February 20th, Sunday
I have done this afternoon what I specially love and that is to lie out in the sun with a book. It has been a perfect day, warm, still and clear and as I lay there stretched on two old deck chairs I just felt how lovely is this world. My robin came and sang to me on the end of the chair and all the birds but he seemed busy over domestic affairs. Above me in the pale Spring sunlight a cloud of gnats lazily danced their everlasting sets of quadrilles and in a tree nearby a woodpecker yawed, both signs of rain. The little Padre came to tea again, his wife is still away and her father gets worse every day. I have just finished a book on Ancient Egyptian religion, it is indeed a most engrossing subject.

Feb 21st
Last night I took out a diary for 1900. It was all about the Boer War but ye gods, if we had known what was before us we shouldn’t have made quit so much of that one. What is so dreadful with the last is that its left the world in such a chaotic state. Russia is ruined, Austria ditto, devastation in all the fighting areas and nothing reigns now but socialism rampant, labour troubles, strikes, unemployment and vast expenditure. Hundreds of manufactories have closed down and the mines threaten to follow suit throwing thousands out of work. The problem of domestic service has never been so acute. There are hundreds of houses servantless and the present class which offers itself is incompetent, independent, unreliable and entirely unskilled. We are very comfortable now (with Martha as a maid) and I have no wish to get a cook at all. No thanks be, I’ve had enough of them.

Feb 22nd, Tuesday
I had a sad letter this morning from Mrs Marton. Hers is a strange case, a lady by birth reduced to penury and now she has had to pawn her wedding ring in order to live. Well I can’t bear that sort of thing so set it right this evening and sent her also some groceries and butter. That sort of poverty is far worse than that of the lower orders.

Feb 23rd
I am thrilled by Martha’s book (her maid). It has upon every page hair breadth escapes, shootings, murders, abductions etc and passionate love making. The heroine is always called flower faced, mignon faced and the hero handsome, rugged, stern or boyish. I cackle for I’ve never read such backstairs penny-novelish-tommry rot in my life!

Feb 25th
At home all day but so busy having made 67 lbs of marmalade. It looks lovely. Remains to be seen if it tastes so.

Feb 26th
I’ve been over the hill making the acquaintance of some of the people. Saw old Mrs Young, mother of 8 splendid sons and 2 daughters, such nice decent simple folk. I also went to see Mrs Nichols, then on to the Emporium where I purchased soap and sweets and Easter eggs and discussed ailments with the old man who had shingles and his wife who has corns! Lastly to my sick girl in her little shelter. She is not so well poor dear, and so home over the sunlit hills with nature very near to one.

Feb 27th, Sunday
I have been reading old diaries, 1914/15/16. One wonders how one lived through it all. I write in 16 of the scarcity of provisions and the high price thereof and mutton and beef the only meats available. Well we can get all kinds again now but nothing under 2/- a lb.  It is curious it should be so high. Sugar has gone down to 8d, fish quite ordinary (ten for 2/4), coffee 2/8 and so on. Our prices are nothing compared with those abroad. In Munich where the value of the Mark has depreciated they pay fabulous prices. I get long letters from Walter who is finding life very hard. I don’t know how they manage to live at all.