Saturday 8th April, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Did not go to bed but amused the household by sleeping on sofa most of the morning. Don Hewlett looked down in early afternoon so decided to take him for a ride with us out to Portishead. We all met at East Clevedon Tree at 6.15 p.m. Cycled out to Possett*. My lamp working OK (I think). Stopped at the White Hart Walton [Weston] in Gordano. Had a few quick ones and a game of table skittles. Out to the Royal at Possett, a few more drinks then on to the Como. Some weird and assorted wenches there so did the piano act and went down to the local hall for a dance. Packed in about 11.00 p.m. then walked all the way back to Redcliffe Bay. My lamp not working. Managed to put same right then set course for home. Donald nowhere around but Cedric and John intact.

*This had me flummoxed until I realised it’s his version of ‘Bristle‘ for Portishead – except that ‘Port Zed’ tends to be the local pronunciation. Alec’s parents were both Devonian, though, so ‘Possett’ may derive from the accents they grew up with.


Friday 7th April, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Got up at 2.30 p.m. Gave Cedric a ring as I understand he rang last night at 8.0 p.m. Says he will come round about 4.0 p.m. Turned up so we had a bash for a bit on various tunes then he went home. Had my dinner after cooking same, also lighting fire and putting dog out. John looked round at 6.0 p.m. after giving me a tinkle on phone. Cedric turned up again about 6.15 p.m., Mum at 6.30 p.m. Had a good evening’s entertainment till 8.0 p.m. then cycled back to station for 8.22 p.m. thence on as booked. Failed to connect with train to Clevedon in morning so had another cup of tea with Mr Vaughn.

Tuesday 28th March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 6.38 a.m. from Clevedon. Started ball rolling at Temple Meads not very busy there. George Burgi came round several times and relieved me to get a cup of coffee. Mr Hill also in evidence at different times. Chas turned up at 3.5 p.m. just enabled me to catch 3.10 p.m. for home. Had a jam session with Cedric and John. Doug looking very bored with himself. Went to Salthouse afterwards. Cedric did not stop.

Saturday 25th March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 8.0 a.m. train. Mr Hill has said we do not go to London next week but have to work at Temple Meads and Kings. Road*. No-one in office and no-one phoned for me so caught 11.27 p.m. home. Met Doug Steele home on leave when I got to Clevedon. Arranged for him to come to my place in afternoon as having a bit of a do. He came down about 2.30 p.m. but Johnny had to go out on a case so he did not see him. Arranged to go to pictures in evening so took him along. Johnny quite amazed. Met Pat [sic] and Margaret in pictures. Also when in Salthouse saw Mrs H. Had a spot of music round their place afterwards. Gave Eric a demonstration of boogie-woogie as it should be played. Says it is quite good. He has a good touch but is sadly out of practice.

*The only Kings Road in Bristol runs alongside the cemetery at Arnos Vale, but a bit of detective work suggests that he probably means Kingsland Road sidings – and there is indeed a full stop in the diary suggesting that ‘Kings’ is an abbreviation for ‘Kingsland’. It’s difficult at this date to know where he may have worked there – Google Earth imagery does not go back earlier than 1999 but shows a variety of buildings on the site – but, considering that he’d made use of various trackside huts and empty brake vans elsewhere, it need not actually have been a permanent building at all.

Wednesday 22nd March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 6.38 a.m. same procedure to Depot. Train rather late. Met Mr Ritchins on same. Rees Barret got job at Yatton. Much lighter than Tuesday. Train turned up on loop at 3.10 p.m. when John’s train arrived at the Park.* 60-odd wagons on. Caught 4.0 p.m. Bristol, met Mrs Simpson as on Tuesday. Train missed connection at Yatton. Did not get home till 5.40 p.m.

Cedric and John came round at 7.0 p.m. for a spot of music. Had a good bash then to Salthouse for quick one. Met the Hobbs party in there. Had to go and play the piano at their place as latter has just been tuned. Pretty good too. Left at 11.0 p.m. and bed.

* I’m guessing this would be St_Anne’s_Park .

Sunday 19th March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

No Home Guard this morning so did not get up until 10.0 a.m. Had bath and shave eventually getting downstairs at 11.0 a.m. Played Clara and piano. John came round at 2.0 p.m. says he has been mending car and looks like it. Joined the party and went to Brockley Combe in afternoon, suspected case of anthrax. Blood test made on spot, no trace. Was permitted to look at slide. Most interesting. Returned to their house to tea. Had a game of billiards. Quite good little table, wants some getting used to however. Packed up there at 7.30 p.m. Had slight musical moments until 8.30 p.m. then to Salthouse. Place crowded not much amusement. Met Mrs Hobbs, Pat, Jimmy, Don Hack, Mrs Fletcher and friend also Ted Drewitt. Gladys Yandell was also present. Finished up there at 9.30 p.m. to home, read then filled up diary till 11.11 p.m.

Saturday 18th March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 8.0 a.m. Played solo to Bristol John in No. 9 rooms then [he?] went on 9.0 a.m. Did a bit more to SG and Friary finish both lots on Monday. Caught 12.15 p.m. Met Mrs Simpson on Clevedon train. Home at 1.30 p.m. John and Cedric turned up at 2.0 p.m. Had a bit of music til 3.0 p.m. then rang up Mick who was in two minds about coming down. Had pretty good jam session latter delighted. His trumpet playing getting on very well. Cedric, Kay and John called round at 6.30 p.m. Kay must hear Clara so demonstrated. Repaired to Salthouse. John complained to Ken re: overcharging latter looks murderous. Packed up at 9.0 p.m. then went home.

Wednesday 15th March, 1944

Alec’s diary continues:

Caught 6.38 a.m. to Bristol then 7.30 a.m. bus to Stoke Gifford. Arrived 8.0 a.m. Met Cyril. He brought round cup of tea at 12.0 noon very acceptable. Home on the 4.40 p.m. Bristol very late. Did not get home until about 6.0 p.m. John went to pictures. Stayed in and played Clara. John rang up at 10.0 p.m. Arranged to see him tomorrow.