May 1st, Saturday
One of the most lovely months has gone and what a lovely one it has been. Today for the first time for years it would have been possible to be Queen of the May in muslin, but there is no peace in which to enjoy it. The papers fill one with gloom and doubt. Today there is a wonderful account of the Canadians bravery at Ypres in face of these awful odds, what losses but what gallantry, the Dominions will well be proud. The latest invention of the Germans is poisonous gases and shells, and the men not being able to breath are naturally overcome. What will the devils think of next. Mysterious shells have now been fired on Dunkirk and no one seems to know from where.
These piteous appeals keep coming from Holland (see previous page, with the letter she mentions). They read like a Baboo’s letter (a reference to the Indian babu or minor official often encountered on journeys in India) and if there were not tragedy behind it it would be very funny. I got a consignment of bulbs in the autumn from the same man – I’m bound to say they weren’t much use but they came so late. I’ve sent for this lot and shall see if I have better luck. I’ve spent a long idle day by myself, just I and the children. It has been one of “blues” for me, thank goodness I don’t often get them but today everything seemed stale and unprofitable and I was glad when it was over.
I wound up my Mothers’ Meetings today and Oh! what a blessed relief it is, for though I have escaped a good many it has seemed a long season this year.
Today Pink and I set forth to Swanage leaving by the 10.2 train which we all but missed through an error of Turner’s overzealous boy who countermanded Walker! On arrival in Town we went straight to Guys Hospital where we at last ran Herman to earth, he poor chap home again, wounded this time in the leg but as the bullet passed clean through it will I hope not be too serious. We caught the 2.0 from W.Loo and on arrival at S 5.15 were met by H (her husband, not Herman) with whom we walked up the shore having sent our baggage to the hotel. Its lovely to be with him again and this is a very comfortable old place run by 3 old Miss Vincents, excellent food, good rooms and all very clean. The charge during summer season is three and a half guineas a week, without baths and morning tea. It is full of soldier folk of course as every hole and corner is now.
As H is of course pretty busy we do not see much of him except at meal times, so we shall spend our day in exploring the coast line and country. Today we walked to Durleston Bay and found the same spot where we used to go 12 years ago when we were here before and Pink was a few months old and where one finds certain tiny shells. It seems so odd being here again and he now twelve and a half years old! After lunch we went the opposite way towards Old Harry, trudging along a very shingly beach and climbing over chalk boulders at the end, a lonely and bogey spot it seemed to me.
May 6th, Thursday
Today my son and I walked over to Studland, and Oh! what a climb it is, and how hot. We found the little place almost empty and really not much altered from the old days. We had tea at the Banks Arms, now called “The Hotel” and I gazed up with affectionate remembrance at the cave where Adie (Maclean) slept a hundred years ago!
May 7th, Friday
The weather still being perfect we made another lovely expedition. As my man was out at a field day we took our lunch in a basket and went away along the coast past Tilly Whim and the Lighthouse as far as Dancing Ledge. The pathway lay all along the top of the cliffs. I should have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t for I find my nerves for precipices is entirely gone! and it makes me feel bogeyish! The view was perfect and the general air of peace hard to reconcile with the scenes of unutterable confusion being enacted across the water. The bluest of seas and skies, the faintest breeze and the very cry of the seabirds completed the beauty of it. We found a whole field full of “bee orchis” which we have sent to Mary. On arriving at Dancing Ledge an eerie lonely old quarry, we ate our lunch and I felt bogeyish so far away from the world. We found various fossils and crystals for Noots’ collection and wandered home at our leisure getting back about 4.15.