May 9th Friday
Went today to Hampton Court, and took Aim with us. I’ve never seen the foliage looking more lovely. Our road lay through Bushey Park and that gorgeous avenue of chestnuts. Dark yews, pale elms and limes etc and the many flowering trees and spring flowers which surround this magnificent Elizabethan dwelling make a most perfect English scene.
I had intended Barlowing today but it came on so wet I gave it up, but I did achieve one thing and that was lunch at the Cheshire Cheese where I was rooked 4/8d for steak and kidney pie, a glass of beer and a coffee. A wonderful old place and not altered at all since the days when Boswell and Johnson sat there. I saw the latter’s chair and the original edition of his dictionary. The place was full of Americans of course. I walked up Wardour Street with its thousands of little dress shops and passed Old Compton Street with its fruit and vegetable stalls and then ended by seeing a most lurid cinema at the New Tivoli.
May 11th, Sunday
A day of rest until tea which we took at the Todds.
A long letter from my son, just off to say goodbye (to his uncle and aunt) prior to departure for Kenya. H went and had a most satisfactory interview with Sir William Hale-White (a distinguished doctor) who said he did not see any reason against his going to Kenya. It was a great relief to me and we can really now set about making our plans.
My morning I spent pottering about the garden though there is little to do in such a tiny spot.
Went down to see my cripple and whilst there the father came in and when I remarked that I was having a gossip with his wife and daughter he replied “Well I calls it a teety teet”!
May 15th, Thursday
Noots and I did a matinee today. We went to see “Havoc” at the Haymarket. It is a piece which has been much talked about and I was anxious to see a young actor in it called Richard Bird who has made his name in it. He certainly comes up to expectations, but it is a hideous tragedy and though I am glad to have seen it would not go again, a War Play of the deepest dye and horribly realistic. We parked the car near at hand, there are many parks for cars nowadays, some actually along the edges of the the streets. It’s a great necessity but what a new idea. I should think it must make a lot of difference to garages.
May 16th Friday
All day long we’ve been “Barlowing”. Went first to the Royal Exchange, then searched out no 5 Bow Lane which was actually between 1668-1739 the old Mansion House. Since then it has been Williamsons Hotel which it still is, a quaint backwater where all sound of traffic is stilled and where in the little courtyard one may still see the paint-corroded iron gate presented by William and Mary who came here to dine. We “dined” here too but it was rather schmucky! We next went down Kings Street to see the Guild Hall, where all the state banquets take place. Built originally in 1411-26 it was damaged in the Fire of 1666 and only the Porch, the shell of the Great Hall and the Crypt now remain of the original building. It was restored by Wren but the present day structure is 18th and 19th century. We visited the Library, a wonderful collection of books any of which may be read for the asking and also the Museum which contains many relics of London’s past. Retraced out steps into Cheapside to find various old landmarks such as a house or two which had escaped the fire and threaded our way through tiny lanes and ultimately came home on a No 9 all the way.