008/02/27.

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