March 6th, Friday
A whole week has passed since I wrote in here, the real reason being that this wretched book has so few pages in it that I have to concentrate my efforts. It has been a week of quiet enjoyment seeing friends, shopping and window nose-glueing. We have been to no theatres because the epidemic of flu is still raging and that naturally is the best way of catching it. I am going to risk it however tomorrow as Philip Lyster is coming up from Shoeburyness to dine and do one with me and I must hope for luck. I am fascinated by the shops which make you feel that there had never been a war at all. They are full of everything, masses of provisions, clothes, furniture, jewellery and now the sweet order has been removed the big stores are crammed with sweets, chocolates and candies but the price of everything is enormous, beyond all conception and how people find the money to buy anything I cant imagine. There are masses of the most beautiful ribbon a foot wide of dazzling colours and unique designs at anything from 10/- to 43/- a yard made in Lyons, and the shop people say they cannot get enough to supply the demand. Coats and shirts are anything from £10.10.0, costumes 17 or 20 guineas and so it goes on. We shall come down to dressing in leaves and twigs. The Town is congested to bursting, and its fearful getting around.
One day I strolled in to poke around Westminster Abbey. It is always a place of great delight to me and I know it very well, it was such a joy to see it in its original condition again, minus the sandbags that is, for they have all been removed and now only the flags in the Edward chapel and the stained glass over the Chapel of the Tombs await return. All the effigies over the tombs and the coronation chair were removed to the crypt but all are in place again now and indeed one cannot sufficiently thank God that this great treasure has come safely through this horrible war. St Paul’s too and all our ancient buildings are all intact in spite of all the many raids we suffered.
I had a busy and an interesting day today. First to Douglas where I had my stray locks camouflaged into masses! then I met H and we went to lunch, then a hurried departure to meet Brenda at the Aeolian Hall to hear Rosing the Russian sing his strange songs. His style is dramatic and illustrative in the extreme and he sings of death and blood and moans and lunacy till we feel thoroughly depressed and morbid. The Hall was crowded. His voice is wonderful and he has the most marvellous compass and flexibility but I cannot away with such music, it does not suit my commonplace mind.
We hastened home as I had to change early and went to meet Phil Lyster at the Troc at 6.15, this meeting was “according to plan” of years all through his long term imprisonment we’ve planned it and at last it has come to pass. He was little changed but looked older and bit fine drawn which is not to be wondered at. I made him begin at the very beginning and tell me all about everything and it was most interesting. He says that during his term he personally received very fair treatment but on his first journey to the first camp they met with various forms of cruelty. At Cologne the station was full of Red Cross women who came to feed the troops passing through. They also came alongside their train and being very hungry and thirsty and seeing they had provisions he held out his hand for some water to a woman who offered it to him. She slowly withdrew it and slowly poured out every drop on the platform, offering him sandwich she withdrew that also and spitting upon it offered it again. This from a Red Cross nurse. We went on to the Coliseum, saw an indifferent performance which we hardly noticed as we were talking all the time, and then completed our evening by having a short while at the Carlton but everything closes so early now that I was back home again by 11.30 and found the others still up playing Bridge!
(The Trocadero, on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Windmill Street, has many mentions in Wynne’s diaries. It was a favourite stopover when theatre visits allowed. It closed in 1965, and should not be confused with its dreadful modern namesake.)