December 16th, Tuesday
After struggling for the past 3 weeks during which time I have had to put my diary aside we have at last got the house straight and this day set forth for the joyous Town and Mother. I really am looking forward to my holiday more than I can say. One long time of real hard work, interesting but a grind as well and not like an ordinary move, however its all over now and here we are settled for a bit over a fortnight. We brought Martha up with us, parting form her at Paddington where H put her into the tube and the first thing she did was to fall into H on the escalator! I came on with the luggage and arrived here 6.30 to find Mother and B very well and jolly.
This house that Mother has is very nice , much larger than the flat, with big high rooms which show off all her lovely furniture to great advantage. A large drawing room and dining room, and very nice sitting hall and huge basement in which (are) our bedrooms and which looks out on to the garden. This latter she has had dug and manured and planted with bulbs and herbaceous things, a little lawn in the centre and some almonds, laburnum an lilac all round, it will be quite pleasant in the Spring and Summer. This day we spent shopping at the stores, a wild lunatic asylum, a mass of struggling people, weary and harassed assistants and hours of wait to buy each single article. Very tiring and brain turning.
Today the two girls came back and we went to meet them at Paddington. After lunch we went again to the stores and frantically tried to get Xmas presents but it is a hopeless game and deadly tiring.
I went off this morning to Hunts Registry in the vain hope of finding a cook, but one clerk just hands you to another who merely tells you it is hopeless, takes your address and promises in a languid way to send anyone to you who applies and that’s all. This utter dearth of servants is frantic. The other day the unemployment pay came to an end putting 34,000 women in to the market and still there seems no servants to be had, everyone is in the same way, nobody has any, many people are doing without altogether and the present time has earned for itself the name of the “Do It Yourself Age”. We are assured that after Christmas they will become more plentiful. From Hunts I went off to Evans and bought more things and suffered more buffeting. At length being ladened from head to foot with parcels I took a taxi and went home in style. On arrival I found my dear son, H having gone to meet him. After lunch we all went off to Maskelyne and Devants and there saw many wonderful things, the conjuring was excellent, a man called de Bierre doing the main part following a magical play and scientific electric display. We saw light and heat by wireless and also lightening, all of which simply leaves one amazed at the brain of man. (Note – Maskelyne was dead by this time, and Devant, one of the most celebrated illusionists of his age, was about to retire. It is possible they saw Devant at least, though it looks as if his role has been taken by the aforesaid de Bierre. You will find earlier pre-war references to these shows, so Wynne had seen Maskelyne in the past).