A Happy New Year and here’s your script back! Graham Gauld turned down my second ”Music From The Movies” largely, I think, on the grounds of blatant advertising and American bias. (Only one of seven records was British.) The trouble here is that Britain doesn’t make musical films, and apart from a few instances of foreign film music, most recorded film music is American. So the American bias is almost inevitable. But I think my choice of records was selected with a view to their being interesting, suitable (all ”U” certificates!) and unusual, and there were four vocal pieces, two orchestral and one jazz. I think they were fairly well contrasted. However …
It was half-past one before I got to bed this morning. The Club Social was quite enjoyable though it took some time to get going. I spent the evening with Anne and Freda and took them home after the Watchnight Service. Freda said she was sick of me, as I was a flirt. I wonder whether it is really true? I suppose I can’t help it, but I don’t think I should be expected to put on sackcloth and ashes, and not speak to a girl, simply because Helen isn’t there. I miss her terribly though.
I got up just after 9.30am. After breakfast I typed a letter then went shopping with Mam to the village and Fox Hollies.
This afternoon I played outside right for the Club in an away match with Hockley Heath Y.C. It’s 9.0pm now; I’ve been in bed over an hour, and I feel a wreck. I have a swollen knee, swollen ankle, two pulled muscles and a bruised hand.
This evening I took my first service as a Local Preacher [on Trial]. It was a coincidence that it should be in the very church where I preached my first sermon — Gospel Lane. That was last April. The Order of Service [tonight] was: —
Hymn 15 Praise to the Living God!, 1st Prayer, 427 Through all the changing scenes of life, 1st Lesson: Joshua 24:14–28, 614 Heavenly Father, Thou has brought us, 2nd Lesson: Mark 4:35–41, Notices and Offertory, 746 I am Thine, O Lord; I have heard Thy voice, 2nd Prayer, Address: Fear and Faith (Mark 4:40), 955 Standing at the portal of the opening year, The Blessing.
Rev. W. Russell Shearer M.A., President of the Methodist Conference, took this morning’s service. The readings were from Deuteronomy 26:16–19 and Romans 12, which were today’s appointed lessons, and the hymns were 959 Sing to the great Jehovah’s praise, 958 O God, the Rock of Ages (to the tune of 701 The Church’s one foundation), 857 God has given us a Book full of stories, 607 O God of Bethel, by whose hand, 956 Come, let us anew our journey pursue.
The sermon was on Deuteronomy 26:18–19, ”And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken.” These words are spoken to us today. They are as true now as they were then.
1. We have to see and know ourselves as chosen people of the Lord. We bear a mark impressed by God which is His Spirit within us. There is a difference between Christians and non-Christians even though they live in the same social setting.It is very difficult to draw a line between the conduct we should present and the conduct of our contemporaries. But God has called us, He loves us, He has a purpose for us, He is with us. Our sense of belonging to God is the criterion.
2. We have to express that knowledge by worship. Sometimes we don’t feel any better for it, it may even seem meaningless, but we still come to Church as a public witness to the truth of God — in so doing we express our Divine nationality. Are we living in confidence? There is a sense of frustration in a great many Christian people. They still believe but don’t seem convinced that much more advance can be made. But we have an urgent responsibility to others. We have the Welfare State, local government and other organisations, and therefore considerable revenues to look after ourselves, but we must move into the challenge of the Christian Gospel. We must be active and consistent in spreading the Gospel, there must be a penetration into the lives, minds and habits of those around us.
3. There is no incentive to evangelism except in our belief in God’s programme for us, and unless we are deeply convinced that others without God are lost. We are the people of God and therefore we must be deeply grounded in the truths of the Gospel. There is a Divine Power which can transform things, heal differences and bind lives and homes together — a supernatural Power. The Holy Spirit is at work in this society producing holiness and love reaching out to heal and bless.
”Have you invested your money to the best advantage?” So was worded a pamphlet I received by this morning’s post. What money? The pamphlet and Stamp Investment Bulletin were sent me by the Collegiate Stamp Co. Ltd. of Windsor, but I wonder where they got my address?
Actually, investing in stamps sounds quite worth while, if you have the money to invest.
It has been snowing nearly all day and freezing cold with snowstorms sweeping the whole country, the worst here since January 1951. At work I typed a list of the books.
With snow on the ground, I decided my best plan for getting to Edgbaston was to catch the usual train to town and then the ’bus. At I.M.L.T. we started Haematology and studied the structure of the blood. In practical, we did haemoglobin determinations. I had lunch in the canteen with John Winrow, then we went to town together on the 2B [Ivy Bush — Kings Heath — Bournbrook] and a Hagley Road ’bus.
I had a letter from the Prof. [A.C. Frazer] this afternoon.
It has been a miserable, freezing cold day with not a glimmer of sunshine.
The train was on time this morning but Hilary’s wasn’t and she didn’t get in until 10.0am. During the morning I sorted out all the Winchesters and bottles belonging to Southall’s but they didn’t collect them. I also dusted the books and re-arranged these on the shelves.
At 12.15pm I went to Edmund Street for my wages [£3 14s 3d.] and did some shopping, then had lunch. In the afternoon I finished my work in the office, cleaned the animals and polished a bench. I also read some papers by Dr. Marshall.
I saw Helen briefly at 7.0pm, then went to Club at 7.30 and played table-tennis with Anne.
This morning I wrote a letter to Helen which I posted at 11.0 and then I did some typing. I left work at 12.30pm.
Nothing much happened in the afternoon. I listened to a football commentary. Blues’ match was postponed as were many others.
At five past six I met Anne at Fox Hollies Road and we went to the Gaumont to see The Teckman Mystery (U) a thriller, with Margaret Leighton, Michael Medwin, John Justin, and Roland Culver, about catching spies, and Into the Blue (U), a comedy, with Michael Wilding and Odile Versois, about catching a smuggler.
Mr. Dibben conducted this morning’s service and the sermon was on Matthew 5:6, ”Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” We are all familiar with the hunger for land and the thirst for power etc. in our local [English] history, and as evidenced by Mein Kampf (Hitler) and the Communist manifesto. But the text refers to our personal search after righteousness. This code [Jesus’ sermon on the mount] must be followed when others aren’t playing the game — that is the difference between this code and all other codes. Winning was equated with righteousness, and losing with unrighteousness in the Hebrew legal code. But what we are concerned with here is the conformity of human conduct to the Divine will.
Can any do God’s will fully? We can conceive it. We can conceive an absolutely straight line and therefore know that no one has ever drawn a straight line. But Jesus did God’s will fully. He spoke of a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20), and the righteousness of Christ led Him to the Cross. The righteous shall live by faith. No virtue is safe unless enthusiastically believed, no promise fulfilled unless enthusiastically followed.
Do people say the Christian life is dull and they are fed up with all this piety? What lasting pleasure is to be had in getting into trouble, going the rounds of the cinema and theatre, doing the football pools, or fleecing someone of a pound? Don’t judge a wicked man by his occasional success, weigh the lot. Great happiness is to be had in upright living. ”Prepare to meet thy God” — hunger and thirst after righteousness — and then know what it is to be filled. Man’s virtues are all tied up in Christ’s love.
We sang 928 Morning comes with light all-cheering, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 849 Father, lead me day by day, 149 And didst Thou love the race that loved not Thee? and 697 Blessed are the humble souls that see. The lessons were 1 Kings 21:1–14 and Philippians 4:4–23.
It was very cold and dull all day. Helen came home for the evening, so we had a little time together; she hadn’t received my letter. At Y.P.F. tonight we had a Balloon Game (”Which of four famous people would we throw out of the balloon?) I gave a talk on Billy Graham who is returning in March for the Crusade at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.
I went to Chemistry at Handsworth College this morning, before and after dinner. The tutor is Mr. Winterburn. At work I wrote a note to George Watts to ask if I might watch him perform an operation.
I went to Botany class tonight, then caught the 9.10pm train from Moor Street to Spring Road. It rained nearly all day [0.46 inches].The Martin Luther film started tonight at the Scala.
I had a letter from Ivan Howard this morning whom I am to accompany to Nether Whitacre when I preach there on February 20th. He is in lodgings at 54 Barrows Road, Sparkbrook, but as there is no private room where we could talk he has asked if he can come here instead. I wrote back to him today.
I also heard from George Watts. He will let me know as soon as it is convenient for me to watch him operate.
It started to snow during the morning. In Physics we were given a list of the things we need to know for A Level.
We had more snow showers today but bright sunshine in between. I went to I.M.L.T. as usual. At work the organ bath broke down. There was also no laundry.
Tonight I took Helen to the Theatre Royal to see Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss in Puss in Boots. We had seats Q19 and 20 in the Stalls. I last saw them in Starlight Roof at the Hippodrome on 27th June 1951. Also in the show were Fay Lenore (who was in Starlight Roof too), Fred Kitchen and June Rose. Despite the hilarity of the proceedings the pantomime was rather inane and did little to raise our spirits. Afterwards I took Helen back to Dudley Road Hospital but we both felt depressed.
A strange coincidence
At work today I had a talk with Dr. Schneider. I told him that about eleven years ago Mam had disseminated sclerosis but had made a miraculously recovery. Was he the ”Dr. Schneider” who was involved in her case? He thought for a moment and then said it was him [he], but it was a case of ”mistaken diagnosis”. I did not tell him I had prayed for her. [See my entry for Saturday 8th July 1944.] It is a strange coincidence that I should now be working for the doctor who treated my mother.
I set up the Organ Bath for a pA2 experiment. Later I spoke with George Watts. It was snowing heavily as I went to Handsworth for Zoology tonight. We had to do a rabbit dissection but it made me feel sick. Afterwards I caught the 9.20pm train but it was delayed by the weather.
There was quite a thick covering of snow on the ground this morning and it snowed again during the day.
Alan and I had a great difficulty in getting Stearylcholine Iodide to dissolve, so we dissolved it first in Acetone (10mgm./5ml.) before taking it up in water. We then did independent tests for the effect of the Acetone, first with ACh [Acetylcholine] and then with Tyrode solution.
The Martin Luther (1953) film is showing at the Scala. [Freda and Anne went to see it tonight.] Since getting back from Club I have worked tonight until 1.0am.
We are having a spell of very wintry weather. It snowed heavily much of the day. At 9.30 I went to see Dr. Gough [it being my Saturday off]. He said I looked extremely well, but I still have to se him in a month’s time. It was still snowing heavily when I got home at 11.0am. I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon typing I.M.L.T., Zoology and Botany notes. I also spent forty minutes in the Library.
Due to snow and ice all over the country, 26 of the 46 English league matches (including Birmingham City v Luton Town) were postponed, and two of those [which were played] were abandoned, and the only Scottish match not postponed was also abandoned. All three race meetings were cancelled, and nearly all the leading Rugby fixtures, including the Wales v England game at Cardiff, were called off. Only two of fifteen Rugby League games could be played. The only other occasion I can remember when sport had such a black day was on March 8th [year] when 27 English League and 2 Scottish League games were postponed.
The Birmingham Mail tonight published my letter on ”Birmingham Beauties.”
For a change I decided to watch TV tonight and saw The Benny Hill Show which I thought was very good compared with the juvenile efforts of other TV comedians.
Rev. Henry E. Foss took the service this morning. We sang 680 Glad was my heart to hear, 15 Praise to the living God, 868 Lord and Saviour, true and kind, 259 And art Thou come with us to dwell, and 270 My heart is full of Christ. The readings were Jeremiah 31:1–17 and Matthew 2:13– Mr. Foss preached on Luke 1:76, ”And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.”
In its parents’ eyes every baby is a potential superman and Zacharias’ claims for his child were no exception. Were they extravagant claims? No, for his son was John the Baptist, forerunner of Christ, the Messiah. What if Jesus had not come? There were many ancient civilisations — Egypt, Mesopotamia, southern Europe, South America, China and Greece. Hippocrates, 500BC, is regarded as the father of modern medicine.
The Hebrews were a most highly developed, religious people. Almost all that we treasure today had its roots in the pre-Christian era. Civilisation would still have grown even without Christ. There would have been morals without religion, everything satisfied by human understanding. Christianity might be considered unnecessary at its best, an unwarranted interference in the affairs of men. That is the tone if we take the limited view of man, seeing him as highest of the animals and nothing more. But what if he is supposed to be more? We have this longing for peace and freedom from fear etc. What humanism can beat fear, frustration, despair, the sense of sin?
The gate is wide and the road easy but they lead to destruction (Matthew 7:13). The things we crave most are the things no one can supply and no money can buy. But we can enjoy the freedom of the Holy Spirit. To most people this may appear to be a mere figment of the imagination, but everything in human experience is related to reality. Can a man imagine a thing is impossible if it is impossible? We could not be conscious of God if we were not made in the image of God.
”The fool hath said in his heart, surely there is no God.” If God exists what is His expectation of us? The answer is in Christ. Man still needs Jesus, we see God in Him. He takes an interest in Him. God is set against sin in any form, as much against sins of the spirit as against murder, theft, lust, which are sins of the flesh. We can live without fear and anxiety, and in peace because Christ came. Therefore He had to come.
Mr. Foss also announced that the John Wesley film will be shown at Church on February 16th, 17th and 18th twice nightly. I am greatly looking forward to this!
This afternoon I wrote two letters and did some Botany.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 668 Angel voices, ever singing, 52 O love of God, how strong and true, 572 Behold the servant of the Lord, 716 Thou God of truth and love, and 781 Lord, speak to me, that I may speak. The readings were from Ezekiel 3 and 1 Corinthians 9.
Mr. Dibben preached on Ezekiel 3:15, ”Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwell by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat.” Ezekiel saw things from their point of view and became astonished! Salesmanship depends on seeing what someone needs. Do we all see the other person’s position? We are all too ready to jump to a conclusion. A deaf man had sat where others sat, therefore he received] the blessing. ”Love is never resentful, never glad when others go wrong, always eager to believe the best” (1 Corinthians 13:5–7, Moffatt).
We are to ”rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep”, sharing their experience. We must always put ourselves in the other’s place. But we must keep ourselves pure, thinking of others’ salvation not our own. That was Jesus’ way of life. He mixed with publicans and sinners. He was at one with them, except in respect of sin. In Jesus we see ”our God contracted to a man, incomprehensibly made man” (Charles Wesley). As Jesus made Himself one with us, so we are to seek to understand others and so win them for Christ.
At Y.P.F. we had a talk by Mr. Kriebel. Afterwards Anne and I took Freda home, trudging through the snow. Russell Fletcher and Donald Holloway took Freda home.
It has been freezing cold all day with snow this afternoon [the maximum temperature was 30 degrees] and storms and gales are being reported from all over Europe.
We had a train race this morning, the Spring Road train coming round the bend at Tyseley [from Stratford-upon-Avon] at the same time as we approached from Acocks Green. It was great fun!
As the weather was so bad I didn’t go to Chemistry at Handsworth. At work I did a pA experiment. I ’phoned Mrs. Walker during the day.
I went to Botany tonight, came home on the 9.10 train and called to see Helen when I got back.
I phoned Helen at 11.0am. visited the Cathedral in the dinner hour and purchased a booklet. At Hudson’s today I came across Revision Notes in Physics, Books I and II, by M. Nelkon, M.Sc.(Lond.), A.K.C. At 4/6d each I thought they were a bit expensive, but they are a summary of everything I need to know, so I bought Book II Magnetism. Electricity, Mechanics and Properties of Matter, which looks very good indeed.
The results of my pA experiment were hopeless! I went to Physics tonight.
The main point of interest today has been the fact that I achieved the ambition of seeing my first operation. George [Watts] rang me at four o’clock and said he was doing an appendix operation at 5.30pm and would I like to go along to se it?
The operation was in Theatre 1, and when George came along at 5.30 I went into the theatre dressing room, put on a gown and white boots, a white cap and face-mask, and went into the theatre. Earlier, I had had a good scrub! In the theatre George and his assistant were scrubbing their hands and arms. When they were ready they put on green sterilised gowns, the sleeves of which were tucked into the tops of rubber gloves.
The patient (from Ward 6) was a coloured man who spoke very little English, and I was told it was rather difficult to know exactly what was wrong with him. Apparently he had lost his appetite, so the appendicectomy was decided on.
When the patient was wheeled in I helped lift him on to the operating table. The trolley was removed, the table screwed up, and all was ready. Over the operating table was a powerful lamp.
George first scrubbed the patient’s stomach, then a couple of sheets were put over him, leaving just a small square of flesh visible. Flesh and sheets were clipped together so that the flesh was stretched firmly. Then, with a scalpel, George made a cut about 2½ — 3 inches long. More clips to pin the flesh back. With his fingers in the cavity George seemed to hunt around, then pulled out the lower part of the caecum with the appendix attached just below the junction with the ileum. The appendix was snipped off, the gut stitched up, then the whole caecum and ileum was unravelled, then pushed back through the hole. Finally the swab was removed — there was very little blood — and the rest was a matter of stitching up.
I suppose the actual operation took ten minutes or less; the stitching up took as long as everything else put together. Once, the nylon thread broke — it is not very good after withstanding five minutes boiling every time it is sterilised. At the end of the operation there was scarcely a mark on the patient. I helped put him back on the trolley, and he was already beginning to come round within a few minutes.
I had a perfect view throughout the ‘op.’ as I was standing next to the assistant, and between him and the anaesthetist. George was on the opposite side with a nurse to hand him the instruments. There were two other nurses who didn’t have much to do with the actual surgery. The anaesthetist explained once or twice what he was doing. He had a record card on which he wrote down the different reactions of the patient. He gave him three injections, in the back of the hand, of prostigmine which [space left]
At the end of everything I began to wonder exactly what I had expected to see anyway. Everything had been done so calmly and efficiently, and so ”matter-of-factly”. There had been no white-coated surgeon and assistant, no anxiety, no flashing knives.
In the morning at 11.0am Helen had ’phoned me, I asked whether she wanted me as a stooge or a boy-friend, and suggested again that as she only wanted me when she felt like it, we had better end our friendship.
I have felt depressed all day, not having heard from Helen and having to go to Handsworth tonight for Zoology, but went to Hudson’s in the dinner hour and bought Revision Notes in Physics, Book I (Heat, Light, Sound), 4/6d.
It was wet this morning but slightly warmer, the first frost-free night in eleven nights. I caught the 5.35pm train home but it was late. I went to Club tonight and played table-tennis and snooker. Freda joined us after Choir practice and I took her and Anne home afterwards.
I received Helen’s letter this morning, started on Wednesday but not posted until yesterday afternoon. She blames herself for what has happened. She loves nothing better than her work on the wards and feels that is her way of serving God, but feels so sad since she returned on Tuesday. She doesn’t know whether I will want to take her out again. I should try to find someone who will appreciate me; she has misjudged me and I her, she thinks. Later she may find (as her mother tells her) that there are not many decent, clear-minded, simple at heart men about, and she may regret this action, but it must come right for both of us in the end if God is with us and it is His will. If after this I decide not to take her out again, please will I not ignore her entirely at Church as she couldn’t stand that. She has a tiny soft spot in her heart for me and will be seeing me for a minute or two within the next few Sunday nights, and she sends me her love. She asks me to please destroy the letter but I cannot bear to do that as I have kept all the others.
We had a frost-free night and the weather was a bit warmer this morning. I caught the 8.45am train to work and came home on the 12.30pm with Anne. I stayed in all afternoon. Tonight I called for Anne and we went to the Adelphi to see For Better For Worse (U) with Dirk Bogarde and Susan Stephen, Cecil Parker and Dennis Price, and The Raid (U) with Van Heflin and Anne Bancroft.
There was a dreadful train crash at Sutton Coldfield station this afternoon when the York to Bristol Express was derailed at about 4.15pm. There are many dead and injured [17 killed and over 40 injured].
Rev. Arnold B. Jones took this morning’s service. We sang 72 Begin, my soul, some heavenly theme, 25 Round the Lord in glory seated, 847 O Jesus, we are well and strong, 472 Come in, O come! The door stands open now, 463 O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me. The readings were Jeremiah 7:21–28 and Hebrews 10:1–18.
The sermon was on Psalm 51:10, ”Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Not all the psalms are by David but Psalm 51 has a historical background and it is fairly certain that he wrote it. David has fallen in love with Bathsheba and wants her for himself, so he has Uriah her husband sent into battle and killed (2 Samuel 11). Nathan tells David his sin and he repents. This was David’s greatest act, according to Thomas Carlyle in his Heroes And Hero-worship. Repentance is the most divine thing in man. The heart was the centre of life in Hebrew thought. We must be of one purpose, not double-minded. David asks God to create in him a new heart, not renew the old.
Repentance implies consciousness of sin. Are we guiltless? ”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) Sin means missing the mark. We all stand guilty before God. We may be slack, unkind, negligent in prayer; the Kingdom tarries because of our unfaithfulness. Never was there a greater need for repentance than today. Are we filled with shame that today’s evils are still possible after nearly 2,000 years since Christ’s coming? We need to receive forgiveness through Christ, to hear Him say to us, ”Thy sins be forgiven thee.” We cannot overcome sin in our own strength, but God can. Jesus’ message is that we can be pure and strong and altogether lovely, as He is. That should be our prayer.
There was a Church membership meeting this afternoon.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 21 The God of Abraham praise, 44 The spacious firmament on high, 111 Jesus, these eyes have never seen, 288 Holy Spirit, truth Divine, 446 My God, I love Thee — not because (to the tune of 73 My God, how wonderful Thou art). The lessons were Proverbs 24:23–34 and Luke 15:11–32.
Mr. Dibben preached on Luke 15:28, ”And he was angry, and would not go in.”
1. It may be said that the giving of prizes is amoral, that it is a wrong incentive with bad results. Working for a prize is bad, but to give no recognition may be unfair. Men have a craving, an expectancy, that God should rule men’s lives by natural judgment i.e. prizes for good, punishment for evil. But evil flourishes and goodness is overlooked. It isn’t fair, said the elder son. ”Thou never gavest me a kid.”
2. Dwellers in earthly paradise have not achieved crowning success. The thought is that if people have good things they will become good people. But that is not so. Paul was caught up into paradise, but still had his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:1–4, 7). Helen Keller (b.1880) is blind and deaf. Sir Walter Scott was lame, George Matheson (1842–1906) blind, Beethoven deaf.
3. We must give ourselves unreservedly to God, as Jesus did. We must forget about rewards and bear no resentment if others seem to fare better. ”All that I have is thine” said the father, but the elder brother was not really one with his father. We must be at one with God. Judge fell in love and wrote a poem, Love is All. Does God’s judgment mean He is not on your side? Then what of the Cross?
At Y.P.F. we had an evening of humour led by Pat Welch. I took Freda home and then Anne. Mam went to the Theatre Royal to hear Kenneth Lacey speak on ”The Man from Another World.”
I went to Chemistry at Handsworth College this morning and Botany as usual. We studied Hydrophytes, mineral nutrition and the Nitrogen cycle.
It was another dull day. Some Biochemistry students visited the lab. I went for a walk at 3.45pm and bought birthday cards for Freda and Anne.
Helen has not written to me so I suppose she has decided we really have parted. In my heart I know that above all else I want only her happiness, but I shall always love her.
No entry. [My Pocket Diary indicates that I was seeing J.M. at 6.0pm.]
I caught the 8.51 train this morning, — just. At work, having done most of my work, I did some typing, including [my Departmental report and] half a sermon.
I left at 12.0pm and went to Smith’s where I bought a Pan book Told in the Dark — Nine Uncanny Stories selected by Herbert van Thal. [They are by Mrs. Molesworth, The Shadow in the Moonlight; Phyllis Bentley, Beckermonds; Elizabeth Braddon, The Mystery at Fernwood; E.F. Benson, The Thing in the Hall; Wilkie Collins, The Dead Hand; Marjorie Bowen, The Prescription; Ann Bridge, The Accident; Charles Dickens, The Signal-man; Sir Hugh Walpole, The Silver Mask.] [jpg]
I came home on the 12.30 train.
Dad and I cycled to Blues’ 4th Round Cup-tie v Bolton Wanderers this afternoon. There was a crowd of 56,800 to see the game. The teams were:
Birmingham City: — Merrick; Hall, Green; Boyd, Smith, Warhurst; Astall, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan.
Bolton Wanderers: — Hansen ; Ball, Edwards; Wheeler, Barrass, Bell; Holden, Moir, Lofthouse, Stevens, Parry.
Blues won 2–nil (Govan; Wheeler, own goal).
Tonight I took Anne and Freda to the ”Youth For Christ” Rally at the Town Hall where the speaker was [check]. I took them home afterwards.
This morning the Youth Team took the service at Saltley. Anne and I went along with them. We had a fleet of three cars to get us there. The service was mainly for children. Brian Sharpe led, Freda [gave the Children’s address], Mick Daw and Ann Pardoe spoke, and Dorothy Fitton read a lesson. It went very well on the whole.
I went to the Church membership class this afternoon.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 72 Begin, my soul, some heavenly theme, 60 Ere God had built the mountains, 410 Come, ye that love the Lord, 727 Jesus, with Thy Church abide, and 636 Light of the world, faint were our weary feet. The readings were Proverbs 25:8–28 and Luke 6:27–38.
The sermon was on Matthew 5:39, ”But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” The city’s last tramlines have gone, but in this verse we have the tramlines of Christian living.
1. We do not know all the answers. Our laws are based on how people are thought likely to behave. Prohibition was a bad law because people were not likely to keep it. People cannot be forced to keep the law. Some people won’t go to Church, claiming it is a reaction to having to go three times on Sunday as a child. That is merely an excuse.
2. Matthew 5:48 is the revelation of what God is like. ”Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” We must not abolish laws. To be struck on the right cheek was an insult, a backhander, but Jesus said that we are to turn the other cheek. We all face malevolence and private animosities, but we are to love our enemies — thereby we restrain and redeem them.
3. Society is the poorer if people keep demanding their legal rights. We have to go beyond the legal right — doing only what is legally required of us may not be enough. It is like saying ”I have done my share” and refusing to help when a neighbour’s house is on fire. Such people have no clear-cut rule in living, they are content to be mentally and spiritually lazy.
I went to Y.P.F. tonight and took Freda home afterwards.
The whole of today’s Chemistry [at Handsworth College, before and after the dinner hour] was devoted to electrochemistry. Peter seems to have sorted out his matrimonial difficulties and is talking of getting wed next year.
The Birmingham Mail published my letter under the heading ”Dr. Barnes’s mission”. Princess Margaret left today for a month’s tour of the West Indies.
I listened to the Test Match again this morning. At the end Australia were 23 for 3 after England had gained a lead of 18 runs on 1st innings.
I had a letter from John O.C. Alleyne this morning, thanking me for mine and the 5/-d postal order for the Scripture Union Notes. It is splendid to hear how I feel that God has been working in all my experiences, as he has found too. He is always leading and guiding us, and making all things work together for good to them that love Him. John is specially interested to hear that I sometimes have thoughts of being a missionary, and tells me he may be going to Africa in about three years, probably Uganda. Have I any contacts with a missionary society? He sends me and Helen his very best wishes in His service.
I got up at 7.30 this morning so as to listen to the commentary on the Test Match from Adelaide. England then needed only 22 runs to win. They had lost three wickets for 18. Australia were all out today for 111, so that England required only 94 runs to win the match and retain the Ashes. Tyson took 3 for 47 in 15 overs, 2 maidens; Statham 3 for 38 in 12 overs, 1 maiden; and Appleyard 3 for 13 in 12 overs, 7 maidens. McDonald scored 29 for Australia. Davidson 23. Only Morris (16) and Miller (14) reached double figures apart from these two.
Hutton, Edrich and Cowdrey were soon out to catches off Miller’s bowling but May, Compton and Cowdrey took the score to 90 when Bailey was lbw to Johnston. Evans came in and hit the winning run with a boundary. Compton had made 34 not out. [jpg]
Over the radio Len Hutton said that much of the credit must go to the younger members of the side, Statham, Tyson, Cowdrey and May, and also to Godfrey Evans who had kept wicket so well. He said England were fortunate to have such fine bowlers as Tyson, Statham and Trueman as fast bowlers, and also Wardle, Lock, Appleyard and Laker, all still comparatively young men, to provide spin. Hutton said Keith Miller was the best exponent in the world of the new ball. ”I wish he would concentrate on his batting.”
England’s pathway to the Ashes: —
1st Test at Brisbane: Australia 601 for 8 dec. England 190 & 257. Australia won by an innings and 154.
2nd Test at Sydney: England 154 and 296, Australia 228 and 184. England won by 38 runs.
3rd Test at Melbourne: England 191 and 279, Australia 231 and 111. England won by 128 runs.
4th Test at Adelaide: Australia 323 and 111, England 341 and 97 for 5. England won by 5 wickets.
Nothing much happened today. Anne told me that she and Freda spent the whole of last night discussing me. Anne says Freda is ”keen” on me! Silly girl!
Freda is learning to contompt or something [at Felt and Tarrant], so she came on the train with us [Anne and me] this morning. She looked very pretty in her new grey outfit and Sherlock Holmes hat. It made a nice start to the morning anyway.
Alan and I did an experiment to obtain a concentration/action curve for [space left]. After the experiment I varnished the drum trace.
About 5.0pm I had tea and started a letter to Helen. Earlier, I had written a letter to the MNI who want me to pay a contribution for the week between my part-time employment at the GPO and commencement of full-time employment in the Department.
At College we studied enzymes. I came home a bit early, on the 8.50, then took Ginger and Dinah for a walk.
None of us got up until after 8.0 this morning but I caught the train as usual. There wasn’t much work to be done today, the only experiment being a very simple one on a frog heart which we did at about 3.0pm. We showed the effects of Ach (1ug/ml) and adrenaline. We are doing the experiment for the students on Tuesday.
I cleaned out the animals and frogs and was engaged in removing the frogspawn when Anne rang me. We went home together on the 5.35 train after I had finished a letter to Helen. It was raining heavily.
I went to club tonight. Mr. Hayward came and joined in the table-tennis, and after the interval himself organised some games which went down very well. We had a game in which everyone was given the name of a fruit. Then a person had to say the name of that fruit before Mr. Haywood said it three times. It sounded easy but was surprisingly difficult. We also played a game with a bean-bag, (first team to score 100), a game in which diabolical monstrosities from trays, chairs, bottles and other noisy things. The other side had to remove the various implements and rebuild them on the opposite side of the room. The team making the least noise was the winner. We also played called ”The Club Leader’s Lost His Hat” (Who Sir, Me Sir?” ”Yes boy, you boy”. ”Oh no Sir, not I Sir”. ”Who then?” ”Number 2 Sir” etc.).
I took Freda and Anne home afterwards.
This afternoon I played football for the Youth Club in our Solihull Youth League match, After being 3–1 up we rather lost control of the game, our opponents scored six and we lost 9–3. Anne and Freda came specially to see us play but I didn’t have a very good game. I went to see Helen later. Meanwhile Blues advanced to the 5th Round beating Bolton Wanderers 2–1 at St. Andrews.
It made a pleasant change to spend the evening listening to the radio. I sat in the front room and listened to a Third Programme concert given by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy (Leader Paul Beard). I knew little of the music but enjoyed the concert immensely. The programme was:
Part 1, 8.0–8.35
Overture: Colas Brengnon — Kabalevsky
Epigraph — Norman dello Joio
Rapsodie Espagnole — Ravel
Part 2, 8.55–9.45
Symphony No. 4 — Vincent Persichetti
Tone Poem: Tod und Verklarung — Richard Strauss
Mr. Dibben took the service this morning and preached on Jeremiah 23:23, ”Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?” A soldier was saved from certain death when a bullet passed through the New Testament in his breast pocket (Colonel Cummings). That might be considered as special providence. We object to regimentation, we think of ourselves as Individuals. But there is danger in thinking there is a special providence for me. Ordinary providence, yes. But we cannot stake our faith on a single issue. Mother knows best but Father knows everything. To be able to prove everything would be to reduce God to the level of man. There would be nothing and no one to worship. God’s providence, is always with us, but life is not an end in itself
We sang 705 God is the refuge of His saints, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 396 Lord, in the fullness of my might, 103 O Lord and Master of us all (to the tune of 99 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds) and 527 Sometimes a light surprises. The readings were Amos 9 and Hebrews 4:1–16.
The weather was bright this morning but deteriorated later, and we had heavy rain and sleet this afternoon and a hailstorm. I went to Mr. Dibben’s Church membership class as usual at 3.45pm, after which Freda went back with Anne for tea at the Vickerys.
Tonight I took the service at Ward End Methodist Church, Monk Road. Anne and Freda came with me. The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! 1st Prayer, 672 Saviour, blessed Saviour, listen while we sing, 1st Lesson Psalm 103, 524 My God, I thank Thee, who hast made, 2nd Lesson Matthew 25:14–30, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 884 Before Thy throne, O God, we kneel, Address: ”Faithful Service”, 590 Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go, The Blessing.
Afterwards we came back to Church for Y.P.F. where we had a Hymns evening. Ivan Howard came and we had a good talk together. The King died three years ago today.
I went to Chemistry class as usual today: we are now studying organic chemistry. During the day I wrote to Helen and posted a birthday card to Freda.
We had a test in tonight’s Botany class in which I got 14/20; afterwards we studied the organs of the perennial. I came home on the 9.20pm train and met Freda.
We had the Students class to prepare for at work today; they had to dissect frog and rabbit hearts. I ’phoned Mrs. Walker during the day.
Today was Freda’s 18th birthday and I ’phoned her tonight [from the lab] before leaving for my Physics class at Handsworth. Her parents were taking her out for a meal [at ”The Saracen’s Head”, Shirley].
I took down a list [in my Pocket Diary] of the topics we have to be familiar with for A Level Physics. They include A.C., Radioactivity, the Telescope, Diffraction, Triode, Kepler, S.H.M., S.T., Momentum, Energy, p = 1/3 mnc-2, and RV= RT.
Mr. Malenkov has resigned and Marshal Bulganin is the new Soviet leader.
The prospect of going to I.M.L.T. this morning was more than I could face. Instead I went to see Mr. Dibben to ask for his help and advice. I feel helpless and do not know how I can carry on. Even if I manage to pass A Level Physics in June I should still have to study for three more years for an external B.Sc. degree and several more years before I could become a doctor. There is also the problem of National Service and the likelihood of being sent to prison as a conscientious objector. I loathe the work I am doing at the hospital with all the cruelty to animals.
What I want to do more than anything is to preach the Gospel. I told Mr. Dibben that I want to make the ministry my career and he told me that it is not a career but a vocation (which is what I was trying to say). I also told him that I am deeply in love with Helen and want to marry her. Mr. Dibben said it is natural to feel intensely for one’s first love, but the most important thing in life is to understand what is God’s will for us. Our duty is to God, that is all that matters. It is my duty to trust Him and not take everything so seriously, God will work everything out for me if I let Him, and if Helen is not meant for me then He has someone else for me.
At work this afternoon I did an experiment, calculated the values and plotted the concentration/action curve.
Tonight I went to Church for the Annual Society Meeting held in the Large Hall and saw Helen briefly. Although we have 288 members and a flourishing Sunday School, Church finances are ”in the red” and the weekly offerings [totalling £864 14s 1d for the year ending 31st December 1954] need to be at least £20 in order to pay for last year’s redecorations. We also need to help Lyndon with their building fund. The stewards [Mr. Frank E. Holloway, Mr. Gerald E. Ellis, Mr. Harold T. Sharpe and Mr. Sam I. Boddington] are planning a Bazaar to be held late next year.
I sat with Freda, Anne and Philip in the meeting and we all stayed for the social afterwards.
The weather continues to be very cold and miserable and we have had steady rain and sleet all day. Dr Schneider came in this morning. I did an experiment, calculated values and plotted the concentration/action curve. At Zoology tonight we studied Respiration.
The Government has voted against the abolition of the Death Penalty, much to my dismay and disgust.
At work today I cleaned the animals, calculated some statistics for Alan and then drew a graph for him.
I had a pleasant surprise when Hilary collected our wages as mine was £5 18s. 9d. This is £2 14s. 6d. more than I usually get because of an increase dating back six weeks.
We had a games evening at Club tonight. I met Freda after Choir practice. Kingy [Ann C. King] and Geoff [Price] were also there.
I went on the 8.45 train this morning, and before going to work I bought a Valentine card to send to Freda. At work I typed some notes on pH’s and then a page of Chemistry prep. I finished at 12.15 and caught the 12.30pm train.
I spent the whole afternoon typing Botany and Zoology prep and notes, and I didn’t finish until 5.45pm. I then wrote an article about Philip Mead for the Birmingham News.
I was meeting Freda and Anne and Philip outside the Post Office at 6.45pm, so I had time only to wash and change. Even so they went without me and I caught them up by Lincoln Road. We were all going to Brian Sharpe’s 18th birthday party at 72 St. Bernard’s Road. [He was in the Modern Languages VI at K.E.S. when I left, but we didn’t know each other then.] We had a nice tea and then spent most of the evening listening to Gilbert and Sullivan records. Mick Daw, Anne, Philip, Dorothy Fitton, Donald Holloway, Gillian Chilton and Janet Pritchard were also there. It was midnight by the time I took Freda and Anne home.
Today was Home Missions Sunday with Rev. W.W. Simpson taking both services. This morning we sang 427 Through all the changing scenes of life, 26 Ye holy angels bright, 677 We love the place, O God, 790 Look from Thy sphere of endless day, and 794 Eternal Son, eternal Love. The readings were Genesis 3:3–20 and Luke 10:1–22, and Mr. Simpson spoke on Luke 10:3, alluding to the new areas of population and new suburbs needing to be evangelised.
This afternoon I wrote a sermon, ”Take no thought for the morrow” for next Sunday at Nether Whitacre. I also went to the Church membership class.
At Y.P.F. Mr. Simpson spoke on ”All true life is meeting”. I took Freda and Anne home afterwards. Kingy and Geoff were also at Church tonight.
The notes of today’s services seemed to have been lost but I came across those for this morning in the Birthdays pages of my 1955 Pocket Diary.
I had a Valentine card from Anne this morning. At work I did some washing up before going to Handsworth for Chemistry. We continued Organic Chemistry today.
I had no work to do in the lab. At Tech tonight we did Food tests. It was snowing when I left the College. I caught the 9.10pm train. The weather was very miserable all day with rain, sleet, snow and fog. I didn’t see Freda all day.
The Government today announced that 12 nuclear power stations are to be built in the next decade. This seems extremely dangerous to me. I didn’t see Freda today.
The John Wesley film
Tonight Freda and Anne and I went to Church to see the John Wesley film in the Large Hall. We had been greatly looking forward to it and found it an inspiring and quite moving film, encapsulating his life up until the birth of Methodism in America. We saw him as a small child rescued from the fire at Epworth Rectory; then, as an Anglican clergyman (beautifully played by Leonard Sachs) his sense of failure at having to return from America. Then there were his days at Oxford University and the life-changing experience at Aldersgate Street which transformed his ministry but aroused violent passions and the hostility of his fellow clergy.
For me the most memorable part of the film was Wesley’s encounter with a condemned man (John Slater) being taken to execution, whom he encourages to receive Christ as his personal Saviour. I found this scene very moving and shall never forget it. There was also the founding of the first church at Bristol and (in what seemed to me rather an abrupt end to the film), the sending forth of Whatcoat and Vasey to found the first non-conformist Church in America.
The film, in Technicolor, is a great achievement. It was made last year at the instigation of J.V. Rank who is, I believe, a prominent Methodist and the brother of J. Arthur Rank whose organisation has produced it. The cast were all very good. I recognised a few of the people and I wonder whether they were chosen because they are Christians and perhaps even Methodists?
[Others in the cast were: John Wesley as a child Gerard Lohan, as a student Neil Heaves, Rev. Samuel Wesley Keith Pyott, Susannah Wesley Cungwen Lewis, Peter Bowler John Witty, Charles Wesley Derek Aylward, George Whitfield Patrick Barton, Beau Nash Philip Leaver, Trustees of Georgia Joss Ambler, Andrew Cruichshank, Horace Sequiera, Sydney Monckton, Eric Chitty. The Director was Norman Walker, Writer Leonard Barnett, assisted by William Desmond and Anthony Pertwee.]
We talked about the film as I took Anne and Freda home afterwards. The weather is still icy cold and we have had more snow today.
It was the Local Preachers’ Fellowship meeting tonight. [Did I go?]
The Government announced today that Britain is to manufacture the Hydrogen Bomb. It is a dreadful prospect. A nuclear war with Soviet Russia would destroy mankind.
At work today I drew some diagrams showing Mean R50s. It was Hilary [Turberfield]’s 1st Anniversary today, so we bought a box of chocolates for her and she treated us with cakes for tea. My wage packet today was £3 17s 3d, an increase of 6d per day.
I came home on the 5.35pm train. Anne and I went to Club tonight. Freda went to Choir practice, as did Helen, and joined us afterwards. I took Freda and Anne home later. Anne and I discussed my ”Give Us This Day” book.
My article about Philip headed ”Notes About People” was in today’s Birmingham News. He will be quite thrilled when I give it him.
I was at work today from 9.0 until 12.15pm, during which time I prepared a frog skeleton.
I came home on the 12.30pm train. Anne met me at the station.
This afternoon I went to St. Andrews to see Blues play their 5th Round match against Doncaster Rovers. They won 2–1, Eddie Brown scoring both goals.
Birmingham City: — Merrick; Hall, Green; Boyd, Smith, Warhurst; Astall, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan.
Tonight I called for Freda at 6.15pm and we went to the Piccadilly to see Norman Wisdom in One Good Turn (U), with Joan Rice and Shirley Abicair. It was very good, and we enjoyed the walk home afterwards.
It gave me a horrid shock, in the course of cleaning the laboratory, to discover the skeleton of a frog under a cupboard. Obviously it had escaped a long time previously, and when I tried to pick it up, the bones fell apart in my hands. ”I prepared a frog skeleton” is a euphemism for my abortive attempt to reassemble the bones of the poor creature. Over half-a-century later I still feel grief for this poor frog and for all creatures who are victims of vivisection. I have no words to express my disgust at this loathsome and unnecessary evil.
Today proved to be quite exciting in its way. Ivan Howard called for me at 10.0am, and Anne came at 10.15, after Ivan and I had had a word of prayer. We hadn’t long got going in the chariot before we realised that the petrol wasn’t flowing properly. Just past Stechford, Ivan stopped at a garage which wasn’t open. Then the car would not start for ages, and when it did start again, Ivan decided to head for the house of a friend who had a car. But before we had got there the car packed up altogether in a side road. A quick look at the Plan showed that there was no one at Nether Whitacre whom we could ’phone, and it was by now 10.45am! Ivan borrowed someone’s ’phone and tried to get in touch with his friend but he was out. However, he did ring back on his return, and soon came to rescue us, and it was a race all the way to Whitacre. We left Ivan’s car by the roadside waiting for the attention of the A.A. We raced at great speed along the country roads and we got to the little church at twenty past eleven.
The congregation of seven had gone into a tiny room and had just sung my first hymn. We stayed in the little room and I took over for the rest of the service. The Order of Service was: Hymn 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 1st Prayer, 727 Jesus, with Thy Church abide, 1st Lesson: Genesis 6:5–22, Hymn 313 To God be the glory, 2nd Lesson: Matthew 6:16–34, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offering, 154 I heard the voice of Jesus say,Sermon: ”Take No Thought for the Morrow”, 525 Through the love of God our Saviour, all will be well, The Blessing.
It was quite a notable evening too. Mr. Dibben led the service and gave a brilliant sermon, certainly the best I have heard him give. The text was Matthew 5:39, ”But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” ”Resist not evil” -- this is true pacifism. We have not reached the level of ”an eye for an eye” as yet. Jesus taught forgiveness — not revenge — unto seventy times seven times. [There is a reference here to ”D.P.” but what or whom this refers to is not clear.] We have the West Bromwich ’bus strike. What is the principle? Retaliation increases evil, turning the other cheek paralyses it. To restrain evil is to promote good. We do not have to retaliate to gossip or scorn, to do so leads to loss of personality and slave morality.
We sang 64 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, 937 Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured, 247 Rejoice, the Lord is King!, 608 Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide, 144 My song is love unknown, The readings were from Leviticus 24:10–23 and Matthew 5:38–48.
Freda and Anne seemed very preoccupied at Y.P.F. (It was a Gilbert and Sullivan record evening presented by Bob Pardoe) and I wondered whether I knew why, or whether my own suspicions were incorrect. Freda didn’t say much but she admitted that both she and Anne wanted to go out with me and [unfinished]. I took Freda and Anne home tonight and stayed at Anne’s for a while.
I had been typing this Diary on 17th December 2007 when Sheila Pardoe ’phoned to say that Bob (Robert Clarkson Pardoe) died on Saturday 15th December 2007 aged 81. Their children are Jonathan, Michael, Robert, Esther and Sheila-Mary. Bob went to King Edward’s Grammar School, Camp Hill, but before my time.
Today being Founder’s Day I did not have to go to work. I took Ginger for a walk to Grange Road and also fetched some straw. It was very cold again with flurries of snow and a strong east wind.
This afternoon I went to the Library. I also did some Botany. I did not see Anne or Freda today.
[Pencilled note: Book. Physics]
It is snowing tonight and has been nearly all day. I went to I.M.L.T. at the Medical School as usual and also to a Debate at the Union. I came home on the 5.35pm train with Anne.
I have been typing all evening, including some notes on ”The Seven Churches of Revelation” (chapters 2 and 3) and some Zoology notes. I have also had a bath.
I received another letter from Ivan this morning written at 11.0pm on Monday night. He says I did very well on Sunday and that the folk ”were inspired and were led into the spirit of worship”. But he suggests I preach with my hands behind my back instead of handling the hymn book or notices, also I should learn to pray extemporarily, and not be a slave to my notes when preaching. He has invited me to take the service for him at Castle Bromwich on March 6th, then he will suggest that I be placed ”On trial”.
It has been snowing all day. I went to Zoology at Handsworth and came home on the 8.50pm train. It was Anne’s 19th birthday and Freda was going to see her tonight.
At work this morning I completed another diagram and also made a card for the door [jpg]. On my way along Colmore Row to get my wages [£3 17s 3d since last week’s 3/-d increase], I met Anne just as I had been thinking to myself that I might bump into her.
I looked at the books in Hudson’s — it is National Book Sale week or something — and bought Dad a birthday card at Smith’s. Later in the day Mam and Julia bought their cards there. At 2.45 Dr. Schneider sent me out to buy some cakes and I got a box of six chocolate cakelets from Kunzle’s.
I just managed to get out in time to catch the 5.10pm with Anne.
Anne and I went to Club as usual tonight. Freda joined us after Choir practice. Ann and Geoff were also there. Freda finished at Bakelite today. I took her home after Club.
I took my morning off today and went to see Dr. Gough. I do not have to see him again for three months. I have torn a something fringe in my knee and I keep [unfinished]
Anne and I went to Freda’s tonight and stayed until 11.10pm. Mr. and Mrs. Powley were out and Rosemary and Mick went to the social. Ann King had called earlier.
Today was Dad’s [48th] birthday.
Mr. Watson [Rev. Harold J. Watson, minister at Stechford, Lyttelton Road, Church] conducted this morning’s service and preached on Ephesians 1:13–14 (J.B. Philips’ translation, Letters To Young Churches): ”And you too trusted Him, when you had heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to Him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what He has paid for as His own, and that will again be to the praise of His glory.”
Conversion means that there is a new relationship between the soul and God. ”After you gave your confidence to Him you were stamped with the promised Holy Spirit.” In Bible days possessions were marked — the children of God are marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The soul of man belongs to God. We are not our own, we are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Many serve other masters, but we serve Jesus — we belong to Him. We claim to be different from others — we believe our soul belongs to God. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Redeemed has the same meaning as pawned, i.e. buying back what once belonged to you.
God could have accepted the loss of us through sin. God hates sin but He loves the sinner. ”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God values our souls to the extent of Christ’s death. We can know and prove God’s love for us through our redemption. Each of us can say, God loves me. As a result we have a new life, an expanded life. A greater knowledge is yet to come, for ”we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2), We shall be like Him — the full payment. For the moment we are the first instalment! God is ever faithful. The soul grows in grace. We will dwell with Him for ever.
The hymns were 2 All people that on earth do dwell, 37 Hail! Holy, holy, holy Lord, 871 In our work and in our play, 318 Souls of men, why will ye scatter, and 371 And can it be that I should gain. The lessons were Psalm 139 and Ephesians 1:3–23. [I also took down Mr. Watson’s prayers, not transcribed here]
After the service Freda and I went for a walk accompanied by Anne and Donald Holloway. I went to the Church membership class this afternoon.
Mr. Dibben preached tonight on Matthew 16:24, ”Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”, and in John 12:24, ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” It is necessary to die to live; by suffering we may triumph over all [the vicissitudes of life]. Many refuse to think about suffering, but not so many scoff — rather they seek to find life’s meaning. To be saved means that we incur suffering. Job suffered the loss of his family and everything he had. His wife wanted him to ”curse God and die”(Job 2:9) but Job never blamed God.
Suffering may be punitive, a warning. It is also educational. It is mysterious, not understood, but always there is something to be learned from it. Christ brings to us a new concept of life and suffering. Peter’s bold declaration of faith at Caesarea Philippi prompted Jesus to warn him of His impending suffering and death, to which Peter reacted violently, but Jesus rebuked him. (Mr. Dibben told us that Caesarea Philippi was the site of a sacred cave dedicated to the worship of Pan; he also mentioned the gleaming white Temple at Jerusalem built by Herod for the Jews, just completed at this time, and destroyed in AD70 as Jesus said it would be.)
It is not just passive acquiescence which is required in the face of suffering. Confronted by a man born blind, the disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, this man or his parents? Jesus said it was neither, but that God’s works should be manifest in him (John 9:2–3). It is when we face and fight suffering that we show forth the glory of God. John Howard, a prison visitor, was appalled by the suffering of prisoners and founded the Howard League for Penal Reform. (Mr. Dibben also mentioned Plato.) We have always to deny self and follow Christ, wherever He leads. Should we feel resentment against evil? — yes. But there has to be a dying to oneself. We may embrace pacifism, but what of the resentment in our hearts? Personal malice must go; resentment against evil must be borne and not allowed to prejudice us. (Mr. Dibben made a reference here to Tolstoy’s Resurrection.)
Some people allege that we are not Christians, that we are ”unkind” if we punish a criminal or refuse to help a beggar. But indiscriminate giving may not be self-denial! — it may be idleness sometimes. We must deny ourselves, but there must be care and uplift in all our thinking. One slant on religion is that people embrace it to escape trouble, but the end of our religion means our getting into trouble. Trees and flowers know no pain. The best suffer most. The mark of our rank is our capacity to suffer. Think of David Livingstone and Florence Nightingale, Crossley and the Armenians — greatness born out of sensitivity to distress. Should we endeavour to eliminate cruelty and suffering wherever possible? — yes. Sensitivity means that we are open to joy and suffering. (Mr. Dibben closed with a reference to John Masefield’s Everlasting Mercy — ”Forgive me, mother.”)
The hymns were 66 O God of all grace, Thy goodness we praise, 52 O love of God, how strong and true, 729 Lord of our life, and God of our salvation, 491 Christian, seek not yet repose and 320 Art thou weary, art thou languid. The readings were Job 2:1–13 and Matthew 16:13–28.
Helen was at Church tonight. Afterwards, at Y.P.F., Mrs. Thomas led us in a play-reading for Youth Week (March 21st-26th). Freda and I, Anne and Philip, Rosemary, Dorothy Fitton, Brenda Daw, Donald Holloway and Brian Sharpe all took part. I took Freda home afterwards.
Freda started at Felt & Tarrant Comptometer School this morning and travelled with us on the 8.40 train to Moor Street. She got there very early so as not to miss it, but it was rather late and we didn’t get to town till nine o’clock.
This morning Anne, Freda, Pat and I went on the 8.36am to Snow Hill. Freda was quite concerned as she had bought a Moor Street ticket but then she found she had paid 11d for it in any case.
Anne and I stood talking outside Snow Hill as usual, and she told me she had a letter from her doctor to see Mr. Fauset Welsh [who is an Old Edwardian]. At work I found that Mr. Welsh is at G.H.B. on Wednesday morning so I ’phoned Anne and told her to ’phone CENtral 3071 as soon as possible. She did, but was given an appointment for the 23rd at 11.0am.
Dr. Dervichnan came and talked to Alan and stayed over an hour and wouldn’t have any coffee.
Just after 5.0pm Anne came and had a cup of tea with me. She typed my first prayer for next Sunday for me, and later on I typed some notes for my sermon. Having Anne to talk to helped me to focus my ideas. Afterwards I went to Physics as usual.
In the House of Commons today Sir Winston Churchill announced that our nuclear weapons are superior to Russia’s. Presumably we are to take comfort in knowing that, no matter how many British are killed, we shall have killed far more Russians. The prospect of a Hydrogen-Bomb war is fearful beyond words.
Freda, Anne and I went on the 8.40am [to Moor Street] again this morning.
At I.M.L.T. we did a revision of Haematology. We are having an exam next week. John and I went straight to town as he wanted to buy a book from Hudson’s. I also bought the Daily Mail Year Book 1955 which is an excellent two shillings worth. [jpg]
We walked up to Colmore Row together; and then a woman came and asked John a lot of questions about grapefruit, newspapers, cigars and heaps of other things. It was part of a statistical analysis relating to consumers.
[It was Alan Timms’ birthday today].
I came home with Freda and Anne.
Tonight I took Anne to the Olton to see Dean Martin and Jerry in Three-Ring Circus with Joanne Dru and Zsa-Zsa Gabor, which we enjoyed very much. After we got back we stayed talking until 11.30pm.
I had a letter from Ivan this morning in response to mine of the 22nd. Even though it is Lent, he suggests that I could preach on the Colour Bar or the H-Bomb at Castle Bromwich. I can ring him from work on Saturday.
Freda and Anne and I went on the Moor Street train as usual this morning. It was a fine, sunny day but very cold again with frost every night now since February 9th.
I went to Zoology at Handsworth tonight as usual and so missed the Local Preachers’ Fellowship meeting. We started a rat dissection.
I went to the Dentist’s this morning [at 9.0am] for what was really the last of a series of appointments which began when we returned from Margate last August. Mr. Parker said I should need at least three fillings and did two of them there and then. I made two more appointments for the 23rd and 30th.
After leaving Mr. Parker’s I paid a quick visit to the Library and borrowed January’s National Geographic Magazine. I also went to the fish shop for Mam.
I decided to catch the 10.38 to Moor Street and thought it was going to be on time, but the train which was signalled was an express. Eventually, at six minutes to eleven, 4964 Rodwell Hall drew in, rather wearily, then crawled all the way to Moor Street, stopping twice between Tyseley and Birmingham. This praiseworthy effort earned a high note of appreciation from the irate and rather buxom lady who declared that if this commendable effort was the best that British Railways could muster up, then she would in future go on the ’bus.
I got into work just after 11.20.
During the afternoon I checked two diagrams for Alan. We had cakes for tea in honour of Alan’s birthday.
Anne, Freda and I went home on the 5.20pm. Freda was quite pleased as she had passed her test at Comp. School and had been accepted for the whole course. Her book of School Rules was quite interesting and said something about Comptometer Operators’ figures. Which reminded me of the woman who went to a sale and told her husband she had bought a dress for a ridiculous figure … Not that Freda’s figure is at all ridiculous.
As usual I went to Club to work on my book with Anne. I didn’t see Freda until 9.30 but Anne said she (Freda) had dressed up especially for my benefit. She certainly looked very nice. Kingy and Geoff were also there.
Rosemary was fed up. Apparently Mick had seen her for only a minute or two, was playing table-tennis, and was going to a ”lousy” discussion afterwards. Mick seems to have got the right idea!
Anne and I did absolutely no work on my book but we had a long talk in ”our” room as Anne said she wanted to talk but didn’t know how to. She said she has forgotten Russell now, and only lives for each morning when we go on the train together. She said she never wanted Wednesday evening to end. As I had had the same sort of experience I knew what it felt like. I think we had a helpful talk on the whole.
When I begin to think about it the situation seems almost ridiculously trite — the sort of thing you find in films, but I suppose human relationships never work out simply.
Great Western Railway 4–6–0 Hall Class locomotive No. 4964 Rodwell Hall was constructed at Swindon works in 1929 and was allocated to FGD (later 87J) Fishguard. It moved to 84E Tyseley shed in August 1950 and to 84C Banbury in March 1959. Its last shed was 86G Pontypool Road from where it was withdrawn from service in October 1963. It was scrapped at Cashmore’s, Newport. Other Hall Class locomotives which I used to see, all shedded at Tyseley, were 4924 Eydon Hall, 4959 Purley Hall, 4980 Wrottesley Hall, 5907 Marble Hall, 5909 Newton Hall, 5916 Trinity Hall, 5927 Guild Hall, 5950 Wardley Hall, 5993 Kirby Hall, 5997 Sparkford Hall, 6904 Charfield Hall, 6942 Eshton Hall and 6971 Athelhampton Hall. None of these has survived. Eleven Collett 49XX Hall Class locomotives have been preserved, all built between 1929 and 1937. They are 4920 Dumbleton Hall, 4930 Hagley Hall, 4936 Kinlet Hall, 4942 Maindy Hall, 4953 Pitchford Hall, 4965 Rood Ashton Hall, 4979 Wootton Hall, 5900 Hinderton Hall 5952 Cogan Hall, 5967 Bickmarsh Hall, 5972 Olton Hall. Seven Hawksworth 6959 Modified Hall Class locomotives have been preserved, built between 1944 and 1950. They are 6960 Raveningham Hall, 6984 Owsden Hall, 6989 Wightwick Hall, 6990 Witherslack Hall, 6998 Burton Agnes Hall, 7903 Foremarke Hall and 7927 Willington Hall.
I called for Anne this evening and we went for a walk. She had been to Solihull with Freda this afternoon. It was snowing on and off all day. I stayed in working. Birmingham City won 3–nil away to Swansea Town.
This morning I preached at Castle Bromwich. The [Order of] service was Hymn 64 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, King of creation, 1st Prayer, 475 I need Thee every hour, 1st Lesson: Isaiah 28:1–13, Children’s Address: ”I Know the Pilot”, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 2nd Lesson: Romans 15:12–21, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross, Sermon: ”Ye Must Be Born Again”, 374 Jesus hath died and hath risen again, and The Blessing.
I went to the Church membership class as usual this afternoon.
It was the Church Anniversary today with Rev. C. Leonard Tudor of the Home Missions Department taking both services. He preached tonight on Numbers 10:29–31, ”Moses said unto Hobab … We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you … come thou with us and we will do thee good … leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.”
Who was Hobab? It is another name for Jethro (or Jether), Moses’ father-in-law. He was the priest of Midian and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Moses had fled to Midian from Pharaoh’s court after killing the Egyptian. He led Jethro’s flock to the backside of the desert and came to Mount Horeb where he heard the voice of God in the Burning Bush; now he was leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Jethro wanted to return to Midian but Moses needed him: ”Come with us and we will do thee good.” Hobab was forthright and direct (”I will not go”), quick of eye and observant, which was why Moses said, ”Come with us, we will do you good, and you will do us good — you will be our eyes”. Okay!
This is a parable for us as we seek to win souls for Christ. We need to be on our guard against stereotyping our approach to men. We appeal to men in our own particular way and there is the peril of not seeing other ways — we think our way is right. In the Church there are both Sacramentalists and Evangelists, and there is danger in emphasising only one method of approach.
Billy Graham came in 1954, he was divinely inspired, but some Church people had no place for him if he didn’t measure up to their yardstick. This was the attitude of some preachers. We must learn to exercise charity — we are His disciples. Some of the contestants in His battle lack this quality. There are 12 gates into the City of God, according to the Book of Revelation. Come with us, we say. The Christian life is not narrow, restricted, confused, but abundant, overflowing. ”Ye will not come to me, ” said Jesus (John 5:40), but He offers us rest, peace, truth, life, the amiable satisfactions of life in Jesus Christ.
”Thou mayest be to us instead of eyes” said Hobab. We have gifts which we can put into Christ’s service. The burden of a preacher is man’s need of God and God’s need of man, as we see from the Gospels. What is our outlook, what is our doctrine, what is our idea of God? The Bible shows us what we might become — fishers of men! ”Zaccheus, come down, I am coming to have supper with you.” Jesus Christ needed Zaccheus, and He needed James and John. Everyone is different and we must beware of rigidity in our appeal and not make limits. Dr. Albert Schweitzer has some unorthodox views but look at his work in the Belgian Congo. It is not by our PhD, not by our theology, but by our fruits that we are known (Matthew 7:20).
Often we are driven to Him in our extremities. Decorators may be required for church who are not churchgoers, so we must be like Paul — ”I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Christ offers us power to break evil. ”Come unto Me,” He says. He will do us good, and we can use our gifts for God. A Thousand Miles of Miracle [singular] in China is a wonderful book, extraordinary, marvellous, thrilling, the story of the last two months in the life of Flora Glover, written by her husband. Sister Flora was a missionary, she had a gift to use for God, and we have too. ”Come with us. Be to us as eyes.”
The hymns were 678 Lord of the worlds above, 7 O heavenly King, look down from above, 979 Our Father, by whose servants (to the tune of 701 The Church’s one foundation), 795 O Church of God, arise (to the tune of 811 Thy kingdom come, O God) and 784 What shall we offer our good Lord. The readings were from Numbers 10:29–31 and Matthew 4:17–25.
Freda and Anne made tea for Y.P.F. I took Freda home afterwards.
The original notes of tonight’s service give the third hymn as ”97 (701)”. The metre for 97 O filial Deity, accept my new-born cry (which I do not ever remember singing) is 220.127.116.11.7.7. whereas the metre for 701 The Church’s one foundation is 18.104.22.168.D. The only other hymn in the Methodist Hymn-Book with this metre and similar number, i.e. 979 instead of 97, is so appropriate for a Church Anniversary that I feel certain it is correct.
Snow again! Freda and Anne were on the train as usual.
This morning I started some calculations for Alan’s thesis while he and Dr. Schneider had a conference.
I was going to do some work on my book in the lunch hour but Anne ’phoned to ask me if I would meet Freda outside Lewis’s at 12.40 as she would not be able to get there in time. She and Freda were having dinner together.
I met Freda at the Library tonight with Anne and Philip
The I.M.L.T. Haematology exam this morning wasn’t a very nice one. There was nothing on blood structure, formation, groups, Rhesus factors and so on, and I got into a mess with several other things which I really knew quite well. But I still can’t remember what Poikelocytosis is.
I came straight into town with John. Alan wasn’t in at all but I had plenty to do. I varnished yesterday’s trace and inscribed it with white ink. Anne ’phoned me and she, Freda and I caught the 5.20. On the train I had to show Freda how to use logarithm tables.
After leaving Freda Anne had one of her moods.
Nurses tipped out of bed
Anne seemed quite her normal self this morning and said she was sorry about last night.
At work I completed Alan’s calculations — over 80 of them, and drew a final diagram. Just when I had three quarters of an hour at lunch time I discovered I had left my book at home, so I couldn’t do any work on it.
Mrs. Shipway ’phoned at 4.30pm and said she would definitely have the puppy [one of Dinah’s] bitch next week-end. Anne ’phoned me at 5.30pm and we chatted for twenty minutes before I went to College. Tonight we studied the urinogenital systems and embryology etc. Afterwards we continued to dissect the rat.
Fun and games at the Q.E.! On Tuesday night five nurses got tipped out of bed in the Annexe, and Prof. [C.F.V.] Smout has posted a notice suggesting ”the offenders might like to give some further explanation before further action is taken”. They had until 10.0 this morning, but as far as I know, no one has owned up, and I don’t believe Prof. Smout has much in the way of evidence except a motor-bike registration number.
John Winrow was going to the Town Hall tonight to celebrate his birthday on Sunday. I see from the Concert Syllabus 1954–1955, which I bought last year, that Rudolf Schwarz was conducting the C.B.S.O. in the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G by Bach, These Things Shall Be by John Ireland, and Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) by Beethoven. The soloists were Ruth Packer, Marjorie Thomas, William Herbert and Norman Walker.
Sir Richard Acland, Labour M.P. for Gravesend since 1947, today resigned in protest against the decision to manufacture the Hydrogen Bomb.
Freda and Anne were on the train as usual this morning. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train.
Anne and I went to Club tonight and Freda joined us after Choir practice. Kingy and Geoff were also there. I took Freda home and then Anne. I chipped a tooth today.
Birmingham’s biggest peace-time fire
It took me half an hour to get into the lab this morning as Dr. Schneider hadn’t left my key at the Lodge. I borrowed Assistant Matron’s. During the morning I wrote two articles, typed and posted them to the Birmingham News and Reader’s Digest.
I worked all morning quite unaware of the fact that just round the corner was raging the Great Fire of Birmingham. Afterwards I realised I had seen a great deal of smoke over G.H.B. and smelt burning wood, but I didn’t give it much thought even when I heard of a great traffic hold-up and some sort of accident outside the Fire Station.
But it was Birmingham’s biggest peace-time fire. Halford’s building was alight, flames were shooting 100 to 150 feet into the air, and clouds of acrid smoke filled the sky.
Anne met me from the train. This afternoon Dad and I went to St. Andrew’s to see Blues 6th round match v Manchester City. It was a huge disappointment. Before the biggest gate of the season (58,000) they lost 1–nil, Hart scoring for Manchester City two minutes from the end.
Birmingham City: — Merrick; Hall, Green; Boyd, Smith, Warhurst; Astall, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan.
[My Pocket Diary indicates that I had an engagement at 6.0pm.]
Mr. Dibben preached at both services today. The morning sermon was on 1 Peter 3:17, ”It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.” This suggests a providence behind events, God’s will being worked out in all the things that happen to us. Whatever our suffering, whether our own fault or not, it is overcome in hope, thus we may know the triumph of individual living. There is suffering for our principles when we are persecuted, but ”Ye are the salt of the earth” said Jesus (Matthew 5:13). We can begin to understand the mystery of Christ’s sufferings. ”the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”.
Mr. Dibben said that many who had suffered for well doing (Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, etc.) had three things in common. They were:
i. Always in a minority — just one or two people
ii. Stricken with fear again and again when in the midst of their reforms
iii. Content with discouragement when they had heard God’s Word.
They were doing good works yet faced jealousy and misunderstanding. Seeing bad things in others is a relief from seeing the same things in us. We think we are good and others bad. Why this over-sensitiveness to others’ faults? why is it a sin? We can save ourselves unnecessary suffering by facing up to ourselves and knowing ourselves. Very often we see evil in others as a relief from seeing it in ourselves. There is a hesitancy to see the truth, an emphasis on false values. But there is triumph in suffering.
The hymns were 924 Christ, whose glory fills the skies, 25 Round the Lord in glory seated, 856 I love to hear the story, 697 Blest are the humble souls that see, and 488 Oft in danger, oft in woe. The lessons were Deuteronomy 30 and Luke 12. After the service we stayed for Holy Communion.
I went to the membership class this afternoon. It was a beautifully sunny day [8.2 hours]. Afterwards Anne and I went back to tea with Freda and Rosemary and Mick.
Tonight’s sermon was on Matthew 3:2, ”Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Someone has said, ”Preachers of repentance do not usually find whole-hearted followers.” We don’t like it, we’re not that bad, they say. Condemnation of the Pharisees was popular and the crowds listened to John — he had a message from God. Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by him. ”A generation of vipers” he called them, and told them to bring forth the fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:7–8).
There is the same need for repentance today, but there is complacency nowadays. ”I am all unrighteousness; false and full of sin I am” says Charles Wesley in the hymn just sung (110, verse 3), but there is a decline of the sense of sin. People say that dwelling on sin only makes things worse, but not to realise sin is a defect of experience. We must repent. Sin derives from a positive or negative motive, not from our action; from the thought and not the deed. Our service is stymied because we want our own way, we oscillate between two poles — ”It is all right if I do it, but no one else must.” Mephistopheles speaks of ”the spirit which ever denies.”
We need that deliverance from our self. To repent means to change our minds, to turn away, but we won’t recognise our guilt, greed, pride and lust. Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth cries in her sleep-walking, ”Out, damned spot! Out, I say! … What, will these hands ne’er be clean? … Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1). Nothing will rid us of the guilt but the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
There is sinful-ness apart from sinful deeds — we need purity within. David prays for ”truth in the inward parts … Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”(Psalm 51:6, 10). He was confronted by the utter purity of God. That is something we should think about and then ask ourselves ”Am I sinless?” Archimedes demonstrated the lever and the fulcrum. ”Give me the place to stand in (repentance) and I will move the world”. The lever is Christ, we are the fulcrum.
Mr. Dibben ended his sermon with a prayer: ”We ask forgiveness for our sins … we offer ourselves … come to us … show us the way … perfect forgiveness … lift us up into your joy … receive us”.
It was a most wonderful, uplifting sermon. The lessons were Isaiah 40 and Matthew 3:1–17. The hymns were 271 Crown Him with many thorns, 26 Ye holy angels bright, 149 And didst Thou love the race that loved not Thee?, 110 Jesu, Lover of my soul, and 353 Just as I am, without one plea.
I took Freda home tonight after Y.P.F. [A note in my Pocket Diary indicates that today is John Winrow’s 20th birthday and alongside are the words An Die Freude or Ode to Joy. He must have told me that he hoped to be going to a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It is on one of the records he has played for me.]
At Handsworth [College] today we completed our revision of the Organic Chemistry. Nothing much happened. During the lunch hour Pete, Dave and I went our usual walk. Pete had forcibly to be restrained from buying cakes and sweets. He must give up all these nice things if he is marrying Naomi.
Nothing much happened at my class tonight. We studied meiosis. I came home on the 9.10pm. For homework I have to write an essay on ”The Nature and Purpose of Chemistry”.
Freda and Anne and I were on the train this morning. At lunch time I went to Phillip Harris’s. I spent the evening with Anne but accidentally [unpremeditatedly] kissed her. I have saved £2 to pay into the Midland Bank tomorrow.
Our I.M.L.T. class this morning was devoted to going through last week’s exam. I managed to get 54%, though the marking was somewhat lenient. Jean was very upset to find she had got only 27%. John got 78% but wasn’t at work today. I believe he has ’flu. In the second half of the class Jean and I made notes on the fragility test. I was away when we did this.
I got back to work at 2.0pm. During the afternoon I completed Alan’s calculations. I also went to Phillip Harris’s and got some B.P. Glucose in return for that I got yesterday. Perhaps they thought that B.P. stood for Brown & Polson.
For the first time for over three weeks I should think, I came home on the 5.10, with Anne. Anne said she told Freda at dinner time what we were talking about last night and I rather wondered what Freda would have to say tonight when we went to the Town Hall.
It was a lovely evening. The concert consisted entirely of Viennese music. Rudolf Schwarz conducted [the C.B.S.O.]. The items were:
Overture, Poet and Peasant — Suppé
Serenade for Strings, K.525 — Mozart
Suite, Der Rosenkavalier — Richard Strauss
Overture, Die Fledermaus — J. Strauss
Pizzicato Polka — J. Strauss & Josef Strauss
Emperor Waltz — J. Strauss
Radetsky March — Johann Strauss, Snr.
Perpetuum Mobile — J. Strauss
Waltz, Tales from the Vienna Woods — J. Strauss
My only disappointment was when Freda said Der Rosenkavalier left her cold! I thought myself that it was not quite up to the C.B.S.O.’s usual standing and that Poet and Peasant lacked a certain precision, but it was an excellent rendering of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The Radetsky March was the best item in the second half of the programme.
As always seems the case the evening was over too soon, though it was 11.0pm before I got in. Although I didn’t say much on the subject, Freda did understand why I kissed Anne and was very reasonable about it. Clearly, she understands Anne well, and she confirmed what I had been thinking, that Anne is very emotional and not so very well able to conceal her feelings.
Freda said she really wanted me all to herself but didn’t mind sharing me. As I said, the problem would almost certainly resolve itself in time and probably neither would want me.
Anne told Freda I would be taking her home one of these evenings and would kiss her. Quite true, I suppose, and Freda even called me back tonight, as if to say ”Haven’t you forgotten something?”, though she was a bit more subtle than that.
Freda was in a very argumentative mood on the way to town. The F.A. Cup and the Football League are now one and the same thing, and the Labour Party should go into voluntary liquidation. Or something
Pat was taking Anne in his car this morning, so Freda and I were together again. Freda left her bag on the train but remembered it just in time to retrieve it.
At work I typed some of Alan’s thesis after spending the whole morning re-writing some tables. It was a lovely day and I went for a walk at 2.30. I decided to have a look at the Halford building which was burnt down on Saturday. It is no more than a shell inside which is a twisted mass of steel. I think the remainder of the building will have to be pulled down, as I don’t see otherwise how the ground can ever be cleared again.
At the Men’s Fellowship tonight Canon E. Moore Darling spoke to us on ”Christianity in Industry”.
I saw Freda tonight after the play. Helen and Anne were also there.
This morning I completed Alan’s typing and had little else to do except Hilary’s washing up. Anne ’phoned me at 4.45pm. Earlier this week she said she wouldn’t ’phone me again so I decided I would not ’phone either.
I came home on the 5.20 with Freda. Anne caught the 5.10pm.
Tonight I called for Anne and we went to the Piccadilly to see Sign of the Pagan (U) in CinemaScope, with Jeff Chandler, Jack Palance, Rita Gam and Ludmilla Tcherina. It was about Attila the Hun attacking Rome in the 5th century, and was quite good. The other film was Children Galore (U), a comedy with Eddie Byrne and Marjorie Rhodes.
I’ve just returned from the Dibbens’ where 14 or 15 of us, including Freda, Anne, Philip and I were invited; it’s 10.45pm. We had a most enjoyable time playing party games with dried peas, chopsticks, Manchester Guardians, ping-pong balls, knitting [needles], nursery rhymes, word games, and refreshments at 9.0pm.
Afterwards the four of us walked down Station Road. I wanted to take Freda home and Philip Anne, but we all walked up to Freda’s [1166 Warwick Road]. Back in the village I let Philip take Anne as I was anxious to get back in to do some writing. I’ve been extremely busy all day.
The Birmingham News published the article I wrote last Saturday, and this morning I typed my letter to the Birmingham Post.
The lab had got into a filthy mess during the week as Louie still has a bad back and hasn’t been in all the week, so I was glad when two women came in to clean the place up.
Anne met me off the 12.30pm as I expected. She said she had decided not to go out with me any more. In view of the fact that both she and Freda have said this at least twice each on previous occasions, I don’t know whether to take this seriously or not.
Straight after dinner I got out my typewriter and spent the afternoon doing two Zoology preps. Apart from taking a photograph of [Eddie] one of the puppies [jpg] and helping Dad in the garden for twenty minutes, I worked right through to twenty five to seven. As I was meeting Freda and Anne outside the Post Office at five to seven, I only had time to wash and change and didn’t have any tea.
Mr. & Mrs. Powley took delivery of a new Vauxhall car this morning. They ordered the car 18 months ago and asked for the colour to be Caribbean blue but it has come in silver. The Registration No. is ROF 430.
Mr. Dibben preached at both today’s services, this morning on Matthew 5:48, ”Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Here he read a piece from Humour.] Jesus’ demand of us is one that costs, but the reward is great and therefore we can feel that the task is justified. Perfection is achieved when a thing fulfils the purpose for which it exists, in the proper performance of its function. Man’s purpose is to glorify God, thus growth is implied.
Mr. Dibben read from Philippians 3. Paul said he was ”touching the law, blameless, but … I count all things but loss … that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ … that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection … not as though I … were already perfect … but I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as would be perfect, be thus minded.”
Tie up the tap-root and a plant doesn’t grow. We all have prejudices which hamper our spiritual growth. We have not reached perfection yet. We cannot live to ourselves. Perfection grows in God’s fellowship. We shall be perfect if we are in Christ. We must be positive. Perfection is not a matter of not doing things -- ”not do this, not do that”, etc. — but of surrendering ourselves to the perfect will of God for our lives.
We sang 52 O love of God, how strong and true, 15 Praise to the living God, 845 God make my life a little light, 450 Now let us see Thy beauty, Lord, 570 Holy, and true, and righteous Lord (to the tune of 791 Jesus, Thy wandering sheep behold!) The readings were Psalm 101 and 1 Peter 1:13–25.
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas’s baby daughter Angela Marjorie was baptised this afternoon.
It is Methodist Youth Week and tonight Mr. Dibben’s sermon was on Mark 9:36: ”And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them” — the starting of faith is to become as a little child. Religion is caught, not taught; it is life, and therefore the right basis is essential. What we are, we teach others. There can be no compromise — we teach the truth of God or of atheism. Present trends in radio, TV, horror comics, strip-cartoons and our ”free Sunday” are evidences of spiritual famine.
The hymns were 34 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, 50 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want, 431 Love divine, all loves excelling, 99 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, and 948 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide. The lessons were Proverbs 21:10–31 and Ephesians 5:22–33. Freda and Marilyn gave out flowers [for Mothers’ Day] Kingy and Geoff were there and stayed for the Y.P.F. ”At Home”. I took Freda home afterwards. Mam went to the Theatre Royal to hear Kenneth Lacey speak on ”Foretold 2,400 Years Ago”, obviously Daniel’s prophecy of Christ’s coming.
Billy Graham began his All-Scotland Crusade today. It is scheduled to run for six weeks. A note in my Pocket Diary informs me that ”The Gondoliers” is on at Solihull, and the tickets are 4/6d. Freda was on the train this morning [unfinished]
No entry. Freda and Anne were on the train this morning. It was cold and frosty again. In Chemistry we studied the depression of the freezing point which seemed rather appropriate!
I stayed in bed until nearly 10.0 this morning. I had an appointment at the dentist’s at 10.30am. Mr. Parker filled the tooth which chipped twelve days ago. I had dinner at home.
I went to work on the 1.43 train. Barbara Moore was in my compartment, Pat Welch got in at Tyseley and Mr. Jones [Rev. Arnold B. Jones, minister at Solihull Methodist Church, Blossomfield Road] also got off the train at Snow Hill.
Anne and I came home together on the 5.10. Anne went to see Mr. Fauset Welsh at 11.30am and he told her she has to have a cyst removed. I guessed this was what was wrong with her some time ago when I saw [from the daily operations list] that Mr. Welsh performed cystectomies.
Anne and Freda were going to Solihull Council House tonight to see The Gondoliers in which Bob Pardoe is singing. At Church there was a Youth Rally as part of Methodist Youth Week.
Last night was the first frost-free night for a week.
Tonight Mr. Cutts taught us Meiosis. In practical we all talked about inheritance and hair colour and did some examples, so we did no practical work at all. It was rather a funny evening. The clock was slow and when I got to Moor Street the train started to move just before I could get on it, so I had to come home on the 9.20pm.
I walked home via Westley Road just in case Anne had gone to meet me. But she and Freda had gone to the Folk-dancing at Gospel Lane which didn’t end until 10.0pm.
My letter to the Birmingham Post in support of Alan’s was printed in today’s Birmingham Post under the heading ”Experiments on Animals”.
Anne wore a most coy expression [on the train] this morning. I can’t imagine why.
Alan did not appear all day and as there was very little to do I worked on my book for over two hours. I got the plumber to come in as the sink would not drain. The pipe had got clogged with the leaves. It was also a pouring wet day.
I saw Freda at five to one. I was waiting to cross the road opposite Lewis’s.
Janet and her friend came to join Hilary and me for tea. Then at five to five Janet ’phoned and said she had lost her purse containing £4. It wasn’t in the lab. Hope she’s found it.
I came home on the 5.20pm with Freda and Anne. On the way home in Dudley Park Road Anne knocked me really hard against a tree [unfinished]
Once again the rain was pouring down this morning when I went to Dr. Gough’s. The surgery was packed, there was only Dr. Gough in attendance and I had to wait nearly two hours. Dr. Gough has given me a note to see a specialist, Mr. Innes at G.H.B. about my knee. It has got steadily worse this last month.
This afternoon I watched the Boat Race — Cambridge won by 16 lengths in 19mins 10 secs — and listened to the Grand National and the York City v Newcastle United semi-final tie.
Grand National: 1st Quare Times, 2nd, 3rd CHECK
F.A. Cup semi-finals:
Man. City 1 Sunderland 0 (at Villa Park)
York City 1 Newcastle United 1 (at Sheffield ?) CHECK
It was still raining when I went to the Reading Room [at the Library] at 6.30pm. [1.155 inches of rain fell today.] In the Birmingham Post Dr. Brailsford had written a long letter refuting my plea for a better system of supervision and suggesting the total abolition of animal experimentation. I wrote a further letter this evening and pointed out that one might just as well try to abolish motor-cars. I have also made a statement of the ethics of the matter.
When I got up this morning I was just in time to hear the last ten minutes of a service conducted by Billy Graham. Billy Graham is giving the Lift Up Your Hearts talks this week so I intend to get up a little earlier. I seem to get to bed so late it is hardly worth my while to go to bed.
Mr. Terry [Rev. William S. Terry, Minister at Saltley, Alum Rock Road, Church] was this morning’s preacher. [The sermon notes for both today’s services have been lost.] I went to the Youth Team meeting this afternoon.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service which included the reception of six new members. They are Philip Mead, Janet Pritchard, Geraldine Mannington, Colin Fraser, Beatrice Roberts and Pamela Llewellyn. I took Freda home after Y.P.F. We saw Kipper [Christopher Martin].
Pat Welch came with me [and Freda] and Anne on the train this morning. Unfortunately Anne had one of her moods on and wouldn’t speak to any of us. By now I take it for granted [unfinished].
Anne wasn’t on the train this morning. I suppose she has decided not to see me again. I wonder when the situation will resolve itself? Freda and Pat were on the train. Tonight I came home on the train with Freda and Bob Pardoe
At I.M.L.T. this morning we had the second class in Biochemistry. The lecturer was a Mr. Crawford from Q.E.H. John didn’t come to the lecture — it was on elementary chemistry, but Mr. Crawford demanded an explanation in front of the whole class before we’d been in the practical five minutes. This annoyed John, Jean and me considerably, but things got steadily worse when he kept finding fault with everything we did. Nor did he intend to forget that John had missed the lecture. There was quite a heated argument and I was still flushed with rage an hour after dinner.
I got to G.H.B. at two and left at 3.0pm as I was going to see Mr. Parker at 3.45pm. I came home on the 3.10pm train.
Mr. Parker filled another tooth. Now I have only to go once more. When I got back home I heard that Newcastle United had beaten York City 2–nil in the semi-final replay. Newcastle scored after two minutes and got their second goal with almost the last kick of the match. York had their centre-half injured and off the field some of the time.
Newcastle are certainly lucky to be at Wembley for the tenth time. They scraped through the 3rd and 4th rounds by a single goal, took 3 matches to beat Nottingham Forest, two to beat Huddersfield, and two to beat York. Manchester City’s cup, I think.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening working for tomorrow’s exam. At about 8.30pm though, there was a knock at the door. It was Anne come to tell me she is going into the Q.E. tomorrow. I hadn’t seen her since Monday. We spent the rest of the evening looking at my books and picture post-cards, then I took her home. She was a bit upset and was near to tears when I left her. I told her she would be alright and wrote her a letter when I got home.
Anne came on the train this morning on her way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She had some shopping to do in town before meeting her mother. We said Goodbye again in New Street.
When I got into GHB at 9.20 the Residents’ Corridor on the second floor was covered with water and broken glass — the students had a raid last night. One of the nurses whom I hadn’t seen before, grinned at me; I think she thinks I did it.
I posted my letter to Anne at 9.45am.
I was in a frightful flap all day, due to tonight’s [Zoology] exam more than anything [which meant I wasn’t able to attend the Local Preachers’ Fellowship]. During the day I re-typed two pages of Alan’s thesis and made some additions to some graphs. Mr. Clarke came during the morning. I didn’t go out at dinner time and when I wasn’t working I was swotting most of the time, but not very successfully.
Actually, the exam wasn’t too bad at all and I think I did quite satisfactorily. In the practical we had to draw and label the leg of a cockroach, a tapeworm proglottid and T.S. [transverse section] small intestine, and identify a hydra [which I used to have in my aquarium], honey-bee and cervical vertebra.
I came home on the 9.20pm train. It got held up and was late. Now it’s 10.45pm. I wonder whether Anne is asleep yet?
There was a letter 1 from Anne this morning. She is on Ward West 5 and says she can see the railway line, nine pylons, ten long chimneys, a church and also a reservoir. There are three other ladies, middle-aged, in the Ward, and they had been talking about the colour-bar. She was going to listen to Mrs. Dale’s Diary if she could get the earphones to work! She hopes I got on alright in the Zoology exam, and says she will be praying for me when we go to Kineton on Sunday. I shall be taking the morning and evening services at Middle Tysoe and the afternoon service at Oakhill, D.V.
Freda was on the train as usual this morning and we came home together tonight. We went for a walk after Choir practice. Kingy and Geoff were there.
I had a second letter 2 from Anne this morning, and Freda had one too. She had a dizzy spell on Thursday afternoon, perhaps due to the heat in the ward which made her chocolate biscuits all gooey. The lady opposite her, who has broken a leg, smokes a lot. Looking out of the window she can see a train coming and wishes it was the 8.40 or the 5.10. She and two others listened to Billy Graham in the morning. Mr. Welsh the surgeon says that she has a large cyst on the ovary, she was having an X-ray later on.
My second letter on ”Experiments on Animals” was published in today’s Birmingham Post.
Freda and I went to Jos Pardoe and Rita Rushton’s wedding this morning, and called to see Mr. & Mrs. Vickery later. I called for Freda at 6.30pm and we went to the Q.E. to see Anne. Mr. Lile [James Lile, our organist and choir-master] was there. Anne is to have the operation on Monday morning. Afterwards we walked past the University and K.E.S. and along Bristol Road to town.
I called for Mr. Marsh [W. Donald Marsh, 37 Hazelwood Road] at 9.10 today and we picked up Messrs Caunt [Mr. H.E. Caunt] and Crowther at the Swan. I took three services today, morning and evening at Middle Tysoe and Oxhill this afternoon: —
11.0am. Sentence: Romans 6:9–11, Hymn 924 Christ, whose glory fills the skies, 1st Prayer, Children’s address, 521 I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, 1st Lesson: Zechariah 9:9–12, 542 Jesus, my strength, my hope, 2nd Lesson: Matthew 21:1–17, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory. 561 Father of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Sermon ”Unto Life eternal” (John 12:25), 144 My song is love unknown, The Blessing.
3.0pm. Hymn 192 Ride on, ride on in majesty!, 1st Prayer, 313 To God be the glory! 1st Lesson: Zechariah 9:9–12, Children’s address, 854 It is a thing most wonderful, 2nd Lesson: Matthew 21:1–17, Notices and Offertory, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross, Sermon: ”Justified by His Blood” (Romans 5:-8–9), 422 Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, The Blessing.
6.30pm. Hymn 192 Ride on, ride on in majesty! 1st Prayer, 477 Son of God, if Thy free grace, 1st Lesson: Isaiah 63:7–17, 371 And can it be that I should gain, 2nd Lesson: Luke 19:28–48, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross, Sermon: ”Redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18–19), 374 Jesus hath died and hath risen again, The Blessing.
It was a wonderful and rewarding day but we returned too late for me to see Freda. She was singing with the Choir in Stainer’s Crucifixion tonight. [She went to Y.P.F. afterwards and made the tea.]
This morning Anne had her operation. I ’phoned Q.E.H. at 4.45pm and was told that she was ”fairly satisfactory”. I came home on the 5.20pm with Freda. I put off our evening out until tomorrow as I was naturally worried about Anne, as indeed Freda was. I think I spoke hardly a word to anyone all day.
At 9.30am I went to see Mr. Innes. After getting registered (now I’ve yet another card and another number, 359882), I was seen almost immediately. It seemed stupid wearing only a pair of pants when I only needed to have my knee looked at. Anne had the students the other day, today it was my turn and Mr. Innes was accompanied by six students who had to work out what was wrong with my knee. They drew in all sorts of bone, muscles, cartilages with a fountain-pen but I rather riled when Mr. Innes took my leg in his hand and said he could dislocate my knee. There was a discussion and it was decided that the trouble was not to do with the cartilage. When Mr. Innes ”pushed” on the kneecap there was a sort of click, as though there were a gap in the bone beneath it.
Eventually Mr. Innes wrote ”Retropatellar Neochondritis” (or something) and told me to have my knee X-rayed. As X-ray was crowded I told them to ring me, but by 4.15pm no one had done so, so I went down and had the photos taken straight away. I shall now see Mr. Innes again on the 18th.
At nearly five o’clock John rang me to say he had been unable to find out anything about the ”op.” They hadn’t posted the operations list in M.S. [Medical School].
Freda and I went to Church tonight for the first of the Holy Week services. Tonight’s service was entitled ”The Cross and Jesus”. Our interpretation of the Cross depended on our own belief as to the person of Christ; His death revealed God. Jesus was a complete man, not half God, half man. The fact of the Cross removed any thought of play-acting. ”Behold the man” was a far deeper truth than was ever realised.
The hymns were 106 Jesu! The very thought is sweet, 144 My song is love unknown, and 111 Jesus, these eyes have never seen.
We went for a walk afterwards.
Winston Churchill resigns
I had another letter 3 from Anne this morning, written on Sunday. She went to a service in the chapel, which was crowded, and had Communion afterwards. Her parents had been to see her, also Mrs. Fletcher and Joy who brought her a piece of Jos and Rita’s wedding cake and some chocolates. She hopes I preached well and had a good dinner on Sunday!
Freda and Pat were on the train this morning.
I took Freda to the Gaumont tonight to see As Long As They’re Happy with Jack Buchanan, Jean Carson, Brenda de Banzie, Susan Stephen and Diana Dors. There was also a ”Dr. Schneider” [played by David Hurst}, and a guest appearance by Gilbert Harding! The supporting film was Armand & Michaela Denis on the Barrier Reef.
Sir Winston Churchill resigned today. He succeeded Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister in 1940 but was defeated in the 1945 Election after the War ended. He was returned to office in the October 1951 Election.
The main point of interest today is that I have seen Anne. I had a letter 4 from her this morning in rather shaky writing [written yesterday afternoon after a short visit from Mr. Dibben]. She had the op. at 10.30am on Monday and she woke up at about 2.0pm. She says she felt quite well and happy until yesterday afternoon but then she felt rotten. The sister told her she hadn’t a cyst at all but there was a lot of pus in her ovaries and she had lost one. She says she cried all night long on Monday night.
I had a bit of a shock when I wandered into the ward in my borrowed white coat at twenty to one. I saw her little white face and big wide eyes. She looked rather drawn and she’d been crying, but all things considered, I think she could look very much worse. We talked for a few minutes and a nurse brought her some chicken. I went back to M.S. for my lunch and when I got back to see her (after ’phoning Hilary) she looked remarkably fit. The nurse had done her hair and put a ribbon round it, and she had a little make-up on. She had taken her bed-jacket off and was wearing another nightie.
Freda and I went to the Holy Week service again tonight.We sang 109 Jesu, Thou Joy of loving hearts, 159 One who is all unfit to count, 234 Not all the blood of beasts, and 759 And now, O Father, mindful of the love. The reading was 1 Peter 1:13–25, and Mr. Dibben’s theme was ”The Cross and Sacrifice”.
The idea of sacrifice has become debased but in Bible days it was seen as a natural obligation in its usual context. Sacrifice amongst primitive peoples was to win the favour of the gods and avert their anger. In Christian thought Jesus came in the love of God to be the perfect sacrifice by which to reconcile the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Complete love is love is love given and love received. All love is reciprocal or it has no meaning. We make a sacrifice of obedience in our contemplation of the Cross, in the offering of ourselves to God. The restoration of right relationships is costly. Jesus offered His life. Life is costly [the most valuable thing we possess]. ”Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). Any resolution can be suspect until it is put to the test of pain and death. We suffer from moral flabbiness because we have security, comfort and wealth. Forgiveness is free, but hands are pierced.
I had a letter 5 from Anne this morning, written yesterday. She thanks me for the two letters I sent her; she also had a card from Ro and Mick. She had the operation at 10.30 on Monday and woke up at about 2.0pm. The nurse told her they had had to remove one of her ovaries as it was full of pus, there wasn’t a cyst after all. She had cried all night. I feel so sorry for her.
Freda and I went to the Holy Week service again tonight. The hymns were 66 O God of all grace, 178 When my love to Christ grows weak, 391 Thy life was given for me and 451 I lift my heart to Thee, Saviour divine. The reading was Luke 9:18–27.
Mr. Dibben spoke on ”The Cross and Self-denial”, taking as his test Hebrews 12:2, ”Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We are to die with Him, not just for Him. This doesn’t mean the disuse or destruction of the human race, of our own individuality. It is the ”self” which must be crucified. This means:
1. The repudiation of the dominion of our own self. We say ”I want to lead my own life” but life is not our own to live. If we learn to renounce selfishness, then this will lead us to a progressive perfection. The combination of simplicity of intention and purity of affection lead us to perfection. This prevents voluntary transgression of any spiritual law.
2. Self-denial means things to be destroyed, egotism to be cast out, carnal sins to be overcome. Salvation is both instantaneous [justification, the forgiveness of our sins, being reckoned holy] and gradual [sanctification, being made holy]. The pharisaic righteous see themselves as ”poor sinners” but Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17).
3. The self is never completely destroyed in this life. Old enemies come back, and faith in, and strength from, God are required to meet them. ”He saved others; himself he cannot save (Matthew 27:42). Jesus raises us up to a new life when we learn to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
This morning I read the letter 6 which Anne gave me yesterday. It was quite a long one. In it she says: ”If you remember, I said I didn’t know whether I was in love with you or not, well, in these last few days I have found out. Today I felt supremely happy, both when you were with me and when you had left. This may sound silly and sentimental but it is quite true.” Later on she says how wonderful the moon was on Wednesday night, and says she would like to sing Greensleeves to my own accompaniment to her.
I wonder whether Anne’s feeling this way is not perhaps due to the loneliness of the Hospital, and because I have tried to be kind to her. I still love Helen so much …
Freda and I went to the service this morning. The theme was ”The Cross and Recognition.” We sang 180 There is a green hill, 187 O come and mourn with me awhile, 183 In the Cross of Christ I glory, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross. The reading was from Luke 23 and Mr. Dibben spoke on verses 43, ”And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
There was a marvellous scene in the John Wesley film where Wesley preaches ”faith” to the criminal (played by John Slater) on his way to execution. There was a dawn of recognition on his face, the dawn of hope. It was like one of the malefactors executed alongside Jesus. One railed on Him, but the other, a thief (Mark 15:27) recognised Christ: ”Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom” ((Luke 27:42). He must have thought ”he hasn’t come down from the cross; God doesn’t save him; it’s too late”. All thought it too late except this one man. It was because he knew Jesus — he must have known Him before. There was a strong feeling of nationalism at that time, the expectation that Messiah would come. (Barabbas might have been a nationalist leader). This man must have fought for Christ’s kingdom; he had recognised His Kingship, and he asked Christ to remember him.
We too have all had our ideals. Was it worthwhile struggling? We thought we were going to make all the difference. But it is never too late! The Archbishop of York [Dr. Cyril F. Garbett] has made a statement on the H-bomb. Sir Richard Acland has made his decision [resigning as M.P. on 10th March]. Righteousness and truth and love are the only ways in which life will be bettered. We must speak, think, do and preach these. Are our ideals in conflict with those of Jesus? We may think we have the answers but we leave Jesus out. We don’t find Paradise without Him. We must find His way. It is never too late.
This afternoon I called for Freda and we went for a long walk to Solihull and Knowle. She and Rosemary and her parents are going to Bournemouth on Sunday so I shall not see her until Tuesday night. Tonight we spent the evening with her parents and we all watched the service from Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, on T.V. It was a most moving occasion. The choir sang Jesu, joy of man’s desiring and the congregation sang The Lord’s my Shepherd. The reading was from Isaiah 53, after which The Lord’s Prayer was sung to Crimond. The congregation sang When I survey the wondrous cross, George Beverly Shea sang Were you there when they crucified my Lord? and then Billy Graham preached on Galatians 6:14, ”But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”. It was the finest sermon I have ever heard and Mr. Powley specially remarked on it.
”The dawn of hope” on the face of the man about to be executed would have had a special resonance for Mr. Dibben. As far as I remember he never expressed an opinion on capital punishment, but he had been a prison chaplain in India and so had stood on the scaffold with men at their execution. ”I could never do it”, he told me, i.e. execute anyone. My own views on capital punishment will change almost completely in a decade or so.
We now have a car! It is a second-hand Morris Oxford, Registration Number FEA 940, in a duck-egg blue colour, which Mam has been saving up for. Dad will be able to drive it as he drove a motorbike before the war.
The sun shone all day [9.4 hours, the sunniest day since Wednesday 1st September last year when we had 9.9 hours].
Anne says in today’s letter 7 that she has had a wash and really sounds very perky. The patients in the ward tell her it’s wonderful what love can do! But then at the end of the letter she says that Mr. Welsh has been asking whether she’s had any chest complaint and whether anyone in the family has a cough. Now she has to see Dr. Brian Jackson (I think she means Dr. Brian Taylor), so it rather sounds as though she has a spot of tuberculosis. But I don’t think this can be very serious. Anne has always been pretty healthy, rarely has a cold, and has never had ’flu. Anne is worried because she thinks they won’t let her out so soon now, and she is afraid she may need to have another op.
It was Philip Mead’s birthday today.
So much seems to happen these days and I’ve got miles behind with my Diary, my correspondence and my notes. I was up not much after 7.0 to go to Holy Communion. Philip was there but it seemed funny without the girls. [Freda and her family were already on their way to Bournemouth.]
I was preaching at Water Orton in the morning. I went out at 9.30am but the 161 [Midland Red] ’bus didn’t leave the Fox and Goose until 10.24, so I had quite a long wait after getting off the Outer Circle 11 ’bus. I got to Water Orton at 10.40. The ’buses only run every hour so I had to be sure to finish sufficiently early to catch the 12.4 ’bus back again. My sermon was a revision of the one I used at Nether Whitacre the other week. The full Order of Service was:
Sentence: Romans 6:9–11, Hymn 204 Christ the Lord is risen today, 1st Prayer, 854 It is a thing most wonderful, 1st Lesson: Exodus 12:1–14, Children’s Address ”The Pilot”, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 2nd Lesson: Matthew 28:1–20, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross, Sermon: ”Lo, I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20), 235 I know that my Redeemer liveth, The Blessing.
The service finished at three minutes to twelve. The Church had been nearly full of children. There was only a handful of grown-ups. From the Fox and Goose I walked back to Stechford.
At 1.45 I was out again. Phil and I were going to see Anne. We caught a ’bus at two o’clock and we were at Edgbaston Park Road at 2.20pm. Mr. & Mrs. Vickery were at the Hospital and left not long after we got there.
Anne looked remarkably well, though she said she had a blackout when she went for a walk along the corridor. She had a green ribbon in her hair and was wearing the green nightdress. I think it was a bit awkward the two of us being there but the time flew by. Phil took Anne a box of chocolates but she wasn’t very kind to him. When it was time to go, Phil very tactfully withdrew while I kissed Anne Goodbye. We got a large round of applause for this [from the other patients]!
I went home with Phil to tea and the Meads made me feel very welcome. Afterwards we went to Church. Mr. Dibben preached on John 20:16. The sermon was on much the same lines as mine in the morning. Bob sang part of Handel’s Messiah. Phil and I didn’t stay to Communion or Y.P.F. We walked round the village, principally because Philip wanted to ask Janet Pritchard to go out with him, then I came home.
There was no one at home so for the second time today I climbed through a window. (At Q.E.H. Phil and I got out through a window so we could have a look at the pilchard pond.)
Just as I had got in the others came home with Freda [Freda Jones who used to live with us] who had come for the day from Stoke-on-Trent with her boy-friend Harold. They had been nearly to Warwick in the car, Harold driving. They had no sooner got back than Freda and Harold had to leave. It was 8.30pm and they were catching the 8.50 from New Street. I don’t know whether they caught it but they didn’t come back.
I was in bed by 10.0pm. I was very tired and I was quickly asleep.
The first thing I thought of when I woke up was that now I could read the letter 8 Anne gave me yesterday.It was quite a long letter, written on Saturday, and in ink instead of the customary red biro. She had gone for a little walk down the corridor but was still in a lot of pain with the stitches pulling. She watched Billy Graham on T.V. on Friday night, but the picture was poor. She continues the letter on Sunday morning and says it was lovely to see Freda and Rosemary on Saturday night. She had received my long letter in the afternoon and was miserable when I didn’t come. She had another black-out yesterday [Sunday} morning and felt she was dying and was terribly frightened. Later she saw her wound for the first time and it made her feel sick for the rest of the day. How could anyone cut another person open? She thinks I would make a lovely doctor because I am ”so kind, sympathetic and understanding”. It is a shame that it is such a wet day because the ladies in the chapel won’t be able to turn out in their new outfits and Spring hats. She had been going to watch Ask Pickles [Wilfred Pickles] on T.V. last night [Saturday} but was too tired.
I wrote to Anne [10 pages] this morning and caught the [Bank Holiday] post. It was a fairly cloudy day with occasional glimpses of the sun, and quite mild. We went for a drive in the car this afternoon to Water Orton, and saw the Methodist Chapel where I preached on Sunday.
I had a picture postcard from Freda this morning posted at 6.15pm yesterday at Lymington [jpg]. She has sent me the statistics I asked for and tells me they arrived at Bournemouth at about 11.30am after a journey in pouring rain. Then the sun shone beautifully so they were planning to visit the New Forest in the afternoon.
I also had two letters 9 and 10 from Anne, both postmarked yesterday 7.30pm. The first (evidently written on Saturday night) was a short note to tell me that she had been to see Mr. Dominic, one of the doctors. She has got T.B. and will have to go to a convalescent home for 2 or 3 months. She was sorry she wasn’t in a good mood on Saturday, it wasn’t a very good idea Philip coming because she likes to see me by herself, but kissing her goodbye helped a lot.
In the second letter 10 she congratulates herself on not opening mine until 10.30, and tells me that everyone says she looks much better. She has been out of bed, done some knitting, and written her Diary up to date. She was having the stitches out. All the women were drinking Cape Ale, not she, of course. She hopes I was able to go out on Monday as I didn’t look very well on Saturday. She has just looked out of the window and had the feeling that it has all happened before (déjà vu). She likes seeing me alone. I am ”much nicer when alone” and Freda thinks so too. She is not worrying at all about the T.B., only that it will delay her leaving; she is regaining her appetite too, her pulse is right, but her temperature is only 97. She wants me to come and see her but is embarrassed at my going out of visiting hours, although no one has said anything.
On the back of the envelope she says she has just heard that Barbara and Ivan are visiting tonight, so tomorrow afternoon would be better for me to see her.
Dad took us all for a drive in the car this evening to Redditch. Philip called to see me about Anne.
WEDNESDAY 13th APRIL
Freda got back from Bournemouth last night [they had stopped for tea at Marlborough]. She had to go to work today and I went to meet her from the train at 5.30pm. After tea we went to Solihull and walked through the fields, and were late getting back. The sun shone all day.
I had a letter 11 from Anne this morning, written with the red biro as her fountain pen has run out with all the letters she writes. I went to see her this afternoon, walking as far as Cannon Hill and then through the park. It was a beautiful day [10.3 hours of sunshine were recorded at Edgbaston Observatory].
In her letter Anne reminds me that the long walk we went was on Saturday 5th March. I was cruel to drag her all that way and make her go in a telephone kiosk, she says. Philip and I annoyed her intensely on Sunday, we were in a very silly mood, she says. Freda would have been most annoyed if she had been there. She confirms that it is Dr. Brian Taylor (not Jackson) she meant. Mr. Welsh had been to see her and was very pleased with her progress.
I looked very tired on Sunday, she says. One of the ladies is going in a couple of days and has offered me her bed, which Anne thinks would be smashing. How dare I say that men are more beautiful than women! She also listened to the programme [The Piddingtons] from Blackpool. She too would like to live in the Cotswolds, there are lovely cottages around Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water; she is very keen to visit Leominster or Kington in Herefordshire. She is sorry I didn’t get out into the countryside on Monday, it was such a wonderful day. They have a marvellous view from the hospital, extending to the Lickey Hills and Clent; there have been masses of excursion trains.
Mrs. Vickery visited her on Monday afternoon but her father was working, and Mr. Dibben again, with flowers from the Chapel — he was going away for a few days. Janet is back from France and brought her two beautiful lace handkerchiefs, and Mrs. Fletcher sent her The Snow Goose and The Small Miracle, both by Paul Gallico. She has had the stitches out and hopes to come home on Friday.
It was another beautiful day. I met Freda from the train at 5.30pm. Later we went for a long walk via Olton Boulevard East and Shirley Road to Hall Green, then along Stratford Road to Shirley, down Blossomfield Road to Solihull Station, and back home along Warwick Road, about ten miles. On the way back we saw Kingy and Geoff and Donald Holloway.
A letter 12 from Anne came by second post. She hadn’t been able to decipher the word ”custom” in my last letter when I referred to A History of Courting by E.S. Turner. They had been outside on the balcony since soon after 9.0am and she was getting sunburnt. Since then she had walked by herself to East 5 ward. Barbara and Ivan came to see her on Tuesday night, they had been to the Cotswolds on Saturday and to Rhyl on Monday. Anne had watched Garrison Theatre, Find the Link and Walt Disney’s The Vanishing Prairie on Tuesday night.
I had a long and very interesting letter 13 from Anne this morning. [The ladies on the Ward are talking about me, she says, she is always being teased about me. She enjoyed the little walk we had together, down to the sitting room. How long had it taken me to walk home? She encloses a letter, ”We love the same man”, from Woman’s Own, which, she says, is ”just like our situation”, and also a lengthy article on ”The Billy Grahams”. She continues the letter yesterday morning at 9.10. I ought to get a chest X-ray in case I have caught T.B. from her, all the crockery she uses is boiled just in case. There has just been a record on Housewives’ Choice about temperatures going up and hearts beating faster.
Then Anne tells me that Sister has just been in to see her. Unfortunately she has got to stay in for a few more days yet as Dr. Taylor isn’t seeing her until Sunday now. It doesn’t look as though I shall be able to bring her home after all. It’s terribly disappointing as she would normally have been home by now. Anne asked for the ”brutal truth” about whether she now meant anything more to me.
The weather was so dull this morning that I changed my mind about cycling to Stratford, but at 2pm I decided to go after all. I had spent the morning writing to Mr. Plater.
I met Freda as usual after Choir practice; Kingy and Geoff were there. I took Freda home afterwards.
There is to be a General Election on May 26th.
The item from Woman’s Own reads: We love the same man My friend and I are both in love with the same man. He is friendly with us both and treats us as though he is fond of us. We are apt to get jealous of one another, and are afraid our friendship will be spoiled, yet we couldn’t bear to stop seeing him. Can you advise us? * You should try to enlarge your circle of friends. This will help to divert your interest from this particular young man and will probably show you both that he is not really indispensable to your happiness. He evidently likes you both as friends, but I don’t think his interest in either of you goes deeper than that.
I was up at 8.0am.I had a letter 14 from Anne. She had had two letters from the office but doubts whether she will ever go back there, and she and I won’t ever be on the train again because I shall have left G.H.B. The patients hadn’t been allowed to stay up to watch Armand and Michaela Denis on T.V. She keeps going up the corridor where I took her and seeing our names still written on the window, as I had said they would be. She walked down to the 3rd floor but got very tired. The Theatre we could see from the window is Theatre 5 where she went.
Mrs. Fletcher had sent her a marvellous box of primroses picked by the family in Ilfracombe. Two of the patients were going home and she wishes she was. A tin of Devonshire cream has just come for her, also from Mrs. Fletcher, but cream makes her sick. Last night she went down to East 5, where I took her, and she saw her parents arriving. Mr. Vickery was going to see Mr. James about her sick pay.
There is a P.S. to the letter. She has just had the hospital in an uproar!. Sister discovered she was missing, but she had only gone down to Ward 3 to see a lady who had been moved there. But Mrs. Brooke had told Sister that she had probably run away. She is in Sister’s black books now.
I spent the morning doing Botany. Freda was working in the shop.
This evening I called for Freda and we went to see the Billy Graham film Mr. Texas at Acocks Green Baptist Church. Mam and Dad and Clarice and Julia went too, and Margaret Moore [from the Mission], Gillian Chilton, Barbara Evans and Freda’s friend [from Ruckleigh] Eileen Wilson were also there. The film, the ”first Christian Western”, starred Red Harper and Cyndy Walker, and was set against the background of the Fort Worth Crusade in 1951. The film was in preparation for the relays next week from Glasgow. Afterwards we went for a walk.
I went to bed at 1.30am B.S.T. last night as we put the clocks forward an hour. I missed Church, not getting up until 12.30pm. It was a dull, miserable day with a cold wind. I went to see Anne at 1.45 and took a Sunday School class at 2.45pm.
Mr. Jones took the service tonight. We sang 217 ”Ye humble souls that seek the Lord (to the tune of 201 There is a fountain filled with blood), 60 Ere God had built the mountains, 366 Jesus! Redeemer, Saviour, Lord, 207 Christ the Lord is risen again, and 235 I know that my Redeemer lives. The readings were from Ezekiel 37:1–14 and John 20:19–31 and Mr. Jones preached on John 20:28, ”And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord, and my God.” He talked about the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, and especially Peter’s betrayal and going back to his previous job, the failed fishing expedition and the miraculous draught of 153 fishes, which is the number of our house! I feel I should preach on this nest week, but unfortunately I have no notes of the sermon. Mr. Jones always prays very movingly, so I began scribbling a few notes of the second prayer, but my biro ran out and I can hardly read them. [The indentations read: ”Truth > thanks. Faith conquereth … Give us faith … yield to Thee … Cringe to face wrong within … break barriers …I live through Christ … Confess our failings … we see the way but don’t follow it … know the way but don’t walk in it …offer sacrifice … take God with us … not leave Thee … pray for others … don’t know Thee … away from home … valley of the shadow of death … pray for this land … reconciliation … better way be seen … preaching the Word … Glasgow … campaign …reach out …seed is sown … may it take off … truth, righteousness, peace … May Thy Kingdom come. Amen.]
At Y.P.F. afterwards I spoke on ”How I would convert Britain”. I should like the Gospel of salvation to be preached in all our churches, not just the social gospel. How many people attend Church each week without ever having had a personal experience of the saving grace of Jesus Christ? There should be a definite opportunity for people to receive Christ as Saviour and to publicly acknowledge the fact. How many ministers and Sunday School teachers have the assurance of salvation? Not very many, judging by the number of clergymen going forward to receive Christ in Billy Graham’s Crusades. As Methodists we should remember John Wesley’s emphasis that all men need to be saved, can be saved, can know themselves saved, can be saved to the uttermost. I believe there should be more films such as I Beheld His Glory, John Wesley, and the Billy Graham films to win souls for Christ. I also believe that we should pray for people to be healed by laying hands on them, as Jesus and the disciples did, and as we are instructed to do in the Bible. The churches would soon be filled with people if they could see miracles of healing, If Christ would come first in all our lives we would be a truly Christian nation and not live in fear of the H-Bomb.
I took Freda home afterwards.
Mam went to the Theatre Royal to hear Kenneth Lacey speak on ”Divine Healing!” which they don’t believe in, but the advert in the Mail sounds as if they do. They also allege that miracles of Divine Healing are counterfeits of the Devil. On Wednesday Kenneth Lacey is to speak on ”The Mark of the Beast — What is it, and what is the true significance?” No doubt he will say it is Sunday worship and that his is the only true church because only they keep the Sabbath Day.
The piece of paper with the almost indecipherable notes for tonight’s sermon was subsequently used to record a cricket score: Northamptonshire 149 and 28 for 2, Warwickshire 291 for 7 declared. Clearly, Northamptonshire would have needed 114 more runs to make Warwickshire bat again. Warwickshire played Northamptonshire at Coventry (Courtaulds) on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, June 4th, 6th and 7th, and the teams met again on Wednesday to Friday, July 6th-8th. As the cricket scores are inscribed with the same almost impossible pen, the former dates seem more probable. As Tuesday 7th June was a wet day, play may have been abandoned at the scores stated.
I went back to work again this morning and [except for going to Handsworth] spent the day getting the lab back in order. The walls have all been washed during the holiday.
Alan didn’t come in at all. I went to see Mr. Innes again. He told me I should not play rugger again. [See Mr. Innes’ letter below.]I also went to see Anne.
I had a Chemistry exam at Handsworth this morning and a Botany exam tonight at Suffolk Street. Freda was going to Anniversary practice. The Billy Graham Relays started tonight at the Baptist Church, also at St. Martin’s and at many other churches in the city.
Albert Einstein died today aged 76. He propounded the Theory of Relativity.
Mr. Innes has today written a letter to Dr. Gough about my knee: THE UNITED BIRMINGHAM HOSPITALS House Governor: THE GENERAL HOSPITAL, G.H. Heaton, A.H.A. BIRMINGHAM 4. Telephone: CENtral 8611 AI/BMS 18th April 1955 Dear Brian, Re Brian Williams 153 Circular Road, Acocks Green. Thank you for your letter with this patient. Clinical examination shows no evidence of any cartilage lesion, but he is undoubtedly tender on pressure over the patella and on movement of the patella against the femoral condyles there is crepitus and increased pain. X-ray shows no bony lesion, but I think we must regard this as an early osteo-chondritis patellae and I think that it will be slow to progress. I have arranged for him to have some physiotherapy and I have told him that he should not play football or squash rackets etc., although he should take exercise such as walking and swimming. I think in the end he may have to have an excision of his patella, but certainly not yet and it should be delayed as long as possible. Yours sincerely, A. Innes Dr. B. Gough, 633 Shirley Road, Birmingham 28.
I went to work on the train with Freda. I wrote a letter and typed my ”I Go A Fishing” sermon for Sunday at Castle Bromwich. I also went to see Anne. Freda and Kingy were going to see her tonight. I went to Physics at Handsworth tonight as usual.
At I.M.L.T. this morning we studied the Kidney and the clinical investigation of urine etc. During the coffee break and at 12.30 I went to see Anne. She seemed very well and had her bed half-out on the balcony. She hopes to be coming home on Friday or Saturday.
At 1.0pm John and I had our lunch on the M.S. roof where we could see Anne. Tim is now in France and now John has been sent up to Augustus Road to work with Frances Williams, although it had been arranged for him to stay in the Chem. Lab.
I had a letter 15 from Anne this morning, written on Monday night when I was doing the Botany exam She watched T.V. on Sunday night, the Christian Forum programme, in which the Bishop of Stepney [The Right Reverend Dr. Joost de Blank], an Abbot, a professor and a headmaster answered viewers’ questions. It was very good indeed, she says, except for the rude remarks about the singing at Billy Graham’s Good Friday service.
It was quite foggy as she wrote, she could barely see the railway line. Sister was back again but had been unable to contact Dr. Brian Taylor. Mr. Welsh had been to see her and was extremely pleased by her progress. For the first time since she went in hospital no letters had come for her, she had been expecting one from Freda. She finishes the letter after a visit from Dr. Brian Taylor who has told her she will have to go away to a sanatorium and not be allowed even to get out of bed for two months.
That is not a very pleasant prospect but I remember that my cousin Reg got T.B. in 1946 and was a long time recovering in Switzerland.
Tonight I called for Freda and we went to the Robin Hood to see Fernandel and Françoise Arnoul in a French film [Le Mouton a Cinq Pattes] The Sheep Has Five Legs (A). Fernandel is the ”sheep”, the oldest inhabitant of a village, and the ”five legs” are his quintuplet sons whom the villagers try to bring together as a publicity stunt! It was quite funny. The supporting film was Jennifer (A) in which Ida Lupino is taken on as housekeeper for Howard Duff in an old mansion, but becomes increasingly uneasy about what could have happened to her predecessor. The films were both quite good and we walked home afterwards.
Nothing much happened today. During the morning I finished cleaning the still and got it set up again. I also did quite a lot of other washing up. In the afternoon I checked Alan’s thesis.
I had a letter from Anne 16 this morning, written on Tuesday but postmarked 10.30am yesterday. She is becoming resigned to the idea of not getting up for two months, but Mr. Welsh has been to see her and there is a possibility that she may be able to stay at home and not have to go into a sanatorium. She had just had a visit from Rev. Frederick A. Thomas, the Methodist Hospital Chaplain whose name is on the front of our Plan. (I see that he lives at Alvechurch and serves the General, the Q.E., the Accident and the Jaffray Hospitals.) Freda was going to see her in the evening. Kingy had sent her some flowers and Newberry Fruits. The painters were moving up and down the building in cradles on the scaffolding, really quite breathtaking, she says. She asks me to wave to her from the Medical School roof tomorrow (i.e. yesterday, which of course I did).
Anne returns home
Freda and I went to work on the train as usual; we saw Kingy and Aileen Jones. I phoned the Q.E.H. and learned that Anne was being discharged this morning. We came home on the 5.20pm train and I called to see her on the way home; she said she was wondering whether she has cancer.
Tonight I met Freda after Choir practice and we went to see Anne. I took Freda home afterwards. Auntie Connie was there.
Anne’s letter 17 written on Thursday came this morning,. What on earth had John and I up to on the roof on Wednesday, fooling around? She was trying to tell me the time because I had said I must leave the Medical School not later than 1.25pm and it was already after 1.30. She was going to have an I.V.P. X-ray and so was being starved. Mr. Welsh had been to see her and been told that she went gallivanting up to T.V. every night. One of the nurses had told her that I look jolly nice. (I wonder which nurse that is?) Did I know that it is supposed to be unlucky to have red and white flowers in the same vase? She continues the letter at 2.45pm, having spent 2½ frightening hours in the X-ray Department, and in a P.S. tells me she is definitely coming home!
I caught the 8.53 train to work this morning. I typed the final draft of my sermon for tomorrow and talked with Louie as usual, she is always very interested.
This afternoon I went to St. Andrews to see Blues play their last home match of the season against Notts County. They drew 1–1. Eddie Brown scored.
Birmingham City: — Schofield; Hall, Badham; Boyd, Smith, Watts; Lane, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan.
Tonight I called for Freda and we went for a long walk via Solihull and Shirley to Earlswood and back, about 12 miles.
It was a beautiful day for my visit to Castle Bromwich this morning. The Order of Service was: Hymn 113 When morning gilds the skies, 1st Prayer, 634 Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, 1st Lesson: Exodus 2:1–22, Children’s address, Children’s Hymn 847 ”O Jesus, we are well and strong, 2nd Lesson: John 21:1–25, 2nd Prayer. Notices, Offertory, 509 The Galilean fishers toil, Sermon: ”I Go A Fishing” (John 21:3), 235 I know that my Redeemer lives, The Blessing.
The sun shone all day [12.1 hours]. I went to see Anne at 3pm and stayed until 5.45pm. Helen was at Church tonight. Mr. Dibben took the service, and we sang 35 For the beauty of the earth, 34 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, 790 Look from Thy sphere of endless day, 742 Thy kingdom come — on bended knee, and 271 Crown Him with many crowns. The readings were from Jeremiah 8:4–14 (with particular emphasis on the last verse, ””Why do we sit still?”) and 2 Timothy 2:1–15 (emphasising ”He cannot deny Himself”).
I took brief notes of Mr. Dibben’s prayers:
1st Prayer: We seek communion from the past week … noises, praise, blame, confusion … turn aside to Thy presence … sense of power and glory … understanding … vision of Thy beauty ... dissatisfied with anything less ... forgiveness ... weakening ... hasty words ... failure in self-control ... stumbling-block ... offended Thy will ... Spirit rule in our hearts > victory ... meet with us ... give us peace.
2nd Prayer: Thou God carest for us, and for all …commend our own needs and those of the world … keep us … forgive our scanty use of talents, poverty of our service … be strengthened > sins less grievous, etc. All sons of men … knowledge of Thee > fear … glory …Thy law be honoured in our homes … redeem … use our poor efforts … evangelisation …cause of peace, understanding … make all one in Christ … kindle desire for us to support them … those dear to us … in peril, distress … sore heart … stricken home … bed of pain … give peace … make us better, more fervent etc. … go forth this week.
Mr. Dibben then spoke on ”The risks and sensibilities of knowing God’s will”, preaching from Jeremiah 8:7, ”Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the Lord.” Plants and trees know when to grow, birds know when to come and go. We don’t know, we don’t discern God’s working in our lives. But we aren’t just individuals. Bees have their own compass and never lose their ways. There is cheaper insurance for churches because we are reckoned to be a lesser risk. In our Christian walk we get so far but then drop back. There is the risk of our not attaining the highest. The risks we run are: — 1 Not making the distinction between quantity and quality. We exaggerate. (An anecdote here about an American visitor and a taxi-driver). Do I make any difference? One whole, good life is worth thousands full of half-baked spirituality.
2 The danger of experiencing everything. We say yes in one direction, no in the other. We say there is not much time for leisure? There is, but we don’t know how to use it. We must learn to say yes to greater things — the things of Christ — and no to lesser things.
3 We are told that every experience gradually changes us, that it remains with us. We have all had unfortunate experiences that come flooding back to us. But they are [indecipherable] experiences. We must face up to risks. How are we to recognise God’s will so as to be able to overcome the risks of our living? Life is very personal. We have to save our own souls, to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12), that is the responsibility given us. There are three ways:
i. To be absolutely happy we must find God. How can we find the Absolute? If we have seen beauty that silences us, we can suspect the Absolute. If we can experience sorrow with a joy that leads only to thankfulness and nothing else, we shall have a glimpse of soul. We are Sons of God therefore we can judge all other experiences having found the Absolute.
ii. Life is like living in a junk shop. But every human being can be rescued, every person saved, and everyone experience their own heaven and hell. Christ died for every soul. The man who thinks he can live independent of God is a fool — he refuses the risk.
iii. We are all play-acting. We are like children, we clap our hands, and think we are so clever. But we must pray for forgiveness for our hypocrisy. We cannot play at courage in the face of God. We have no right to depend on own powers. Are we seeking God’s will and way for us?
Rev. Ernest Price was the speaker at Y.P.F. and gave a most interesting talk on his experiences in Jamaica where he spent 27 years as Principal of Calabar College, 1910–37. He was born in London in 1874, trained for the ministry at Bristol, and was the minister of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Birmingham, 1899–1906.
I took Freda home afterwards and she sat on my lap!
I went to work with Freda as usual. Pat was on the train too. I went to Physiotherapy at 10.20am, and afterwards to Handsworth for Chemistry where we had the results from last week’s exam. During the dinner hour I went for a walk with Dave, Pete and Aduremi. At Tech tonight we had the results of our Botany exam. Freda was going to Anniversary practice.
I went to work on the train with Freda. It was Mr. Powley’s 59th birthday today, they went out with Auntie Connie tonight. [Pencilled note: ? Ivan]
I went with Freda on the train this morning, and then to I.M.L.T., returning to town on the 2B ’bus. I was back at the lab by 1.45pm.
After tea I went to see Anne for half-an-hour but she was disappointed when I said that we could only have half-an-hour together as I was going to the Baptist Church for the Billy Graham relay from Kelvin Hall. We sang When I survey the wondrous Cross, there was a duet Jesus whispers peace, the reading from Isaiah 26:3–9, then the choir sang To God be the glory. It was raining in Glasgow tonight. Last night they had the largest overflow. 19,000 have so far come forward in the meetings, and 1,493 in the relays. Billy Graham preached on Luke 15, ”Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him.”. Jesus gave three stories, of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. The sheep was lost by its own foolishness, the coin by carelessness, the son by his own choice. ”This man receiveth sinners” (Luke 15:2) they said of Him. Something has gone wrong. We are suffering from ”lostness”. We are confused and frustrated. When something is lost, the owner suffers most. We have lost contact with God. We are eternally lost because of sin.
Freda did not come as she had National Children’s Homes envelopes to deliver but met me afterwards.
I went to work with Freda on the train as usual morning [she is still going to Comptometer School], and met her at dinner time after she had been to Kunzle’s. Tonight I have written a letter to Anne and posted it. Freda was going to Anniversary practice and the Sunday School Council meeting.
I went to work with Freda on the train. During the morning we set up the organ bath for an experiment. Later I varnished the traces. Dr. Schneider rang during the day. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the train. I received my wages, £3 17s. 3d as usual, and paid £2 into my Bank account today.
When I got home a letter 18 had come from Anne by second post, begun on Wednesday evening at 10.40pm. when everyone was in bed and she was supposed to be asleep. She imagines me working hard on my typewriter or with a pen. She is sorry about being so uncommunicative earlier but I must try to understand how she feels. She thinks about me being with Freda every morning and all day on Sunday. I am to tell her if I don’t want to come any more but she honestly doesn’t know how she would get on without me. Freda is more suited to me and terribly fond of me which makes it much worse for her stuck in bed.
I went to went to the Billy Graham relay again tonight. We sang No. 426 Lift up your heads, the reading was from Romans 10:4–13 and was followed by a prayer, after which George Beverly Shea sang ”I walked today where Jesus walked”. The choir sang The Lord’s Prayer, after which came the notices. Over 50,000 people were there tonight, and the service was being relayed to more than 3,000 venues. Billy Graham preached on Exodus 32:26, ”Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto Me.” We need to get the picture. Moses was on Mount Sinai. He came down to find the people singing, dancing, drinking, worshipping other gods. They had turned from God. Moses was filled with righteous indignation and called the people to make a decision. Tonight we have to step out if we are on the Lord’s side. Don’t be ashamed. The people then had to renounce sin, intolerance, prejudice — hundreds responded. God is still asking who is on His side? In the office, shop, factory, we can bear witness that we are Christ’s. Come quickly. Say ”I receive Christ, I trust Him, I will be on the Lord’s side.”
I did not go to work this morning but I was up at 8.0am. The postman brought me a letter 19 from Anne and a parcel of literature from May & Baker’s. [Anne got my Thursday night letter second post yesterday while she was having her hair done. She will try to take my advice about not being jealous. She hopes the trio on Sunday will be successful. We share a favourite occupation in dipping into diaries. She shares with me her entry for Saturday 29th April 1950 which includes a visit from Kingy who came on the Wythall ’bus, at 5.0pm they went down the road to get some sweets. Dr. Dain had been to see her. Freda didn’t turn up on Thursday night. The garden was looking lovely, reminding her of Yes, God is good — in earth and sky (by Christopher Wordsworth, Hymn 968). She has started to read Reach for the Sky by Douglas Bader.]
At 9.0 I went out to deliver some National Children’s Home envelopes in Wildfell Road. It took only just over half an hour so next I called on Freda who was having her breakfast. She was going to help Ro buy some sandals and then to see Anne, so we decided to meet outside the Post Office at 10.45. In the meantime I went to the Library to read the papers and came home to dump my raincoat as it was hot and sunny [we had 7 hours of sunshine and the temperature reached 59 degrees].
We walked to Grange Road (where we heard our first cuckoo) via Ulverley Green Road; then down Kineton Green Road [and along Warwick Road], up Olton Boulevard East and down Shirley Road. It was a very pleasant walk
After dinner I went to see Anne at 2.30pm. Today she was her usual happy self once again and didn’t take long to remind me that I hadn’t kissed her on Wednesday. Philip Mead has been to see Anne several times since she came home, and they seem to have a riotous time together. I don’t mind in the least, but I hope she won’t give Philip any wrong ideas. At 16 he is probably very impressionable and might possibly get the wrong idea. I know he is extremely fond of Anne.
While at Anne’s I heard the football results. Blues drew 2–2 at Liverpool and Stoke City lost at Plymouth 2–nil, so the top of the table reads:
P W L D For Ag Pts
Luton Town 42 23 11 8 88 53 54
Leeds United 42 23 12 7 70 53 53
Birmingham City 41 21 10 10 87 46 52
Stoke City 42 21 11 10 69 46 52
Rotherham United 41 24 13 4 88 63 52
Blackburn Rovers 42 22 14 6 114 79 50
So a win for Blues at Doncaster on Wednesday would make them Champions on goal average. One point would see them into Division I, so long as Rotherham dropped a point in their game at home to Liverpool on Monday.
I left Anne at three minutes to six and was at Freda’s by 6.15pm in time to go
the BaptistChurch for the last Billy Graham relay, from Hampden Park. We sang All hail
the power of Jesus’ name, the reading from Ephesians 2:1–10 was followed by a prayer,
then George Beverly Shea sang He’s got the whole world in His hands; after which we
had the notices and offertory. After a special notice about an all-night prayer meeting to be held on Wednesday at 11.30pm we sang The love of God is greater far. I made no notes of the sermon, only of Billy Graham’s words to those coming forward: ”It is a symbolic act, you are confessing your sins before God. It might seem a long way down from the terraces but Christ went a long way to the Cross. You can come down onto the track, you will receive prayer and a verse of Scripture. Whole families can come. You can say, ‘I want to be changed, I want to give my life to Him, I am ready to live for Christ’.” People went forward in the Church, as they have done every night this week, and in hundreds of other venues all over the country. It has been a truly great Crusade.
I took Freda Home after the service.
Today was the Sunday School Anniversary with the usual special services presided over by Mr. Dibben and a packed church. The order of service this morning, with hymns from the special hymn-sheet, was: 8 We thank Thee, Heavenly Father, 5 Lift up your hearts! We lift them, Lord, to Thee, 11 I sing a song of the saints of God, a reading from John 13, 13 Heavenly Father, can it be Thou dost hear a child like me? 12 O sweet as the dew on the portals of morning, a Children’s Address, an anthem followed by the Notices, then two songs (both by Florence Hoatson) sung by the Infants: 15 Dainty wee Daisy woke with the sun and 16 The flowers were loved by Jesus. Then came the Offertory, and 10 A Man there lived in Galilee.
Mr. Dibben spoke of the difficult times in which we live. But are these bad days? William Wilberforce (1759–1833) fought to abolish the slave trade, but was sick all his life and dare not marry, William Pitt [which one?] experienced ruin and despair. Boys today think they know everything, they reverence nobody. For the Jews the world came to an end with the destruction of the Temple in AD70. Children today don’t obey their parents. Thousands of years ago Ancient Britons painted their bodies with woad to frighten their enemies. This is a good age to live in, why do we long for the ”good old days”? Think of what it was like in Jesus’ time. We must make the best of the present and be thankful that we live in a Welfare State. For Christians things may not seem so good. Changes occur, we now have TV etc. During the last 20 years in India [before partition] a million people became Christian. The Bible is now published in almost every land. Things are improving. We are living in a good age. We must make up our minds to improve this age, then we are truly following Christ.
We had Mr. Watson this afternoon. The order of service was: — 3 O God of Bethel, by whose hand, Prayer, 9 We thank Thee, Lord, for this fair earth, Lesson: Matthew 6:24–34, 12 O sweet as the dew on the portals of morning, and 13 Heavenly Father, can it be, Notices, 11 Sing a song of the saints of God, followed by 15 and 16, the Offertory and 10 (as this morning).
I went to see Anne this afternoon.
Tonight’s order of service was: — No.6 For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, 1st Prayer, 4 Hark! hark my soul! Lesson: 1 Corinthians 13, 13 Heavenly Father, can it be, Children’s address, Anthem, 2nd Prayer, 2 And can it be that I should gain, Notices, 12 O sweet as the dew on the portals of morning, 15, 16, Offertory and 10 (again).
Mr. Dibben preached on 1 Corinthians 13:11, ”When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” We think otherwise of children. We speak of their being childish, loving Peter Pan and fairy stories with their elements of horror, but we are to be childlike, in the sense of being lovable and perfect. Many think the Christian faith is not for the grown-up, it is ”kids’ stuff”, and their children are too grown up for Sunday School. They say ”Now that I have become a man I have finished with religion” etc. Some parents indulge their children, thinking they will become emotionally retarded if not all their calls are answered, and not allowing them to grow up. But maladjustments come from not being grown up. Religion can retard our growing up, keeping us from unpleasantness. But it is a challenge. [An anecdote here.] People too. We reject [?] any expression of grievance because we feel it is aimed at ourselves. That is being childish. There is a more positive side:
1. The physical man. We shall see this exemplified in the Olympic Games next year. Last year Wolverhampton Wanderers beat the Russians [4–nil on 16th November] and Roger Bannister ran the mile in under four minutes.
2. The good psychological man. This involves the integration of our [inner life of mind and soul] to fulfil a purpose, and a harmonious working together. [A reference here to Napoleon]. But Napoleon wasn’t a paragon of virtue!
3. The economic man. There is the idea that if we get rid of ”class” in society we shall have economic bliss. But that isn’t the last word.
None of these concepts of man satisfy us fully. But Paul was looking at the Perfect Man who is Himself the means of our attainment to perfection also. He will give us strength for all the tasks that lie ahead. What do we think growing up is? It is growing up in Him. ”Lord, give us Thyself.”
Although the weather has been poor it has been a wonderful day. We have 250 enrolled in the Sunday School and 36 officers and teachers, the average attendance over the last year being 172 children and 33 teachers. We also have 288 Church members which augurs well for the future.
Geoff was at all the services today and Kingy came tonight, also Freda’s parents and Auntie Connie. At Y.P.F. there was an ”At Home” to which Ivan came. Pat gave me his copies of Study Notes on the Old Testament by Fred A. Farley and Horace Cleaver and An Approach to the New Testament by Greville P. Lewis. I took Freda home afterwards and stayed to see Billy Graham on T.V.
There was a lot of work to be done this morning in preparation for the Practical Class later in the day, and I didn’t get to Handsworth until 11.40am. We studied Catalysis today, and in the afternoon session did some inorganic chemistry. After lunch with Pete and Dave I went into the Library to write a letter to Ivan (enclosing Sunday’s Order of Service), and started one to Anne.
Back at work all was chaos. My first job was to do some rat-catching. Alan had dropped a cage on the floor and 3 rats were loose. Then there was a great rush to varnish five traces. Getting them dry was the difficult part. Dennis Vaughan was helping with the class but couldn’t come when he was most needed — in the morning.
I went to my Botany class as usual but left after the lecture. I caught the 7.35 [Stratford-on-Avon] train from Snow Hill which meant I had to walk from Tyseley, but I wanted to get back so as to be at the Anniversary service [at which Freda was singing]. I got to Church a minute or two before 8.0pm. It was a Parents’ Night led by Mr. Harvey. I took Freda home afterwards.
I felt unaccountably depressed most of today until late in the evening when I got back from Handsworth. It was just one of those days. Nothing went particularly wrong but I think I must have been feeling tired.
I had a letter 20 from Anne this morning, written yesterday. She dreamt that a nurse said that the reason for the delay in the report coming through was that she had cancer of the stomach. I had confirmed it and, when asked, I had told her she had three years to live (I am sure she hasn’t got cancer). Billy Graham took the Epilogue on T.V. on Monday night. On Guess My Story some Welsh miners had sung Love Divine in Welsh, to the tune Blaenwen. It was 90,000 not 100,00 that Billy Graham preached to on Saturday and 20,000 had come forward, she saw it on T.V. Newsreel. Anne asks me to get a leaflet on the Imperial ”Companion” typewriter from Harrison & Fowler in Upper Priory and Daily Bread Notes from C.L.C.
Birmingham City promoted
Today’s highlight has been Blues’ winning the Second Division Championship [on goal average]. Tonight they beat Doncaster Rovers 5–1, so Birmingham City head the division for the first time this season:
P W L D For Ag Pts
Birmingham City 42 22 10 10 92 47 54
Luton Town 42 23 11 8 88 53 54
Rotherham United 42 25 13 4 94 64 54
Leeds United 42 23 12 7 70 53 53
Stoke City 42 21 11 10 69 46 52
Blackburn Rovers 42 22 14 6 114 79 50
I was very annoyed this morning to hear from Freda that Anne told Ro she thought I was lying to her and had been ”carrying on with Freda behind her back”.
At I.M.L.T. we studied [space left]. After lunch I came into town with John. At work [space left]
I came home on the 5.20 with Freda. Straight after tea I spent a few minutes typing Freda’s sermon and Sunday’s Order of Service, then at five past eight collected my N.C.H. envelopes from Wildfell Road. Only 3 or 4 people refused to give but their excuses were feeble.
Birmingham City won the Second Division on goal average, i.e. the number of goals scored divided by the number of goals conceded. Thus Birmingham City’s average, 92 divided by 47 = 1.957, Luton Town’s was 88 divided by 53 = 1.660 and Rotherham United’s 94 divided by 64 = 1.468. Birmingham City therefore won the Championship by 0.297 of a goal. Two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. It is interesting to note that on today’s system (suggested, and later regretted, by Jimmy Hill) of awarding 3 points for a win instead of 2, Rotherham United would have won the Championship with 79 points, Luton Town would still have been second with 77 points, and Birmingham City would have come third — and missed promotion — with only 76 points. Leeds United would also have had 76 points, Stoke City 73 and Blackburn Rovers 72.
I bought Picturegoer and the Daily Telegraph on my way to work this morning. Freda was on the train as usual.
For the next few weeks my work is likely to be the determination of Surface Tension of the Choline esters and other compounds, and the correlation of Surface Tension with molar concentration. I spent all today working on n-Valerylcholine Iodide, using M/2,000, M/1,500, M/500, M/200 and M/100 solutions. The results seem quite unaccountable. The Surface Tension average values were 66.3, 72.4, 72.4 respectively for the first three concentrations, then with the M/500 solution the values kept rising — in three determinations — from 54.5 to 72.4 dynes-cm. This did not occur with the other concentrations and can not be explained as being due to temperature effects. Evaporation should lower Surface Tension. With the M/200 solution the values rose from 43.4 to 62.1 in 16 readings. From these results it is hard to know at what concentration micelle formation takes place.
During the lunch hour I got a typewriter pamphlet for Anne from Pope’s but couldn’t get her Scripture Union Notes. I met Freda in Bull Street.
I had an extremely busy day and also helped Dr. Schneider. He gave me a lift to College. We had no lecture but had to do drawings. The class ended at 8.15pm. I caught the 8.20 train and went to Anne’s. Freda was still there. I stayed until 10.45pm. Anne said she had said nothing of the sort when I asked her about what Rosemary had said on Tuesday. I feel disinclined to trust either.
Today [at 10.0am.] I had my final appointment at Mr. Parker’s and had my teeth scaled and polished. I then caught the 11.8 train. I was an hour at the dentist’s.
It has poured with rain all day — one almost expected to see the animals lined up two by two! I got very wet shopping in the lunch hour [0.64 inches of rain fell in 7¼ hours]. I did some shopping for Hilary. I was very busy all afternoon, cleaning the animals, washing up and preparing for Monday’s class. I was 50 minutes down in Physiotherapy. I have to see Mr. Innes again on the 25th at 11.45am.
I came home with Freda. Tonight I have been typing Physics notes and writing up yesterday’s experiment.
I typed three letters today, on ”The Death Penalty” to the Evening Despatch and the Birmingham Mail, and on ”Women’s Fashions” to Woman’s Own.
At Edgbaston Warwickshire were starting their first County match of the season against Somerset and I have bought the Warwickshire County Cricket Club Annual 1955. [jpg] For only 1/-d it is a superb reference book, giving full details of all last season’s matches, full of historical records, and with eight pages of photographs.
I paid £1 into my Bank account today and now have £17 19s 3d. As I receive £3 17s 3d per week wages, this is equivalent to nearly a month’s work. I didn’t see Freda all day.
This morning the Youth Team was at South Yardley, and I took part for the first time since October 17th (28 weeks ago — how time flies!) when we did a service at Acocks Green, and only the second time since we were last at South Yardley on September 19th. I read the O.T. lesson — the same reading as at Castle Bromwich a fortnight ago. The Order of Service was:
Sentence, Hymn 85 Come, let us join our cheerful songs, 1st Prayer, 684 Jesus, stand among us, 1st Lesson: Genesis 22:1–11 (Anne Beddowes), Children’s Address (Gillian Chilton), 850 Looking upward every day, 2nd Lesson: John 21:15–25, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 353 Just as I am, without one plea, 1st Sermon: ”Feed My Sheep” (Ann Pardoe), 2nd Sermon ”Follow Me” (Freda), 157 Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult, The Blessing.
This afternoon I took a Sunday School class at 2.45pm, went to see Anne afterwards, and from there to the service. Rev. J.W. Thomson from Warwick took both today’s services. The hymns tonight were 695 Praise, Lord, for Thee in Zion waits, 47 Father of all! whose powerful voice, 269 Saviour, we know Thou art, 460 Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal and 938 Father, in high heaven dwelling. The readings were Psalms 42 and 43, and 1 John 2:12–17, and Mr. Thomson preached on ”What are we waiting for?”.
Most of us are awaiting things which are already here. We are intending to get to know our son, daughter, mother, father, wife, husband. We say we are waiting for the opportunity but it is already here. Why do we have this attitude?. Some say they are dissatisfied with life and moan about the almighty mess we are in because of others.
Others say, if only this hadn’t happened. None of us chose the circumstances into which we were born, but we won’t face up to life as it is. ”Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think; enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink” says the popular song. But this worldly philosophy can be transferred to a much higher plane. The best things in life are here already. We may have to wait for a peaceful world but we don’t have to wait for peace in our heart.
The most important thing in life is what we really are. Christianity is the key to life. It says something about all great truths. ”Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not” (1 John 3:1). But too manyother voices are competing with the voice of God. ”It’s brass that counts” is the attitude. We have our baser appetites and have to feed them, and so we become lost in a world obsessed with having a good time. But another voice says ”You are a child of God.” A man caught a baby eagle before it had learned to fly, and gave it chicken food. It was an eagle but was trained to be a chicken. The eagle looked up, around and down, and hopped among the chickens. But the man knew it must still have the heart of an eagle. He took the eagle back to the mountain and released it. The parent eagle called to it from the sky and the young bird spread its wings and soared away. It had found its heart even though it had been tamed. It is the same with us. There are forces taming us, but here in Church we hear another voice say ”You are a child of God”, because we are not meant to be earthbound. So what are we waiting for?
Freda led the devotions at Y.P.F. tonight. I took her home afterwards.
The Birthdays pages of my 1955 Pocket Diary reveal three efforts to work out this morning’s Order of Service, and the sheet which I typed for the Youth Team members includes, between the sermons, Hymn 717 Help us to help each other, Lord, which would have been omitted.
There were the usual class preparations before I went to Chemistry this morning. We did all practical, a volumetric and qualitative analysis.
When I got to work I varnished the traces and cleared up.
In Botany [tonight] we studied Irritability in plants, wrote up some experiments and drew slides showing the development of the ovule in Lilium.
Billy Graham’s 2nd Greater London Crusade began at Wembley tonight.
I got home before ten and was in bed by 10.45pm when I wrote more of my letter to Anne. It was Rosemary’s birthday today.
At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of M/500 solution of n-Valerylcholine Iodide, C4H9COOCH2N(CH3)3I. I came home on the train with Freda.
Tonight Freda and I went to the last ”Music You Love” concert at the Town Hall, A ”Request Night” conducted by Rudolf Schwarz. We had reserved seats, G31 and 32 (2/6d) on the Ground Floor. The programme began with the National Anthem and consisted of the Fingal’s Cave Overture, Op. 26 by Mendelssohn, Valse Triste, Op. 44 by Sibelius, the Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky and Ravel’s Bolero. After the interval we heard the New World Symphony No. 5 in E minor by Dvorak, It was a marvellous night.
The new season starts on August 30th with a lunch-hour concert, and there will be 6 Tuesday ”Music You Love” concerts, 16 Thursday Symphony concerts and 17 Sunday evening concerts. Many famous names will be participating including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Adrian Boult, Peter Katin, Myra Hess, Clive Lythgoe, Eric Coates, Rawicz and Landauer, and Joan Hammond.
Nothing much happened at I.M.L.T. this morning. In practical we did an estimation of blood urea. As usual, no one finished.
On the way to G.H.B. I went to the Post Office and posted two letters for John and one of mine.
During the afternoon I plotted a distribution curve for the values I got in yesterday’s experiment, and repeated the experiment on the M/100 solution. This time the results were pretty constant, averaging at 56.75 dynes/cm.
I came home with Freda. Tonight I did some Zoology and wrote to Anne. I had a long letter 21 from her by second post [postmarked ”Hall Green D.O. 9.30am 11 May 55]. It was lovely being together at the weekend, she says, but everything seems far away, a side-effect of the streptomycin, she thinks. David Rudge wants to come and see her, he told her mother he was very fond of her. She teases me about the number of men who have visited her and says the trouble is I don’t care, do I, and she wishes we were like other couples. They watched The River Line on Sunday night, and also Guess My Story in which a lady claimed to have seen fairies, and have I? [See my Diary entry for 10th May 1972].
Continuing the letter at 12.23pm when I am in Handsworth, the nurse has still not arrived to give her the injection. Mr. Vickery is painting the table he has made for her typewriter as it was too heavy to have on her lap. She found the flag I gave her on Saturday which she mislaid, she had been sitting on it! It is now just after 3.30pm and the nurse has been. The couples who suddenly disappear at club go in the darkest places possible and take their clothes off. She was terribly shocked when she first heard about it. You shouldn’t do that until you are married, should you?
It is now after 7.30p, She thinks of me working hard at night school, and says I really ought to have more fresh air. Do I realise that 95% of the week I am indoors? However, I do get plenty of fresh air at their house. She has just written her Diary up, with six lines of shorthand for Saturday and eight for Sunday. I must not get a job away from Birmingham, she would hate that and I would find it very difficult to leave our chapel. Her parents are longing to go and live in Taunton. Her father could have put in for a vacancy but she has told them she wouldn’t leave Birmingham and her friends.
She has just looked up her Diary for Wednesday 9th March when she was in a shocking mood and wanted to come and apologise, but hadn’t the pluck to do so. She has been having a peaceful time re-reading my letters. Philip has been to see her but I should know that he means nothing to her. She is getting a bit worried because the report of the deep X-ray she had has still not come through. Anne sends me much love and encloses a sample business letter she has typed, addressed to Messrs. Black & Sons, 45 North Street, Birmingham 10.
This morning I spent in washing up and I also had some treatment for my knee — I have only to have one more dose of short-wave diathermy before seeing Mr. Innes again.
I spent the whole afternoon doing further surface-tension experiments but the results didn’t tell me much.
Alan came in for the first time about 5.0pm.
Tonight’s Zoo class was quite good. We did a problem in sex inheritance, more on evolution, and began a study of fresh-water ecology.
I caught the 9.10 train and went to see Anne. Freda was there doing some knitting and we all three had a very jolly time. Apparently Anne has sent me a letter which rather amuses her. I gave her the paper for my book.
This morning I smoked traces for Monday’s class, washed up and set up the apparatus. [I also did further experiments to determine the Surface Tension of M/200 and M/2,000 n-Valerylcholine Iodide.] Later in the day I did some other jobs and made up a Tyrode solution.
I left at 6.30pm and posted a letter to Anne at the Post Office, I was meeting Ivan outside the Odeon at 6.50 but he was delayed at work and was half an hour late. We went on the Midland Red ’bus to Sutton Coldfield where Rev. F.E.A. Shepherd lives at 308 Birmingham Road.
Ivan and I were the only ones who could attend this meeting, but after mutual introductions we got down to a serious discussion on the H-bomb and our attitude to our Parliamentary candidates.
It is difficult to know exactly what we can achieve but we decided to draft a letter to be sent to the leading newspapers and prospective M.P.’s stating that we were opposed to the manufacture of the H-bomb and stating our reasons. This we did over coffee and cakes and Mr. Shepherd said he would type the letter and let me have it to duplicate tomorrow at G.H.B. We left at 10.0pm and I came home on the 11.0pm train after having a walk around town.
Anne’s letter 22 typewritten, came this morning. Pat Welch visited her on Tuesday evening, he has had a lot of girl-friend and is very keen on Fay Dibben but she won’t speak to him. Aileen Jones came on Wednesday evening. What she told me in her last letter about the couples at club is perfectly true because the person who told her does it herself! She would like to borrow Men, Women and God. The nurse has told her she can have a real bath but her father might not be able to carry her as far as the bedroom, so would I like to help? She has got her green nightie on!
I went to work on the 8.53 train today. Louie told me she has a swelling in her back. It sounds like a tumour or cancer and I told her to tell her doctor tonight.
Mr. Shepherd and his niece came at 12.0 with our letter which we had altered slightly. After typing this I went to Lewis’s and came home on the 12.50 train, which had a corridor and was drawn by 7900 Saint Peter’s Hall which headed last night’s train.
I went to Anne’s at 2.20pm. She typed my letters, a copy of which I am sending to all those on Mr. Shepherd’s list with a request that they be returned to me by Tuesday, and was altogether the perfect secretary. We discussed the typing of my book.
I called for Freda at 6.45pm and we walked to Elmdon via Woodcock Lane and Coventry Road. We had a look at the Airport but didn’t see any aeroplanes take off, except one, and that only went 25 yards into the hangar. On the way to Elmdon we had to shelter from a heavy downpour — one of many we’ve had this last week or so.
On the way home via Lode Lane and Dove House Lane it started to snow. But it was a lovely evening. [We had 9.7 hours of sunshine today and 0.110 inches of rain. At Wembley, where it was the first night of the Billy Graham Crusade, the weather was atrocious.]
The letter, copies of which Anne typed for me, reads: 308, Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. May, 1955 Dear Sir, We, the undersigned, being irrevocably opposed to the manufacture of the Hydrogen bomb in this country and not prepared to vote for any candidate who favours such manufacture, wish to state our reasons for adopting this attitude: (1) We are virtually disfranchised at this election because Conservative, Labour and Liberals all stand for the manufacture of the H-bomb. (2) The bomb cannot possibly be used for defence. At best it is to be used as a threat and at worst it is to be used as a means of retaliation which is contrary to all Christian principles. (3) As a deterrent it is useless. No war has ever been stopped by possession of any kind of weapon, as the experience of two major wars in a quarter of a century ought to demonstrate. (4) Money is being spent in the manufacture of the bomb which could be better used in improving conditions even in this country, and still more in combating Communism by relieving the misery and suffering of under-nourished peoples and refugees throughout the world. (5) The only hope of stopping war lies in increasing faith and trust among the nations. These can be fostered by acts of generosity, by tolerance of dissimilar systems, by seeking mutual understanding. Military preparations can only increase mistrust and suspicion. We would therefore wish our own country to give a moral lead in such matters and thus restore in the spiritual sphere what it has lost in national influence. Yours sincerely, F.E.A. Shepherd (Rev.) I.G.B. Howard B.D. Williams J.F. Hardstone (Mrs.)
Mr. Dibben took this morning’s service and gave a most interesting Children’s Address. He quoted Matthew 12:34, ”Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” and then told the children about the camel, ”the ship of the desert”. One camel, a little over a year old, travelled 17 days without water, covering a distance of 202 miles. It then drank 16 gallons of water in ten minutes! The camel never pants and never sweats, even though the temperature may be 110 degrees. We must avoid gossip and telling lies. Love God and always say the right thing!
We sang 49 Thy ceaseless, unexhausted love, 6 Eternal Power! whose high abode, 867 Day by day we magnify Thee, 157 Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult and 571 Blessed are the pure in heart. The readings were Psalm 24 and 1 John 3:1–24.
Mr. Dibben preached on Matthew 5:8, ”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” We have debased the word ”pure”, taking it to mean ”not injurious”. But here ”pure” is a metaphor implying the attaining of something. By the heart is meant the personality, what we are underneath. ”Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
1. Dean Inge observes: (1) The heart means the soul as well as the body. (2) To know God we must partake of God. (3) Only the pure can see God. (4) The guide to this is the pathway to love. This presents a challenge to an accepted order. The pure in heart shall see God means ”they shall appear before God”. We have to love good and hate evil, then this determines the rest. The one who is pure-hearted has a single-minded desire to love and serve God. Wordsworth in The Excursion. ”The Universe is to the ear itself faith.”
2. The appeal also to the popular idea of purity. We are ”Temples of the Divine”. The rake and the prude are both far from the Kingdom of Heaven. Sexual relationships. Mastery in isolation.
3. Sincerity of desire to love and serve God. How many stand the test of letting their motive be known? We are looking for motives all the time. Our sincerity is in doubt. i. Diplomacy. The Foreign Office examining suspects. Spiritual vision. To see God ever in Jesus needs a heart which is looking for God. ”Am I sincere in what I do?”
I took Freda home after the service and went to see Anne this afternoon.
Rev. Walter Wilson took tonight’s service. We sang 272 Jesus shall reign where’er the sun, 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! 310 When quiet in my house I sit, 256 There’s a light upon the mountain, and the day is at the spring, and 301 On all the earth Thy Spirit shower. The readings were Joel 2:21–32 and 1 Corinthians 15:1–11.
Mr. Wilson preached on Acts 2:16, ”But this that which was spoken by the prophet Joel …” This is that. But for the coming of the Holy Spirit there could be no New Testament, no Church etc. But the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled. The N.T. is the Spirit expressed in the living Word through Jesus Christ. Joel spoke a far greater thing than he could ever have imagined when he said, ”It shall come to pass … ” (Joel 2:28). So did John the Baptist when he said, ”Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36), and Peter when he said, ”God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). These were greater, grander things than they ever imagined when they spoke these words. We speak a far greater, grander thing than we can possibly imagine when we proclaim God and the message of His grace.
Joel prophesied: (1) Deliverance from the plague of insects, (2) Restoration of the harvest, (3) the Outpouring of the Spirit. Joel is the prophet of Pentecost. The Spirit didn’t come at once. The disciples had to wait and pray and prepare for the coming of the Spirit. But they knew Christ’s Word couldn’t fail. They were all baptised with the Holy Spirit. It was the thing which could make all the difference. They were fortified with God’s Spirit. They could win the world. That was what they were there for, what we are here for.
Who could have thought that of them? These were the cringing, helpless fellows who forsook the Lord — Peter with his three denials, John who stood afar off, Thomas, ”Except I shall see … I will not believe” (John 20:25). Who could have thought that these men would be those to whom the Spirit would first come? Pentecost! ”This is that!” It was prophesied. They were transformed, transfigured, thought to be drunk! If they had been drunk the effect would have worn off in a day. But because the Spirit had come the effect lasted more than one day or one week. It was cumulative. The people were confused, confounded, perplexed, who saw them, and they were altered, converted — a sample day of the Church! Note the things that were going to be seen following the outpouring of the Spirit … (Joel 2:21–32).
This is a day of the Lord. It might be Whit Sunday, next Sunday, tomorrow, today, this hour! Would to God that it were! This very night we might see the coming of the Spirit of God, and have it rest on each of us. This is a day of grace for you and for me, a call to repentance. The promise is ours. ”Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (Joel 2:32). We shall be saved. We can be witnesses for Christ. What a prospect! This is that! The thrill, joy, ecstasy of it all! Salvation for all is in the bounds of possibility, perhaps probability. What has happened once can happen again. It can happen this week! In Billy Graham’s Greater London Campaign. Why not? ”The promise is unto you,” it is unto us. The need of the hour can be met. Trust that it may be so! Multitudes can be won to recreate the world. Amen.
Helen and Geoff were at the service tonight but not Kingy as she is ill in bed. Freda and I went for a walk after Y.P.F. and talked about Mr. Wilson’s wonderful sermon. It is just what we need, but it is a shame that some of the young people sniggered.
I went to work on the train with Freda, Pat joining us as usual. Later in the morning I went to Chemistry at Handsworth, and tonight to Botany at Suffolk Street. Freda was going to see Anne.
On the train this morning Freda handed me a letter 23 given her by Anne last night to pass on to me. I didn’t open it until I got to work. She began it yesterday at 9.33am when, she surmised, I was on my way to Handsworth. She finds it difficult to picture me there, not having seen the place, but can visualise me in the Radiochemistry lab and at the Q.E. She had been ”slaving away” mending the shoulder-straps on her blue nightie and darning one of her father’s socks, and offers to do any for me at 6d per darn, which she thinks is pretty reasonable. She has also done a page of the book and enclosed it in a separate envelope addressed to [one of my aliases] Sirus P. Schuzledinger Esq., White Lies (Publicity) Department, Messrs. Black & Sons Limited, 45, White Street, Birmingham 10, not to be opened until last night.
She says that after the time we spent together at the weekend she felt terribly miserable. She misses going to chapel and being with all her friends. But there was a jolly good play, a detective story, on Children’s Television which was jolly exciting! The play on Sunday evening was old fashioned, she prefers modern ones, about a girl who hadn’t any charm, whatever that meant, and was afraid she wouldn’t ever get married. She was like her, scared stiff she would end up an old maid, and she couldn’t bear the thought. She hadn’t written her diary for Saturday and Sunday and wondered what she would put in it, and what I would put! She would definitely make her entry in shorthand.
She thinks we ought to go through my book together because there are quite a few verses she has chosen which I haven’t seen yet. She really has to laugh every time she reads my last letter, especially at the end of the second page where I am really very cheeky, but she likes me that way! She has started to read the Men, Women and Love book I lent her. Did I see the stars last night? She saw quite a lot but not the moon. Knowing that we are both looking brings us together somehow. Sometimes she almost feels I am in the same room It is really incredible how the time flies when we are together and how slowly when she is alone. She will be thinking about me and sends me her love.
It has been a pouring wet day. We have had rain, sleet and even snow! [1.215 inches of rain fell in 8 hours.] After I got in I ’phoned Mr. Shepherd at ERDington 1027.
During the day I cleaned out the animals. I decided not to go to Physics and came home on the train as usual. It was late tonight and left from Platform 12. Ivan came, as arranged, at 9.40pm.
I went on the 1A ’bus to I.M.L.T. this morning, and met Philip who was also on the ’bus. During the dinner hour I went to Cannon Hill Park and also wrote to Anne. It was a lovely day, cold but sunny, and the park was beautiful. Later I went to the Seminar at 64 Augustus Road and then came home with John.
I went to work on the train with Freda as usual.
I bought this week’s Methodist Recorder as the front page is devoted to the opening night of the Billy Graham Crusade at Wembley. [jpg] It was his biggest ever first night and 3,267 people came forward to receive Christ [unfinished, a pencilled note reads: Tech. Typewriter]
At work I made up solutions of M/50,000, M/40,000, M/25,000, M/20,000. M/10,000. M/5,000. M/2,500, M/2,000 and M/100,000 Palmitylcholine Iodide. The formula being C15H3COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I the molecular weight is 469, therefore a molar solution contains 468.9 gms. per litre, and a M/1,000 solution contains 0.4689 gpl or 0.4689gm in 1,000ml aq.dest.
I met Freda after Choir practice and we went for a walk to Olton. The weather is very cold for May and we have had rain, sleet and snow every day this week.
This morning I did a complete experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Solutions of Palmitylcholine Iodide. I had to rush it as there were nine determinations to be made. The curious thing here was that the Surface Tension usually increased with time, suggesting that after pouring out each solution, molecules of the Choline ester were removed from the surface. This is the contrary to the effect obtained with n-Valerylcholine Iodide. It was impossible to assess what was the correct S.T. value for each solution as no steady values were obtained. In future I intend to plot S.T. values determined at regular intervals up to one hour, draw a graph, and read off the S.T. value at, say, 25 or 40 minutes.
I just managed to catch the 12.30 train. After dinner I went to see Anne as usual.
This evening I called for Freda and we decided to go out with her parents in the car [ROF 430] and later walk home together. Ro was out with Mick. Freda and I sat in the back of the car.
We went to Tanworth-in-Arden then got out and went for a little walk up a country lane, during which we talked about sleeping in fields. I don’t know exactly how the topic came up. Then we had a look inside the Church. Later on Mr. Powley dropped us off somewhere outside Solihull by a pond. Freda and I talked quite seriously quite a lot of the time. I wanted to kiss Freda as usual and eventually she said that if I really wanted to, I could do so tomorrow night.
Today was quite a notable day in its way and I suppose that Freda will remember that it was on 22/5/55 that she had her first kiss. We had both waited so long for it.
After Y.P.F. we went straight home [to 1166] but even so Ro and Mick got in before us. It is now an open competition as to who gets in first! Ro and Mick now use the [men’s hairdressing] saloon, leaving Freda and me the shop. It took us twenty minutes to get settled in as we did quite a bit of furniture removing and made rather a lot of noise. Then Freda sat on my knee again and stayed there for an hour.
In the morning we had been to Solihull’s Sunday School Anniversary. I called for Freda at 10.0am and we walked there — quite a rush it was too! We were rather surprised to see Bob Pardoe in the choir. Dr. Gough, Mrs. Gough and two of their children were also there. I wondered whether they went regularly. Rev. J.B. Sheldon was the preacher. I think I have heard him before, though he left at the same time as Mr. Harrison. His Children’s Address, illustrated by a boomerang, was very good, but his sermon was rather drawn-out, and it was 12.20 before the service was over. The church was pretty full.
We came home on the ’bus.
At 2.30pm I went to see Anne as usual, but today neither of us had anything at all to talk about so most of the time we just sat or lay, and looked. It wasn’t very inspiring. I left at 4.0pm to attend the meeting of the Youth Team. Pat, Mick, Ro, Dorothy Fitton, Ann Beddowes, Ann Pardoe and Gillian Chilton and of course Freda and I were there, and we discussed the June 20th appointment at Water Orton, and also decided to hold a meeting every Sunday at 4.0pm for prayer and Bible study. At my suggestion we are starting with the Book of James which we have just read in Scripture Union. Before closing we had already cancelled next Sunday’s meeting. I am sure that these meetings are going to do a great deal for us as individuals and as a team.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 221 Hail the day that sees Him rise, 7 O heavenly King, look down from above, 244 The head that once was crowned with thorns, 228 Hail, Thou once despised Jesus, 900 I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above. The readings were Isaiah 11:1– and Romans 13. The sermon was on ”The Christian’s place in the State” and Mr. Dibben took as his text 2 Peter 3:13: ”Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”.
This is the ”heyday of the common man” — Election time. But concern about politics is not reserved to one event.
1. God is above all rulers, God must always come first. We acknowledge it facilely e.g. in the Scout promise. But as Christians our attitude to the State is defined byScripture.The same teachings — greater than the State — have passed down through the ages. Our enemies are to be loved, not hated. The Cross is the dominant power. ”We look for new heavens and a new earth” says Peter — a new spiritual order. The modern point of view is that the Church enters into politics with the warning finger of history pointing at it. The Church sided with the landed gentry in the past.In Argentina the Roman Catholic Church is in conflict with the State.
2. Should the Church enter into politics? We have the issues of nationalisation, land tenure, price-control. What do we know about them? [What business are they of ours?] The Church would be guilty of secularisation if it concentrated on these. Has the Church any part to play in the life of the nation? Yes, e.g. in marriage, family ties etc., the Christian attitude needs to be stated. The Church must plead for justice. Can the Church be silent on the question of peace etc. education, moral issues, injustice? It must see that these things are upheld. It must have the right to protest about gambling, education, unjust law etc.
3. The Church has the right to a voice against wrong. The Catholic Church must serve the whole body of Christ. We must serve Him. Everyone is the child Christ came to save. The Church is not a waiting room but the surgery. Temporal differences have gone. The Church is blessed with inspiration because its foundation is Christ. The Bible provides us with guidance in all things. As Christians our goal is bigger, we all have the same goal. No follower of Christ can be against His love. We must be free to exercise our conscience where evil is being committed. Our way is the way of the Cross, of sacrificial living for God. There may be new ideas, points of view etc. but the Cross is still there, and we are to look always for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
I went to Chemistry at Handsworth College as usual today. At dinner time I went to the Library and enjoyed a walk in Handsworth Park. After I got back to the hospital I was able to spend some time studying ”Light” for next week’s exams. I came home on the 5.20 with Freda as usual.
Freda and I went to work and returned on the train as usual. She had been to see Anne last night. I received a letter from Mr. Plater at Margate this morning and wrote back during the day. It is Empire Day, also the anniversary of John Wesley’s conversion and the birth of the Methodist Church.
It is half-term this week so there was no I.M.L.T. today, and instead of going on two buses to the Medical School I went to work on the train with Freda. We saw Kingy on the station. At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Undecylylcholine Iodide, C10H21COOCH2N(CH3)3I.
I went to see Mr. Innes at 11.45am, and also saw George Watts. [Both are Old Edwardians, as are Dr. Brian Gough and Dr. Fauset Welsh].
I went to bed at 8.30 last night. I listened to a play followed by Richard Attenborough’s record programme, and then wrote a letter before tuning in to Radio Luxembourg to hear Billy Graham on The Hour of Decision.
I had a letter 24 from Anne this morning, begun on Tuesday at 5.20pm. when she expects I was working in the lab before going to Handsworth. She had just watched Episode 2 of The Explorer, the story of Sir Henry Morton Stanley. The nurse came before 9.0am, she had started work at 9.30 and typed 150 of the envelopes, and done a little work for Bob at the office. Mrs. Fitton had come and brought her the flowers from chapel, red and white! She also had a very nice letter from Bob Pardoe on behalf of the Sunday School Council meeting.
They were supposed to be showing a programme about Albert Schweitzer on T.V. but had put boxing on instead. The birds had been feeding on the lawn all day. Freda had been to see her on Monday night. She can’t start typing the book yet as the list of verses for January is incomplete. She has something to talk to me about when we see each other.
It was the General Election today.I went to work on the train with Freda. At work I made up solutions of Undecylylcholine Iodide.
Tonight I took Freda to K.E.S. for the annual concert given by the School Choral Society and Orchestra. They performed two works, Walpurgis Night by Mendelssohn (1809–1847) and Phaudrig Crohoore by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) neither of which I had ever heard of. Die erste Walpurgisnacht was completed in 1832 when Mendelssohn was only 23. It is based on a ballad by Goethe, and tells how, on the first Walpurgis Night (eve of May Day), the pagan Druids dressed up as evil spirits to scare the Christians. The choral music is very fine, especially the chorus of spirits which is grotesque and spooky. The soloists in this were Margaret Walton (contralto), Robert Ellis (tenor) and Sydney Smith (bass). It was a marvellous performance.
The Irish ballad Phaudrig Crohoor (Patrick Connor) was first performed at the Norwich Festival in 1896, the year Stanford wrote his Shamus O’Brien opera and was preparing his Requiem. (One of Stanford’s pupils was Ralph Vaughan Williams.) The libretto is by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. There are no soloists in the work, the basses representing Phaudrig, and sections of the chorus sharing the narration which is both funny and sad. Again it was a very fine performance. I thought the cover design for the programme, by W.J. Spencer, was very effective.
Tonight’s was the fifth Musical Society concert. I sang in the first two Haydn’s Creation in 1951 and Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus in 1952, and would have sung in Mozart’s Requiem in 1953 but was recording the ”Pot-Pourri” programme that evening. Last year’s production was Haydn’s The Seasons which we had already begun rehearsing when I left at Christmas 1953.
I stayed up last night for the Election results, eventually going to bed at 2.15am when it was clear that the Conservatives had been returned to power. It was raining quite heavily this morning. I bought the Birmingham Post and during the dinner hour I went to the Post and Mail office where the latest Election results were being displayed.
At work I washed up in the morning and again in the afternoon. Hilary went at 2.30pm and I did a few other jobs of work etc., leaving everything clean and tidy before the holiday. I came home with Freda on the 5.20pm train. It was the last time for a while as the railwaymen are going on strike.
I worked all last evening but then found myself falling asleep and went to bed about 10.20pm.
I got up at 10.30am., did some more work, then met Freda in the village at 12.50pm, she had been to see Anne. I went to Anne’s this afternoon and stayed until 5.30pm.
Tonight we went for a walk from Solihull to Barston. My knee was hurting.
I went to the 8.0am. Communion service this morning. Mr. Foss took the 9.30am service. We sang 292 Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, 5 Let all the world in every corner sing, 286 Holy Spirit, hear us, 283 Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed and 273 Come down, O love Divine. The readings were Joel 2:28–32 and Acts 2:1–13.
In the season of anniversaries we celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas and His death and resurrection at Easter, but Whitsun is the greatest of them all — it is the birthday of the Church. But it is often neglected. How many extra are in Church today because it is Whitsun? — few compared with the numbers who come for Christmas and Easter. Why? Is it because we have lost our sense of belonging to the Universal Church? Or is it because we have forgotten the power that lifts us to a higher plane? It is because of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that we can be what others can’t be, i.e. filled with the Spirit — that is the normal Christian experience.
Jesus said, ”Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48); and He told His disciples, ”he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” This was true after Pentecost. 120 people were gathered in the Upper Room at Jerusalem, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. The Christians were almost a closed society. They feel they will have to tell others about Christ, but they have no sense of the presence of God. They had not realised the implications of the Resurrection. Then something happened which turned the world upside down.
How could we explain the rise of the Christian Church without the Resurrection? How would modern journalism have described Pentecost, with the joy which produced babblings, speaking in tongues and ecstasy? These phenomena are not unknown in modern times of revivalism — indeed, they were experienced by early Methodists. These Spirit-filled Christians became the Church. They were marked out from other people.
1. What are the features of the Church today? There are two distinguishing marks:
i. Preaching of the Word. Members of the Church should hear the Word of God and apply it to their own circumstances. ”The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”(John 14:26, 1 John 2:27). The answer to temptation and every need of our lives is in the Scriptures. ii. Administration of the Sacraments. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are essential doctrines of Christianity. This sums up the whole Gospel.
2. What are the distinguishing marks of the Christian? ”The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23). 1. Love — the mutual love of Christians. Three Greek words are translated ”love”. eros = erotic love or lust; phileo = friendship, as between David and Jonathan; agape = love of God. Love, as a fixed attitude of goodwill, is a peculiarly Christian quality. 2. Joy from the confidence that God is in control. 3 Peace from the surrender of self to God, then there is no conflict between conscience and deeds. 4 Long-suffering or long-temper, the exact opposite of short-temper. 5. Gentleness. 6. Goodness, sympathetic understanding of people. 7. Faith, our own trustworthiness. 8. Meekness, our total dependence on God. 9. Temperance, self-discipline in all things. The work of the Holy Spirit is to produce all these.
Is the Holy Spirit at work in our lives today? Is this Church faithful in its preaching of the Word? Is it faithful in its administration of the Sacraments? Yes, therefore the Spirit is at work. We are members of Christ’s body which is the Church (Colossians 1:18). Are we developing qualities of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives? Are we getting nearer? If not, then we are neglecting our devotional lives, not reading the Bible, not praying enough. How do we receive the Holy Spirit? ”If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more will He give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? Ask and it shall be given you” (Luke 11:13, 9). Amen.
I took Freda home after the service.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 289 Spirit divine, attend our prayers, 52 O love of God, how strong and true, 273 Come down, O love Divine, 276 When God of old came down from heaven and 301 On all the earth Thy Spirit shower. The readings were Isaiah 11:1–9 and John 14:15–31.
Mr. Dibben preached on Galatians 3:14, ”That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” People are let into a secret — ”I won’t tell a soul” they say. But there is a difference between ”any body” and ”a soul”.
1. The disciples needed to know what was going to happen after Jesus’ death and resurrection. He told them He would come again, fill them with His Spirit, and guide them into all truth. If we want to know the truth about things we need the Spirit of truth (John 14:15–17, 15:26). The Spirit can guide us there, in every situation, to see the truth. ”The fruit of the Spirit is goodness” (Galatians 5:22). Be good, that is the recipe. Does a good turn have to be returned? No, but there is great satisfaction in this way of living. Thousands say they ”can’t live up to it”, but they have never experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
2. It may be that we can do many things independently of God, but we cannot live up to Christ’s recipe for a life with God without His help; we can get there through His indwelling Spirit. Now, as Spirit, Jesus can be everywhere He is needed; He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). There is the spirit of the party, of a school etc. The living God is Spirit. ”By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Something happens when we call on the Spirit of God. Paul knew the changes that had taken place in himself and in other Christians. ”He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12). Billy Graham proves that!
3. The promise of the Spirit is to every believer. The Spirit works! All through the ages, the Spirit of God has been working. We can be, we are, unique. A better world comes from better people with ideals born of their faith imparted to them by the Spirit. We can conquer all through the Spirit.
I went home after the service, not staying for Y.P.F. Philip took Freda home but she called to see me later.
The rail strike began today so we shall have to go to work on the ’bus on Tuesday.
I called at Freda’s this morning and her parents took us to Chipping Campden for dinner and then on to Ilmington where we met up with Mr. & Mrs. Daw and Ro and Mick. We watched the cricket match and Mr. Powley took some photographs [jpg]. The sun shone all day [15.3 hours], a fine day for Hilary’s birthday. After we got back Mick and I stayed for supper.
I went back to work today, and as there were no trains I decided to walk there and back. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining from a cloudless sky. I took the shaker to the Medical School as they were needing it, but spent most of the day swotting Physics. Freda didn’t have to go to Comp. School today, so I ‘phoned her at dinner time. She had been to see Anne in the morning and I went to see her tonight.
I called for Freda at 8.15am, earlier than usual because we were going to work on the ’bus, there being no trains. There was an I.M.L.T. class as usual. I met Freda in town at dinner time and we came home on the 44 ’bus from Albert Street.
I had letters from Anne and Mr. Plater this morning. I went to work with Freda on the 8.20 and met her later at 1.10pm. During the day I smoked some traces for Alan. I also wrote to Anne. I left at 5.30 and put the letter through her door on the way home. I have done more Physics revision tonight.
Anne started her 25 letter. at 11.45am yesterday, having not long woken up. She hasbeen having awful stomach pains again. It was lovely our spending Tuesday night together, but she doesn’t think the Eternal Triangle will last much longer. I don’t like her as much as I used to, she says, and Freda is getting more and more fond of me, and she feels helpless. But whatever happens she still wants to do my typing, and hopes to see me on Saturday. She will be praying for me to pass the exam and sends me all her love.
I called for Freda this morning and we went to work on the ’bus. It was very wet [0.610 inches of rain fell today]. At work I did a lot of washing up. I met Freda in the dinner hour and after Choir practice tonight.
Today was my Saturday off but quite a wet day. I went to see Anne this afternoon to do more work on the book.
Tonight I took Freda to the Odeon to see The Night My Number CameUp (U), with Michael Redgrave, Sheila Sim, Alexander Knox, Denholm Elliott and Ursula Jeans among the cast. I had been greatly looking forward to seeing the film after reading Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard’s article of the same title in the Reader’s Digest. He had a dream about thirteen people flying from Hong Kong to Tokyo, at the end of which the plane crashed. Every detail he saw in the dream began to come true in the most unlikely ways, the tension mounting up almost unbearably. The film was somewhat fictionalised and people’s names changed, but it was very gripping. The supporting film, a documentary, was The Great Adventure.
Mrs. Powley has gone to Bridgend today to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Neal.
Mr. Dibben took the service this morning.The hymns were 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! 53 God is love: His mercy brightens, 29 All things praise Thee, Lord most high, 277 Granted is the Saviour’s prayer and 562 God of all power, and truth, and grace. The readings were 1 Samuel 6:1–10 and Mark 10:35:45.
The sermon was on Mark 10:40, ”But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”
1. We have to face evil. It is hard to believe the unseen. If we believe then we will see it. There are many things we don’t see but know exist. We don’t see the sugar in the tea but we know whether it is there or not! The law of gravity is invisible but we experience its effects every moment of our lives. We have not seen Christ, how then do we know that Christ is alive? We see Him in people who are Christians.
2. We must show that we believe in Christ. Often we are too shy to protest, e.g. in the. Officers’ Mess. Leonardo’s ”Head of Jesus”.
I went to the Bible class this afternoon and took Freda home afterwards.
The preacher this evening was Mr. Harvey.The hymns were 23 King of glory, King of peace, 60 Ere God had built the mountains, 371 And can it be that I should gain, 48 High in the heavens, eternal God and 568 Since the Son hath made me free (to the tune of 681 God of mercy, God of grace). The readings were 2 Samuel 18:24–33 and John 1:1–14, and Mr. Harvey preached on John 8:32, ”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The setting of these words is the treasury in the Temple. There are two main themes to the text: 1. Truth. 2. Freedom.
1. What is truth? The question was asked by Pilate (John 18:38). The truth is not just honest opinion, it may only be opinion. What was the opinion of the eleven at the Crucifixion? The truth is the Eternal, changeless. The deep things in life are simple. We know one thing to be vastly superior to the other, that is the Eternal. The truth is God. Truth makes us aware of things bigger than ourselves. Christ could not be false, as the Jews thought. ”Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). ”I am the truth” said Jesus (John 6:20), ”see me, receive the truth and be set free.” ”We are not in bondage” they said. There is something more dreadful than oppression of the body, and that is oppression of the Spirit. William Wilberforce (1759–1833) fought for 18 years for the abolition of slavery. But people are still not free because of the oppression of the mind and soul. John Bunyan (1628–1688) wrote A Pilgrim’s Progress in Bedford Gaol — it is better to be in gaol with God than outside without Him. Our greatest bondage works from the inside. Sinister forces assail us.
2. What is freedom? Freedom cannot be achieved by economic security etc. but by spiritual food. Two forces are oppressing us today, sin and fear. Both must be overcome. Sin is rarely very obvious. Some subtle influence is exerted, sowing seeds of doubt. It discredits any experience of God. Emotionalism. Easy to place [what?]. It distorts. It is like looking through rose-coloured spectacles. Our weaknesses must be faced with stubbornness and determination. The lust for power and ambition add up to wield a big influence in our lives. The web of tiny threads becomes a chain and we become slaves of sin. Sin takes everything, gives nothing in return. In the treatment of disease e.g. a virus, we must take something. It is the same with sin. We must take something of Jesus’ love. The love of Jesus pleads with us. We can have release from the slavery of sin. ”Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). Shall we still mistakes? — yes. Truth is the impact of the Eternal upon life and it sets us free. ”Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray — I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee” (verse 4 of Hymn 371 which we sang earlier). Sinners are a slave to sin, but they can be set free through faith in Jesus. Let us try to love Him more.
In place of the Quarterly Newsletter which was quite expensive to print, we now have a new Messenger, a typed and duplicated sheet intended for distribution to 500 houses in the district. [There is a pencilled * at the end of today’s page.]
Today I went to Handsworth [for Chemistry at 11.0am] and enjoyed a walk during the dinner hour. It was a lovely sunny day, the warmest so far this year [72 degrees].
I called for Freda as usual this morning and we went to work and back on the ’bus, Freda to Comptometer School.
After a lovely day yesterday the weather was unbelievably cold and wet today [0.705 inches of rain fell and the maximum temperature was only 51 degrees, 21 degrees cooler than yesterday]. It was pouring with rain when I called for Freda this morning and it was still raining when we met in the dinner hour and came home together later on the ’bus. Freda started a temporary job at Foster Brothers this afternoon, a miserable day to begin a new job. Her mother returned from Bridgend.
I called for Freda this morning, we met in the dinner hour and came together as usual. Dr. Brian Pethicar was giving a Seminar at 3.45pm but I didn’t go.
I have had a letter 26 from Anne written at 10.55pm on Saturday night (4th) but enclosed in another sealed envelope which I am not to read until just before going to bed tonight, which I have now done.
What a relief it is to have completed the Physics [exam] papers. I thought they were considerably easier than previous Physics papers I’ve seen, but I could have done with more time. [I caught the 8.42am Special Bus from Acocks Green and went to K.E.S. to take the exam. There were two papers, 9.30–12.30, and 2.0–5.0pm. with six questions to be answered,]
I worked until 10.45pm [last night] then listened to Richard Attenborough’s record programme until 11.5 when I went to bed and read a letter Anne had sent me and which I wasn’t allowed to read until bedtime. It was eleven pages long, the longest letter any girl has ever written me.
I didn’t sleep too badly. In the morning I took a capsule of methylpentynol which perhaps helped to relax mebefore the exam started. Anne waved to me as the ’bus went past her house.
This evening I went to see Anne and stayed until nearly 10.30pm. The letter I read last night, written at 10.55pm on Saturday, was written in the quiet of her little bedroom with no noise except for the passing buses and cars. She says she felt me very close, but Mrs. Vickery is always on to her about our getting too close to each other. On Saturday night Mr. Vickery said he thought that she and I were in bed together, and was rather taken aback when she told him I was! She was ever so happy that I went to see her on Saturday, more contented than for a long time and glad that I still like her after her sending me that letter. She goes into a sort of coma, she says, still feeling my presence after I have left her. She gives me the verse of a hymn for the book, and says goodnight to me.
Anne continued the letter on Sunday morning at 9.40am, writing about dreams, and again at 3.30pm. She listened to the People’s Service in which they sang We love the place, O God and The Church’s one foundation both of which she likes very much. She has also started a nature scrapbook. She also came across some letters she had written to Russell but never given him. She continues the letter at 6.40pm when we were in Chapel. She spent a few minutes looking out of the window, watching the people go by, and then put on her high heels and tried to walk in them. She is looking forward to going for her X-ray as it will mean a ride for her and she will be able to dress for the first time for ten weeks.
Anne says she can hear the singing from the little mission down the road, and remarks that she can see our Chapel from her mother’s bedroom window. She wishes me goodnight at 10.40pm. The play on T.V. sounded terrible so they had listened to Sunday Half Hour instead. Anne continues the letter on Monday morning and says was very excited to receive four letters, including a postcard from Kingy and Geoff who were on holiday last week, and an air-mail letter from New Zealand from the daughter of a former neighbour who had heard that she was unwell. But most exciting was a card from Birmingham Chest Clinic for her to attend on Friday (tomorrow) to see Dr. Ross. She will be able to wear a dress and get the result while she is there. She would wave to me on the 1A ’bus this morning, which she did!
After having a bath Anne concludes her letter (12 pages) at10.55am on Monday morning, telling me not to worry about the exams and that even if I fail I will soon find something else worthwhile to do, and she quotes Psalm 46:1 wishing me goodnight and sending me all her love.
I called for Freda as usual this morning.
At work I cleaned the animals and accidentally caught the mouse, washed up, got things ready for the class on Monday, cleaned the organ-bath and got the lab really clean and tidy so that there will be nothing to do tomorrow.
I met Freda at 5.35pm in Albert Street and we came home on the 44.
This evening I typed the greater part of a sermon which I could use (D.V.) at Margate. The sermon is based on the one Billy Graham preached on Good Friday on Galatians 6:14.
At 9.0pm I called for Freda [from Choir practice] and we walked to Olton after calling at home to collect my coat. Geoff was at Choir practice but not Kingy as her parents yesterday moved to Leicester.
For the second night running I didn’t go to bed until 12.30am as I was busy working. Anne says Mr. Dibben never goes to bed before 1.0am.
I went to work with Freda again this morning. Freda is being kept on at Fosters for the time being, but she didn’t like the idea of having to work on Saturday. She said she was born to be a housewife as she likes housework.
At work I typed one and a half sermons, after having a chat with Ivan over the ’phone. Ivan is at Lyndon tomorrow night and two non-Christian friends and their families are going, so Ivan is preaching especially to them. I promised to pray for God’s blessing on the sermon.
I went to see Anne at 2.30pm. Anne finished typing my sermon which I dictated, and then we did some more work on the book while Mr. Vickery watched the Test Match.
England scored 334 (Kenyon 87, May 83, Bailey 49, Graveney 42) and South Africa scored 181 (McGlew 68, Cheetham 54, Wardle 4 for 24) and, batting again, 46 for no wicket by the close of play.
I called for Freda at twenty past six and we went for a walk to Dovehouse Lane and home via Castle Lane. Most of the time it was raining, though not heavily.
When we got back we watched TV with her parents. I think it was only the second time I’ve seen TV this year. When The Howerd Crowd came on at 9.15 Mr. & Mrs. Powley departed, leaving us to ourselves (and the settee). If anything, the settee turned out to be better than Frankie Howerd. The telefilm of the tennis hardly stood a chance! Roger Becker beat Ramanathan Krishnan 13–11, 6–3, 6–3 to put Britain level with India at 2–2 in the Davis Cup.
Mr. Jones took this morning’s service. The hymns were 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, 37 Hail! Holy, holy, holy Lord! 850 Looking upward every day, 452 What shall I do my God to love and 463 O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me. The readings were Isaiah 5:11–19 and Matthew 7:1–12.
The sermon was on John 12:21, ”Sir, we would see Jesus.” There is no other reference to Greeks in the New Testament. It is typical of St. John. These were proselytes — Greeks by birth but practising Jews — who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover. They had just seen the cleansing of the court of the Gentiles perhaps. They came to Philip (a Greek name!) with reverence for the disciples, addressing him as ”Sir”. The teaching of Jesus when these Gentiles came was life through death! The Greek outlook on life was anything but that. Notice the request that they made, to see Christ. These were outsiders. There was a middle wall of partition through which they could not enter (Ephesians 2:14). (A reference here to Dr. Marcus Dods.) They wanted to question Jesus. Had they thought that this might be the Messiah? Had they believed already? This must be why they came to Philip.
There is a secondary meaning to many words in St. John’s Gospel, which was written much later than the other Gospels. It was the task of the of the disciples, and therefore Philip, to bring Gentiles (Greeks) to Christ. John wants us to understand that this is the task of the true disciple. The world today still makes the same cry, ”We would see Jesus”, but unconsciously. The world looks to His representatives in the Church. Are they going away disappointed? Is our Christianity going wrong? They want to see Jesus, not Christianity! The Greeks came to Philip, the world looks to you and to me. Are we anxious that this thing should be spread abroad? Multitudes are saying ”We would see Jesus” in their hearts. Is your life a living witness? Are you commending the Saviour?
I took a Sunday School class at 2.45pm, and Freda her Beginners’ Class, then we went to the Bible Study at 4.0pm, where we considered James 4:8. I took Freda home afterwards.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service and prayed specially for the Rail Strike: ”Responsibility for industrial unrest … leaders may put Thy Kingdom above all personal pursuits ... Seek good ... Overrule foolish decisions of the men ... Spirit of strength, purity, guidance ... Thy good and perfect will be found.” The hymns were 12 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. 782 Shine Thou upon us, Lord, 449 O Lord, enlarge my scanty thought and 572 Behold the servant of the Lord! The readings were Jonah 4:1–11 and James 1:1–27, and Mr. Dibben preached on Matthew 20:1–16, the parable of the householder.
1. The parable reminds us of Aesop’s fable of the dog in the manger. This is a greater thought on the same theme. No street justice? Unsound economics? ”Can I not do as I please with what belongs to me? Have you a grudge because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15, Moffatt). God is the householder. There is a touch of sadness here: the householder went out early in the morning, the 3rd hour, the 6th, the 9th, to hire labourers. Godcame to the Jews timeand time again, sending His word through the prophets but to no avail. It is the same with our lives. We have regrets about the ways we went, the missed opportunities, the things we have done. But there is hope above sadness — the eleventh hour. ”Who is a pardoning God like Thee?”(Micah 7:18).
2. But the householder suffers rebuke — someone can come at the eleventh hour and yet receive the same reward. The thief on the cross came at the last moment! Where sin aboundeth, grace aboundeth much more (Romans 5:20). The labourers objected to all receiving the same pay. ”Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is thine eye evil because I am good?” The spokesman argues, ”Thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day”. He is sick with a strange disease — concern for his neighbour’s health! Aristotle’s ”Potter envies potter”. The disciples debated who should be first in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:1–6). In most hearts there is sympathy with the argument.
3. ”The characters in the parable are fictional”? Twaddle! We decry old Hebrew justice. How does our justice compare? The law of love doesn’t violate the law of justice. The labourers had no right to object. The disciples were concerned about their reward: ”Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? (Matthew 19:27). What is our motive? (A reference here to Mark Guy Pearce and his character, John Trimble.) Why am I a Society Steward? Why am I a Sunday-school teacher? etc.We have to examine ourselves. Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 20:16). There must be no envy, jealousy, looking for rewards. Do we work all our days ”looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)?
[Pencil: Sunday night]
I called for Freda and we went to work and back on the ’bus as usual.
I had a letter 27 from Anne this morning, written on Sunday and posted yesterday at 7.0pm. It was lovely to see me walk down the road again: before last Thursday, the last time she had done so was on Wednesday night, 30th March, at about 10.30pm which seems almost like years ago. She is writing at about the time that I will be on my way to Sunday School and hopes I will teach the little dears the right things, and not tell them about football, which was what her brother used to do when he was in Mr. Fletcher’s class. Is it right to write letters on a Sunday? She doesn’t call it working and wonders what Mr. Dibben would say. (Of course he would say ”The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”).
She was sad not to get a better report from the clinic, six more weeks sounds a long time. Her mother keeps teasing her about ”The Eternal Square”. She will look out for me again tomorrow. She sends me all her love and adds a P.S. She has been collecting car numbers from her bedroom window (using the booklet I lent her), and finds that some of the places they are from are Essex, London, Southend, Merthyr Tydfil, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Barnsley, Carmarthen, Bournemouth, Gloucester and many other places, presumably because of the Rail Strike.
It was a dull day. Freda and I went to work and back on the 44 as usual. We went for a walk this evening.
It was announced today that the railway men are to return to work.
The Great Escape!
As soon as I got to Medical School this morning I collected the parcel from May & Baker which Mrs. Williams had for me. I got into I.M.L.T. a little late and found half the people doing a practical exam, and the other half about to discuss last week’s theory exam. Neither was much use to me and with much lab and private work to do I departed. Mr. Crawford went out of the room for a moment, I snatched up my parcel and case and escaped through the back way. Oh inspired man who designed the lab!
At work I made up M/250,000. M/100,000, M/75,000, M/40,000, M/20,000 and M/10,000 solutions of Undecylylcholine Iodide C12H25COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I.
Freda finished at Foster Brothers today and we came home together on the ’bus.
This morning I did the Practical Physics B exam [at K.E.S., 9.30–12.30]. It wasn’t too bad. I did an experiment with a spiral spring, and one with a deflection magnetometer in which it was required to find the magnetic current of a magnet.
I bought Picturegoer on the way home. It was another 48–page issue in full colour. The last coloured Picturegoer was while I was at Clevedon.
I got home just after 1.30pm and went to Anne’s about an hour later. We did three hours’ work on the book which is now absolutely complete up to February 10th.
Tonight I cleaned out my aquarium — the first time this year — and started a sermon for Sunday. It didn’t go too well, so I had a bath and then completed the letter which I started writing to Anne last Thursday.
I went to bed about midnight and read some of the literature I received from May & Baker’s. I slept very well again last night.
I had two letters this morning, one from the Principal of Handsworth College who says they haven’t an official record of me, and also the Plan and Directory for next quarter. Mr. Dibben has planned me for Castle Bromwich, Water Orton and South Yardley — all evening services. The Youth Team is planned three times (about the first time for a year) at Lyndon, Castle Bromwich and Yardley Green Road.
David Cockram is now On Trial. I must write to him about an open-air rally.
It was the first time that the postman had called at 8.0am since the Rail Strike, and today was also the first time I had travelled on the train since May 27th. Freda was waiting for me outside the station.
I decided to have a chest X-ray before going into work so I went to the Mass Radiography centre in Corporation Street. At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Undecylylcholine Iodide.
I met Freda after Choir practice. Kingy and Geoff were there.
At work this morning I typed most of my sermon ”Repent Ye” for tomorrow. I didn’t quite know how to end it, but a perfect illustration came to me as I walked up Shirley Road on my way home. Before dinner the sermon was complete.
When the time came for me to go to Anne’s I found the clock was over half an hour slow, and no other clock or watch was going or showed what time it was. I got to Anne’s at 2.40pm.
This evening I called for Freda and we went for a walk to Solihull Park. Later we watched T.V. Mrs. Powley and Rosemary went to Weston-Super-Mare today for a week’s holiday. Mr. Powley took them to Digbeth Coach Station.
This morning I preached at South Yardley. I had a congregation of fifteen (Jos Pardoe had thirteen last Sunday). At 11.0 I think there was only one person in the church. I didn’t start until almost ten past and the service lasted an hour. The Order of Service was: Hymn 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! 1st Prayer, 746 I am Thine, O Lord; I have heard Thy voice, 1st Lesson: Isaiah 12:1–6, Children’s Address: ”The Pilot”, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 2nd Lesson: Luke 15:3–10, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 353 Just as I am, without one plea, Sermon: ”Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Matthew 3:2), 477 Son of God, if Thy free grace, The Blessing.
I walked to and from Coventry Road.
During the afternoon I taught in Sunday School and led the Youth Team prayer and Bible study fellowship at 4.0pm. (Matthew 3:2 came into both these.) We also made final arrangements about next Sunday’s service at Water Orton. I haven’t yet decided what to preach on though I have the text. I took Freda home
Greta and Arthur came to tea. Arthur has had all his teeth out.
Ivan did not turn up at Church until after the evening service. It was a special service ”In praise of Isaac Watts” (1674–1748)and we sang 46 I sing the almighty power of God, 79 Praise ye the Lord! ’Tis good to raise, 195 He dies! The Friend of Sinners dies! 272 Jesus shall reign where’er the sun, 802 The heavens declare Thy glory, Lord, 697 Blest are the humble souls that see, 182 When I survey the wondrous Cross and 410 Come, ye that love the Lord. In the Communion service afterwards we sang 428 I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath. The readings were Psalm 147 and Revelation 5:1–14.
Mr. Dibben preached on ”Where there is no vision the people perisheth” (Proverbs 29:17 — someone else did the same text not so very long ago, I think.)
1. Isaac Watts had a vision. There are two sides: i. The idea born. ii. The idea carried out. The inventor has an idea — the telescope to see the stars, the cinematograph to record events by moving pictures, the aeroplane to transport people at speed. Michelangelo had a vision when he painted the Cistine Chapel. Something can always be achieved so long as there is a vision, a picture in view.
2. Jesus is the embodiment of an idea, God’s idea. Look to Jesus for a vision of God. Peter couldn’t see that sacrifice was the vision of God, and Jesus rebuked him (Matthew 16:21–23). The spiritual is absent from so many things today, therefore there is no vision. It is like playing Monopoly. Why do I do my work? Without a vision there is no incentive. What is our incentive? It is to show the will of God.
3. There is no separation between lay-people and ministers. We must ask ourselves on what we place our emphasis. We must be caught up in the great things of God. We must have a vision of better, brighter things, and the will of God for our lives, above all other things in life. We must have a vision of better things. We must have a vision of the world which Christ came to save.
Ivan and I had our usual natter, during which time I saw Freda come into the Church. She had been out visiting after dinner but had managed to get back for a while during the afternoon and again for Y.P.F.
Ivan was telling me about his friends who heard him preach at Lyndon last week. They wanted Ivan to explain the Virgin Birth. Mr. Dibben seemed quite surprised to see Ivan. Apparently he had forgotten that he was going to ask Ivan to accompany us to Water Orton, but I had asked Ivan in any case.
At long last we had the Tape Recorder at Y.P.F. and we all recorded our voices and tried to identify ourselves afterwards. It was surprisingly difficult in some cases. But there was no mistaking Mr. Dibben’s ”NOT MUCH ORIGINALITY OF CHOICE”! Afterwards we recorded us singing 938 Father, in high heaven dwelling. Ann and Pat are going to take the tape-recorder to Anne’s on Wednesday evening. What a lovely idea!
Ivan stayed to Y.P.F. then after saying Goodbye I took Freda home and we sat on the settee watching the end of a play, and Gerald Moore, and then listening to Stanley Maxted. Then we listened at 10.30pm to the B.B.C. Variety Orchestra playing Down Melody Lane. I don’t quite know what Mr. Powley thought when he came in to find us sitting in the dark, and Freda and me lying very comfortably listening to soft, drowsy music. But it didn’t seem to matter.
I went to work on the train with Freda and we came home together. She went to Computer School as usual. Pat was on the train too. It was a dull day.
Tonight I listened to the first part of the new Paul Temple mystery, Paul Temple and the Madison Mystery, which was quite exciting.
Ruth Ellis has been sentenced to death but there is a good chance that she will be saved.
I had a letter 28 from Anne this morning, postmarked Moseley D.O. 9.30am yesterday. She enjoyed Saturday afternoon, but later felt depressed seeing people going up and down the road, and annoyed that she couldn’t join them. She is writing on Sunday evening at five to ten; her mother had told her about the special service for Isaac Watts. She had conducted her own service from bed, had sung some hymns, read a lesson out loud, made up a prayer, and for a sermon had also read out loud the chapter on ”Assurance” from Billy Graham’s Peace With God. She asks if I will visit her on Wednesday night instead of tomorrow when Barbara Evans will be going.
As usual I went to work with Freda and we came home together, she had been to see Anne last night. Pat was also on the train. I had a lot of washing up to do today. This evening we went for a walk along the canal.
”This,” said Mr. Crawford, ”is the chappie who comes to a class and then escapes out of the back.” I felt a bit sheepish, but had decided to go to the I.M.L.T. class [at the Medical School] as it was the last one. Later in the day I went to Phillip Harris’s.
I went to see Anne tonight. Ann Pardoe and Pat brought the tape-recorder and we had a riotous time trying to identify everyone’s voices. Of course we got no work done on the book.
This morning after getting off the train I posted a letter at the G.P.O., then went to Phillip Harris’s for some AnalaR KCl. The man brought KClO3 instead and when I told him about it he said, ”Well we haven’t got any Potassium Chlorate”! I made up the Tyrode solution using 6% KCl solution instead.
During the day I standardised some Hydrochloric Acid by titrating it against a solution of Na2CO3 which I made up after heating some anhydrous Na2CO3 for over an hour.
I worked right through the lunch hour. Dr. Pover came at 3.45pm for a discussion with Dr. Schneider. Dr. Pover doesn’t drink tea.
I came home on the 5.20 with Freda and for the second time today we had the carriage to ourselves. It was quite useful as I wanted to kiss Freda.
Tonight I was going to do Sunday’s sermon and read my Saint book, but I’ve used all my typing paper and I left my book at work. It’s about 10.30pm now and I’ve been hunting around for some photographs I can’t find.
At long last I’ve written to Jim Allwood — I found his address tonight — and to Timex Dundee about my watch, and I’ve also written to Picturegoer which I bought as usual today.
Altogether, I’ve got so very many things to do that I haven’t really had time yet to stop and enjoy the fact that I’ve finished my exams. I must catch up on my correspondence and this Diary, finish ”Give Us This Day”, write my treatise on Pacifism, and do a million and one other things. Still it’s nice not having to do any Physics.
At work today I did an experiment to find the change in pH of a Tyrode solution by the gradual addition of 0.1153N Hydrochloric acid. I placed 20ml Tyrode solution plus 1ml B.D.H. Indicator 4460 in a conical flask, then ran in the acid from a burette. I repeated the experiment using Bromothymol Blue, and determined the pH by colour-matching with the Lovibond Comparator.
Freda and I travelled to and from work on the train together and met in the dinner hour. I called for her after Choir practice. Kingy and Geoff were there.
I had a letter 29 from Anne this morning, written yesterday. She is extremely pleased and relieved to know that my X-ray was clear and that I had not caught T.B. from her. She had a strange dream. I and my mother came to their house, Anne and I were in the bedroom. Anne turned her back on her and wouldn’t speak to her at all. Then Mam asked me if I was going home in the car with her. Anne was mad because it was only five to nine. In the end my mother left and I stayed with Anne. She was writing at 10.30am yesterday when she supposes I was making the coffee. Downstairs her mother was having her hair permed in the front room, and the smell of the solution was shocking. Anne had typed a little more of the book on Home Nursing and was hoping to finish my sermon and then do some work on the book. She is a real secretary in the morning, complete with specs! The last paragraph of the letter is in shorthand for what happened on Wednesday night which she leaves me to decipher!
Today I had my day off but I got up at 7.45am to write my sermon for tomorrow. I had completed it by 11.0am so I then went to the [Midland] Bank with a 10/-d note for my account, and then I took Ginger to the park to get some snails for my aquarium.
I went to see Anne this afternoon. Afterwards at 5.0pm I went to tea with Freda. Mrs. Powley and Rosemary had just returned from Weston and Mick was there too. Later we watched TV.
This morning the Youth Team conducted a service at Water Orton. We were almost the Powley children rather than the Youth Team — Ro and Mick, Freda and I and Philip. Freda gave the children’s address and I preached the sermon. [The Order of Service and my sermon notes seem to have been lost.]
I took a Sunday school class this afternoon, after which we went to the Y.T. Bible Study at 4.0pm.
Mr. Dibben conducted both today’s services. Tonight the hymns were 95 Jesus, Sun and Shield art Thou, 7 O Heavenly King, look down from above, 285 O breath of God, breathe on us now, 356 Great God of wonders! All Thy ways and 944 Now the day is over.The readings were 1 Kings 8:30–36 and John 8:1–11.
The sermon was on Matthew 6:12, ”Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
1. Multitudes have suffered through not being forgiven because they have not forgiven others. Where would Christian morality be without forgiveness? Forgiveness involves repentance: a broken spirit and then joyfulness, tempered! (Psalm 51).There must also be reformation. ”What’s done is done.” (Mr. Dibben made a reference here to A.A. Milne’s Nonsense Poem Sir Brian had a battleaxe and Spurs). Animus. Crawfie (Marion Crawford) who wrote a review in Woman’s Own of a Trooping the Colour and Royal Ascot which didn’t take place!
2. To be free is to repent, to repent is to be free. The centurion at the Cross said, ”Certainly this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). Is repentance a necessary part of forgiveness? Yes, without it we cannot know forgiveness (Matthew 6:14–15). No, forgiveness is a temper of the mind, an attitude to life. We cannot just repent before God and not before man. We claim God’s forgiveness, then what do we do? Wesley spoke of a man who was imprisoned because he said he knew his sins were forgiven.
3. Forgiveness is called for immediately against those who trespass against us. Paul writes to the Corinthians [?] on love and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31–32, Colossians 3:13). Stephen looked with pity on those who stoned him to death (Acts 7:59–60). Two more examples: i. Disagreement — politically, socially, religiously. We mustn’t have hardness because it breaks relationships. Prejudices die hard. ii. Jesus looking at Jerusalem, ”how often would I … and ye would not”, but He forgave them (Matthew 23:37, Luke 23:34). He calls us to do the same. We find it difficult to put up with criticism, and women can lose all sense of ethical judgment! But our critics aren’t very wide of the mark! We must forgive them! God has forgiven you and me so much, can we not do the same? All suffering stems from the same disease. Forgiveness is in our power to give.
The service concluded with Holy Communion, followed by Y.P.F. when we had Community Hymn Singing. Helen was there, also Geoff. I took Freda home afterwards. I hurt my shoulder.
The students came for the last time today, and in almost full force too. The day passed without incident. I didn’t go out but finished reading The Saint In New York [by Leslie Charteris].
On the way home I [went to the Library] and exchanged it for Crooked House by Agatha Christie, and got two books on Pacifism, one of which I read tonight.
I also listened to a concert Music To Remember by the B.B.C. Northern Orchestra, in which the soloist was Tommy Reilly (harmonica). They played:
Overture: The Bartered Bride — Smetana
Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra — Benjamin
Waltz: The Blue Danube — Johann Strauss
Capriccio Espagnol — Rimsky-Korsakov.
After the concert I had a wash and shave while listening to Part 2 of Paul Temple and the Madison Mystery, and then I took Freda a jar of snails for her aquarium. We spent quite a time examining the pond water in a pie-dish. We found a tiny fish, some worms and water fleas.
Today was a very busy day at work [I did an experiment to standardise a solution of Hydrochloric Acid and wrote it up] and I only had a few minutes for my lunch. Assuming we work from 9.0 until 5.30pm I had 1 hour 25 minutes off, and Hilary had 4 hours 46 minutes to the best of my knowledge!
I didn’t finish washing up until 2.30pm. I also cleaned the animals and organ-baths and put away the class apparatus. Lastly I ’phoned Mrs. Foster at Knowle but she was away.
I went to see Anne at 7.30pm. She was sitting on the bed fully dressed. Barbara Evans was also there and stayed until 8.45pm. We played a game called Nebuchadnezzar. As soon as Barbara went Mrs. Vickery came in to watch TV, so we couldn’t do any work on the book. I left about 10.20pm.
Rosemary came with Freda and me on the train this morning as she was going to the Eye Hospital. Freda was going to T.I. (Exports) Ltd. We came home on the train together as usual.
This morning I received the Old Edwardians Gazette for June [from which I see that Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is to speak at Speech Day on July 8th].
During the morning I plotted the results of my experiment last week and did some other jobs, including making up solutions of n-Caprylcholine Iodide C9H19COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I for an experiment tomorrow.
Alan came in at 2.30pm and at 3.0pm the three of us went to Dr. Schneider’s seminar on ”The Effect of Fat on Gastric Secretion”.
During the lunch hour I had met Freda outside Smith’s and we went to the MNI in Broad Street to get a form for her. Freda starts work at T.I. Exports in John Bright Street on Monday. The hours are 8.30 until 5.15pm, no Saturdays, an hour for lunch, and Freda can have two weeks’ holiday, one with pay. Altogether it sounds very reasonable, and the wage isn’t too bad. There are annual increments, pension schemes, and so on.
Dr. Schneider’s seminar wasn’t at all bad.
I did not go to the I.S.T. Annual General Meeting at the University at 5.45pm. I expected I would not otherwise get home before 8.0pm.
When I did get home I packed my wrist-watch which I am sending back to Dundee to be re-serviced, wrote to May & Baker Ltd., the Daily Telegraph (which today celebrated its centenary) and to Anne.
After a shave I went to Freda’s at 9.0pm, or rather to meet Freda on her way from Anne’s, and we spent an hour in the attic working out a sermon for Freda to do with the Youth Team at Sheldon on Sunday week. It is based on ”The Need for a King” (1 Samuel 8:1–22).
Mr. & Mrs. Powley were out for the night, and apparently Mrs. Powley was a little concerned that Ro and Mick, and Freda and I were going to be alone in the house. This seemed quite unlike Mrs. Powley but apparently she feels that Freda knows so little about courtship that she may get herself into trouble. It was funny that Mrs. Powley should have to voice her fears tonight because Freda wanted to ask her mother whether she and I could go to Bournemouth in September.
I left Freda about 10.30, listened to Billy Graham on The Hour of Decision [on Radio Luxembourg, 208 metres Medium Wave] and went to bed at midnight.
This morning was the first time for a fortnight that I hadn’t received a letter. I’ve had 13 since Monday week!
I was on the platform at the station before the 8.35 train had arrived. At work I spent the whole day doing my experiment [on the Surface Tension of n-Caprylylcholine Iodide in M/250,000, M/100,000, M/75,000, M/40,000. M/20,000, M/10,000 and M/1,000 solution]. I haven’t really analysed the results yet but they look rather surprising.
I had a quick stroll around town during the lunch hour but didn’t see Freda, but we came home together as usual.
Now it’s 7.45pm and later this evening I’m going to see Freda.
I called for Freda last night and we walked to Grange Road. We travelled together as usual today. It was Freda’s last day at Comptometer School.
At work today I did a second experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Pelargonylcholine Iodide C8H17COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I in M/30,000, M/20,000, M/10,000 and M/1,000 solution.
I went to the Library to see if they had any stories by Guy de Maupassant but could find none. I met Freda after Choir practice
I have started to write an article on Dr. Barnes for the Birmingham Weekly Post, quoting liberally from the Minute Book of the Natural History Society which Mr. Monkcom gave me. I am calling the article ”E.W. Barnes at K.E.S.”
I travelled on the 8.45am train today. At work I made up solutions for an experiment on Monday, and typed roughly my article on Dr. Barnes. I went to the Library again, couldn’t get any short stories by Guy de Maupassant, so bought a Penguin edition Miss Harriet and other stories from Smith’s.[jpg]
The 12.30 train left at 12.50pm and absolutely packed. There were 18 people in my compartment!
I went to Anne’s at 2.25 and for a while we watched the Wimbledon finals in which Louise Brough beat Mrs. Beverley Fleitz 7–5, 8–6 and Tony Trabert beat Kurt Nielsen 6–3, 7–5, 6–1. Then we sat in the garden.
After tea I went to Freda’s and we went up into the attic and re-wrote her sermon, which I’ve brought home to type. About 8.30pm we went down to watch TV. We saw part of Terminus, a quarter of an hour of Alma Cogan and the Bernard Brothers in [unfinished]
I awoke late this morning and was almost late for Church. It was Rev. E. Bryan Harvey’s last time with us. We sang 661 Come, let us with our Lord arise, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 839 There’s a Friend for little children, 410 Come, ye that love the Lord and 460 Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal. The readings were the appointed lessons, Jeremiah 12:1–6 and Matthew 9:18–38.
Mr. Harvey preached on John 15:11, ”These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” For most people their only goal in life is happiness — it has almost become their religion. Jeremy Bentham [1748–1832, philosopher and social reformer] speaks of this. They have no other motive than the pursuit of pleasure and the shunning of pain.
The pursuit of pleasure has become an industry in itself, embracing drink, gambling and immorality. People have the idea that happiness must be bought, that they have to search to find it. The sight of people shovelling coins into slot machines in the Amusement arcade is depressing. People who get fun this way become mere shadows.
For some people life doesn’t begin until it has been paid for at the Box Office. Doing the football pools [Littlewoods, Vernons, Fetters, Copes] sounded attractive once. ”If I had a million pounds” [Mr. Harvey read a poem]. G.A. Studdert Kennedy (1883–1929) speaks of the soul being damned in a perfect hell. ”I want what will satisfy me.” Me! That is the attitude that leads to hell.
Jeremiah warns of the folly of a man trusting in himself. ”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). It has been man’s snare since the dawn of time. All relationships of man are marred by selfishness, but true happiness is to be found in an inward disposition, not in outward circumstances. Here Jesus is talking of happiness, ”My joy”, when outwardly His circumstances were depressing. So what were the aspects of His life making Christ happy?
1. Recognition of a job to do, which was obeying the Father’s will. ”Thy will be done”. He saw His life as an opportunity to do the will of God. He had a passion to redeem the time lest be waste must be sense of duty to God. Life battling complex of fears. But sick people are not outside the purposes of life. There are happy people in hospital, and ”They also serve who only sit and wait.”
2. Fellowship with the Father, communion with Him, joy in His Presence. He felt at home, as we are when we have the feeling that we are understood, then we can relax. Jesus was at home in the world and in the fellowship of God. Jesus was sent by the Owner. Joy comes from having our roots deep in the Father’s love. Jesus likened Himself to a vine, His disciples to the branches (John 15:5). We can draw upon the resources of God. peace of mind etc.
3. The Methodist Revival was born of joy. All this is still true today. God’s promises still stand. We have only ourselves to blame if we don’t develop inwardly. How many minutes a day do we spend in prayer, meditation and Bible-reading?
There was no Sunday school this afternoon, but we had a Youth Team meeting as usual at 4.0pm. I took Freda home afterwards.
Rev. Douglas S. Hubery took the service this evening. We sang 34 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, 33 Infinite God, to Thee we raise, 575 Servant of all, to toil for man, 676 Great is the Lord our God and 681 God of mercy, God of grace. The lessons were Psalm 51 and Ephesians 4:1–16.
Mr. Hubery spoke on ”The Nature of the Christian Church.” The Church is ”the Body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). But there is a gulf between the Spirit of Christ and the nature of the Church. The more we think of Christ and then of the Church the more we see the gulf between the two. People are critical of the Church. If we could go back 2,000 years to the conditions then, the Church might be more united with God. What are the differences between the 1st and 20th century Church? What Jesus did then, the Church does now. ”God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38). There is no finer phrase to sum up the life of Christ. He never refused to do a good deed when the opportunity arose. Poor widow, prostitute, tax-man, fisherman — wherever Jesus went it was in response to some need.
The same spirit is sustained by the true Christian Church today. The world today — needs and problems — tremendous need for reconciling spirit to move over the earth. Moved so far from bows and arrows, that if peace cannot be preserved all else will be destroyed. The Church’s ministry must be goodwill, understanding — it is the Body of Christ. The Church is divided, but still reflects the true Spirit of Christ. The greatest unifying factor is that the Church recognises no creed, no fundamental difference, no political difference. It binds all people together, God as Father, Christ as Saviour. but it still reflects the true spirit of Christ.
At Y.P.F. we had three talks on W.S. Gilbert, Guy de Maupassant (mine) and Anthony Armstrong. Afterwards I took Freda home and we sat in the shop.[pencil:* ½]
I had a letter from Margate this morning. Mr. Plater says I have been booked to speak at Ramsgate on the 24th of this month, and at Margate on my birthday. With the open-air meetings it makes nine ”dates” in 12 days.
Freda started at T.I. (Exports) this morning, and went on the 7.56am train. I went on the 8.45 — it seemed funny without her. Pat was on the same train.
When I got to work I found rats put up, and a note from Dr. Schneider to say that Prof. [A.C. Frazer] was coming. I held up coffee until 11.0am but he didn’t come.
I met Freda by Smith’s at 1.15pm. I hadn’t expected to see her at all. I took her back to T.I. then went to Civic Radio and bought tickets for the CBSO Prom a fortnight tonight. Then I went to Woolworth’s to buy razor blades and typing paper, and to the Christian Literature shop where I got Daily Notes for Anne and Freda. Daily Bread was completely sold out. I bought Freda a S.U. [Scripture Union] brooch. I got back to work just before 2.0pm to carry on with an experiment [to determine the Surface Tension of Pelargonylcholine Iodide].
Freda and I came home together on the 5.35. She had quite enjoyed her first day, I think. Mr. Powley has gone to Bournemouth.
After tea I went to see Anne at 7.15pm. We listened to part of a Music To Remember concert and to Paul Temple. Mr. and Mrs. Vickery had gone for an X-ray at Corporation Street. We had a very lazy evening.
This morning I travelled [to work on the 8.45] with Ann Pardoe. [My parents received a letter informing them that] Julia passed the exam for Sparkhill Commercial School [where she will now join Clarice].
At work I plotted graphs of yesterday’s results. I repeated the experiment to determine the Surface Tension of M/30,000 n-Pelargonylcholine Iodide in M/20,000, M/10,000 and M/1,000 solution and also did a third experiment on Pelargonylcholine Iodide.
Prof. [A.C. Frazer] came today and it seems that the Bio-Assay Laboratory will be closing down by the end of the year. The place is very cramped and unpleasant but working in the city is most convenient.
I met Freda at dinner time. I did experiments (1) and (2) this afternoon We came home together on the 5.35pm. [Pencil: George Howard]
Tonight we walked to Solihull and then down Hampton Lane and through the fields.
At work I drew graphs etc. for the latest experiments. I also calculated that as the molecular weight of n-Caprylylcholine Iodide is 357, then 0.0357 gm. made up to 50 ml is a M/500 solution. I now have to make up M/10,000, M/5,000, M/2,000, M/1,000 and M/750 solutions [which I shall do on Friday].
During the day I also cleaned the animals. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train. Later, at 9.15pm, I met her from Miss Watson’s house where she and Gillian Chilton had been to discuss their sermons for the service at Sheldon at 9.15pm and we went back and sat together in the attic.
I had a letter 30 from Anne this morning, begun on Tuesday just before 10.0am when a man was singing Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee [by Frances Ridley Havergal] which she thinks are wonderful words. She cannot believe that she has to spend a whole year away from work, it seems like a lifetime and she feels useless. Do I like the hit song Under the Bridges of Paris? The Daily Express serialised Not As A Stranger, a new American film about the life of a doctor, it was jolly good.
She wrote 6 lines of shorthand in her Diary entry for 25th June, but none since. Like me, she loves the thrill of going into the tunnel at Snow Hill and the jerk as the train rounds the bend. She wishes our friendship could be straightforward and ordinary instead of being complicated, and wonders how it will all turn out. She concludes the letter in the garden, with We thank Thee Lord for this fair earth (by George Edward Lynch Cotton, M.H.B. 414), and sending me much love.
I came home on the train with Freda. It was very hot again today.
This morning I received a 96–page book from the Daily Telegraph, ”100 Years in Pictures”, their Centenary supplement. [jpg]
The train driver nearly shattered our ear-drums. He sounded his whistle at every station.
It’s been extremely warm again, hotter than yesterday which was the hottest July day since 1952. [77 degrees today, actually a degree colder than yesterday. The temperature reached 85 degrees on 1st July 1952].
I had the lab all to myself again, made up buffer solutions and solutions for an experiment on Monday; cleaned the animals (and gave bun a run), cleared up Hilary’s things and polished the benches.
During the lunch hour I met Freda.
I had an hour to spare during the afternoon, so I continued re-typing my sermon.
This morning I received the new I.S.T. Bulletin and the Concise Guide which Barbara Evans had sent me for Sunday-School tomorrow.
Last night I met Freda after Choir Practice and we s… [space left]. When I went to bed I read the first chapter of John Creasey’s Shadow of Doom.
At work this morning I wrote a prayer for tomorrow evening. It took me 75 minutes. At 11.0am I met Mam at the Co-op Sale and we bought me a new pair of black shoes. I came home on the 12.30pm train.
After dinner I went to Anne’s and had a very good afternoon doing the book. But then Anne had one of her moods and it took me nearly an hour to get her back to normal again.
I came home, had tea, and listened to Bertrand Russell in Radio Newsreel. Today he made public a statement signed by eight prominent scientists (including Dr. Albert Einstein who died about three weeks ago) calling for the abolition of war.
I went to Freda’s at 7.15pm. I hadn’t fixed any definite time to call for her but she came halfway up Victoria Road, then when she saw me coming, turned round and went back to the shop. She came out again when I crossed over the road to go back home!
After a time we set off for a walk but we only got as far as Oxford Road when Kingy came along wanting to buy a pair of ear-rings, and she also showed us the photographs of her and Geoff [Price] taken on holiday in Cornwall.
We walked along the main road, then down Grange Road and Bryanston Road, then across to Streetsbrook Road into a wood. After we got back we sat in the shop and kissed. Since then I have read through my sermon and prayers for tomorrow, retiring to bed at 12.15am.
I got up just after 8.0am this morning and wrote a Children’s Address [based on Mr. Dibben’s of May 15th] on ”Camels” and ”out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
I went off to Castle Bromwich [on the Outer Circle 11 ’bus] just before ten and walked from the Fox and Goose. It was a lovely sunny morning. My sermon on ”The Church — the Body of Christ” was probably the most difficult of any I have so far attempted, but was quite appreciated by the congregation. Order of Service:
Hymn 29 All things praise Thee, Lord most high, 1st Prayer, 604 Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God, 1st Lesson: Jeremiah 18:1–10, Children’s Address, 845 God make my life a little light, 2nd Lesson; Matthew 10:1–15, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 680 Glad was my heart to hear, Sermon: ”The Church, the Body of Christ”, 681 God of mercy, god of grace, The Blessing.
I stayed talking to Mr. R. Perry, Society steward, after the service.
I took Ivan Evan’s class at Sunday School at 3.0pm. At 4.0pm Freda, Ann Beddowes and I had our usual meeting which I led in prayer and study.
The Y.T. conducted tonight’s service at Lyndon and Ro and I went along too. They did very well on the whole. Brian Sharpe led, Len Boden and Monica Turtle read, and Freda and Gillian Chilton spoke.
At Y.P.F. led by Ann Pardoe (Pat Welch went to Kineton today) we had a quiz by Ann and Bob Pardoe on the tape-recorder.
Freda and I went back home, ate cakes and sandwiches in the attic, and we had a very peaceful hour together during which Freda was very teasing and then [unfinished]
I spent nearly all today doing a Surface Tension experiment on n-Caprylcholine Iodide.
During the lunch hour I went to the Gazette and Despatch offices where I found my letter published in today’s Evening Despatch. It was the leading letter and had been headed in large type ”Hanging is Barbaric”.
I also went to Pope’s where I bought a Brinco quarto size spring-back binder for my sermons and other writings. I didn’t see Freda until 5.30 [when we came home on the train].
Tonight I went to the Library, and after a discussion on the Church with Mr. Beer, I called for Freda at 8.45pm and we went for a walk along Kineton Green Road. We talked quite seriously most of the time. Mr. Powley returned from Bournemouth today.
Today has been the hottest of the year with the temperature reaching 80 degrees.
Nothing much happened at work. I continued my experiment and did other jobs.
I met Freda at lunch time and took her back to T.I. [Tube Investments] at 1.30pm. We came home together as usual. Freda made an appointment at the hairdresser’s yesterday when we came home.
Tonight the Birmingham Mail published my letter on the Death Penalty and in rather fuller content than did the Evening Despatch. I found out tonight that in the later editions of the Despatch my letter had been abbreviated and relegated to a lower place in the Readers’ column. I didn’t think the letters were altered once the type was set.
At 7.30pm I went to Anne’s and we spent two and a half hours on the book while sitting in the garden. Every day is now complete up to April. We had a highly successful evening.
When I got home from work I found a letter from Mr. Plater and my watch back from Dundee. It has a new face with luminous fingers. The old one was supposed to be damaged.
This morning I typed a Private and Confidential Report of the British Pharmacological Society meeting at Bristol last week. Alan was sending it to Prof. [A.C. Frazer].
I also did an experiment to find the Surface Tension of M/2500 n-Caprylcholine Iodide. This value was the same as that for distilled water, but for M/2000 solution it was [ ] dynes/cm. so the micelle point is somewhere between the two.
During the lunch hour I met Freda as usual. In the afternoon I cleaned the animals, washed up and did various jobs. It was another hot day with some thundery rain this afternoon. I went to see Anne tonight.
Ruth Ellis was executed today. It is a disgrace to any civilised society.
Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in Britain. Born Ruth Neilson in Rhyl, she was 28 and had been abused by all the men in her life. When finally she found her true love (as she supposed) in David Blakely and then discovered that he too was cheating on her, she cold-bloodedly shot him, days after having an abortion. When, at her trial at the Old Bailey, she pleaded Guilty and offered no defence, the Judge Mr. Christmas Humphreys had no option but to pass the death sentence. Albert Pierrepoint, her executioner, described her as the bravest woman he had ever met. In fact, she wanted to die — her grisly execution might today be described as an assisted suicide. In the Award-winning film Dance With A Stranger (1985) the part of Ruth Ellis is movingly portrayed by Miranda Richardson.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together on the train. The weather was sunny all day and very hot again [82 degrees].
There was a letter from C.H. Worrall of Shirley in tonight’s Evening Despatch. He strongly upholds my views expressed in Monday’s paper.
At work I prepared for an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Enanthylcholine Iodide C6H13COOCH2N(CH3)3I. The molecular weight is 343 and I calculated that 0.0343gm made up to 250ml is a M/250 solution.
I had a six-page letter 31 from Anne this morning, written in the garden on Wednesday at 11.15am but postmarked ”Acocks Green 9.30am” yesterday. How long is this wonderful weather going to last? She has three of my letters before her, found in different parts of her bedroom, including the one I put through the door on 2nd June, and another with 497/2 at the end which she has only now looked up — Faithful soul, pray always; pray, and still in God abide.” She is thankful for all the texts I give her, but gets terribly depressed at times and feels she is not a real Christian. But she felt quietly contented as we worked together in the garden on Tuesday night and enjoyed our being together.
She will miss me a lot when we go on holiday, it will be the longest we’ve ever been parted. I might meet a girl in Margate and fall in love with her! She is wondering what it is like to have real love letters written to her. Do I know that if I hadn’t taken any notice of her at that social she wouldn’t have got to know me? But not having a boy-friend she played up to me, she says, and Mr. & Mrs. Dibben looked most disapprovingly at her. She wonders what would have happened if Freda had hated the sight of me and refused to go out with me, but Freda and I have more in common — preaching and music — she says, and Freda is more even-tempered and not disposed to getting horrible moods all the time.
I met Freda after Choir practice.
At work this morning I made up M/5,000, M/2,000, M/1,000 and M/500 solutions of Enanthylcholine Iodide.
I took Freda to Eastern Road this afternoon to see School play the Old Edwardians. The sun shone all day and it was very warm, the perfect day for cricket [we had 13.7 hours of sunshine and the temperature reached 81 degrees], and we had strawberries and ice cream for tea. It was a most exciting match. The Old Eds, captained by T.G. Freeman, batted first and lost two quick wickets. R.H. Bayley being bowled by Mulford for 14 and D.G. Ball st. Smith b. Saxon for 3. B.C. Homer came in and was soon joined by P.O. Kendrick, and between them they took the score to 204 for 2, allowing Homer to reach his century, before declaring (Homer 101 n.o., Kendrick 72 n.o.). P.F. Williams was soon out for 10. A.N.B. Davies was joined at the wicket by Mulford, who was run out for 14, and then by A.C. Smith. Davies was then bowled by Harrod and Smith, looking set for a century, was unfortunately run out on 90. With two overs to go, 12 runs needed, and 2 wickets standing, there was a nail-biting finish, but School lost another wicket, and finished five runs short of victory at 200 for 8.
It was a special pleasure to see so many boys I knew, at least slightly, including John Wilkins and his younger brother Max, Alan Smith and Ossie Wheatley. After a wonderful afternoon we caught the ’bus to Rednal and climbed the Lickey Hills.
We had a student to conduct this morning’s service. We sang 80 Thee will I praise with all my heart, 25 Round the Lord in glory seated, 855 I love to think, though I am young, 373 Lord, I was blind! I could not see (to the tune of 285 O breath of God, breathe on us now), 416 Life and light and joy are found, and the readings were Psalm 27 and John 9:8–42.
The student spoke on the bewilderment of life. We have too, too many ideas; we must bring all parts of our life to God. A Christian is not exempt from the difficulty of knitting all parts of his life together. What is our true centre of life? For Helen Keller, blind, deaf and dumb, it is Christ. ”One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Psalm 27:4). Is this escapism? The house of the Lord then was the Jewish Temple — the psalmist wouldn’t get nearer than the priests’ court, and the high priest only once a year with a sacrifice. Christ is the sacrifice giving us access to the heavenly temple through the veil of His Cross. All can come unto God through Christ. Do we want to be with God? Non-churchgoers say, ”I can worship God just as well in the country”. No! man is born to worship. The man born blind said, ”One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). That is the testimony of all who have found Christ. ”Which leg comes before which?” said the frog to the centipede, how did he walk? He simply did it! We can make that act of faith. Do we know God? Do we want to know God? Do we want to be made whole? Silly question! ”I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25). All that we require is to do God’s will.
This afternoon I took the Sunday School class and went to the Youth Team Fellowship.
At tonight’s service Mr. Terry spoke on 1 Corinthians 1:23, ”But we preach Christ crucified.” This is the real purpose of the Church. We can work and worship in Church without ever asking why we do so. We meet for adoration, worship and communion with God. The purpose of the Church is to change men’s lives throughout the whole world -- we see it at work from its earliest days. Ordinary men were transformed. They had to go to the Cross, to the Resurrection, and then to Pentecost. They had to preach Christ not as an example only, but Christ crucified and risen. They had to preach the power of new life in the Holy Spirit. The emphasis in the Epistle is not on the life but on the death of Christ. We must preach Christ crucified and risen if we are to change men. We have to die to self and rise to a new life in Christ — these are the implications of Christianity. Only a changed person is big enough to carry out its implications by faith in Christ. The social structure of society has been changed by people who have been changed by Christ. There are three things we may say about the Gospel:
1. The Gospel of Christ is simple yet profound. Anyone can understand it sufficiently to be changed by it. Dr. A.S. Peake speaks of the simplicity of a childlike faith and dependence on Christ. ”I cannot eat my bread alone” is the principle, the Gospel has to be shared. It is a grand simplicity that ”Christ died for me”.
2. The Gospel that is given to us is (a) not something invented by the first followers of Christ. It tells of things which the Almighty God did — the facts of Christ’s coming, His life, death and resurrection etc. It has been handed on, declared. It is not philosophical theory, it is factual — more factual than 1066, just as if we are there. These things happened! The Gospel has been given to us, deposited, committed to our trust. Unbelief can’t remove it, opposition can’t destroy it. The question, ”What are you going to do about Christ?” won’t go away. These are facts, they are there for all time, and it is no use hiding one’s head in the sand. The Gospel is (b) given because it is free. It offends the pride of man because man always likes to give something in return. Martin Luther (1483–1546) tried to earn salvation but nothing he did met his need. He underwent privation, scourgings etc., in order to be worthy of peace with God. He came to learn that God was for him, not against him. He had to take Him by faith to find peace, then he found free acceptance. Salvation is found only in the Christ of the Cross. God loves you and me. Even if you crucify Him He still loves you. Nothing can destroy that love. The emphasis is not on what we must do for Christ but on what Christ is doing in us. We come here to Church to let God do things for us.
3. The Gospel is very personal, the source of our fellowship in Christ. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, He is the door of the sheepfold and the sheep enter one by one. Entry into the Kingdom of God is one by one, as you and I respond to Him. The purpose of God is not fulfilled in any one of us until we come to the Cross. Frederick Luke Wiseman (1858–1938) stayed with his devout grandfather who spoke to him with the love of Christ, his pleading was irresistible. Why at first did he not respond? ”Why don’t they all come?” he wanted to know. ”I don’t know” said Grandfather, ”but they can’t all come until Frederick Luke Wiseman comes!” We can’t understand why all don’t come. We can legislate for others, but we can’t all come until you come. We can come. We preach Christ and Him crucified. He wants you to come. His purpose is fulfilled when you come, I come, all come. Amen.
The hymns were 681 God of mercy, God of grace, 47 Father of all! whose powerful voice, 431 Love divine, all loves excelling, 90 Object of my first desire, and 77 What shall I do my God to love. The readings were Isaiah 52:7–15 and 1 Corinthians 1:18–31.
At Y.P.F. we had an evening of gramophone records led by Len Bowden. Afterwards I took Freda home and we went up into the attic where I read her the Charles Dickens’ story. It was very sunny and hot all day and there was a thunderstorm tonight. [The temperature reached 82 degrees.]
Today was the first dull day for weeks and noticeably cooler after last night’s thunderstorm. At work, among other things, I made up a M/3,000 solution of Enanthylcholine Iodide. I met Freda at dinner time and we managed to catch the 5.10 home. We had to be at the Town Hall early tonight as all the Promenade Concerts commence at 7.15pm.
We were greatly looking forward to tonight as the concert was devoted entirely to works by Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) and the C.B.S.O. was being conducted by George Weldon. We had seats D14 and 15 in the Upper Gallery The programme was Capriccio Italien, Op. 45; Andante Cantabile from the String Quartet, Op. 11; Ballet Suite Swan Lake, Op. 20; Overture, Solennelle, 1812 and after the interval we heard the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36.
Except for the Symphony we were familiar with all the works. I especially like Capriccio Italien, which evokes the light and colour of Italy. and the 1812 Overture with its noise of battle and triumph of victory. T.W. North played the organ for this. The Swan Lake Ballet Suite comprises five movements, of which only four were played tonight. It was a wonderful evening and the Town Hall was packed.
I did another experiment today to find the Surface Tension of Enanthylcholine Iodide undergoing evaporation.
I typed a letter in response to Mr. C.G. Corfield’s and posted it at 5.0pm at the Evening Despatch on my way to the station. I came home with Freda as usual.
At work today I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Caproylcholine Iodide, C5H11COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I. The molecular weight is 329, therefore 0.0329gm in 50ml is an M/500 solution. In order to have enough for the further dilutions I dissolved 0.0658gm in 100ml. aq.dest.
I met Freda at dinner time, came home early on the 4.50pm train and went to see Anne tonight. Mr. & Mrs. Powley were taking Freda and Rosemary to see South Pacific at the Theatre Royal.
At work I made up M/5000, M/4000, M/3000, M/2000 and M/1000 solutions of Caprylcholine Iodide, and then M/1500 and M/75 solutions, and did another experiment on the Surface Tension as the solutions evaporated.
I didn’t see Freda at lunch time. I went to the Evening Despatch office and found they had printed my follow-up letter on capital punishment under the heading ”Degrading.” I came home on the 5.10 train.
Tonight I took Freda to the Olton to see The Constant Husband (U) in Technicolor, in which Rex Harrison is an amnesiac who has acquired six wives, delightfully played by Margaret Leighton, Kay Kendall, Nicole Maurey, Valerie French, Jill Adams and Muriel Young. George Cole and Raymond Huntley were also in the film. The other film was Security Risk (A).
It is ten past eleven. Not long ago Freda and I said Goodbye. Somehow nothing seems particularly real tonight. It seemed hard to register the fact that I was leaving her for a fortnight. It took quite a lot of kisses to say Goodbye.
Some miscellaneous thoughts:
i. I can imagine the queues of people at Moor Street Station. It’s thrilling to think about the hundreds of extra carriages being shunted there. These last few days they’ve been moved to just outside the station and had labels pasted on their windows.
ii. My right lower wisdom tooth is about to break through my gum. It hurts quite a bit.
iii. Freda is in bed now. I wonder what she is thinking.
iv. It is very hot again — the heatwave continues [12.4 hours of sunshine and 80 degrees today].
v. When shall I make my next entry?
At work I did another experiment on the evaporation of Caprylcholine Iodide
Here we are again at 23 Grove Gardens, Westbrook, Margate. We left home at 4.30am and stopped only once, arriving at 2.25pm. I directed us through Oxford, Guildford, Dorking, Redhill, Maidenhead and Canterbury, 222 miles in all. It was rather misty for the first part of the journey but the only difficult spot was at Maidenhead where we got caught in a traffic jam for 50 minutes; otherwise the roads were remarkably clear and Dad drove very well.
It was lovely to see the Ralphs again, We spent the afternoon here at Westbrook. It was fine and warm. This evening we went for a walk and were astonished to meet Arthur’s parents [Mam’s sister Grace’s parents-in-law, Arthur Williams, Snr., and Elsie Elizabeth née White] who are also on holiday here! We walked along the pier and sat by the harbour, everything was just as we remembered it. I started a letter to Freda but feel very tired. I have a lovely comfortable double bed to sleep in and wish she was with me.
Mrs. Ralph brought me a cup of tea in bed this morning. After breakfast, as the weather was unpromising, we decided to visit Dover in the car. We drove there [on the A256 and A258] via Sandwich, Deal and Walmer, about 45 miles there and back. [jpg]
This afternoon I finished my letter to Freda and posted it. [It is postmarked ”Margate 5.45pm 24 Jul 1955”] I hope she will remember to look at the Evening Despatch to see whether there are any replies to my letter on Thursday. I have also asked her to take back or renew my Library books tomorrow.
I met Cyril Plater at 3.30pm and we went on the ’bus to Ramsgate where we had tea with the Pastor of Newcastle Hill Mission where I was to preach tonight. The Church is in King Street, opposite the Duke of Kent public house, and the service was very impromptu with people praying and singing choruses as they felt moved. I had scribbled a few notes with the intention of preaching on Adam and Eve, but changed my mind after I got there and preached instead on Galatians 6:14, ”But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” The Lord wonderfully blessed the message.
This morning we went round the shops and I bought a bottle of ink. Later we sat on the sea front opposite British Home Stores.
This afternoon we sat on the beach and I went for a swim but the weather was very windy and cold. Later we went for a walk and I looked at the bookstalls. I felt ill.
This afternoon I finished my letter to Anne started in bed last night. I went to the Post Office and from there we walked to Cliftonville.
It was a great surprise to meet Nancy and Leslie [my mother’s brother and his wife] at the Lido. They told us the sad news that Nancy’s brother Tom [Richard Thomas Barnard] was killed on his motor-bike last week. He was only 42 and leaves a wife and two children, Richard 13 and Carol 10. He was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and knew the Duke of Edinburgh personally — there is certainly a photograph of him with the Queen and the Duke.
Later we sat in a shelter and I read more of my book. Tonight I joined Cyril and Fred the Barber at their meeting on the slipway where hundreds stopped to hear us preach.
I wrote to the Duke of Edinburgh on 30th April 2008, and was delighted to hear from him that he does indeed remember Tom from their time together in the Royal Navy, and sends his best wishes to my Aunt Nancy, now in her late 80s. My Aunt Grace tells me that Nancy Barnard came from Walsall. She and Tom and their three or four sisters were orphaned when she was about 14. One of the sisters was Kathleen, who served in the Land Army in the Midlands and met a Canadian soldier. Kathleen emigrated to Canada, served in the Land Army there, was reunited with her soldier and married him. Kathleen died a few years ago; they had one child.
A drowning tragedy
I had a letter from Freda this morning, postmarked 9pm last night. Mine was waiting for her when she got home from work — she would have received it in the morning if she had come out through the front door instead of the back! She remembered to get the Despatch on Saturday and again last night, and has sent me two cuttings, one of them from the Post. She also renewed my Library books.
Mr. Powley had ’phoned the vet about Jeanie but she had not yet come round after the operation — they expect her home on Wednesday. Freda went to see Anne on Saturday afternoon. She thinks it will take some time for them to get back to the friendship they used to have. Mr. E. Ray Griffiths took the service on Sunday morning and preached on ”Be still, and know that I am God.” He had some good hymns, including 677 We love the place, O God, 843 In our dear Lord’s garden and 669 Dear Lord and Father of mankind. Mick Daw took the service at Helston on Sunday morning.
On Sunday afternoon the Powleys had a visit from Greta (their former maid when they lived in Solihull) and her husband and daughter on their way from Co. Durham to Wales, so Freda didn’t go to the evening service.
On Sunday at dinner-time, Mr. Powley took a photograph of Freda in their back yard. [jpg] It was the last picture on the roll and the film has now gone to be developed and printed, so I may have some photos to look at before we return. In the meantime she says I am to enjoy myself and not get too attached to the roller-skating girls
It has been a terribly sad day though, and we are all very upset. I wrote back to Freda [the letter, below, is postmarked ”Margate 8.30pm 26 Jul 1955”] and had just posted it when two boys who had been sitting quite close to us on the beach went to the Swimming Pool. One of them was walking along the edge when he was swamped by a big wave and disappeared. His brother dived into the water to look for him and he too disappeared. Both boys are presumed to have drowned. I preached tonight on Amos 4:12, ”Prepare to meet thy God” and used this as an illustration. I shall never forget the sad pile of clothes they left on the beach, and the anguish of their parents.
”I hope that Jeanie will be alright. I remembered she was being operated on yesterday. I am afraid it was a great mistake to bring a dog on holiday with us. As usual, I was the only one who pointed out what the difficulties would be, and it is just as I said, no holiday at all. Thank you for the press cuttings, by the way, if you read those from the Despatch you will realise that most of them are only repeating what I said a fortnight ago when my letter started the correspondence. I shall not write anything more. Preaching at Ramsgate was quite an experience and there is much to tell you about when I get back, but ten minutes before we were due to begin I changed my sermon to one on Galatians 6:14 instead of the one I had prepared. I spoke for nearly half-an-hour. The service was entirely free inasmuch that you prayed, sang and read just as the Spirit moved you. I can’t describe it properly until I see you, but though I enjoyed the service I couldn’t help comparing it with ours. Free worship may have much to recommend it but in being free one tends to omit important aspects of worship. One has to incorporate adoration, praise, thanksgiving, repentance, forgiveness, intercession and so on, as well as salvation. However, the Apostolics do sing many of our hymns, ”And can it be” is No. 373 and ”O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, our No. 9, is No. 13, but they seemed never to have sung it before. Tonight there is an open-air meeting which I may go to. I honestly feel that preaching is a big ordeal, and when there’s an outdoor meeting I find I am secretly hoping it will rain, or that the meeting will be cancelled. One tends to feel so hopelessly insignificant and unequal to the task. We’ve met two lots of relatives since Saturday night. Unfortunately my uncle’s brother-in law was killed on his motor-bike last week. He was only 42 and leaves a wife and two children, 13 and 10. He was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and I am told that he knew the Duke of Edinburgh personally. There is certainly a photograph of him with the Queen and the Duke. He had everything in the world he could wish for and was in the prime of his life. ”Prepare to meet thy God” indeed!”
WEDNESDAY 27th JULY
It has not been the happiest of holidays so far, what with the trouble with Eddie, the indifferent weather and yesterday’s appalling tragedy. Today we had another upset when Dad realised he had lost his wallet containing £28 which was all the money for our holiday. Fortunately the wallet was handed in at the police station within a couple of hours and nothing was missing. We were all profoundly grateful for the person’s honesty, may God bless them. We were beginning to feel there was a jinx on our holiday.
I bought the East Kent Times this morning in order to read the report of yesterday’s tragedy. It was a beautiful day and I took some photographs of the family on the beach with Eddie. I also went for a swim. We met Nancy and Leslie again and walked from Westbrook to Cliftonville. [Did I preach tonight?]
I received a letter from David Cockram this morning about the Open-air meeting. He suggests August 14th at 8.0pm. It was another warm day. I bought Picturegoer as usual.
Freda’s letter had come when we got back for dinner, postmarked 9pm last night. They too had a beautiful day yesterday. She wishes she could be with us and feels in need of a holiday. Ro and Mick want to go away together when he comes back from Cornwall, and Ro and Mrs. Daw ’phoned various farms to see if they could get booked up, but Mr. Powley has not been told yet. If he proves awkward, Mrs. Daw will speak to him! Ro says the reason Freda and I can’t go away together is because we didn’t go about it the right way, he doesn’t know my parents.
Jeanie isn’t back from the vet’s yet, but is quite content and has been for a walk.
Freda is finding it difficult to concentrate at work because of the noisy office. The only time she ever gets a cup of tea in bed is when she is on holiday. ”Anyway you, as the husband, should be the one to get up and make tea for your wife!”, she says. Freda wishes she could deliver the letter personally. Her mother told the postman she wishes he would come earlier so that Freda could get my letters before going to work. She is going to have her hair re-styled and set before she goes to Eastbourne. Sybil Ker’s is open again but she won’t go there.
Freda enclosed another cutting from the Evening Despatch in which D.F. Curran says that if murderers are not executed, they will be released from prison in 12–15 years.
She has also sent me a red sock to try on for size before she knits the other one!
We spent most of the afternoon on the beach as usual. I wrote a letter to Freda [it is postmarked ”Margate 8.30pm 28 Jul 1955”, see below].and went for a swim. I went to the meeting at 8.0pm, not feeling like speaking but did so when called upon and felt that the message was blessed. Mr. Plater was not there. In bed tonight I have written a letter to the Evening Despatch in response to D.F. Curran’s letter.
”After the open-air service on Tuesday night my Apostolic friend Cyril Plater told me, and he was obviously amused by the thought, that the other Sunday a man had come for the first time to their church and asked them to pray for his dog. Apparently he had got pneumonia, rheumatism and one or two other things thrown in as well. They had never been asked to pray for an animal before, so it came as rather a surprise, but they said ”Why not?” and the other day the man came to the church again to tell them the dog was completely cured. I don’t know what you think about that story, I think it’s rather nice. It’s true so far as I can check and there’s no reason to suppose anyone should want to invent it. Ten minutes after posting that letter on our way down to the beach we came upon a crowd by the bathing pool. Two brothers 26 and 16 had gone paddling and not come back. Their mother, by whom I was standing, told the police and they started to drain the pool. Thousands of people waited for hours while two policemen and four others swam in the pool and in the sea. It seemed to me that perhaps they had been walking along the wall of the pool at the 9 foot end and been knocked into the water. You will remember it was the day I said I wouldn’t go for a swim as it was cold and the sea was rough. About 8pm I saw someone remove two pathetic piles of clothing where they had been left on the beach. Shortly after midnight the bodies were found at the bottom of the pool. The very next day my father lost a wallet containing £28; fortunately he got it back via the police station within a couple of hours. It really seemed as though there was a jinx on our holiday, except that I don’t believe in jinxes.”
The weather was dull when we got up this morning so I suggested we visit Herne Bay in the car. We took the [A28] road through Birchington where I got a stamp for my letter to the Evening Despatch, and bought a copy of the Isle of Thanet Gazette. I got a good laugh at the Church notice above [pasted at the head of today’s Diary page, ”6.30pm. BRIAN WILLIAMS. Hear this young man whom you often hear on the Radio.”].
Dad went off the road [missed the A299] branching away to Herne Bay, so we had to keep straight on to Canterbury and [take the A290 to] visit Whitstable, Herne Bay and Reculver on the way back, and saw Reculver Towers which are the remains of a Roman fort and later formed part of a monastery.
A parcel had come for me from Freda with a red tie for my birthday and matching sock to try on which she has knitted for me. I posted her a letter when we went out later
It wasn’t very pleasant this afternoon and I was cold after our usual swim. To keep warm I went for a brisk walk in an attempt to find the Apostolic Church. I walked for quite a long time [exploring the little streets] without getting very far.
I certainly didn’t find the Church, but I did however come across a number of places I knew of but hadn’t previously seen. Now I think I know Margate pretty well. I took a walk through Dane Park and saw the house in Dane Road where Mr. Plater has his flat. At the Public Library, which I found in Victoria Road very near Addington Square, I read all the daily papers.
Mam and Dad had left the beach when I got back to the sea-front again.
We went out again in the evening around 7.30pm and I went to our meeting half an hour late. Once again, I hardly felt like speaking, but did so when called upon and preached with great freedom. [I told Cyril Plater I had been unable to find the Church and he gave me a card. [jpg] They meet in a small hall at the rear of 18 Milton Avenue.]
I wrote to Freda: ”Thank you ever so much for your present. I like the tie very much and you are awfully clever to be able to knit socks. I’m afraid I don’t understand knitting. The sock is a bit tight at the top and could probably do with being a quarter- inch longer in the foot. I take an 8½ size shoe. After breakfast we drove to Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Reculver …”
I had a birthday card and letter and Bible mark from Freda this morning. She is impatient for me to return. Mick has told Ro he will be away for another three days after the month is up. Freda went to see Anne on Thursday evening. Philip was there and she and Anne had little or no conversation. She has seen Richard on the train each morning this week. He lives in Ladbrook Road and left Solihull School at Easter.
Ro and Mick’s holiday is still very much in the air. Mr. Powley has consented to their having a holiday but isn’t happy about it, and Freda says we might as well give up the idea for this year anyway. She says she understands the difficulty of introducing our respective parents while we were in the triangle. No, I had not told her about what Mrs. Vickery had heard about me, and no, Mrs. Powley hadn’t said anything more about her ”inexperience.”
Jeanie is still at the Vet’s — they would really like to adopt her! If faith healing works with human beings then it can also work with animals. What a lot of unpleasant things seem to have happened while we have been away, my uncles brother-in law, being killed, the two boys being drowned, and Dad losing his wallet (but he did find it again). Serious letters don’t bore or depress her, and my last letter didn’t seem like a sermon, but why did I put ”1 Peter 5:7” at the bottom of it?
Rosemary left the Beacon yesterday. They gave her a 25/-d record token. Freda has still not used the book token she had when she left Bakelite, so when I get back we can go to Smith’s together and choose something. As I haven’t mentioned the roller-skating girls again, am I having an affair with one of them? My letters go up by two pages every time I write, but Ro had 13 pages from Mick on Thursday though (unlike me) he doesn’t write every other day. Freda has sent me the photographs, and I returned them when I wrote back today.
We said Goodbye to the Greeleys today. The weather was dull all day. I finished reading my book They Have Their Exits by Airey Neave.
Dancing for sheer joy
It is my 20th birthday, and a memorable one. While still in bed I began a letter to Freda. After breakfast Dad came with me to Cliftonville Methodist Church where we had an inspiring service conducted by Rev. E.E. Morris. The large Church was packed almost to capacity, and we sang Hymn 7 O Heavenly King, look down from above, 838 Jesus, high in glory (to the tune of 286 Holy Spirit, hear us), 423 I’ve found a Friend, 411 Head of Thy church triumphant and 319 Weary souls that wander wide. [Having no paper with me, I was unable to take notes of the sermon, but wrote the Order of Service on the back of the card Cyril gave me on Friday.]
This afternoon we swam and sunbathed. I finished my letter to Freda and took it to the post [it is postmarked 5.45pm ”Margate 31 Jul 1955”, see below] and there was a birthday cake for me when we returned for tea at 5.30pm. This evening I preached, along with Cyril and Fred, at the Harbour at 8.15pm. Later, at 10.30pm, we had a cup of tea in a café.
I wrote to Freda: ”You ask me how many times I have preached so far. The answer is five times so far, twice more [later] today and every day next week, God willing, except Monday. I wish I could tell you in words how the Spirit worked on Friday night and last night but it is almost beyond description. Normally we start at 8pm and close when it is dark, a few minutes after nine, but on Friday the people kept coming and so long as they were there we kept preaching. We finished about ten, so elated that it was hastily decided to put on another meeting last night on a slipway at the harbour. It seemed perhaps an awkward spot. There was a whelk stall nearby, plus the pier, a pub, a cinema and lots of noisy traffic. The three of us sang a chorus together, then I started to speak. I would not usually have expected a lot of people to gather there but they came, more and more, until they were three and four deep for yards along the sea-wall. I am not boasting about the way I or any of us preached, we had nothing to do with it, but you stand up, not knowing what you are going to say, and you have a terrific force inside you. Fred said I jigged and danced and ran in sheer joy for the message I was preaching. It was the same for all three of us, as each of us spoke, and when people moved away, others moved in. There were not only people in front of us but to the side of us, folks with dishes of whelks and mussels came, and when Fred was preaching the man on the whelk stall suddenly shouted at the top of his voice for us to shut up and clear off! That was how the conviction of that message was going home. It was not far short of half-past ten when we finished. It is impossible to know how many people have been saved at this sea-wall over the years but it must be hundreds. We don’t usually ask people to come forward. When we have done so they seem afraid to do so, but I am quite certain that people do come to Christ as we preach. You can tell when their hearts are touched. The trouble is, of course, that we cannot follow up, but the Bible says that when we have preached the Word we can safely leave the rest to God. Anyway it’s a thrilling task though a physically tiring one.”
It was Bank Holiday today and there were no letters. I swam during the day. We met Leslie and Nancy again and walked to Cliftonville. There was no meeting this evening.
What a marvellous meeting we had again tonight! After the blessings of Friday and Saturday I felt that despite everything I was putting into my speaking I was dead tonight. Mr. Plater, Fred and David [Lloyd from the Gospel Tabernacle, Slough] spoke as usual, and Mr. Plater had gone home when a man at the sea-rail asked Fred a question as he was preaching. This was passed on to me, and then I felt the urge to speak. When I had finished, many of the large crowd had dispersed, but of the few remaining, five made decisions for Christ. There were three youngsters and a boy’s mother and aunt.
But there was also a young fellow and his girl-friend. He was an R.C., had been in Korea and lost 85 of his mates. Could God bring them back, he asked. He was obviously embittered, but near to tears. Fred and I talked to him for a bit, but he made off in the end saying he had to be going.
I had a 7–page letter from Freda, [postmarked ”Buckingham 5.15pm 1 Aug 55”] when we got in at lunch time, and also one from Ivan. Freda had had both my letters yesterday. She will do her best to alter the sock when I get back. They were going on a drive to Banbury, having dinner there, and then going on to Buckingham. She went to both services yesterday and Helen played the piano for her at Beginners in the afternoon instead of Donald Holloway who was having dinner at Pauline’s house, his parents being away.
There was a big scandal at church yesterday! Margaret Hibberd has written to Len Boden telling him she doesn’t wish to go out with him again as she doesn’t think they are really suited. She has also written to the Dibbens, Mr. & Mrs. Ellis and the Thomases telling them she won’t be coming to Church, Sunday School or Club again for 6–8 months until it has all died down. Jonathan Guy Pardoe [Sheila and Bob Pardoe’s first child] was baptized on Sunday morning wearing the robe that Jos worse when he was christened. Ann Pardoe was godmother. Freda had a good laugh over the press cutting I sent her. Yes, it does make us feel closer when we know what each is doing. She thought about me a great deal on Sunday. Jeanie came home on Saturday, Mr. Powley has to take her to have the stitches out on Friday.
Freda, continuing the letter in the car, says they have just passed Hampton Lane, which brings back memories! Miss Watson has asked her and Ro if they would like to go to Barnes Close in October, and Mr. Fitton has asked her if she will visit the parents of children on the Cradle Roll who have reached the age of 4. Freda says they are now in the Kineton Circuit — did I hear how Pat Welch got on when he was here a few weeks ago? Ro sends me her best wishes, and Mr. Powley says I am quite right in thinking that he would not approve of my calling for her at midnight on Saturday.
They have just had a most enjoyable dinner at the White Hart in Banbury — Freda has just taken a photograph of the Cross. [jpg] It was baking hot, the sun having shone all day. Have we been to Dreamland this year? How are Clarice and Julia, and have they found boy-friends yet? She will post the letter in Buckingham, they are now approaching Bicester. When will I have my extra days holiday? She will take the photographs to be enlarged so will let me have one of her in the back yard. It was Kingy’s 19th birthday yesterday — Freda has bought her some little china animals but cannot give them to her as she doesn’t know her address. Geoff will be 21 next month — when will they get engaged and married?
We walked to Cliftonville again today. I wrote to Freda and bought her a necklace, and sent postcards to her parents and Ro.
I wrote to Freda: ”I have been to Dreamland — that’s where I see the Roller Skating girls. Clarice and Julia go there every night. I had a letter from Ivan this morning. He hangs his head in shame and writes in sackcloth and ashes. About the service at Water Orton Ivan says it was quite good and everyone did well. Your Children’s Address was very good and Ivan says you will no doubt develop your voice so that everyone can hear easily. I think that is just a matter of confidence and you will soon learn to throw your voice. Philip must look out and not so much into the Bible when he is reading. Then Ivan says ‘To yourself, most noble brother, don’t give us too many pictures to look at, two at the most will be all that we can cope with’. His only other comment was that in the morning it ought to be possible for one person to do both addresses. I feel this is possible but pointless because it is speakers we are training, do you agree with me? Ivan’s letters really do amuse but interest me. I suppose it is because they are just Ivan. Needless to say he suggests we have a natter together one evening. Our natters together are really something, not that we always agree on everything. When he returns from Cornwall on the 20th his new car has arrived. I am glad to hear Jeanie is home. As Fred the Barber here would say, ”Praise the Lord!” I am afraid our dog has three times had fits of hysteria since we have been here and we had to get him a sedative from the vet. … The other day I finished reading They Have Their Exits by Airey Neave. He was the first man to escape from Colditz in the war. Now I am reading H.R. Trevor-Roper’s The Last Days of Hitler which was a best-seller two or three years ago. This year though, I haven’t so much spare time to read and I still haven’t written up my Departmental report from January to June 1955. I hope Prof. hasn’t missed it! I did reply to the letter from D.F. Curran in the Despatch. I rather think they may have published it on Monday or today. I am sorry your father agrees with him. The reply is rather a caustic one but I hope he reads it.”
It was dull and raining this morning so we went to Ramsgate in the car. I bought four postcards, and wrote one to Ro [jpg] to thank her for my birthday card and posted it. [It is postmarked ”Ramsgate 1.45pm 3 Aug 1955” — see below].
The weather was a little brighter this afternoon and I went for a swim. This evening I met Cyril Plater at the Apostolic Church and preached on ”I Go a Fishing”. After I got back I went to Dreamland and watched the girls roller-skating.
I wrote to Rosemary: ”Many thanks for your card, Ro. I’m glad you agree we are Big Shots, half of us anyway! Would you really fire cannon-balls at my heart? Today it is dull and a bit wet after some very fine hot weather. I’m spending most of my spare time eating, sleeping, reading and swimming. Hope you are behaving while Mick and I away are both away! My regards to you both — Brian.”
Rescue the perishing!
I was disappointed not to get a letter from Freda today but perhaps mine was delayed. We walked to Westgate today and I took several photographs, including the gap in the cliff, the sea and promenade, and the cliff path.
While I was preaching tonight I heard some detonations which I thought was the lifeboat being launched. I told the people that our mission, like the lifeboat men’s, was to ”rescue the perishing”. Unfortunately (as Cyril informed me), it was only fireworks going off.
It is half-past eleven and once again our holidays have come to an end. A lot has happened in the last fortnight. In a way it seems only yesterday that our holiday was still an unknown quantity which I hadn’t thought much about, and now it is over for another year. And yet it also seems aeons since we came. How time plays tricks!
Tonight I took part again in the open-air meeting from 8.0 until 10.0pm and spoke twice, — on John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:23–24. In twelve days I’ve preached 14 sermons and given a Children’s Address through the power of the Holy Spirit. When I recall that Cyril Plater and Fred the Barber have preached nearly every night of the holiday season for eight years after working all day long, my own contribution seems meagre indeed.
About 7.15 I visited Fred the Barber’s shop. What a wonderful testimony it is! Later we went to the meeting and I preached twice, on John 3:16 and Galatians 6:14, with hundreds of people stopping to listen as always.
We went shopping this morning and then took the car to be filled up with petrol and got ready for the journey home tomorrow. We also went for a walk and sat on the bench across the road from the British Home Stores. Later we parked outside the Marlborough Hotel and to finish the film I took some photos of us standing by the car. and one of Mam and Dad in the car and Clarice and Julia sitting on the bonnet. [jpg] Afterwards I took the film to the Photo Shop to be developed and printed by midday tomorrow. After dinner we spent the afternoon on the beach. I enjoyed a last swim and then went to sleep.
Freda’s letter came this morning. She was very disappointed not to get a letter from me when she got home on Wednesday. The girls at work have been teasing her saying that I was sitting on the beach with a beautiful blonde in a black bathing suit. (How did they know that?!)
They stayed in on Tuesday except that Freda went to see Anne for an hour in the morning and in the evening she went for a walk along Yardley Road with her mother. The rest of the time she was ironing, dressmaking and knitting my other sock — she is now up to the heel and expects to finish it next week but will first have to measure my foot. They had hardly any work to do in the office yesterday but it was piling in yesterday.
Yes, of course we can wait for a time before we talk of love, that would be best, but the way she feels at the moment she can not do without me. Perhaps when she seems me again (and is reassured that I have not got a roller-skating girl or beautiful blonde in a black bathing suit) she will really know how she feels. No, she has not read about the X and Y-lines — I am more up to date with fashion news than she is!
Ro and Mick are not going away as Mick has to go into the Q.E. to have his wisdom teeth out. Freda will not be going away during her second week’s holiday — what shall we do together? I have not said what time we get back tomorrow — will she have to endure another day of torment? Freda has still not finished the story I was reading to her, so I shall have to finish it when I get back.
Mr. & Mrs. Powley received the card I sent them on Tuesday, and Ro had hers yesterday. I am to wish Mam a happy birthday tomorrow. She is excited about us being together again and hopes I don’t have to spend three weeks at Clevedon again. (Don’t remind me.) Could I possibly help her by playing the piano for the Beginners on Sunday? She was posting her letter at the Post Office.
I wrote back [the letter is postmarked ”Margate 8.30pm 5 Aug 1955”}: —
”The holiday has done me a lot of good in spite of the fact that I’ve so far preached 12 sermons and given a Children’s Address. Now I know how Billy Graham must feel. One could not possibly do it except in the strength that God gives. The people that speak at the open-air meeting have done so nearly every night of the holiday season for eight years after working all day. It certainly makes me humble at my own meagre contribution. We have continued to have some wonderful meetings. There were five more decisions for Christ on Tuesday night, but I will tell you about them this week-end.”
How lovely to be back home again, much as one dislikes saying goodbye to the sea for twelve months! There is something about home …
Although we said Goodbye to the Ralphs and Gillinghams about nine, it was 10.30am before we eventually left Margate. We went in the car to King Street, and while Dad took Eddie to have an injection I went to Cranbourne Terrace to buy some horse-meat. I said Goodbye to Fred again (as his shop almost faces the Butcher’s) and then collected the snapshots from the Photo Shop in Marine Gardens. For the next hour Mam was shopping.
Eventually we left on the road to Canterbury (A23), Charing and Lenham, and the A20 to Maidstone. Again we had a big hold-up here — it took us an hour to do, I suppose, four miles. As I didn’t read the map correctly we went into Sevenoaks and well on the way to Tonbridge, instead of by-passing the former town. It was raining heavily when we took the wrong turning and we must have missed the sign-post, if indeed there was one. We got back onto the main road via Leigh and Crockham Hill, and continued via Redhill, Reigate, Dorking, Guildford, Bisley, Bagshot, Bracknell, Wokingham, Reading, Dorchester, Oxford, Banbury and Warwick. We made four short stops including one at Knowle where we bought lettuce and tomatoes.
It was 8.30 when we got back home. I was relieved to find there was only one letter for me, and that it didn’t require an answer.
About 8.45pm I called on Freda. As I came round the corner of Victoria Road I could see her standing in the upstairs window. It is queer that one feels so shy at times like these. Somehow the door seemed to be in the way, and those split seconds in which we could see each other as she opened the door seemed an eternity. And then we kissed and hugged each other very tightly, and I could think of nothing more romantic to say than ”Well, I’ve come back.” When Freda did at last speak, she said she couldn’t believe it. It certainly was wonderful to be together again. I’ve forgotten already how we spent the next few minutes. After a while we had supper with Mr. and Mrs. Powley. Ro was at the Daws’ and I didn’t see her until I was leaving just after 10.30pm.
How wonderful to be in Church again for the first time since July 17th. Mr. Watson was the preacher. His sermon was on the Pharisee and the Publican, which I more than once brought into my open-air preaching, and he gave a Children’s Address on house-names. The hymns were 16 Raise the psalm: let earth adoring, 15 Praise to the living God! 850 Looking upward every day, 533 Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire and 350 With broken heart and contrite sigh. The readings were Proverbs 3:31–35 (note verse 31, ”Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways”) and Luke 18:1–14.
The sermon was from Luke 18:9–14. The Pharisee and the publican represent opposite poles of Jewish society, one known by a title, the other branded as a name. The one dare not go up with the other. One would be addressed as ”Sir” and admired; the other would be cursed and treated with contempt. They were in the Temple for the same purpose, to pray, one a certain favourite of heaven, the other presumptuous. God’s favour on the publican is not intended to reverse completely our ideas of the two men — the Pharisee was the better man.
1. We must recognise God’s claim and the claim of our fellows. The Pharisee was brought up in that tradition, unselfish, just, morally upright, blameless according to the dictates of his faith. Can we say as much? But in the sight of God these were all negative because of his attitude to God in the Temple. ”We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight” (Isaiah 64:6). His self-righteousness, self-satisfaction and pride shut him off from God. All our righteousness is of no avail. We thank God we don’t have other men’s trials and temptations, we are not as other men are. We make odious comparisons of ourselves with that of others. But the standard is Jesus, not our fellows.
2. We all stand side by side with the publican. The publican was despised and hated. Palestine was occupied by the Romans and their taxes were crushing — every child was taxed — and were collected by the Jews, who were fifth columnists. The money was paid by them to area chiefs, and by them to others higher up, and the balance to the treasury at Rome. Such men were classed as criminals, despised because of their extortion (compare with our Income Tax). Such was the class of man. What could this man say? He had nothing to boast about, but he became conscious of his guilt, he became ashamed. He said ”God be merciful to me a sinner” and the righteousness of God came upon him, God sent him home justified [even though] there was no righteousness at all yet.
3. It is exactly the same with us. Not one of us can boast about ourselves. We must come to God if we want His blessing. The Pharisee knew little of how to approach God, and didn’t find Him. The other, overwhelmed by the sense of his need, found it met. That is the only way we can ever find God. We should be unselfish, just etc. ”But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). Amen.
Freda had asked me to play the piano for her Beginners’ Class this afternoon but as Helen was there I was able instead to go to see Anne, taking with me a letter and the book I bought her. Anne had a swollen face, having had a tooth out. I was disgusted to hear she has been smoking just lately. I can think of nothing worse during her present state of health. The whole family must be singularly lacking in gumption.
Philip came at 3.45pm which was the not unwelcome signal to depart. I was ”cut dead” as soon as he arrived, so I hopped it.
Freda led the meeting at 4.0pm.
I heard Mr. Dibben tonight for the first time since June 26th, and we went to Communion afterwards. After Church Freda and I spent an hour in the attic and I gave her her necklace.
At tonight’s service we sang 47 Father of all! Whose powerful voice, 34 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, 813 The Lord will come, and not be slow, 107 O Jesus, King most wonderful! and 91 All hail the power of Jesu’s name. The readings were Isaiah 60 and Mark 1:14–28.
Mr. Dibben preached on Mark 1:22, ”And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” He quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882): ”Jesus was one through whom the soul spoke”. The people were astonished, reacting with joy, fear and wonder. It was the manner rather than the substance that made them wonder — ”He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes”. The Scribes spoke with borrowed opinions, Jesus spoke of Himself. We may read the prayers of the saints, but they are dead.
1. Some question the authority of Jesus. They say:
(a)Everything that is possible to be believed is an image of Truth. People are willing to believe most things. Theosophists follow the teaching of the ”hidden masters”. But Jesus is greater than the authority of the Word — He is the Word! (John 1:1–14).
(b) Jesus’ teaching is impracticable. Ask God’s guidance. (A reference here to Peter Fleming’s No Arms.)
c) Jesus was a genius but mad, or not far removed from madness. But there is nosign ofmadness in His life or teachings.
2. What then is the authority of Jesus? Authority is looked upon today as outdated — to kick against it is the modern trend — but we must be different. ”God send me no need of Thee” is the attitude; ”Your church, your religion — what have they to do with us?” young folk ask. They want something modern; they say Jesus was against authority. But Jesus said He came to fulfil the law and the prophets, not to destroy them (Matthew 5:17). People go everywhere but to the right place for authority; the authority is the ”spiritual expert” of the moment. But Jesus has provided the answer to millions of people — the downcast, the heavy-laden, people looking for a new way of life, etc. That is His authority. The root of the matter is God! The Rabbis put deeper things on one side. Moses encountered God in the burning bush, but Jesus was greater than Moses.
3. Jesus’ authority is shown by His love of men and women. He was angry when tradition and theories were held to be more important than people. What made this Man a genius of simplicity? There was no piling up of symbolism. His parable of the Prodigal son was simplicity itself. There is a lot of sentimentality about Jesus. All in the April Evening is sentimental and tells us nothing. Tell them the old old stories! Jesus condemned [but] with sympathy and understanding. Jesus could mend with mother, play with the children, mend nets. He saw people thwarted in their search for happiness etc.
drifting away. He understood, and knew He must die to save them that they might know the greatness of the love of God. ”It is not the pictures that are on trial.”
Back to work again this morning. Pat Welch and Ann Pardoe were on the train.
When I got to work I found a note from Hilary with a list of things she had done and things left for me to do [while she is on holiday for two weeks]. I popped out of the Hospital for ten minutes to go to the Despatch offices to get copies of the paper in which I hoped my last letter had been published. It was printed on August 2nd — and underneath, the Editor had said ”This correspondence is now closed.” So I had the first and last word.
I spent an extremely busy day in the lab. During the morning I wrote my Departmental Report at long last [it was due on June 25th] and posted it with my apologies for the delay, at dinner time after I had seen Freda. I also made up solutions of n-Valerylcholine Iodide for an experiment tomorrow, and just managed to complete the typing of six pages of notes I made on April 26th.
It is twenty minutes to midnight now. Tonight Freda and I walked to Solihull along St. Bernard’s Road, Streetsbrook Road and home (by 9.45) via [space left]. It was a fine evening after a very dull day.
How horribly depressing the weather has been these last two days. Today, Tuesday, the light was very poor in the lab, and outside it rained quite a lot [0.135 inches in five hours]. I spent the whole day doing the experiment on n-Valerylcholine Iodide. The results weren’t very promising.
Freda and I came home together on the train, then this evening she came to our house — really for the first time. We looked at my picture postcards, listened to Der Flaudermaus in Stories from the Opera, and to Valentine Dyall’s Appointment With Fear. The series, which I remember so well from Tuesday evenings at 9.30 nearly ten years ago, has come back again. But tonight’s story ”The Dead Man’s Knock” by John Dickson Carr was most disappointing.
We also listened to Saint-Saens’ Le Carnaval des Animaux which aroused some amusement in the audience of the Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, and to César Franck’s Symphonic Poem Le Chasseur Mandit while having supper.
This morning the postman brought me an unexpected letter from David Torvell who is on leave from the Navy and has a guilty conscience about not answering my last letter and missing my birthday. I ’phoned him when I got to work — he was still in bed — and I invited him up to the lab.
My experiment turned out to be a complete failure. I could detect no fall in Surface Tension in the M/100 solution even though there was some effect yesterday in the M/500 solution. This is the second time I have failed to get a result with n-Valerylcholine Iodide.
After an analysis of the results I feel that the discrepancies are due to my not having a homogenous solution to start with. To overcome this I am in future going to shake all the solutions in the machine. So tomorrow, when I make up a M/1250 solution of Laurylcholine Iodide I shall shake it for a few hours before making the dilutions.
The Powleys were all out tonight until 9.0pm so I went to see Freda and we went in our flat! Freda sewed two buttons on my waist-jacket and continued knitting my socks while I finished reading Dickens’ The Signal-Man to her. Then we lay down before going for a walk to Olton until 10.0pm. Freda was a bit depressed.
I caught the 8.53 train this morning. I was again very busy at work and made up six solutions of Laurylcholine Iodide which I put in the shaker. In the afternoon I also typed two or three pages of notes from Gaddum’s Pharmacology, after listing the glassware in the cupboards.
I saw Freda at dinner time and we came home as usual together — but not in the same compartment! As she seems very tired I made her promise to be in bed by 9.0pm tonight. When we got home Freda gave me the enlarged photograph of herself. [jpg]
Tonight I wrote [and typed] an article about John Winrow for the Birmingham News; I had ’phoned him during the day to get some details of his visit next week to Germany.
I had a pleasant surprise this morning when David Torvell came to see me. I was doing an experiment and we talked about my work and about 12.40pm we went to collect my wages [£4 8s 9d]. I hadn’t seen David since before my illness so we had plenty to talk about before he left for home at 1.30. We walked past the Wool Shop and met Freda coming in the opposite direction. Which was just as I had intended.
After lunch I completed the experiment, drew the graphs, and removed a few dozen steam-beetles from the mouse’s corner. I left a note for Louie to clean this part of the floor. When I had got in this morning everything from under the benches and by the walls had been moved into the middle of the lab. I ’phoned down to the House Governor’s Office to see if there was any special reason for this, but apparently Louie must have thought the lab was empty this week and had decided to have a real clear-out.
I came home with Freda — in the same compartment tonight! — and I called for her at Church at 9.0pm after I had spent over an hour re-filing my letters. Freda was a bit depressed and said she thought it was frustration. I thought this was nothing to worry about, but we said again that we would not be over-indulgent in our pleasures. I left at 10.15 as Freda was going to wash her hair.
Freda came with me to work this morning. We had coffee in the lab, and I made up six more solutions of Laurylcholine Iodide C11H23COOCH2N(CH3)3I ranging from M/250,000 to M/3,750.
I called for Freda this evening and we went for a walk along Yardley Road. Later we worked together on some prayers for tomorrow night’s service at Castle Bromwich. She was feeling rather sad because Jeanie’s lump has returned.
Mr. Dibben took the service this morning. The hymns were 676 Great is the Lord our God, 751 See Israel’s gentle Shepherd stand, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 604 Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God and 608 Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide. The readings were [O.T. not recorded] and Acts 26:12–32, and Mr Dibben preached on Acts 26:19, ”Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
In My Guided Life [the author] says that Divine guidance determined his whole career. Guidance is something we all feel the need of, but when it comes we can accept or reject it.
1. Most religions deal with the subject of God entering into the affairs of men. We find this in O.T. and N.T. stories, the prophets etc. Many ask for but don’t want this guidance. They stifle their own conscience, put everything onto God, and don’t want to be responsible for their actions. There are conflicting voices of conscience and personal interest -- bad for trade, bad for popularity, etc. ”If it’s wrong God will stop it” we say. But God has already stopped it by giving us a conscience — we know when we are doing wrong. Guidance as we want it doesn’t come. The majority walk by sight, not by faith, the reverse of 2 Corinthians 5:7.
2. What is the guidance of God? The Greeks yearned for the gods. Whenever a problem was beyond solution — enter the gods, divine intervention to sort out the difficulties. But God won’t interfere without effort on our part. ”Why doesn’t God step in?” we ask. But God stepped in 2,000 years ago and God’s will is being done. The trouble is that we want God to rescue us from our deliberate mistakes. Before his conversion, Paul’s main concern was not in persecuting Christians but serving God. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
3. Guidance can only be judged by the after-results. What is the voice of God? What is an impulse? We can enjoy the results of an impulse — instinctive desires are often the mediums of their fulfilment. But vision comes to responsible people — they become sure of the vision. When faced with a problem we must give every human thought to the situation, and then ask God. If we commit ourselves wholly to God’s way, there can be no failure. Just as we are, with just what we have, God can use us. If we want it, God’s will for our lives will come to us.
After the service Freda went to see Anne, then we met for the usual Bible
Study this afternoon. This evening I called for Freda, and Mr. & Mrs. Powley drove us and Helen to Castle Bromwich where the Youth Team was taking the service. Freda led the service, including the prayers, and Helen read one of the lessons. After we got back we went to the Gospel Oak to hold the planned open-air meeting at which Pat and I spoke. Unfortunately, unlike Margate, there was no one about except Mr. Dibben (who had taken the service at Solihull), Pat Welch and other Y.P.F. members. Mr. Dibben brought us back afterwards and I stayed with Freda to watch T.V.
At work today I continued the Surface Tension experiment on Laurylcholine Iodide. I had to discard the M/37,500 solution due to a dirty pipette and made up a new solution which gave very different results. I came home with Freda.
I started an experiment today with Undecylenylcholine Iodide, C12H25COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I. The molecular weight is 427. I therefore weighed 0.0854gm and made it up to 250ml to give an M/1,250 solution, from which I made up M/125,000, M/62,500, M/25,000, M/12,500 and M/3,750 solutions.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train. We went for a walk to Hampton Lane tonight.
I arrived at work this morning to find that the glass window had been smashed in the lab door. I have no idea how it can have happened but for the moment we have a hole in the door and the door-retainer has been taken off.
During the day I continued with the Undecylenylcholine Iodide experiment, measuring the Surface Tension of the solutions I made up yesterday. I also made up M/5,000 and M/2,500 solutions.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home on the train as usual. She was going to see Anne this evening so I have been to see John Winrow, not getting home until 11.30pm.
Today I continued the experiment with M/5,000 and M/2,500 solutions, and repeated some of the others. I now have the usual graph to draw, plotting the Surface Tension in dynes/cm against the Time in minutes.
I saw Freda at dinner time and we spent the evening working on my book.
I had a rather slacker day today in which I finished my experiment and got the lab back in working order. The thought uppermost in my mind was that the G.C.E. results were being published today. Twice I ’phoned the secretary’s office at school but they had still not received the registered post. When I ’phoned at 9.0am there was no one in the office.
I had just finished washing the draining board when John came to see how I had got on. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train. I took her home after Choir practice and stayed for supper with her parents.
Today was most enjoyable. The only thing to mar it was that the Birmingham News didn’t print my article. But I passed my [A Level Physics] exam! I guess Mr. Bird has now seen everything. When I think how he used to clutch his head when I tried to do Physics, it seems wonderful now that God even passes one’s exams!
This morning Freda and I went on the 8.45 together and had coffee in the lab. This week the lab was more or less in order. Freda was having her hair cut and set at 10.0am so just beforehand I took her down to the gate and then came back into the lab to type some of my thoughts on pacifism for my treatise. I want to finish this soon so that I can get everything settled.
I met Freda again at 11.30 outside Lewis’s and we went to the New Street Boots. My photographs weren’t ready. We caught the 12.30 train home, and when we got to the shop I didn’t stay as I couldn’t get home fast enough to get my exam result … Physics … Pass (40%). So I now have three ”A” Levels, which is equivalent to Intermediate B.Sc.
This afternoon Dad and I went to St. Andrews to see Blues play Manchester United in their first game in the 1st Division since being relegated in 1950. They drew 2–2. Kinsey and Astall scored. There was a good crowd, 37,994.
I went to see Freda at 6.30pm. Her parents had gone out in the car so we spent the evening playing records. Later we fetched some chips from the fish and chip shop across the road [just along Warwick Road from the bottom of Victoria Road] and we all had supper and watched TV.
SUNDAY 21st AUGUST
Mr. Watson took this morning’s service. The hymns were 11 With gladness we worship, rejoice as we sing, 6 Eternal Power! whose high abode, 394 Just as I am, Thine own to be, 87 Jesus comes with all His grace, and 571 Blessed are the pure in heart. The readings were Psalm 24 and Philippians 4:4–9, and the sermon was onMatthew 5:8, ”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”.
1. In Palestinian speech this means ”appear before God”. ”Pure” denoted ceremonial cleansing, freedom from anything obnoxious to the god. There was a law to remove physical disqualification (Leviticus). This verse speaks of moral and spiritual cleanliness, ”Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:4). Clean hands (ceremonial) and a pure heart (purity of spirit).
2. The nearer we live to God the more we see God here and now and therefore become nearer God. This means fullness of living. Too many of us don’t enjoy the full bliss which derives from the inward knowledge of His presence, because of our wrong conception of purity. We don’t succeed against sin because of the Devil’s great sway in our life, therefore we think that we can’t enjoy life to the full. But, purity isn’t just fighting against sin.
3. Purity is the sum total of all virtues, not just the absence of impurity. It has been said ”Unless the vessel is clean, whatever is poured into it becomes sour.” Unless the whole of our life is pure, even the good is in danger of becoming sour. ”Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10), ”right” meaning rectitude, consistent, straight, upright. How is this attained? ”Whatsoever things are true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report … think on these things” (Philippians 4:8), then the height of living will be ours.
I took Freda home after the service. This afternoon Freda took her Beginners’ class as usual. Afterwards we went to the Y.T. Bible Study and then to her parents’ for tea.
Freda came with me tonight to South Yardley where I was taking the service. The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 680 Glad was my heart to hear, 1st Prayer, 288 Holy Spirit, truth Divine, 1st Lesson: 2 Samuel 12:1–7, 423 I’ve found a Friend; O such a Friend, 2nd Lesson: John 21:1–25, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 509 The Galilean fishers toil, Sermon: ”I Go a Fishing”, 667 The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended, The Blessing. After the service we went to Gospel Lane for another open-air meeting at which Pat and I spoke. I took Freda home afterwards and we watched T.V. [A pencilled note reads: ”Came down 9.45 not 10.45. Bedroom.]
MONDAY 22nd AUGUST
Hilary came back today (about 9.50am!) and seems to have had a very fine time in Switzerland. I have not seen her for a month.
Alan and I started an experiment on Myristylcholine Iodide C13H27COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I. The molecular weight is 441 and I had therefore to make up 0.082gm in 500ml aq. dest. to give an M/2,500 solution.
The weather was mainly cloudy but very hot again. I met Freda during the dinner hour and we fetched the Margate photos from Boots. They are not too bad. While cleaning in the kitchen where the animals are kept I discovered that we have an infestation of Steam Beetles.
This evening we went for a walk to Reddings Lane and the Robin Hood. Freda said I had got my eye on Kingy.
TUESDAY 23rd AUGUST
How hot it has been again! The temperatures have been in the 80’s, it reached 90 degrees in North Devon, and Glasgow has had its hottest day of the year.
Not much happened at work today. I had to dilute my solution to 500ml and I had it shaking all day. I did more stock-taking after dinner. Pam came with Susan about 3.15pm.
When I moved the large chest of drawers in the office to recover a rubber I discovered Hilary’s long-lost book which had fallen down the back before Christmas.
We had two dozen rats come during the afternoon.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train.
WEDNESDAY 24th AUGUST
It was very hot again today [81 degrees] after a foggy start. Yesterday the temperature reached 83 degrees, making it the hottest day of the year. At work I spent all day doing an experiment on Myristylcholine Iodide. I also read Leslie Weatherhead’s book. [What was the title?]
I met Freda as usual at dinner time, she had been watching me in Smith’s! We came home together on the train. I called to see her later this evening: she had been doing some ironing. Mick Daw has gone into the Q.E.H. today.
THURSDAY 25th AUGUST
I finished the stock-taking today. I read A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie. I didn’t see Freda at dinner time. She had dinner at Kunzle’s and there met Pat Welch. We came home together on the train.
Tonight I wrote an article [check]. I called for Freda at 8.30pm. and we went for a walk. Mick had the operation today. Rosemary and Mrs. Daw went to see him tonight.
FRIDAY 26th AUGUST
At work today I completed the experiment with Myristylcholine Iodide. I finished reading the Agatha Christie book and also had a row with Hilary.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together. She was busy packing for her holiday tonight but I called for her at 8.30pm. and we went for a walk down Woodcock Lane, up the Avenue and then down Oxford Road. We said a tearful Goodbye at 10.30pm.
SATURDAY 27th AUGUST
Freda and her mother went to Eastbourne this morning. Mr. Powley was taking them to the station in the car. I bought the Birmingham News, went to work on the 8.45, dusted around, cleaned the animals, and wrote a letter to Terence Cadman. I came home on the 12.30 with Pat Welch.
I went to see Anne this afternoon, then called at the Library to return the Agatha Christie and borrow another on the way home. I have worked on the book all evening from 6.30 till 10.30. Birmingham City were away to Sheffield United and won 3–nil.
SUNDAY 28th AUGUST
Tonight I took the service at Water Orton. I used the same Order of Service as at South Yardley a fortnight ago except that I substituted Hymn 938 Father, in high heaven dwelling instead of 667. There was someone in the congregation whom I recognised straight away. He said, ”You do remember me, don’t you?” I said, ”Of course” but I don’t know where I’ve seen him before and I didn’t know his name until I asked someone who the visitor was, and was told it was Mr. Bassett (I think). Have I seen him at Church? I think he may have been there to report on me, but his name is not on the Local Preachers’ list.
Mr. Dibben took the service this morning. [No sermon notes found: was I there?]
MONDAY 29th AUGUST
I had a letter from Freda this morning from the Redoubt Lodge Hotel, Cambridge Road, Eastbourne, begun on Saturday. ”Here beginneth the first of my copious letters to you!” she writes. They arrived at 1.40pm in pouring rain but it cleared up and they were able to go out. They looked round the shops, walked along the front, and found the Methodist Church where they were planning to go yesterday. They had a very good journey down with a very friendly crowd of people, and there are nice people in the hotel too.
She and her mother think I am very unkind not to write to Freda before I hear from her! I am to think of some more things to do next week, a visit to Stratford one day and Malvern another perhaps. Footsteps in the Fog is on at one of the local cinemas. She has nearly finished the bubble jumper.
Freda finished the letter yesterday at 10.10am before going to Church. It was a dull day and a little bit chilly. There was a bowls tournament going on, which she likes. She will have to join the bowls section at Church and play with Mr. Daw, she says. She doesn’t like Eastbourne’s stony beach as it is so unpleasant to walk on. I am to be a good boy (when am I anything but?), not work too hard, and not have too many quarrels with Hilary.
I wrote back to Freda during the day [the letter is postmarked ”Birmingham 9pm 29 Aug 1955”] and sent her the Scripture Union Notes for September-October. I also finished the experiment with Myristylcholine Iodide.
TUESDAY 30th AUGUST
I received an anonymous letter this morning, forwarded by the Evening Despatch, and containing a booklet called ”Peace or Ruin”. There was nothing to indicate who sent it, but it is full of O.T. texts used in support of Capital Punishment, a Christadelphian tract, perhaps?
At work I did another experiment on the Surface Tension of Palmitylcholine Iodide and made up solutions.
Tonight I went to the Library to return the Agatha Christie book and borrow another, and then called to see Anne. Barbara Evans was there. It was very hot again.
WEDNESDAY 31st AUGUST
I had another letter from Freda this morning, written on the Hotel’s cream-coloured printed notepaper with the address and telephone number (Eastbourne 2532). She has been sitting on the front trying unsuccessfully to get brown. They went to the service yesterday. The minister was quite young. They had 2 All people that on earth do dwell, 77 What shall I do my God to love, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 831 Give me the wings of faith to rise and 658 For ever with the Lord! and the sermon was on 1 Corinthians 15:56, ”The sting of death is sin.”
They are going to a concert on Friday evening in aid of the Organ Fund. Freda will come with me to 8.0am Holy Communion on Sunday. She is glad to know that Hilary is now behaving herself, and can see that I know how to keep women in order! Anne had told Freda last time she went to see her that she had written to Helen but didn’t tell her why. She expects they had a lovely time discussing all my good and bad points! Freda has seen the local Seventh Day Adventist Church and asks whether my mother, being one of them, also goes to church on Saturday.
On Sunday they went to see Vic Oliver conducting an orchestra. She doesn’t say where, but the programme was The Flying Dutchman Overture, Wagner; Suite No. 1 Peer Gynt, Grieg; On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring, Delius; Waltz Masquerade, Khachaturian and Suite No. 2 L’Arlesienne, Bizet.
Yesterday they went to Beachy Head but didn’t stay long as there was a plague of flies. They took photographs of each other and Freda took another of her mother outside to finish off the film. It is now being developed and enlarged. She has had another film put in the camera which we can finish off next week.
Freda says if I feel anxious to feel about her as I did about Helen, what is stopping me? She prefers that we don’t mention feelings of love for each other until we are sure. She doesn’t know whether she is in love with me or not, which seems to suggest that she isn’t. All she can say is that she wants to share every minute with me and wants me there now.
They were going to Bexhill in the afternoon. There are no young people around in Eastbourne, only old folks with sticks or in wheel-chairs. She wishes me Good-bye (in its truest sense) and sends much love and a kiss.
Nothing much happened at work. I did an experiment and also wrote back to Freda. The letter [part reproduced below] is postmarked” Birmingham 9pm 31 Aug 1955:
To turn to other things. While one or two people like running me down in School Chronicles it seems I have received an anonymous letter of sorts. It came in yesterday’s post and was a sort of scripture booklet called ”Peace or Ruin”. I don’t know whether it is meant as a personal attack on my views or whether the anonymous sender is anxious about my soul. Needless to say it takes a lot of O.T. texts and tries to use them as arguments in favour of Capital Punishment.
THURSDAY 1st SEPTEMBER 1955
Mr. Gabb’s gift
Dr. Schneider was in today. He went to the Medical School after lunch and saw Mr. Rowe, and when he came back he said it would be alright for me to have an extra two days’ holiday so long as I ”kept it quiet”. So after Saturday I can have a holiday until Monday week except for Friday when I have to collect my money anyway.
I managed to complete my experiment today [amidst a lot of noise from the door being taken off and a man coming to mend the taps] and in a few spare moments I did more work on the book.
I went to my first Local Preachers’ Meeting tonight. It was held in the Church parlour and was quite an experience in itself. The Local Preachers on Trial had to wait outside while they were discussed for forty minutes. Mr. Dibben then said that we had all been very favourably reported upon.
But the main business of the evening was Donald Marsh’s oral examination to which he had volunteered to submit himself in good faith since he had no intention of taking any written papers. He did well enough in answering Mr. Dibben’s calculated and searching questions, and then was subjected to the barrage from the meeting.
Unfortunately, there was one individual, Mr. G.W. Gabb by name (an unfortunate one for a local preacher!) who seemed determined the whole evening through, to make his presence felt and to express his views on everything. One way or another, the meeting became quite hostile in a pernicious sort of way. I was glad to see Mr. Gabb being clamped down upon peremptorily by Mr. Dibben. Mr. Gabb even presumed to criticise Donald Marsh as being ”immature”. But others sprang to his defence and justice was done when Mr. Green said he’d heard Mr. Marsh preach several times. He’d never had a bad sermon from him and he thought the circuit was indeed fortunate to have so fine a fellow.
The meeting closed after two and three-quarter hours at 9.45pm. It was quite long enough for me!
Mr. G.W. Gabb has been a Local Preacher since 1948, and Mrs. A. Gabb since 1945. They live at 145 Brook Hill Road, Ward, Birmingham 8, not far from where we used to live in Belchers Lane.
FRIDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER
I had another letter from Freda this morning. She and her mother had just returned from a shopping expedition. She had also had a letter from Anne requesting a list of hotels where she and Mrs. Vickery might stay later in the year. She is disappointed that I can’t have Friday off next week, what will she do with herself? They went to Warnock Gardens on Wednesday and had tea there; the weather for the last two days was perfect. Freda had also had a letter from Ro from which she quotes: ”Brian did look lonely on Sunday, so I smiled at him nicely as instructed, but he was on another earth with Pat Welch!” What were Pat and I talking about so deeply?
Freda enclosed the photographs and says that two people have jumped off Beachy Head while they have been there, and another had been rescued on Wednesday by two people from the hotel. She has finished the bubble jumper and bought the elastic and crochet hook to put in the neck. They didn’t go to Bexhill on Tuesday but were planning to go on the electric train yesterday afternoon. It was the first time she had seen them as she has never been in the London area before. On the journey down they had gone through a great many London stations. They had stopped at Kensington (outside Olympia) where the engine 4963 Rignall Hall which had brought them from Birmingham was taken off. They leave Eastbourne at 11.30am tomorrow and are due to arrive at New Street at 4.02. Will I meet them, please?
Was it Auntie Elsie that I saw getting stamps at the Post Office? It is funny that I should call her Auntie Flo as she has a sister called Florence. [It was ”Auntie” Connie Smith, 106 Sherwood Lane, Hall Green, whom Mr. Powley came to know through buying records from the music and records shop, originally Scotcher’s, which is where we usually see her.]
At work I did an experiment and also wrote to Freda. Tonight I have written a letter to John Bull which I shall post tomorrow. [The letter to Freda — which she will not receive in time — is postmarked ”Birmingham 9.00pm 2 Sep 1955” and then ”Eastbourne 9.30am 5 Sep 1955] and reads:
”You are not very good at getting engine numbers for me. Rignall Hall is No. 4963. If you saw 905 on the front it was only a number to indicate that the train was a special one, or something. Last night I went to the Local Preachers’ Meeting. It lasted 2¾ hours as they spent about 40 minutes discussing the Local Preachers On Trial. We had to go out of the room, but we were all very favourably reported on, to use Mr. Dibben’s words. Ivan didn’t turn up. It’s been quite peculiar in the lab this week, now that we are moving people keep popping in it all the time, deciding where to put this and that when they take it over from us. I told you how the glass in the door got smashed and that a man came and took the door-retainer off, and another man came yesterday and took the door off. For the next two or three hours there was a lot of banging and sawing noises and the man kept talking to himself and looked so worried that I fully expected he had cut about six inches too much off the door. I got a wonderful picture of their taking the door away altogether and leaving just a hole in the wall for us to get in through. About the same time that the door-repairer came, another man came down the steps and said ”I’ve come ter do yer taps”. I couldn’t remember whether I had complained about the taps leaking and when I asked him whether he had got the right place he looked at the grubby piece of paper in his hand and said ”Bio-Assy taps is what it says ‘ere”. Anyway I turned a few on until they dripped and he said he would do them but he hadn’t got no washers. Then he spent the next hour running round the hospital trying to find out where to turn the water off. It was quite funny really, except that I was trying to do an experiment at the time”.
SATURDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER
Freda is back again! Tonight at 6.45pm we went to the Reception meeting for the new ministers in our circuit, Rev. R. Evans Pugh and Rev. Frederick W. Bliss, who are coming to Saltley and Stechford respectively. Now we can even have a pugh in the pulpit!
Mr. R. Perry conducted the service as Chairman and welcomed the new ministers, Mr. Dibben spoke, and then we were addressed by the ministers themselves. Altogether the service lasted rather more than an hour, and if I was impatient for it to end it was because I was anxious to have Freda to myself.
It was a queer sort of day altogether. In the morning I spoke to Ivan over the ’phone and arranged to see each other at the meeting tonight, then Louie took me round the hospital to show me the mortuary, post-mortem room, Chapel and sterilising rooms which I hadn’t seen before.
Then I worked on the book until leaving at 12.15pm. I got Anne some Daily Bread notes from the Christian Literature shop.
After dinner Mam and Dad planned to go to the City of Birmingham Show at Handsworth Park in the car, so as I intended to meet Mrs. Powley and Freda at New Street Station later in the afternoon, I went with him [Dad]. I left them on the road to Handsworth and walked back towards the town in order to go to the Public Library.
By then it was 8 o’clock, and after reading the newspapers for half-an-hour I made my way to New Street to meet the Eastbourne train which was arriving (or so I thought) at Platform 8. I had enquired about this over the ’phone in the morning. The train didn’t arrive there until 4.02 but as other trains from the South were anything up to an hour late I wasn’t especially surprised. When I made further enquiries as to whether it had arrived elsewhere, not even station inspectors seemed to know. When it became obvious that I had missed it I caught the ’bus home. My somewhat frayed temper was further rattled when I looked over a man’s shoulder to see that Blues suffered their first defeat at the hands (or feet) of Preston North End who had won 3–nil at St. Andrews.
It was twenty past six when I got home. After taking Dinah up the road I called for Freda and found that their train had in fact arrived on time at Platform 6.
It was lovely to be together again. We both thought that each day had gone quickly but that Friday of last week had seemed a long time ago.
After the meeting I had a natter with Ivan and we agreed to meet on the 14th. We may go to Barnes Close on October 15th-16th for an F.o.R. weekend. After this Freda and I went the same little walk down Woodcock Lane which we went eight days ago. This time there was no tear-shedding and we went home to watch TV for an hour. Ro and Mick were already on the settee when we got there.
SUNDAY 4th SEPTEMBER
There was an 8.0am Communion this morning, and I borrowed the alarm-clock to wake me up in time. I met Freda coming up Victoria Road.
Today is, of course, the first of the new Methodist Year. Mr. Pugh was the morning preacher: his sermon was on Matthew 5: 13, ”Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Salt has always been a valuable commodity, even used instead of money for barter. In the last war cargoes of salt were targeted by the enemy. We use it much in cooking — we say ”don’t forget the salt” — but in Jesus’ day it could be impure and lose its saltiness through heat; then it could only be used for gravel, hence the illustration. Fish is packed in salt to keep it fresh, pure and wholesome. We have to be like salt. A man might be ”not worth his salt,” i.e. his salary, from the Latin salarium, the money paid to Roman soldiers to purchase salt. What did Jesus mean when He said, ”Ye are the salt of the earth”?
1. Salt preserves from corruption. Life is the sum total of all the forces which resist death. There is a tendency to corruption — this is true of the natural, human and spiritual life. In the O.T. the Hebrews were bowing down to idols of wood and stone. David burnt the idols and drove out the evil. There is a place for denunciation, a need to show how others are falling short.
2. Salt gives flavour and promotes good. A King had three daughters: ”Do you love me?” he asked them. ”More than all the silver” said one; ”more than all the precious stones” said another, ”more than the salt” said the third. The cook heard it — there was no salt in his food! Nothing was good without salt. Christians are the salt.
3. Salt is no good if it has lost its main characteristic. Those outside of the Christian Church see our weaknesses. What is the position of the church today? We are Christian by name but lack Christian characteristics. We cannot prevent the world’s corruptions but we can promote good. Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) wanted to abolish the salt-tax in India, his was a wonderful influence which is continuing today. He almost became a Christian, but for an incident when he was staying in South Africa — Church people had lost their salt. How different the story of India might have been if Gandhi had become a Christian!
We sang 732 Sweetly the holy hymn, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 856 I love to hear the story, 76 The King of love my Shepherd is, and (after the sermon) 604 Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God. The readings were Psalm 19 and Matthew 5:
We went to the Y.T. meeting as usual at 4.0pm.
Helen was at the service tonight. We sang 9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, 60 Ere God had built the mountains, 575 Servant of all, to toil for man, 430 Jesus, Thy boundless love to me, and 761 Jesus, we thus obey before Holy Communion. The readings were Proverbs 27 and Jude, and Mr. Dibben preached on Romans 16:1–2, ”I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant [deaconess] of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also”.
This was a letter of commendation (2 Corinthians 3:1) for the Church at Rome to take special care of this lady from Cenchrea who had helped so many. How much do people offer preferential treatment to others in the Welfare State? H.G. Wells (1866–1946) had his ”cocky period” [he wrote A History of the World ] but it passed. We have such a complicatedlife now and itevokes a sense of wonder. We are told that the retina of the eye in its 9th layer contains 3 million cones and 30 million rods. We have complex human relationships with people banded together in clubs, unions, associations, alliances, the U.N. etc. There have been great Christian affiliations of the past which are not now Christian affiliations — Christians are no longer found in these.
Must Christian society be exclusive in order to save itself? No, but ”love thy neighbour as thyself” is its golden rule. God can speak through us through our love for others, and we see its significance when we adopt that attitude. Love of neighbour is the answer to all the complexities of life, the equality of society with Christ as the Head. The first Christian society began in AD29 but didn’t die. It conquered the Roman Empire — from being the persecutor of Christianity, it became its protector. Giving help and assistance to others is the mark of authentic Christianity. Dr. Anderson Scott gives three distinguishing marks of a Christian:
1. Humility based on Christ. ”Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, Jesus quoting Psalm 37:11). The meek one is blessed! Contrast this with the aggressive person — aggression is wrong. Meekness isn’t weak or effeminate. The meek person is the one who accepts God’s dealing with him.
2. Courtesy. Jesus changed the water into wine at the marriage feast (John 2:1–11). He saved the host from embarrassment, combining sympathy and concern for the self-respect of others. What William Gladstone (1809–1898) said to Lord Morley — his whole system was nothing less than a result of the Gospel scheme.
3. Magnanimity (or gentleness). The disciples forbad a man for casting out devils, because he was not one of them, but Jesus said, ”Forbid him not … for he that is not against us is on our part” (Mark 9:38–40)
I took Freda home afterwards. We have four days’ holiday this week.
MONDAY 5th SEPTEMBER
I called for Freda this morning and we went to town on the train. Her father and she had had to take Jeanie to be put to sleep last night. We went to the Museum and Art Gallery, after which we came home for dinner.
We stayed in this afternoon and then went to Villa Park to see Aston Villa v Blues. It was their first meeting since 29th April 1950 when they drew 2–2 at St. Andrews before spending five seasons in the Second Division. (Merrick, Green and Boyd also played on that occasion.) There was a large crowd tonight [57,690] but the match ended in a goalless draw.
Birmingham City: — Merrick; Hall, Green; Boyd, Newman, Warhurst; Astall, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan.
Aston Villa: — [unfinished]
TUESDAY 6th SEPTEMBER
I called for Freda this morning and we went on the 1A to Bristol Road and then the bus to Rednal. Freda had received my letter of last Friday, re-directed from Eastbourne. After a dull start the weather brightened up and we had a lovely walk to the Bittell reservoirs and later climbed the Lickey Hills. We had dinner and tea there.
WEDNESDAY 7th SEPTEMBER
I called for Freda this morning and we went by train to Snow Hill and then to Dudley where we visited the Zoo and Castle. The sun shone all day and it was very hot [74 degrees]. We had dinner there and took one or two photographs. [jpg]. Later, after having tea, we went to the Dudley Odeon to see A Kid For Two Farthings (U) with Diana Dors, David Kossoff and Celia Johnson, and Casimir.
I didn’t enjoy the programme very much and developed a headache worrying about things. I must learn to trust God in all things. ”Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel” (Psalm 73:24). ”The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me” (Psalm 138:8). ”He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it” (Philippians 1:6). ”Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
THURSDAY 8th SEPTEMBER
I spent the morning indoors and wrote a letter on the ”Y-Line” to the Weekend Mail. This afternoon I called for Freda and we went for a delightful walk along the canal from Woodcock Lane to Lincoln Road and beyond, gathering blackberries along the way. I spent the evening with Freda. Her parents were visiting Mr. & Mrs. Sedgwick.
FRIDAY 9th SEPTEMBER
I had unfortunately to go back to work today but there was little to do. I went to the Library and borrowed The Adventures of Julia by Leonard A. Moseley.
I met Freda after Choir practice and went home with her. She had made us a delicious pie with the blackberries we collected yesterday! They weighed 3 ½ lb. I met Uncle Ted and Auntie Dorothy Jacobs, their former neighbours from Mirfield Road.
SATURDAY 10th SEPTEMBER
I went to work on the train as usual. During the morning I typed a letter to Tit-Bits asking how we are to address shop-assistants. This afternoon I called for Freda and we went for a walk to Solihull. I spent the evening with Freda and her parents watching TV. In Saturday Night Out there was a visit to the film studios and an interview with Douglas Bader.
SUNDAY 11th SEPTEMBER
This morning Mr. Bliss took his first service with us and preached on John 3:16.
1. Does the Bible say ”The world so loved God?” No! What a different place the world would now be if mankind had loved God! But ”Herein is love, not that we first loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Hymn 910 paints a picture of the world transformed by Christ’s love — ”These things shall be: a loftier race”by John Addington Symonds (1840–93)
2. Does the Bible say ”The world so hated God?” No, that would be far nearer the truth but not quite true. There is a ray of hope. Some received Him, not welcomed but received Him, ”and as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).The angel’s message was ”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” Luke 2:14) — the answer to all men’s woes, their sin, etc. The man in the street says 2,000 years have gone by and is the world any better? Would we treat Christ any differently today? We don’t have to look far back in history for us to see to what depths a Christian country can sink (Hitler). We are the types who crucified Christ. Our lack of concern for others, our hardness of heart, pride, jealousy, cowardice, show that we are all guilty before God. Points 1 and 2 are the response of man to God.
3. Does the Bible say ”God got so fed up with the world that He gave up, and blotted out the world”? No! Because He is a God of love. He is love. But perhaps we can stress His love too much. Romans 1 says three times that ”He gave them up”. What can God do with man when he won’t repent? Man destroys himself — that is the truth in Paul’s warning.
4. The Bible does say ”God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That is our only hope, the only way out for the world. We do rightly to stress the love of God. 1 John 4:9 is almost the same as John 3:16 — ”live through Him” is essentially the same as ”have everlasting life”. But there is one omission — ”should not perish” — because John’s letter is written to the Church (Christians), but his letter is for ”whosoever”. There is also a grammatical change, to the 1st person from the 3rd. The Gospel is for everybody. The implication in the words ”should not perish” is that if we don’t believe then we shall perish. If it is true that all are saved, where is the need for the Church? We would be play-acting, in very bad taste.”Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). Do we think of the man in the street as a perishing soul? ”Rescue the perishing” — we don’t often sing that now (Hymn 338). ”All men need to be saved, all men may be saved” said John Wesley. That is the glorious message, the certainty of the Gospel. All of us must do our duty, in prayer and witness. Unless we turn to God our soul is in danger. We must believe the Gospel, act on the Word. The slow progress of the church is because we have cast aside our old convictions. We are saying ”he is a good chap, he will do alright” but what we need to preach is that God’s love is able to meet the need of the deepest sinner.
We sang 11 With gladness we worship, rejoice as we sing, 9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! 865 I think, when I read that sweet story of old, 363 Spirit of faith, come down (to the tune of 410 Come, ye that love the Lord) and 504 Leave God to order all thy ways (to the tune of 447 O Love, who formedst me to wear). The readings were Psalm 103 and 1 John 3, with Mr. Bliss emphasising verse 18, ”Let us not love in word … but in deed”.
At Y.T. Bible Class we finished James 5. I took Freda home afterwards and stayed for tea, Mick also.
Tonight Mr. Dibben preached on Matthew 6:10, ”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”.
1. We are to pray for God’s will to be done on earth. How could slavery be God’s will? How could Christians think this? Isn’t it God’s will for us to come to Church but not without a hat? War seems to be God’s will, therefore people have no faith in Him. What is God’s will? We must ask what is the alternative? There are two:- i. The opposite [to what?] is seen in the teaching of Mark [who omits the Lord’s prayer]. There is no God, therefore man must make his own Welfare State, that is the ultimate aim in life. But ”Christ died for me” (Galatians 2:20) and the emphasis is on the individual. Service to the abstract whole is difficult and probably not possible. ”It would be much better if all mankind were dead” someone said. [Who said this?] Why service to others? Why cure disease? Why human happiness? There is this element of satiety. ii. The teaching of Buddha -- there is no God — desire [attachment] is the cause of all our woes; our only aim is to rid the race of all desire, then suffering will end. We all face suffering — old age, death, accident — we must dismiss all thoughts of these if we are to avoid despair. If all is disillusionment, what is the good of anything?
2. We are actively to seek the will of God. He is the One who is responsive to us, the same always (Malachi 3:6). God is our Father in heaven. He is to be served. Then earth and heaven are one and the same place. God’s will is good for all, says the New Testament, and is the end of all our living. The Christian faith goes beyond anything that Communism can offer. God’s will is against evil — ”deliver us from evil” — but can still be seen to be being done even in the midst of evil. We must not face up to life with an air of resignation. We sing”Thy kingdom come — on bended knee the passing ages pray; and faithful souls have yearned to see on earth that kingdom come” (Hymn 742), ”Thy will be done”. We are not to sit down and be complacent.
3. With God’s will there is a new value to everything. Leisure provides respite. We must show God’s will in those things we have a hand in. Why be a member of a club? — to show the will of God. We are too ready to say that calamity is the will of God. The Spirit must be victorious. Why are we foolish enough to say that calamity is of God when it is the result of our doing? God is fighting evil, showing us the way through. We think we can do good through doing evil; we are running to and fro believing we are doing God’s will. But are we? God must come first in our life every time. If we earnestly desire to know the will of God He will show it to us. Trust in God! Say, ”Simply trusting every day, trusting through a stormy way; even when my faith is small, trusting Jesus, that is all” as a B.B.C. reporter was told by an old woman.
We sang 675 Jesus, where’er Thy people meet, 7 O Heavenly King, look down from above, 246 Earth rejoice, our Lord is King! 314 Come let us sing of a wonderful love, and 517 Simply trusting every day. The readings were Genesis 22:1–14 and Philippians 2:1–15.
At Y.P.F. we had a second birthday celebration. Helen was there, also Ivan. I took Freda home afterwards, after we had first called to see Anne.
MONDAY 12th SEPTEMBER
I met Freda during the lunch hour and we came home together on the train. It was quite a nice day. Kenneth Lacey came to see me tonight to try to convert me to Seventh-Day Adventism. They do not believe in consciousness after death. Later I took Ginger and Dinah for a walk, and afterwards met Freda. She had been to see Anne.
At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Stearylcholine Iodide, C17H35COOCH2 CH2N(CH3)3I. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together as usual. I went to see her this evening and we prepared a sermon together. Her parents went to the Grand Hotel and Ro and Mick to the theatre.
THURSDAY 15th SEPTEMBER
At work today I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of M/87,500 and M/25,000 solutions of Undecylylcholine Iodide. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together. I went to see John tonight. I seem to have caught a cold.
FRIDAY 16th SEPTEMBER
My cold was quite bad today. At work I did another experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Undecylylcholine Iodide. I met Freda after Choir practice, and took her home.
SATURDAY 17th SEPTEMBER
At work this morning I did some more photography. I spent the evening with Freda, watching the Last Night of the Proms on TV. Ro and Mick were spending their last evening together before he goes away.
Julia was 14 today and is now joining Clarice at Sparkhill Commercial School.
SUNDAY 18th SEPTEMBER
Mr. Dibben took this morning’s Parade service. The hymns were 46 I sing the almighty power of God, 15 Praise to the living God! 842 Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, 620 Who would true valour see, and 86 Strong Son of God, immortal Love (to the tune of 38 Father of heaven, whose love profound). The readings were part of Exodus 32 and Matthew 12:10–21.
The sermon was on Mathew 12:12, ”How much then is a man better than a sheep? A man in the synagogue has a withered hand and the Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful to heal him so that they can accuse Him. If a sheep fell into a pit on the Sabbath Day, wouldn’t they lift him out? A man is of much more value!
We read in the Book of Ezekiel the prophet’s vision of God. He realises two things — first, the transcendent glory of God, second, the utter abasement of man. He is then told to stand up. There is to be no grovelling — that is our problem, we grovel.
There are two tendencies in secular thought today. The first tendency is to believe that man possesses all his necessary resources within himself. The thought is encouraged that truth, goodness and beauty are mere problems of philosophy. The second tendency — the result of two World Wars, the legacy of disillusionment and failure of human planning — is to regard man as hardly more than a dead stick in the hands of his Maker. But, in Jesus, God came to humanity, therefore there must be something of worth in humanity. [And there is no divide between the secular and spiritual for] there is nothing secular but sin.
Sheep are always getting lost. ”Can’t you learn?” we might ask. Answer, ”No.” Man can learn then? Answer, ”No” and ”Yes.” Man has a tendency to set life on a standard which is below human. There are always those who go to the beasts to see how man should live. But a man can also erect his own standards and be loyal to them. He is capable of making choices etc. From 1900 there has been some sort of compromise of religion, politics and literature. It is easy to be a saint if we have no wish to be human! The pseudo-religion of today is Communism. The heart of the problem is our assessment of the standard of values set before us by Christ. ”The Devil is a great squatter” it is said, and ”Cows don’t repent.” It would be a good thing if we didn’t!
After Church Freda came with me for a walk to Dorling’s and down Greenwood Avenue etc. We got our own dinner. I had prepared a study on Jude for this afternoon but we had only a short meeting as I was preaching at Castle Bromwich this evening. The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 92 Jesus! The name high over all, 1st Prayer, 314 Come let us sing of a wonderful love, 1st Lesson: 1 Kings 8: 54–62, 256 There’s a light upon the mountains, 2nd Lesson, Acts 2:1–21, 36–39, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 274 Lord, we believe to us and ours, Sermon: ”The Gift of the Holy Spirit”, 938 Father, in high heaven dwelling, The Blessing.
I felt the Lord’s blessing on the service. Meanwhile the Youth Team was at Yardley Green Road and Freda gave her sermon on ”Working for God”. Mr. Dibben brought me back from Castle Bromwich after taking the service at Coleshill, and we all met up at Y.P.F. where we had a debate on smoking. I took Freda home afterwards. Mick left for Cornwall today to work on a farm.
MONDAY 19th SEPTEMBER
I did some typing for Dorothy at work today. I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home on the train as usual. It was a beautiful sunny day. I went to the Local Preachers Fellowship tonight and handed in the article I was asked to write for the Acocks Green Methodist Church Newsletter for October.
TUESDAY 20th SEPTEMBER
Tonight Freda and I spent a lovely evening at the cinema. We went to the Olton to see John Brown’s Schooldays (U) and Reluctant Heroes.(U).
I have never read Thomas Hughes’ story but it certainly made a fine film. John Howard Davies gave a sincere performance which was always convincing, and Robert Newton was very touching in his portrayal of Dr. Arnold. (I detected that Freda was crying softly to herself.) The supporting roles were well done too, and lent conviction to a film I was glad not to miss.
Reluctant Heroes was as funny as when I first saw it on 4th April 1952.
Altogether, an excellent programme. We had a good cry and a good laugh and the programme was obviously appreciated by the full audience. The manager should be encouraged to put on two such films together. I certainly came away with the feeling that at its best, the cinema provides the finest entertainment for the money.
This morning I received a copy of the plans for the new Old Edwardians ground. Land has been bought on the corner of Streetsbrook Road and [unfinished]
It was another beautiful day and very warm [9.6 hours of sunshine and the temperature reaching 70 degrees, 10.3 hours yesterday and 67 degrees].
WEDNESDAY 21st SEPTEMBER
My article on Town Forum came back this morning [from T.V. Mirror] with the usual rejection slip. I shall re-write it, shorten it, and write new opening paragraphs.
At work I made up solutions of Pelargonylcholine Iodide and did an experiment. While doing this I wrote a short item for John Bull pointing out that our present system of education is leading to a state of affairs where information is being substituted for thought, swotting is taking the place of learning, and personal ambition is being allowed to override mutual responsibility. I said that if we are producing a society in which people no longer understand their duty and responsibility to each other, then our system of education has failed. Who wants a race of socially irresponsible geniuses anyway?
At coffee time, on the spur of the moment, I rang Mr. Bloomfield to find what I have to do about becoming a Conscientious Objector. I have to write to the Ministry of National Service and get them to transfer me to the Conscientious Objectors’ roll. I have then to prepare a short statement (Mr. Bloomfield says they will never read my treatise) and obtain some letters in support of my claim. I wrote straight away to Mr. Plater.
Ivan came at 7.40 tonight and we had a jolly good evening together talking about Peking, pacifism, faith healing and spiritual indigestion (!).
Grace Archer is dead!
The new Plan came this morning. I am down to preach at Nether Whitacre, Gospel Lane and Yardley Green Road. One of these is on Temperance Sunday [20th November]. The team is planned for Yardley Green Road that day. Mr. Jones [Rev. Arnold B. Jones] is not once down for Acocks Green.
At work I continued my experiment on Pelargonylcholine Iodide [and found the surface tension at 44 minutes to be 66.0 dynes/cm.].
What a sensation tonight! Grace Archer got bumped off. I don’t usually listen to The Archers but yesterday there was a fire in the stables. Grace went in to rescue the horses, and was struck by a falling beam. Then there was a scene where Grace and Phil were going to hospital in the ambulance, and listeners heard her say, ”Phil, I love you Phil”. The programme ended with Phil breaking the news that Grace had died in his arms.
I felt astonishingly depressed. I seemed to see Freda and me instead of Grace and Phil. I was glad I was spending the evening with her.
The Archers may be very true to life. But this latest idea is stupid. No one wants
the hero to kick the bucket. As I wrote in an article [letter] to the Evening Despatch:
”So Grace Archer, née Fairbrother, has gone the way of all good heroes and heroines, and kicked the proverbial bucket. Even Sherlock Holmes had to die sometime!
Today, about ten million people will be just a little sadder. Perhaps now, Phil Archer will commit suicide, and a few other Archers will die of shock. Walter Gabriel could have been bumped off years ago.
Let’s do away with some other favourites at the same time. Why not? Perhaps two or three of the Huggetts and old Grannie Grove. Someone might even be persuaded to rid us of that interfering busybody, Mrs. Dale, and her infernal diary.
Let the B.B.C. make us really happy with hundreds of corpses strewn all over the place, and let’s all enjoy life while we can, for our £3 per year.
Anyway, she missed the I.T.A.” [Independent Television started tonight with adverts between the programmes.]
My Pocket Diary indicates that I intended to go to the Town Hall tonight: ”Concert 7.30pm (Sir Adrian Boult)”. The programme was Street Corner Overture by Alan Hawthorne, Suite Benin-Mora by Gustav Holst, Symphony No.104 in D (London) by Haydn and Symphony No. 4 in E minor by Brahms.
I seem to be three weeks behind with my Diary so tonight I am endeavouring to catch up on lost time. I do not expect that I shall go to meet Freda at 9 o’clock as I have also to have a bath and wash my hair.
I haven’t done an experiment today. I spent most of the morning washing up, did the animals after dinner, and there were a good many other odd jobs too. I got the whole lab in perfect order — tomorrow I intend to do some photography.
I got up rather earlier this morning and typed my letter. When I posted it at the Evening Despatch office the box was empty, so it did not make the press today. But there were at least four letters about ”The Killing of Grace Archer” in the 1 o’clock edition. All this morning’s papers were full of this sensation. As I expected, the B.B.C. was inundated with telegrams and ’phone calls.
At dinner time Freda and I went through the [Great Western] Arcade, then along [unfinished]
Today Freda and I have been together most of the time. We went to town on the 8.45, had coffee in the lab and printed some photographs, including three negatives which Freda brought with her. The results were better than last week’s but I haven’t properly looked at them yet as I left the prints to dry over the weekend.
We went shopping at 11.0am. At Boots we got a Photograph Album for Geoff’s birthday, then we got some buttons from a shop in the Arcade.
This afternoon we went to Church to prepare for the Harvest supper tonight. Helen was there, also Geoff, and Anne and Philip. I took Freda home afterwards.
The paper-boy brought the wrong papers this morning, [but] including the Sunday Mercury, and I found my article headed ”Where schoolboys wear trilby hats” at the head of ”Midland Parade”. So this is the first article I’ve had published since I began writing in earnest the other day.
I met Freda on her way to Church this morning. This is the Harvest Festival weekend and we had a fine sermon from Mr. Foss. In fact, I have never yet been disappointed by a sermon from Mr. Foss, and I thought this morning’s was as good as any I have heard for this special time of festival. [The sermon notes seem to have been lost]
Freda took her Beginners Class as usual this afternoon and I joined her later at the Bible Study.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. The hymns were 962 Come, ye thankful people, come, 4 From all that dwell below the skies, 964 To Thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise, 967 Now the year is crowned with blessing, and 970 Hear us, O Lord, from heaven, Thy dwelling-place. The readings were Deuteronomy 26:1–11 and Romans 5:1–21, and Mr. Dibben preached on Romans 12:12, ”Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
”This is for your hope-chest”. Do we have one? Is hope out of favour? Modern art is like old Indian paintings — flat, with no perspective. It was a landmark when the rule of perspective was discovered. If art reflects what a people thinks, then what are we thinking? We are obsessed with the present and don’t think of the future. Little is written now with hope. But hope is stressed in the epistles. Our lines of perspective are drawn from the Cross. ”Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). We are crucified with Christ, that is our joy. (Here Mr. Dibben read from Romans 5). ”We rejoice in hope of the glory of God … tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” Christ is our hope. Hope is the root of Christian joy, ”Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). There is a greater glory to come.
Hope is very human, ”where there’s life there’s hope” we say. ”Hope springs eternal from the human breast.” An American cardiologist has said that hope is the medicine to cure nearly everything. Hope is essential if we are to understand people. Christian hope. ”Now abideth … hope” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Hope is placed between faith and love. We can have confidence, purpose, hope amidst all the chaos of the world. A warning -- natural hope is God’s gift but it can be corrupted e.g. ambition is personal hope, we must be sure that it is noble. Hope can be the power of the devil working in us! We have to examine our ambitions, see that they are pure and holy. We must examine our ambitions for our children. Will they give us peace of mind? Permitting sin.
1. Hope is the means of our rejoicing. It lends peace and reflection to our work in this world. There is a saying, ”He who has no hope must hurry.” All are hurrying, therefore where is the hope? The dubious pleasure crowded into one week. But the believer can wait and rejoice in hope.
2. Every believer can rejoice because he knows ”God saves me”. The Great War of 1914–1918 was ”the War to end all wars.” War is the illegitimate child of Christianity. Many have lost faith because there doesn’t seem to be any progress in righteousness. I am not disillusioned because I know what God has promised.
3. We rejoice in the message. ”He is despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3 but this speaks of a new hope. People get tired of the stress on ”natural vitality” in the police state of Lenin and Stalin. But we can see hope. The ways of God are worthy of consideration.
4. We have hope beyond the present. We shall meet our loved ones on the other side. Jesus lives. The grave cannot enthral us. Our hope of eternal life lies in what Christ did for us. But we must live it and live rejoicing. Browning’s epilogue to Fancy and Facts. If we were more Christ-like, would we not find that we have a greater effect on the world around us? But there can only be one Christ. The Jews crucified Jesus when they found that Christ was Christ-like. Instead [of gloom and despondency] we must be joyful, rejoicing. This will influence the world. Only a rejoicing heart can be glad. Today hope is fulfilled in the harvest. Hope is ours, hope in the glory of God. God grant peace to our hearts. God grant us hope!
It’s just 7.20pm as I sit down to write. I feel a bit depressed tonight for no apparent reason, but it will wear off when I get down to some work.
It was a dull day at work; I did an experiment as usual. Alan accused me of being careless with pipettes which I washed for him and said I had broken them. I had done no such thing. Sometimes I find it extremely difficult to control my temper. [Alan got engaged on Saturday but has lost his cat.].
The Evening Despatch published my [”Grace Archer”] letter today.
I waited outside Smith’s for Freda but just missed her and she went straight back to the office.[We came home together as usual.] She was having her hair cut this evening at six, and then going to the Sunday School Council meeting tonight.
I saw Ann Pardoe this morning and we discussed the Y.P Day service. Anne doesn’t expect to be able to attend our meeting with Mr. Dibben on Thursday.
I had a chat over the ’phone with John when Augustus Road rang for our order
Tonight I called for Freda and we went to the West End to see Doctor at Sea (Technicolor, U) with Dirk Bogarde, Brenda de Banzie, James Robertson Justice, Michael Medwin, and many others. It is the sequel to Doctor in the House, last year’s top film. it is now in its third week and proving equally popular, especially with the added attraction of Brigitte Bardot! The supporting programme included Navajo and there was also a Mr. Magoo cartoon. It was an enjoyable evening.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together. We went for a walk tonight. It was Geoff’s 21st birthday. I wrote letters to Everybody’s on ”Animal Hypocrisy”, to Tit-Bits on the ”Death Penalty” and to Picture Post on ”Illogical”.
At work today I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Undecylenylcholine Iodide undergoing evaporation. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together. I called for her later and we went to Church to meet Mr. Dibben in the parlour at 9.0pm.
At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of a M/500 Solution of Pelargonylcholine Iodide undergoing evaporation. Freda was meeting Eunice in the dinner hour but we came home together as usual.
I met Freda after Choir practice. Kingy and Geoff were there. Rev. Cyril Thomas took charge at Club tonight. I took Freda home afterwards and met Mr. and Mrs. Sedgwick there.
Today was quite eventful. I had not to go to work [my quarterly Saturday off] so I stayed in bed until nine o’clock. There was a letter from Mr. Shepherd. He has written me a short note for the C.O. Tribunal, and recommends that I get in touch with [left blank]
I spent most of the morning doing odd jobs and thought it might be a good idea to get some of the book done. I had left the books with Freda so I went to see her just before dinner, taking Eddie with me. I met Mam and Clarice and Julia and Ginger outside the shop. Freda had been to town to get a new pair of shoes.
When I got home I checked the texts and verses up to June 7th, and after dinner took the books to Anne to type. We had quite a riotous afternoon together. We read an article on monogamy in Lilliput. (Lilliput is a man’s magazine.)
I left Anne just after 5.0pm, came home and got changed to go to Geoff’s [21st birthday] party. I called for Freda at five past six, and we met Donald Holloway and Pauline Jones at the 1A ’bus stop a few minutes later.
The party was held in the Edgbaston Room at Kunzle’s [unfinished]
We didn’t get back from the party until.1.30am but went to all the services as usual. Mr. Dibben took this morning’s service. We sang 677 We love the place, O God, 25 Round the Lord in glory seated, 841 Jesus, Friend of little children, 780 Master, speak! Thy servant heareth, and 716 Thou God of truth and love. The lesson was from 1 Peter 1:13–25 and Mr. Dibben preached on 1 Peter 1:15, ”But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [living].”
1. The Wesleys wanted to spread scriptural holiness, living based on God’s Word. What does ”holy” mean? We speak of the holy terror; in the oldest sense of the word meaning separated from the community. The Temple in Jerusalem comprised a series of separate parts — the High Priest went once a year into the innermost Holy of Holies. God was kept apart from the sinful; but received repentant sinners (Hebrews 9). Only God is righteous, entirely pure. In his vision Isaiah saw the Lord and heard the cry ”Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6). In the New Testament the holiness of God is not primary but a part of the revelation of God to man. Jesus put the emphasis in another place. In speaking to His Father He used the word ”holy” only once (John 17:11), but the Father took first place. The Sabbath was not holy in itself but was made for man (Mark 2:27). We shouldn’t be separate, cut off from the world; we should live as Jesus lived. Holiness was expected from Christians (Hebrews 12:14) — the epistles were written to the ”saints”. ”Saint” (sanctified one) has the same root as the word ”holy” — ”saints” and ”holy ones” are the same. We refer to old people as saints, but in New Testament times we would all be referred to as saints. The early Methodists were correct not to think of the altar as set apart only for God’s use, it is the place where all may come.
2. Christians are holy because they are like Him. If there is a separateness from other people it is only in the sense that we are in the world but not of it. Holiness is between me and God. God sends his rain on all, the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). He loves us each one. There are two things we should understand: i. A saint is not a person far-advanced in perfection. Paul said that spiritual gifts are given for the perfecting of the saints (Ephesians 4:12), so they weren’t perfect! ii. Every saint is a godly child of God. We are to be holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15), i.e. demonstrating holiness in all manner of living, not the quality on its own. There are different forms of love, and different Greek words to define them. A mother’s love for her child is different from a person’s love of music. How different these loves can be! We must live in holy love (Ephesians 1:4).
3. Holiness is satisfying all relationships through God — children and parents, citizens and State, employers and employees, all of us as God’s servants in the Church; mates to those with whom we work, teachers and pupils, ”by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). There are inevitable frustrations in the effort to attain a holy state in our lives. We struggle with known sin; we haven’t succeeded in holiness. We may have some problem of personal relationship; we are envious, resentful, jealous. These are not qualities of Jesus! What are our relationships with others like? ”As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of living.” Amen!
We stayed for Holy Communion after the service. Pat led us in a study of Jude this afternoon.
Mr. E.T. Halstead. M.A., took tonight’s service. We sang 11 With gladness we worship, 7 O heavenly King, look down from above, 535 From every stormy wind that blows, 431 Love divine, all loves excelling (to the tune of 380 I will sing the wondrous story) and 77 What shall I do my God to love. The readings were 2 Samuel 12:1–23 and Ephesians 2:1–10.
Mr. Halstead preached on Ephesians 2:10, ”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” and 2 Corinthians 3:3, ”Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” The Greek word translated ”epistle” means ”poem”, i.e. we are to be God’s poem and Christ’s letter, God’s poetry and Christ’s prose. Some poems! We might make better limericks! Poetry might be thought an unnatural medium of communication. Think of February 14th and life on that level. We can write a letter in our everyday self. Our letters reveal our character, and a person becomes more real as we read their letters.
The Christian life must combine the two ideas. There is a difference between the ordinary level of life and what is expected of us! ”Call yourself a Christian” people say. King David suffered the same obloquy. John Newton (1725–1807) who wrote How sweet the name of Jesus sounds (Hymn 99) was a slave-trader who became a believer. Like him, we can’t deny our own weakness but we can still be used for God’s purposes. God can and will work in our lives. Our own weakness gives us a chance to express the spirit of depression we feel. We echo the cry of despair, ”O my offence is rank, it smells to heaven!” (Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 3), Charles Wesley turns that cry into ”My trespass was grown up to heaven; but far above the skies, in Christ abundantly forgiven, I see Thy mercies rise.” (verse 4 of Hymn 77 which we are to sing). God has sources of power which we can tap and make life worthwhile. How often in life do we get the chance of doing something great?
We live in a hum-drum atmosphere, but things happen and change our lives. In the capture of Quebec, September 1759, General James Wolfe tried the impossible way, from behind. Wolfe said he would rather have had the honour of writing Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard than of capturing Quebec — he felt the desire to do something better. We have this feeling of our own littleness, our lowness. Another Wolfe, Charles (1791–1823), wrote a poem about defeat and retreat, The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna. Gray was crystallising the absolute spirit of British country-life, Wolfe epitomised the heroism of being a soldier. The ploughman and the soldiers weren’t the poets. God calls us not to be poets but to let Him make poetry of our lives. It may be a lowly role we have in life but it’s a wonderful world. The Creator offers us His help, the power of the Spirit to do His will. All we must do is call on His name. He will answer it now. All our lives must be letters worthy of Jesus Christ, then God may see in us something of His eternal Spirit to transform our lives into something worthwhile.
We had the October Messenger today, containing my report on the Youth Team and Freda’s on the Beginners Department. After a Musical evening at Y.P.F. I took Freda home and we watched T.V.
I am just now listening to Eric Barker in Just Fancy, the new series of which began last week. It is nearly nine o’clock.
It has been an uneventful sort of day and seems to have passed quickly enough, although I haven’t been particularly hard-pressed with work. I continued last week’s experiment and made up a M/5000 solution of Caprylcholine Iodide. I also smoked a trace for Hilary who was doing a rabbit heart experiment on the Choline esters.
During the morning I wrote to Dr. Sammons asking if I might be considered for promotion to a higher grade.
During the lunch hour I met Freda as usual. She has gone to the Comptometer reunion tonight and may come home on the 9.50 train. I shall probably go to meet the train in any case, and take Eddie for a walk
I don’t seem to have done much tonight except read the papers. I have put together the ”Beautiful Britain in Maps and Pictures” supplement which has been published in the last four editions of Everybody’s.
Lewis’s is selling Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Roasted Almond chocolate at 4d. The blocks are 1 3/8 oz each and were intended for the American market — the wrappers are marked 10c. A 2oz. block costs 7d here, so one saves about 10½d per pound.
I met Freda from the train at 10.5 last night and took her home.The Comptometer School reunion was held at the Central Hall. Freda’s friends Joan Brignall and Eunice Friday were there, and they had an enjoyable time with entertainment provided by Vernon Adcock and Richard Murdoch.
At work Alan told us that his cat, which was missing for a week, turned up on Friday at Janet his fiancée’s home at Woodgate, about five or six miles away. What is astonishing is that Binky had been there only once before, and that was when he took her in his car several months ago when she was still a kitten. I am writing an article about this for the Sunday Mercury.
Nothing much happened at work. I met Freda at dinner time as usual, and tonight we went to the Olton to see Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger in Footsteps in the Fog (A) which was excellent. The supporting film was The Gun that won the West (U), about the Winchester Rifle, with Dennis Morgan and Paula Raymond.
It was Helen’s birthday today.
At work I did another experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Caprylcholine Iodide. I also cleaned out the animals and typed my article about Alan’s cat which I have called ”When the cat leaves home”. I posted it at the Gazette and Despatch offices later, also an item for the Birmingham Mail.
It was raining when I met Freda at dinner time and it has continued nearly all day [0.385 inches].We came home on the train together as usual. I have been writing all evening, including a letter on ”Illiteracy and Juvenile Delinquents” for Answers, an item for ”Life’s Like That” for the Birmingham Mail, and ”E.W. Barnes at K.E.S.” for the Birmingham Weekly Post.
We have the heat on at work now that the weather is cooler. I did an experiment today on the evaporation of a M/500 solution of n-Caprylcholine Iodide.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together on the train. Tonight I have spent some time working on an article on the Windmill Theatre.
I had a letter from John Bull this morning rejecting the item I wrote on September 21st.
At work today I did a further experiment on a M/750 solution of n-Caprylcholine Iodide. I also cleaned the animals and polished the lab. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train as usual.
Tonight I had a bath and washed my hair, met Freda after Choir practice and then took her home.
I did more photography at work this morning. On the way home I bought this week’s Everybody’s. This afternoon I called for Freda at 2.30pm and we went for a long walk, not returning until 6.0.
Tonight we went to the Ideal Homes Exhibition at Bingley Hall. After we got back we had supper with her parents. I went to bed at 11.40pm.
It seems not so very long ago [February 20th] that I was writing of my first visit to Nether Whitacre. My visit there today was even more dramatic as Ivan’s car broke down. The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 46 I sing the almighty power of God, 1st Prayer, 380 I will sing the wondrous story, 1st Lesson John 21:1–25, Children’s Address, 840 God, my Father, loving me, 2nd Lesson: Zechariah 13, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 509 The Galilean fishers toil, Sermon: ”I Go A Fishing”, 235 I know that my Redeemer lives, The Blessing.
We had a meeting with Mr. Dibben this afternoon and he tried our voices. I also saw him about my Conscientious Objectors case. I took Freda home afterwards and stayed for tea.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service and preached on ”The merits and demerits of the sung Amen” taking as his test Psalm 106:48, ”Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen”. The Hebrew word used here is the same in Arabic, Greek, Latin and almost every tongue. ”Amen” is translated ”verily” in the Gospels. The word means ”That is so” or, ”So be it”. God is the God of the Amen i.e. of faithfulness and truth. Jesus is called ”the Amen, the faithful and true witness” by John (Revelation 3:14). Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941) says the sung ”Amen” can’t be too good. It is well to pretend that we may never sing another, therefore we should put everything into it. ”The Amen came up like thunder” in the early days of the Christian era. Mark Guy Pearce would often say ”Amen, Hallelujah”. Amens in services give power to the preacher (Mr. Dibben said this was his experience too).
Judaism had its ”don’t” period. We can say Amen as a blazing certainty on things that matter. But we must check the emphasis. Christ is the Amen, the eternal yea and Amen, and all God’s promises were fulfilled through Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). Through Christ all the negatives of life become meaningful. Christ is not concerned with our comfort but with our character. We give ourselves to His service because of the love of goodness He has implanted in us. (Here Mr. Dibben referred to an item in the Autumn Punch.)
Christ is the Amen, the final affirmation of God. ”Let all the people say, Amen” (Psalm 106:48). Have we the same note of affirmation? F. Spencer Chapman telling of his adventures in the Malayan Jungle in The Jungle Is Neutral (1949) says ”Mental attitude decides whether we go under or not …attitude of mind is what matters.” What was our attitude as we came here tonight? Life is different when we can say Amen to things. Saying Amen is a personal act on our behalf, we are determining something in our heart. It gives us the opportunity of expressing the everlasting yea, the eternal affirmation. The problem is that we want God’s gift but not His will and therefore fullness is difficult. (Here Mr. Dibben quoted from Macbeth, Act 2, Scene II)
Macbeth. One cried ‘God bless us’, and ‘Amen’ the other, as they had seen me with these hangman’s hands. List’ning their fear, I could not say ‘Amen’ when they did say ‘God bless us!’ Lady M. Consider it not so deeply. Macbeth. But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’? I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat.
Are we afraid to say ”Amen” in positive earnestness because we want to go our own way and therefore we can’t say it? If we want the real thing then we shall gain it. Our ”Amen” means that we affirm all that was fulfilled through Christ. Let us live in the spirit of the hymn and in prayer etc. Saying and singing Amen is an act of giving ourselves to God.
After the sermon we sang 64 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, King of creationwith a resounding ”Amen” to finish! The other hymns were 7 O Heavenly King, look down from above, 28 All creatures of our God and King, 625 I to the hills will lift mine eyes, and 451 I lift my heart to Thee, Saviour divine. The readings were Ezekiel 33:21–29 and 2 Corinthians 1:13–24.
Geoff was at the service, also Anne Vickery. We went to Y.P.F. after the service, after which I took Freda home.
I have stayed in all night, Freda being engaged in preparing her Children’s Address for Sunday. We met at dinner time and came home on the train as usual. It has been a lovely warm and sunny day.
Ralph Vaughan Williams
This evening’s CBSO concert was an event which Freda and I will be able to look back upon as one of the outstanding of our musical memories. This was perhaps the last time we should be able to see and hear Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams conduct one of his own works. I would not have missed it for anything.
Ro went into G.H.B. today and Mr. & Mrs. Powley dropped us off in town on their way to see her. We had 5/6d reserved seats G39 and 40 in the Lower Gallery of the Town Hall. The programme started with the National Anthem, then Vaughan Williams’ conducted his own Serenade to Music with the B.B.C. Midland Singers, including Ann Pardoe. It is one of the most beautiful pieces one could ever hear. Vaughan Williams wrote it as a gift for Sir Henry Wood on the occasion of his Jubilee Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 5th October 1938, and the words are from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene 1.
The Serenade to Music lasted only a quarter of an hour. Vaughan Williams received a great ovation and then left the platform. I wished he could have stayed and conducted his Symphony No. 4 in F minor, but he is 83 and Rudolf Schwarz was conducting the rest of the programme, so we were happy just to have seen him. His 4th Symphony could not be more different from the Serenade to Music. Not having heard it before, we were surprised by the fortissimo introduction and the grim feeling of the music. But we were even more surprised when, a few minutes later, Vaughan Williams and his wife [Ursula] came and sat in the row in front of us, just to our left, with no one in between. He held a big ear-trumpet to his ear and listened intently to the performance of his symphony.
The great composer and his wife left at the interval. The second half of the concert was devoted to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A, a perfect contrast to the Vaughan Williams’. I see from the inside front cover of the programme that all seven of Vaughan Williams’ Symphonies are available on Decca records, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. I should rather like to have these. Sir Eugene Goossens is to conduct next month’s Tuesday concert with Rosalyn Tureck as soloist, and Rudolf Schwarz the December concert with Julius Katchen.
I met Freda at lunch time and we came home together on the train. Ro had the operation last night and I went to see her.
Tonight at 7.0pm I met [ ] and we went to Ward End Methodist Guild. On our return I called to see Freda at 9.20pm and had supper with her parents. Freda and her mother had been to see Ro.
At work I began measuring the Surface Tension of an M/5,000 solution of Myristylcholine Iodide, C13H27COOCH2CH2N(CH3)3I. I also went to see Ro and met Freda at dinner time.
Robert Schneider rang at 5.23pm, just as I was about to leave! Fortunately the train was late getting into Snow Hill so we came home together as usual.
I went to the Men’s Fellowship tonight. Freda was going to see Anne and her parents were visiting Ro in hospital. I had a talk with Mr. Dibben at 10.20pm and have since been writing notes.
I received An Approach to the Old Testament by Harold Cleaver this morning. Two years ago today I had my experience.
I finished my sermon notes at 12.15am and went to bed a little before 1.0am this morning [having typed a letter to Tit-Bits about addressing shop assistants]. On my way to the station today I posted my notes at the Dibben’s [The Manse, 5 Sherbourne Road] then travelled on the 8.45 with Pat. He was going to see Ro tonight. During the morning I measured the Surface Tension of M/7,000 and M/8,500 solutions of Myristylcholine Iodide.
I met Freda during the dinner hour, we talked about Anne and Philip. I was back in the lab by 1.50pm. During the afternoon I went to see Ro, fetched [indecipherable], typed Alan’s paper, cleaned out the animals and cleaned the whole lab.
I went to Club tonight and saw Mr. Dibben again. It was a magazine evening for which I read a story. I took Freda home afterwards. She had been to Choir practice as usual. Kingy and Geoff were there.
This morning I made some prints of the three photographs of Freda and me [taken on Whit Monday at the cricket match at Chipping Camden, and] dried and trimmed them. In between these operations I went to see Ro for twenty minutes or so, and there wasn’t time to do any other work. Louie didn’t appear at all.
I called in at the Powley’s on my way home. Freda had been to her doctor and obtained a note for a chest X-ray. The spot on Freda’s nose is a tiny cyst which daily treatment with Dettol should remove.
I spent the afternoon working and wrote an article [on what?]. Blues [Birmingham City] won 5–nil at Portsmouth! Eddie Brown scored a hat-trick, Kinsey and Govan scored the other two. It is only their second win since August 31st.
Tonight we went to the Futurist to see The Seven Year Itch (A) with Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell and Evelyn Keyes. It was very enjoyable. The supporting programme included Hold Your Horses and The Two-headed Giant. We got home at 11.0pm.
I do not think I have ever felt so crestfallen as I did after preaching this morning in front of our own congregation. It was Young People’s Day, the Boys’ Brigade and Brownies were there, and the Youth Team was taking the service. I preached on Ecclesiastes 12:1, ”Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,” and people were very appreciative afterwards but I felt it could have been so much better.
The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 92 Jesus! The name high over all, 1st Prayer, 416 Life and light and joy are found, 1st Lesson Deuteronomy [ ], Children’s Address (given by Freda), 851 All things bright and beautiful, 2nd Lesson 1 Timothy 1:15–17, 2nd Address, Solo, Notices and Offertory, 2nd Prayer, 423 I’ve found a Friend; O such a Friend! Sermon, 214 Come let us sing of a wonderful love, The Blessing.
I had a great surprise after the service. I have been asked to take the chair for Mr. Lunt when he comes to speak at the Men’s Fellowship on November 10th!
I called for Freda and we went to Holy Communion at 8.0am and to the Youth Team meeting at 4.0pm when Margaret made an announcement.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 418 Awake, our souls! Away! our fears! 53 God is love: His mercy brightens, 463 O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me, 371 And can it be that I should gain, and 691 Saviour, again to Thy dear name we raise. The readings were from Isaiah 6:1–8 and Acts 9:1–19.
The sermon was on Acts 9:2, ”If he found any of this way”. ”Way” should be spelt with a capital letter, ”those belonging to the Way”. Think of a beautifully natural girl, and contrast her with one who has been spoilt. The first has no affectation, no inhibitions, the other behaves selfishly. Being natural is of God and good. The natural way is God’s way. There is a difference between ourselves and creation, Darwin and evolution. What is the distinction between us and animals? We can pray. We know that God is our Father. That is natural, but people become unnatural and frustrated. The middle letter of SIN is ”I”, and sin is living unnaturally. It is putting self first instead of God. There are no exceptions, and wrong things crash.
What happens if we refuse the challenge? Evil entangles every situation. Evil is stupid, it is ”live” spelt backwards, life in reverse. Our natures are allergic to sin — we have the divine potential, therefore things can happen to us. A slot machine was taken to pieces. Only one coin in ten came back — you couldn’t beat the machine. If you try, you are bad and a fool. The sinner is a problem to himself and others, always clashing with God. Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in God. [St. Augustine?] ”I’m the exception” someone will say. But ”there, but for the grace of God, go I.” We are made for one way. If we miss the way we shall see the world’s wreckage. We have to acknowledge the way, travel along it, become conscious of the way, the fact that Jesus came to save us. We have to make a start and then we will get nearer and closer. We must find God and serve Him. ”Keep on the Way.” Walk in the best of company in Christ. He can satisfy every desire.
Rev. Ernest E. Price from Kalabar High School was the speaker tonight at Y.P.F. Afterwards I went back to supper with Freda. She sewed my coat. Mam went to Kenneth Lacey’s meeting at the Theatre Royal on ”How Peace Will Come.”
At work today I made up two solutions and did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Caprylylcholine Iodide. I also got slide glasses for Hilary, visited Ro and ’phoned for an X-ray appointment. Dr. M.R.A. Chance came from the Medical School, and also Pam. I met Freda at lunch time and we came home on the train with Kingy. Freda and her mother were going to see Ro tonight.
I wrote up my Film Diary earlier and shall go to bed at 8.30pm I hope! I forgot to give Freda her note. We have been talking about buying a house.
Guys and Dolls
Today was our 1st Anniversary, we decided!, and I took Freda to see Guys and Dolls [at the Theatre Royal] to celebrate the day.
Mr. Powley took us in the car as he and Mrs. Powley were going to see Ro. Ro was much more pleasant [when I saw her] today. As I had said, she is coming home on Thursday, I was made to promise not to tell anyone till Ro could do so herself.
The show, based on Damon Runyon characters, began a four-week run last week, and is direct from the London Coliseum where it ran for 555 performances. The cast includes Robert Huby, Edward Devereaux, Edwin Richfield, Barbara Logan, William Thorburn, Laurie Webb, Thomas Gallagher, Noel Carey, Darroll Richards, Yvette Yorke and Jimmy Ventham. It was a wonderful evening.
At work I did an experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Enanthylcholine Iodide (the M/250 solution I made up on Saturday) undergoing evaporation, commencing at 9.50am and at intervals throughout the day until the last one at 5.09pm.
Alan and I spent a good deal of today re-writing our paper. Tomorrow I want to start upon the diagrams; these will be drawn at approximately twice the required size in Bristol board in Indian ink. Lettering has only to be faintly pencilled in.
I went to see Ro for the last time. She and some of the other women were sitting round talking. Ro gave me a note for her mother and an unstamped OHMS letter.
Before going to work this morning I had taken Freda to the Mass radiography Centre in Corporation Street. We had travelled together on the 8.45 train, the first time we’d really travelled to work together (apart from Saturdays) since July 1st.
I told Freda she must next go to the dentist.
On the way [unfinished]
Alan wasn’t at work today. His brother is having a partial gastrectomy, so he won’t be coming in again this week.
This morning I cut up the Bristol board using the guillotine, and drew the concentration/action curves for the paper. I had thought I shouldn’t need any stencils but in fact, I found I did need them to mark the points on the curves. I ’phoned John and he said he would post them on to me; I said I would send them straight back. I had to buy a UNO pen before I was able to do anything further.
During the afternoon I continued with the diagrams and wrote up some Surface Tension work.
Tonight I met Freda at the Library at 7.30pm. I borrowed Follow the Saint by Leslie Charteris and J.B. Priestley’s Dangerous Corner. We stood talking until 8.30 about how we shall furnish our house, then I came home to spend over an hour and a half answering the questions to my N.T. studies.
I was in bed by 10.45pm.
The stencils arrived this morning so I was soon able to complete the diagrams. During the afternoon I cleaned the animals and tidied the lab, while Hilary did a pile of washing up. I washed some pipettes under the pump. There wasn’t time to do an experiment.
Today’s papers reported a speech last night by Dr. Brailsford who said in London that 2,433,487 experiments on living animals were carried out in 1954. He said that doctors were afraid to condemn vivisection and students might seriously jeopardise their prospects if they voiced their protests. Tonight I began writing an article on the subject which I shall send to one of the weeklies or a leading newspaper.
I called for Freda as usual [after Choir practice] and when we got back we sat in the lounge. Mr. & Mrs. Powley and Ro had gone to the Jacobs’ and hadn’t returned when I left at 10.45pm.
Today was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and there was a special celebration around Nelson’s statue in the Bull Ring. Also today the Queen unveiled a statue of her father King George VI in London.
It is midday on Saturday. I went to work on the 8.40 and came back from work on the 10.20 train, as I wanted to go to the bank. I paid in 10/-d.
This afternoon I typed letters to the Evening Despatch on Juvenile Delinquency and Education and the Birmingham Gazette on the Death Penalty
At St. Andrews Birmingham City beat Manchester United 4–3.
I called for Freda tonight and we went for a walk. She had had breakfast in bed this morning and served in the shop this afternoon. I stayed for supper.
I called for Freda last night and we went for a walk. Afterwards I stayed for supper.
I called for Freda as usual this morning. At Church it was Education Sunday and the offertories were for the Local Preachers’ Mutual Aid Association. The preacher was Mr. C.E. Snowden from Liverpool. We sang 72 Begin, my soul, some heavenly theme, 275 Jesus, we on the word depend, 396 Lord, in the fullness of my might, 43 There is a book, who runs may read, and 282 Spirit of wisdom, turn our eyes. The readings were Psalm 51 and Matthew 22: 34–46, and Mr. Snowden preached on Matthew 22:37, ”Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Education Sunday comes immediately after Young People’s Day.
1. We have to consider the social, spiritual and intellectual implications of the Gospel, putting our intelligence and brains into our religion. (A reference here to miners singing ”We have no other argument … Christ died for me”, without understanding ). The Bible says we are to: i. Love God with all our mind (Matthew 22:37). ii. Study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15). iii. Be ready always to give an answer to every man who wants to know what we believe (1 Peter 3:15). Why are we Methodists? What do we stand for? We need to apply ourselves to our religion, to our faith, to Methodism etc. ”That will do” is one of the commonest of all expressions, but it won’t do in our spiritual life. [There are no half-measures.] We must love God with all our mind, we can’t leave our brains at home to come to church.
2. Is it a sign of intelligence to be an agnostic? The discipline of study doesn’t involve a G.C.E. certificate. Achievement is not at first sight. The way of holiness is for all. There are 50,000 referees at the football match! The average spectator knows his rules, he knows his game. The thinking man is the greatest enemy to the Prince of Darkness. It is easy not to think. People say, ”I would go mad if I stopped to think”. Risk it! There are too many ready to delegate their thinking to someone else. At a General Election how many people know what they are doing? People follow blindly, there is a lack of application. In the Roman Catholic Church they very conveniently do the thinking for you through Pope and priest. Jesus went on to say, ”What think ye of Christ? The call comes constantly — ”Think”. It gives us headaches and worry, but think. Religion is the one thing worth thinking about. We must insist on the facts. Our beliefs should be subject to scrutiny. We must apply our minds to our weaknesses. Intellect is not necessary in the first place but it must have a place in our religion.
3. Truth comes by divine revelation. It takes a broken and contrite heart to come to God (Psalm 51:17). ”Whatsoever things are true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report … if there be any virtue … any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). We have the privilege of perfect freedom to think. There must be scriptural proof for every doctrine we believe and preach. Our approach should always be, what does the Bible say? We tend to listen to the voice of science instead. True scientific fact complies with the Bible. Divine revelation is given to the spiritual, not the scientifically minded. The State has the last word in Russia. Martin Luther wouldn’t accept what the Pope said where it was not confirmed by Scripture. Our salvation is in the Scriptures. ”None other name under heaven given among men by which we may be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Bible is divinely revealed, our authority is the Word of God. Our argument is ”The Bible tells me so”. Let us love God with all our mind. Amen.
The Youth Team meeting this afternoon was to discuss our next service on November 20th at Yardley Green Road.
Tonight’s service was taken by Mr. H.S. Myers from Middlesbrough. We sang 716 Thou God of truth and love, 448 O Love that wilt not let me go, 731 O Christ, our God, who with Thine own hast been, 443 Loved with everlasting love (to the tune of 110 Jesu, Lover of my soul), and 577 O loving Lord, who art for ever seeking. The readings were Psalm 23 and Colossians 1:1–29.
Mr. Myers spoke on Colossians 1:2, ”To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is said that we are made by our environment, governed by our hereditary, etc., that these determine the vital factors in our character. Here the people were living in two worlds, material Colosse, spiritual Christ. Merchants, pedlars, labourers were the folk at Colosse. But they were in Christ. They were of the world of Colosse but they were in Christ, ”Christ in them the hope of glory” (v. 27).
1. Man is not fully explained materially, our greatness lies in the realisation of internal resources. All the wealth in the world would not add to our moral character. To be in Christ is to be in touch with incredible power. No explanation of man can be complete if one leaves out the spiritual. (i) Colosse doesn’t fully explain us. (ii) The real creative world lies within. Not alternative worlds. Monasticism misses the full interpretation of the Gospel. They were not taken out of the world but kept from the evil thereof (John 17:15). Our geographical location won’t remove moral sin. We need a centre of inspiration, of idealism. Each one of us is a Colossian, therefore all we need to be is in Christ.
2. We may merge in the world but must not be submerged by it. An airman at Karachi (according to Dr H.L. Simpson) found that a rat had been nibbling at the controls [and so caused, or avoided? a crash]. We can conquer our Colosses because Christ is above Colosse. Some can’t face up to life, they have no inner world of peace or tranquillity. Some visit a psychoanalyst. We must build our souls before we can rebuild the world. We must win our victory before we can help others win theirs. We have a special responsibility to the young. The highest thing they can make of life is to make it a sanctuary of the Divine, to have power in the world and bring many souls to the foot of the Cross. Spiritual personality is ”won” (Philippians 3:8). One minister said he saw a candidate for the ministry every time he took a walk down the road.
3. A greater power than Colosse exists. We can live in Christ at Colosse. We don’t have to be indifferent to the Colosses around us — as Christians our citizenship is ennobled. We cannot be indifferent to the evils which menace society today. We face the organised forces of despotism but we must bear witness. Salvation lies not in economics nor in some social plan but in the redeemed lives of men and women. Until then we cannot redeem society. It is gloriously possible for us to be centres of moral and spiritual influence. Christ can conquer Colosse. The ”saints” (v. 1) i.e. transformed human beings, are rough human material from which Christ effects the transformation, That is our supreme need today. Are we in Christ? Is Christ in us tonight? We can go out tomorrow to bear our witness to Christ. The Colosses of life will be made like unto the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.
At Y.P.F. we had a Gramophone evening. Afterwards I took Freda home.
During the day I typed a letter to Picturegoer suggesting that A Life of Bliss could be filmed, especially as George Cole, Gladys Henson, Donald Sinden and Diana Churchill, with their familiar voices, are all well-known to cinema-goers.
This morning I called at the Evening Despatch offices with my letter on illiteracy and juvenile delinquency.
At work Dr. Schneider rang for a supply of rats. I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home on the train.
Tonight Freda came with me to the Ideal Benefit Society to pay money in for Dad. Donald Marsh was preaching his trial sermon at Ward End tonight.
Dennis Vaughan worked with us in the lab today. I did another experiment to determine the Surface Tension of Myristylcholine Iodide. We have about finished the experiments on the Choline esters.
Tonight we called on Anne and then went for a walk to Reddings Lane, returning via Shirley Road. After we got back we sat in the saloon.
[Pencil. ”His Nibs”. To what does this refer?].
Nothing much happened today. I drew some graphs of my results from recent experiments. It was raining when I met Freda in the dinner time and when we caught the train. I went to see Freda this evening and we watched T.V.
Gillian Chilton was on the train this morning. I bought Picturegoer as usual.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together. The Evening Despatch published my letter under the heading ”The Cause of Juvenile Offences.”
Tonight I wrote a short story entitled ”What Dreams May Tell”. It took me from 7.15 to 11.30pm.
I bought the Birmingham Weekly Post. this morning and travelled on the 8.53am train. The stencils came, so I was able to do the diagrams. At work I continued the experiment on Stearylcholine Iodide. I gave Hilary my story to read and she said it was very vivid! Alan’s brother was undergoing an operation today. We needed some Anhydrous Na2SO4 which I managed to obtain from Biochemistry.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together on the train. I took her home tonight after she emerged from Choir practice and we sat in the shop. After I got home I began writing the answers to the Test Questions at the end of Study One. [1. Say, in your own words, why you think Christians ought to read and study the Old Testament. 2. How would you deal with the complaint that a great deal of the Old Testament falls below the level of Christian thought.]
I had a letter today from Mr. F.J. Green, enclosing (as last year) Drink and Gambling in 1955, ”Facts, Figures and Opinions to help Preachers and Speakers in Preparation for Temperance Sunday, November 20th, 1955.” This seemed rather apposite as at Club tonight it was rumoured that Brian Brennan had been rather merry after drinking some cider!
As I didn’t have to work today I stayed in bed until nearly ten. Later I went to the Library, and on my way up Warwick Road met Freda and Helen shopping. Helen had to go to the grocer’s so then Freda and I finished her shopping together.
I spent the afternoon typing the answers to my Local Preachers Old Testament study which I completed.
I wrote to the Ministry of National Service, asking them to place my name on the roll of Conscientious Objectors.
This evening Freda and I went to the Warwick to see White Christmas. The film was one of last year’s releases which I missed. It was well worth seeing and we both enjoyed it. The film was a remake of Holiday Inn which I saw six years ago. In this version the stars were Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney. It was a very good film in sentimental vein. Danny Kaye stole the show.
In support there was The Benevolent Burglar (U) with James Hayter and VistaVision Visits Norway, neither of which amounted to much. White Christmas was, of course, the first picture filmed in VistaVision.
It was the first time I’d visited the Warwick since the night I first took Helen out.
This morning Mam and Dad were taking the Beeches to a farm near Hereford to collect some fruit. We were all up therefore by nine o’ clock. The preachers at Church were Mr. Pugh and Mr. Dibben, and we had our usual meeting in the afternoon, after which Freda came to tea.
The hymns this morning were 73 My God, how wonderful Thou art, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 850 Looking upward every day, 672 Saviour, blessed Saviour, listen while we sing, 300 Breathe on me, Breath of God. The readings were Isaiah 6:1–8 and Acts 6:5–15, and Mr. Pugh preached on Acts 6:5, ”Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” Stephen was the first Christian martyr. ”Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen”. We don’t remember Stephen because of December 26th being Boxing Day. He was prominent in the work of the early Church. They appointed seven deacons to minister to the sick, the poor, the widowed. Stephen was the first deacon. How is this faith and power of the Holy Spirit revealed? It is demonstrated:
1. In his character. He was Christ-like. From his life shines forth something of the glory of God. The world is glad to make us compromise. It is glad to see us water down our faith. Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin.
2. In his testimony. He still speaks out for Christ despite false accusations. ”For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Our lives have to be a testimony to the Gospel. Stephen was stoned to death outside the Holy City (Acts 7). Saul of Tarsus saw it (Acts 8:1, 7:58, 22:20). Stephen ”saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55–56).
3. In his vision of God. His life laid down for the truth. His love for us through Christ. God’s eternal purpose. Christ saves our lives from being mere doctrine. He saves us from purposelessness. He gives us a sense of direction. We can know God’s guidance and heavenly care.
4. In his love for his enemies. Stephen prays for his enemies, ”Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
5. In his martyrdom. His life was laid down for his faith. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Are we in the succession of the Saints? Sacrifices are still made for the Gospel. Missionaries. Formosa. 48 signed, one withdrew. History by August 16th 1945. Where do we stand? ”The Son of God goes forth to war, a kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar: who follows in His train? (Hymn 816). Stephen was a man full of faith and power. Amen!
Tonight the hymns were 79 Praise ye the Lord! ’Tis good to raise, 60 Ere God had built the mountains, 442 Happy the heart where graces reign, 546 Come, Saviour, Jesus, from above and 688 O God our Father, who dost make us one. The readings were Psalm 55 and 1 John 4:7–21, with Mr. Dibben emphasising verse 18, ”There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear … He that feareth is not made perfect in love” therefore salvation from fear is through love.
Mr. Dibben preached on Psalm 55:6, ”Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.” History is the tale of bad men, from Cain to Hitler. Kings betrayed subjects, leaders betrayed their followers, men were forced to leave their families. There have been instruments of torture, spies and traitors in every society — Burgess and Maclean are but the latest examples. The betrayer often stands high in the confidence of the betrayed, so it was with the psalmist.He experienced the deception of Absalom. ”The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords” (Psalm 55:21).Three questions arise: 1 If man is the offspring of God (Acts 17:29), then what is the explanation when his house of cards tumbles down? 2 Should we try to escape from it all? 3 What is the answer?
1. The question is beside the point. Others of God’s creation cannot be traitors, cannot act deceitfully, etc. It is because man has the special privilege of saying yes and no. We suffer the fate of our own circumstances sometimes. Generally the ”no” is deliberate. Lot had the choice between Canaan and the land of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:10–13). Jezebel could charm but practised deliberate cruelty (1 Kings 21:5–14). Shakespeare brings out the fact of deliberate choice e.g. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. It is left with us as the offspring of God.
2 Must we fly away to be at peace? We may think the best escape is death, but God has given us power to face up to the privilege of living. Heaven is the privilege of resurrection. ”I am going to Heaven,” we say, but are we ready to fly away to Him? Can we escape from our duty? It is hard to refuse the choice of the easier. But Cranmer and
Ridley (burnt at the stake on Wednesday 16th October 1555) were true to the good. ”Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out ” We can’t escape from ourselves, we have to live with our cowardice. The choice is usually simple. Our likeness to God means we can make the choice. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said ”If it be possible, let this cup pass from me (Matthew 26:39). He must have thought of the psalmist — ”As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me” (Psalm 55:16). Christ was faithful unto death. Reliance on God is the best, the greatest thing. The unknown is ahead but God can strengthen us. We live in God’s love and so escape in the truest sense.
3. The answer is in the Spirit of our Lord. ”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The faithfulness of God is ours. He will enrich us always.
[Tonight the] Y.P.F. held an ”At Home” in the Large Hall. Pat read my short story and made it sound very funny. As Jos [Pardoe] had already said I had written it, it was impossible to judge whether the story was effective or not. Afterwards Freda and I helped to wash up before going home.
Today the Birmingham Gazette printed my letter on Capital Punishment. Nothing in particular happened at work.
Tonight Freda and I walked down Grange Road and watched a train go by. It was cold and foggy but we enjoyed the walk. Back home, we ate chocolate biscuits and sat on the carpet by the blazing fire.
Princess Margaret has announced today that she will not marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. He used to be the King’s equerry but has been divorced. It is very sad.
It was a boring day today. Alan repeated yesterday’s work using rat intestine; Hilary and I helped.
Dennis Vaughan came to do an experiment during the afternoon but not one of three rat hearts would work. Our work however showed not much success either, and I was glad when it was time to pack up, especially as I’d had backache all day.
I didn’t see Freda tonight. She was going to see Anne and I had a bath and washed my hair. I listened to Take It From Here and The Goon Show until 9.0pm.
I went to bed at 10.30pm and read Study 2 [The Patriarchs] of my O.T. studies.
Nothing much happened at work today. Dr. Schneider rang up to say he wouldn’t be coming in this week.
I ’phoned Philip Harris’s to see if I could get some Secondary Butanol. They had none, nor had Southall’s, but Sandy had a Winchester ¾ full which he will let us have.
I had quite a job getting hold of Sandy. At 12.30pm he was just catching a ’bus, and Mrs. Williams couldn’t find him at 2.15. I asked her to see if she could find him and ask him to ring me back.
Alan’s experiment didn’t give the desired result.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Birmingham today, including a visit to K.E.S. which had been planned for the late King. They also visited Cadbury’s, Bournville, and Lucas’s, Great Hampton Street, before going on to open the new College of Technology, Commerce and Art at Gosta Green. [unfinished]
I came home on the train with Freda and spent the evening with her watching television. It was a very damp day with rain and drizzle and not a glimpse of the sun.
As usual I spent most of today doing routine lab work so as to have a free morning tomorrow.
I called for Freda as usual after choir practice and we walked as far as Lincoln Road before going home. We sat in the shop until 10.30pm, but Mr. Bayfield, who has been helping Mr. Powley with some decorating, disturbed us.
I had three letters this morning, my Scripture Union Notes from John Alleyne, a form from the Ministry of National Service, and a letter requesting my attendance at a meeting next Friday in support of the Birmingham petition for the abolition of Capital Punishment.
I went to and from work with Freda who was working from 9.0am until midday. [We saw John Renton.] Dr. Pover rang up and didn’t know Dr. Schneider had gone to Oxford.
I typed the N.S. form but didn’t post it as I had to include the card I received when I registered.
Freda came to our house this evening. Mam and Dad and Clarice and Julia went out, and we had to look after the dogs while the fireworks were exploding. We spent the evening listening to the radio and had supper. The family got back before I took Freda home. It was raining heavily when we went out.
Not every man has his price
In many ways I don’t look forward to Remembrance Sunday. So often, I feel people talk all too smugly about creating a world of peace, and of abolishing war. But how many people will do anything constructive?
This morning’s service, led by Rev. Albert E. Pickard. started at 10.55am so that we could observe the Silence. The hymns were 878 O God, our help in ages past, 25 Round the Lord in glory seated, 881 Lord,while for all mankind we pray (to the tune of 159 One who is all unfit to count), 64 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, King of creation, 810 Father, let Thy kingdom come (to the tune of 277 Granted is the Saviour’s prayer). The readings were Joshua 4:1–1–9 and Matthew 5:1–16.
Mr. Pickard preached on Job 2:3–5, verse 4, ”And Satan answered the Lord, and said, ”Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” That is not true. ”Every man has his price” is not universally true. The Devil says it when he tempts Jesus, but for Christ the price is set too high and the Devil flees. He is The Satan, the adversary (Job 1:6, margin) in the days of Job. His function is to detect men in their sin, so he was a kind of heavenly detective, a snooper. Our faith in God and man may be undermined, but God trusts us deeply, takes risks over us. He is God of men of faith (Hebrews 11), God of Jacob. He goes out of His way to deal with Jacob because He can trust Him. He is the God of Jacob, not of Esau.
In 1 Kings 21 Ahab wanted a piece of land from Naboth, but the land was held in the name of God and holy land must not be handed over. So Naboth was stoned to death at Jezebel’s instigation. It is the story of a man who has made his price prohibitive. He didn’t lose his soul. We have had two great wars, in which millions have sacrificed their lives — every man doesn’t have a price. ”For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man take (not give) in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36–37, take, not give, because the man will lose his soul).
Sometimes we give the impression that it is true that every man has his price. 1918–1939 were not years of high living. ”They will never catch me again” men say, ”I have done something for my country, now my country can do something for me.” We have lived by these statements to some extent. ”We lost the best men of our generation” say some. No! Talking like that gave us an inferiority complex. Von Ribbentrop reported that England is a decadent country and lacked fight, and Hitler took the risk. What if had lived on the higher level? There would have been no Second World War perhaps.
Goodness and character can stop guns and missiles. The old Gospel reasserts itself, men being ready to die that others may live. There have been two crucifixions in our time. No crucifixion is of any use unless a response is given. That response must come from us. Fanny Crosby said, ”Never mind how He died, see how He lived.” Their deaths are what our lives make of them. Now we face a third crucifixion — if there is, it will be the finish. There can be no sacrifice in a press-button war. What is our job then? It is to be loyal to the Royal in our lives. Every man doesn’t have his price. We can prove it.
I thought it was a very good sermon, but I don’t see how sacrificing one’s life in order to kill Germans is remotely comparable to Jesus giving His life for us, or Christians suffering martyrdom for their faith.
I took Freda home after the service and after the Bible Study this afternoon.
Mr. Dibben led tonight’s service as usual. The hymns were 694 Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place (to the tune of 961 Across the sky the shades of night), 33 Infinite God, to Thee we raise, 832 For all the saints who from their labours rest, 910 These things shall be: a loftier race and 906 Lord Christ, when first Thou cam’st to earth (to the tune of 7l We come unto our fathers’ God). The readings were 2 Samuel 23:14–17 and Hebrews 11:32–39.
Mr. Dibben preached on Hebrews 12:4, ”Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” The thought is of whether the struggles of the recent past have been worthwhile. People ask, aren’t conditions still as bad as they were before the War? We wouldn’t have been worse off if we had lost the War. Look at the waste of life, the sacrifice, the disappointment in the hearts of the bereaved and wounded, all leading to a spirit of defeat. Why opposition if it doesn’t get anywhere?What lies behind these thoughts?
1. Sin is always about others, there is nothing really wrong with us! But Paul says ”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No evil is ever completely overthrown, it is like weeds in the garden. Slavery was overthrown but we still have slavery of a different type. We live in a land of liberty but are slaves to the industrial set-up around us. Evil continues to come back. The struggle continues. The evil ambitions of men are not conquered. All must come to a knowledge of Christ’s saving grace. (A reference here to Pastor Martin Niemoller, b. 1892.) We must seize opportunities as they come along. Hebrews 11 praises men of faith. Jesus’ was the greatest sacrifice. ”Ye have not resisted unto blood” (Hebrews 12:4). ”It is easier to kill a goat for your sins than yourself” Yes. But the result would not be the same!
2. There is no inspiration except in Christ. Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to the mother of five sons who died, expressing the thanks of the Republic. ”You can take solemn pride to have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom.” We can have not only sorrow but pride for those whom we have lost. We have forgotten already. If we have the right approach, little things come. The most deep-felt joys are purchased by sacrificial service and devotion. Garibaldi’s fight for Italy’s freedom was one of uncalculated devotion. Do we live to give or to get? ”What am I going to get from this?” is our attitude. The word ”sacrifice” has become debased, used for some paltry thing. ”Thank God for dauntless valour.” Do we mean that? We employ a subtle escapism, ”What is the use of my doing this?” No one says that without a tinge of dishonesty.
3. God is in control. At the heart of the question is our personal dedication to Christ. That answers other questions then. Schubert (1797–1828) said that the products of pain please the world most. The unfinished symphony of life goes on. The challenge there. Those who have gone before have done something which is unfinished. The benefits enjoyed by mankind were obtained as the price of sacrifice. Can we give Christ more? Answer! To establish God’s Kingdom on earth depends on that.
We stayed for Holy Communion afterwards and then went to a Quiz evening at Y.P.F.
We had heavy rain this morning. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the train together with Jean Rumbold. Tonight Freda and I went to the Olton to see Norman Wisdom in Man of the Moment (U) with Lana Morris, Jerry Desmonde and Belinda Lee. He plays the part of a clerk who wreaks havoc when he is mistaken for a delegate to the United Nations. It was very funny, and a host of familiar characters from T.V. including the Beverley Sisters, Macdonald Hobley, the Grove Family, Phillip Harben and Ronnie Waldman, made it all the more enjoyable. The supporting film was a crime thriller One Way Out (U) in which Eddie Byrne is a police superintendent who is blackmailed by jewel thieves, led by Lyndon Brook, when they incriminate his daughter Jill Adams. It was a very enjoyable evening.
After taking Freda home we were sitting in the dark in the shop when a policeman came and banged on the door. We explained who we were but it was a bit embarrassing! A year ago I was in Clevedon.
What a chaotic state the Department [of Pharmacology] can get in sometimes! Pat Cook, Dr. Chance’s new technician, came today to learn how to use an Organ Bath. Dr. Chance asked me the other day about the thermostat and temperature distribution in the hand bath. I told him the thermostat was pre-set to the correct temperature and that convection currents maintained a constant temperature throughout the bath to within a degree or two.
Dr. Chance is not satisfied and intends to spend some money on a new thermostat and electrical stirrer. As Dr. Schneider won’t accept this, Pat has been told to write to the manufacturers. Dr. Chance doesn’t know the first thing about organ baths and blew up when Pat pointed out that the present apparatus was perfectly adequate. Now she is leaving if the Medical Research Council will allow it.
Mr. Clarke rang up to say we could have no guinea pigs this week (I ordered twelve). Our animals have been given to Experimental Psychiatry. We didn’t enquire whether any had been sold to pet shops lately. We had eight rabbits instead, and every cage is in use. I had to evict the mouse.
This morning I received a letter from the MNS who have registered me as a C.O. until Saturday week. By that date I have to submit a statement in support of my application.
I spent some of the morning writing a statement, and after making one or two alterations I typed it this evening before coming home. I posted a copy to Mr. Broomfield and left a copy at the Dibben’s on the way home with Freda. Mr. Dibben could then read it and let me have his comments at the Men’s Fellowship tomorrow.
I went to the Powleys’ tonight and saw Wolves beat Moscow Dynamo 2–1 in a floodlit match. I was a bit depressed.
Tonight I took the chair for the first time at the Men’s Fellowship. In place of Mr. Lunt we had Dr. R.S. Allison to speak to us on ”Christianity in Education”. It was an inspiring talk which made me appreciate perhaps more than I had before, the Christian atmosphere and background at K.E.S. I am sure that during my school days I was not fully sensible of that privilege. It was certainly interesting to learn something of the Common Room atmosphere at school, and we had a fine talk and provocative discussion afterwards.
Mr. Ault chose the first hymn, 921 From Thee all skill and science flow by Charles Kingsley, Mr. Pritchard [Rev. Ernest E. Pritchard] led in prayer, and we closed with 951 The day is past and over, and the Benediction from Mr. Dibben. I was home by 10.0pm.
Freda has now gone to Barnes Close leaving me alone for the weekend, though I hope she will be back after Sunday evening’s service. I wrote her a letter last night [see below] and gave it to her today.
I have spent the evening writing an article on Vivisection, a précis of which I am submitting to the Evening Despatch under the name ”David Morton”. I have also enclosed a personal note asking them not to reveal my name and address as that would jeopardise my position at G.H.B. If they have any query they can ’phone me any day from 9.0 to 5.0 and until 12.15pm tomorrow when I hope to deliver the letter.
We had quite a good meeting tonight. Dr. Allison was a fine speaker and obviously a very sincere Christian. As he talked to us I couldn’t help feeling thankful for the Christian background at King Edward’s. I don’t think I fully appreciated it during my days there. Which reminds me, the School Carol Service is being held on December 19th and 20th. I do hope you will want to come on one of those nights. Talking of carols reminds me of the very first time we used the School Chapel. It was one day after school when it was quite dark and we boys gathered in the Chapel and stood in little groups. The place was lit just by a few candles and the Chapel Choir sang. It was unbelievably lovely.
Mr. Dibben forgot to bring along my statement on Thursday night but I had it through the post this morning. Mr. Dibben had said it was ”Alright” and he didn’t suggest any alterations. I’m now waiting to hear from Mr. Broomfield.
I posted my article at the Evening Despatch office on my way to work. Altogether I didn’t get much work done. There was an interruption from the bulb-fitting gang who brought three bulbs I ordered yesterday, then Louie reported that the sink would not empty. I spent three-quarters of an hour fiddling with long pieces of wire and a pump before unblocking it. Dear Louie …
I paid £1 15s 0d into the Bank today.
It was a Parade service this morning The hymns were 927 O timely happy, timely wise, 6 Eternal Power! whose high abode, 822 Onward! Christian soldiers, 76 The King of love my Shepherd is and 595 God of almighty love. The readings were Joshua 1:1–9 and 1 Timothy 6:11–21, and Mr. Dibben preached on 1 Timothy 6:20 (R.V.), ”O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee.”. If the Churches of different denominations are to come closer together; what are the important things committed to us?
1. What is our claim as Methodists? The Congregationalists look to Robert Browne (c.1550–1633), Methodists to John Wesley (1703–1791), Anglicans to Christ, Roman Catholics totradition. In the Revised Version of the N.T. a marginal note informs us that ”that which is delivered to thy trust” is the translation of the Greek word parakatatheke meaning ”deposit”, i.e. the deposit of Scripture, meaning the Old Testament. The O.T. is the revelation of God’s will. Jesus was part of it. This is what was committed to Timothy.
2. Is the Spirit of the Lord leading us? A man’s action reveals the person. The teaching of repentance, true repentance, is the acceptance of God’s sovereignty and His will. All our conduct must reveal Christ, not only in word but in deed, whereas people say, ”Don’t do as I do but as I say”. The life and teaching of Christ are a compass not an ordnance map. Christ points the way, He is the way. Dr. E. Stanley Jones says, ”Shorten my line and I will take my stand in Christ, and Him crucified.” Is it impracticable to follow Christ’s teaching? ”We are not living 2,000 years ago” people say. That is a futile argument. Following Christ’s teaching is difficult only because it runs counter to our laziness, greed, and warring etc. What is the difference between then and now? We can have the temper of Christ but lack the Spirit of Christ. What good is the Temperance reformer who secretly drinks?
3. Is this church just a social club? Do we just take pleasure in coming, and nothing more? Is our direction correct? We must discern the purposes of God. We must fulfil God’s will. The world has meaning for me. I would have all come to Christ. Sin can be cured, misery ended. These things we can do. We can take the world a step further towards God. This is what has been committed to us.
After the service Dad took us all for a ride in the car to Knowle to get some eggs, but at one point we all had to get out and push!
I led the Youth Team meeting at 4.0pm. We studied 1 Peter 1:13–25.
Mr. Pugh took tonight’s service. The hymns were 9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, 57 In all my vast concerns with Thee, 468 Nearer, my God to Thee, 701 The Church’s one foundation and 624 Jesus, still lead on. The readings were 2 Kings 2 and Ephesians 1:
Mr. Pugh preached on 2 Kings 2:15, ”The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.” In 1 Kings 18 Elijah is on mount Carmel. He has called on God and been answered by fire. ”Jehovah he is God” they chanted. Then a message came from Jezebel threatening his life and he fled. He lay under a juniper tree and wanted to die. After the mountain top came the valley of depression. He was led through the wilderness. God was not in the wind, earthquake or fire. but in the still small voice of calm. Elijah’s excuses. He had to go back to anoint Elisha as his successor. Elijah was rugged, aloof, mysterious; Elisha a man of the soil, a quiet type. Elisha trained for ten years. It is: —
1. The story of the parting of friends. Elisha was waiting for dead men’s shoes — Elijah’s — but it was hard when the call came. ”I will not leave thee”, said Elisha. He was like Ruth: he must stick to the end. Like a seismograph the human soul is sensitive to things.
2. The story of a strange mystery. A chariot and horses of fire. Elijah carried up into heaven. Elisha asked, Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. The eldest son always had a double portion. Only God can say ”Receive the Holy Spirit”. He had asked a hard thing. If you see me go, then it shall be so. Elisha did see. It was a mystery, a miracle. Elijah was great in life and in death. Like Enoch the Lord took him. Our generation has seen life taken very quickly. Only God can give life, therefore it calls for reverence, worship. We can only bow, words fail us.
3. The story of new beginnings. Elijah gone, only his clothes left. They saw him no more. The dreaded day of succession has come. How can he face it? He looks back, sees the way he has come. He can’t live on memories, he must go back now. He is chosen of the Lord, has a life’s work to do. He takes up cloak, mantle, stands, asks himself ”Will God be with me? Will he guide me?” He calls out ”Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” calls on his master’s God. The waters part asunder. The sons of the prophets said, ”The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.” We come to the parting of loved ones, we face the problems of our own day and generation. We face the future. We ask ”Where is God, where are the great revivals of the past?” God’s arm is with us to go forward in faith, hope and trust. We have authentic tokens of His trust. May others see us and say, ”The Spirit of the Living God rests on them.” Amen!
Freda came back from Barnes Close this afternoon. After the service we went to Y.P.F. as usual, where the subject was ”jobs”. I know God has called me to preach the Gospel.
The Sunday Chronicle finished publication today.
I was not looking forward to work today, but prayed that the Lord would give me strength. I had a letter from Mr. Broomfield.
The Evening Despatch ’phoned in response to my letter and said they would like to make an article of it.
Tonight I called for Freda and we went to see the Billy Graham film Souls in Conflict at Solihull.
Dennis Vaughan came to the Lab today and did an experiment on a rabbit duodenum. It nearly made me sick. I am calling my article ”Vivisection — an Enquiry”. I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together later.
I was writing until 1.0am this morning. I took my article to the Evening Despatch and sent my statement to the Conscientious Objectors Board. Alan came in at midday. The Despatch ’phoned me later in the afternoon.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home together. It was foggy nearly all day, and quite cold. Tonight Freda’s parents went to the Odeon (Shirley) cinema to see Cast A Dark Shadow (A) with Dirk Bogarde, and The Reluctant Bride (A), so we spent the evening together. Ro and I had a row!
Donald Campbell today broke the world water speed record, reaching 216.2mph in ”Bluebird.”
I went to work in the car with Pat this morning. Robert came in and told me about Dr. Chance having a desk and new equipment. Prof. [A.C. Frazer] isn’t back. He has been seen riding a bicycle!!
I met Freda in the dinner hour, we came home on the train and we met tonight at the Library, after which I took her home. I returned the book of Peter Cheyney stories and borrowed Calling Mr. Callaghan. It was very foggy again today.
I had a card from the Ministry of National Service this morning, also a letter from Ivan enclosing a letter of support for the C.O. Tribunal. He thinks my statement is ”first class” and that a copy ought to be sent to Dr. Fisher for his recent unchristian statement of how to deal with Communism. Ivan’s letter is quite funny. He says the deterrent to Communism is Christianity, but as both sides have the bomb, who is deterring whom, and if the bomb goes off, whom is there left to deter?
Dr. Schneider came in today and Audrey brought some cakes for our coffee. During the day I cleaned the animals, did a counter-current distribution, used the centrifuge and washed up.
This evening I caught the 7.8 train in order to attend a meeting at the Town Hall for the abolition of Capital Punishment at which Victor Yates M.P. and Alderman A.F. Bradbeer were among the speakers. I met Mr. Broomfield there and he told me about the Fellowship of Reconciliation which I plan to join.
I came home on the 9.50pm. which was rather late! There was a thick haze over the city all day, probably due to the fact that we have had no rain since the pouring wet day last Thursday.
I received a Catalogue through the post this morning and my L.P. Study questions were returned, for which I got 70%.
Freda came with me on the 8.45 train this morning and we came home together later. At work I ’phoned Ivan and also Miss Gordon, printed some photographs for Louie and worked on a sermon. I worked on the sermon again this afternoon from 1.0 to 6.0pm.
Tonight I called for Freda and we went to Church for the Square Dance and Social at 7.30pm. We learned the do-si-do and had a very enjoyable time as usual. Anne came and sat on my knee!
I went to Dorling’s this morning and paid four weeks’ papers, 8/8d. Later Freda and I went to Yardley Green Road where the Youth Team was taking the service. It was Temperance Sunday today
At the Fellowship meeting this afternoon we studied 1 Peter 2:1–10. I led again today. I took Freda home afterwards and called for her again at 5.55pm when we went to Gospel Lane where I was taking the service again. Eunice came, and also two of Freda’s friends from Barnes Close.
The Order of Service was: Hymn 79 Praise ye the Lord! ‘Tis good to raise, 1st Prayer, 288 Holy Spirit, truth Divine, 1st Lesson: Proverbs 23:29–35, 463 O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me, 2nd Lesson: Mark 9:38–50, 2nd Prayer, Notices and Offertory, 716 Thou God of truth and love, Sermon: ”Righteousness” (Romans 14:17), 691 Saviour, again to Thy dear name we raise, The Blessing.
Afterwards we went to Y.P.F. where Rev. Dr. J.W. Sweetman spoke on ”Islam or Christianity?” He took both services today for our Overseas Missions Sunday. [It was Temperance Sunday too, hence my sermon tonight.] I took Freda home as usual.
There was a train crash near Didcot today in which 16 people were killed.
Alan ’phoned to say he was unwell and didn’t come in today. I finished the distillation of the extract from last week. I didn’t see Freda at dinner time as she was having her hair done. I washed 24 pipettes this afternoon.
I came home on the train with Freda as usual. This evening we went to see the film ”Nigerian Pattern” to conclude the Overseas Missions weekend. Helen and Anne were also there. I took Freda home afterwards.
I had a letter and furniture catalogue through the post this morning. I felt depressed at work. Alan is still ill in bed. I unloaded the oven and then had to get ready an organ-bath for Dennis who was going to do an experiment on a rat uterus.
I met Freda at dinner time and also went to the Gazette & Despatch office, but my Vivisection article has still not been published. Dennis bought us some biscuits for tea.
I came home on the train with Freda and we went for a walk to Coventry Road tonight. She was feeling a bit depressed too. There was not a glimmer of sunshine all day and still no rain.
I finished my Agatha Christie book After the Funeral in bed last night.
Pat Welch and Gillian Chilton travelled with us on the 8.45 this morning.
Alan was still not in this morning I unpacked a new supply of vegetable food for the animals. Later I cleaned the animals, washed up the acid things and dusted the office.
During the afternoon I continued reading An Approach to the New Testament Studies III and IV, on Mark and Luke respectively. I bought tonight’s London Evening Standard outside Snow Hill station.
The sweep came and swept the chimney today. Mam hung sheets over all the furniture as usual. It is always a dirty job with the soot getting everywhere.
Tonight I went to the Local Preachers Fellowship where Mr. Dibben gave us a most helpful talk on ”Sermon Structure”.
There wasn’t much to do this morning so I de-frosted the refrigerator and later smoked a trace. I had backache very badly.
I didn’t see Freda during the lunch hour but met Mam at 1 o’clock outside the Co-op and we got me a pair of shoes costing 55/11d. I had to call at the Birmingham Post office to insert an advertisement for corgi puppies, so it was 2.30pm before I got back to the lab.
Freda seemed rather depressed on the way home so [after meeting in the Library] we decided to go for a walk. We walked to Sheldon and home via Lyndon Road. When we got back we watched Emney Enterprises on TV, then had supper. Mr. & Mrs. Powley went to bed, Freda and I did the washing up.
Is vivisection justified?
As soon as I got to work this morning I went down to Physiotherapy to see if I could have some treatment for my back. I wasn’t able to without seeing Mr. Fulford first, so I said I would probably see him on Tuesday morning.
I spent the morning doing a counter-current distribution.
I collected Hilary’s wages at 12.30pm as Robert [Schneider] was in and doing an experiment. I also called at Civic Radio to find out when Messiah was being performed this year and whether there was any performance of The Christmas Oratorio.
My article was published at last under the title ”Is Vivisection Necessary?” Only one word had been changed, ”sissies” to ”softies”, but though I had made no statement to that effect the panel heading the article said that David Morton ”works in a laboratory where vivisection is practised.” It stressed the fact that these were only one man’s views, that they were not necessarily those of the Evening Despatch, and that readers’ letters would be welcome.
I had intended to do a second counter-current distribution after lunch but with much else to do I left it until next week. Pam came and brought Susan, so I was rather glad I hadn’t attempted it.
As usual tonight I met Freda after choir practice. The Powleys were out, so we went home and sat talking on the settee.
No shilling for the meter
I took my Saturday off this morning and didn’t get up until 11.0am. In fact I had just got out of bed when Freda came through the front gate. We were going to the Central Hall tonight and as the meeting started half an hour before I thought, Freda came to tell me so. I had realised my mistake last night though.
I took Freda back home then went for a walk up Westley Road.
Everyone went out this afternoon. I lit a fire but there was no gas left, and no shilling for the meter. I had to go to the Library and also bought some Christmas cards from Woolworth’s. I felt ill all afternoon — something had given me food-poisoning, I think.
I called for Freda at five to six and we went to the Central Hall where the President of the Methodist Conference, Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, was speaking. The hall was packed when we got there and we had to sit on the back row.[Freda’s Uncle Leslie and Auntie Doris Seccombe were on the platform.] It was nice to see Dr. Weatherhead after hearing him so many times in The Silver Lining, but the sermon was disappointing as it lacked evangelical thrust. After the meeting I went back with Freda and stayed until 11.50pm.
The Russians now have the Hydrogen-bomb
Mr. Foss took the service this morning. We sang 424 O bless the Lord, my soul! 5 Let all the world in every corner sing, 164 Behold a little Child (to the tune of 144 My song is love unknown), 107 O Jesus, King most wonderful! and 242 Come, Thou long-expected Jesus. The readings were Jeremiah 23:1–8 and Luke 7:18–35.
We enjoy natural rather than spiritual benefits. The giving of gifts is an expression of joy but we don’t realise [word un-deciphered]. We grow sentimental over the Babe in a manger. We need admiration and understanding. A new era began. Christ transcended the hopes and dreams of those who [awaited His appearance]. It is not just the festivals. They testify to the truths by which we live. They overshadow every other event. This is not a sweeping generalisation but based on Christ’s claims for Himself.
There were three opinions about Christ. 1. He was a fraud. 2. He was deluded. 3. He was divine. He claimed to be the long-promised Messiah, the Son of God. His works were part of God’s purpose, His words part of the revelation of God. ”I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The way of life is the way to life. The validity of His words is proved more and more. To reject Christ is to reject God. To disregard Christ’s teaching is to incur the wrath of God. God’s rule is loving parental control.
”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Absolute authority demands absolute obedience. Demands are always set for God’s loving purpose. We serve our fellows for His sake. He came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). This demand involves tension. He came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34). His mission lays a burden on Christ and on us. The kingdom of God cuts across all the [what?] of men. We experience the clash with own personal desires
Today is Christian Citizenship Sunday. To be a true Christian is to invite the embarrassment, criticism and resentment of one’s fellows. There is the clash with politics, a new ideology which can involve Christians in suffering and sacrifice. We are worshipping here in peace, but only because others have suffered torture, prison and death. By the grace of God we can endure mockery etc. but bearing our cross can be a costly, heartbreaking thing. Who can feel no sorrow in the hospital ward, or feel no pain when someone falls? Christ’s sacrifice is incomplete until our blood is shed with His.
”When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favour He shows, and the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey” [Hymn 516].We must learn to suffer with Him. But Christ came to identify Himself with sinners. He calls us too into a hard world but He goes with us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). ”Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). ”Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). He has not brought peace on earth but He brings it still to those who love and trust Him. Amen.
After the service I went to Dorling’s to pay the papers, 2/2d this week as usual. This afternoon I led the Youth Team meeting in a study of James 5 [the notes for which I wrote on the sheet of paper I used for this morning’s sermon]. Verse 1. Riches. Wicked men to fear vengeance. Wicked seen to prosper Vv 1–9 like the O.T. prophets. Warns of judgment to come. 4. Wealth gained by exploiting others is corrupt. Crumble away when most needed. Mark 10:23. The danger of riches. Not wicked to be rich, but many rich are wicked. Attention of the wicked rich. V.1 their future, 2–3 their present, 4–6 their past, selfishness. 7. Patient as a farmer. Patient in afflictions, as prophets, Job. 9. Danger of judging; won’t be inclined to murmur against each other if hearts set on waiting for Him. 12. Swearing (Matthew 5:34–37). 13. Bringing God into everything. Right conduct for each circumstance. 14. Healing the sick. All healing is from God. No place for Christian Science, quackery, neglect. 16. Confess your faults. Not to a priest! Mutual. 20. Hide a multitude of sins. Greatest thing in the world. If your body were as healthy as your soul, how would you fare today? (3 John 2).
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s service. We sang 13 Praise the Lord! Ye heavens, adore Him, 7 O heavenly King, look down from above, 256 There’s a light upon the mountain, and the day is at the spring, 111 Jesus, these eyes have never seen, and 589 Go, labour on; spend, and be spent. The readings were Deuteronomy 34:1–12 and Matthew 25:1–13.
Mr. Dibben preached on Matthew 25:10, ”And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”It was sad for Moses to see the promised land but not to enter it. The door was closed. He had served God’s purpose. This is often repeated in our own lives. But the parable of the virgins takes the thought of doors farther.
1. Doors of opportunity are not necessarily of our own making. Opportunities are placed for us by God. God is always opening and shutting, He is God of the unexpected. The bride’s party always waits for the bridegroom, the bridegroom’s party must be met. We don’t know when God is coming to us again [opening doors of opportunity for us], we must be ready. There is not much romance in day to day living, a wedding day is not to be missed. Marriage is the sacramental consummation of many sacraments. So too with Christ’s coming. The foolish virgins found the door shut.
2. The parable speaks of readiness and the significance of that readiness, of willingness and preparedness. Many people are one or the other. There must be an over-riding passion which nothing can take away. There is nothing more ominous than the click of a closed door! We must be prepared; we must always be on the alert. Frederick Luke Wiseman (1858–1938) always wore a clerical collar, it showed his willingness always to do God’s will, always to be on duty. We may be prompted to do or not do something: we ignore the prompting and the door clicks shut.
3. He who trusts God can see God at work, he can say ”I know”. Our lives are greater than just the individual value. Moses had a part equal with Mary in God’s plan of Christ’s coming. We are working for God. We expect His Kingdom to come. We have a wonderful future ahead (1 Corinthians 2:9–10). Have we a feeling of expectancy? Do we expect it to happen to us, to the world? It is no use looking back. We don’t want to be shut out of the feast God has prepared. Only our own touchiness, our selfishness, can keep us out. Great and marvellous things can happen to us now. Jesus said, ”I am the Door” (John 10:7). We must Ask God to give us the spirit of hope and expectation. May God give us that grace!
Geoff was at the service tonight. Afterwards we went to a play-reading at Y.P.F. and then took Anne home.
No entry. Cloudy all day. Ro returned from visiting Mick at Tavistock
There was a great deal to do in the lab today so I did not go to see Mr. Pulford.
I went to the Despatch office and found they have published six letters in support of my article. One is from Mrs. M.A. Porter of Sutton Coldfield (who I am sure must be the wife of Mr. Porter at school), and there are others from Chas. P. Willey (Handsworth), ”Animal Lover” (Smethwick), J.H. Baker (Nechells), ”The Mitchell Family” (Erdington) and C.M. Godrich (Leamington) who is Hon. Secretary of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
I met Freda at dinner time but came home alone as she was having to work late. I went to see her this evening and we watched T.V.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home together later. Tonight we went to see a play Matters Arising given by the Black Knights in the Church Hall.
THURSDAY 1st DECEMBER 1955
I met Freda as usual in the dinner hour, but came home alone as she was having to work late.
There were two more letters in tonight’s Despatch, one ”In defence of Vivisection” from ”One Life Saved” (Kings Heath), and another from D.C. Royce (Kings Heath) who refers to this ”blot on civilisation” and calls for a Royal Commission.
I have been to the Local Preachers meeting tonight.
I met Freda as usual at dinner time and found there were six more letters in the Evening Despatch under the heading ”It’s Diabolical” in response to my article a week ago. We came home together on the train.
At Club Michael Brown told me he will be singing at the Theatre Royal next week in the Birmingham and Midland Operatic Society’s production of The Vagabond King. I met Freda after Choir practice and took her home, then typed a letter to the Birmingham News. [Having no other paper on me I wrote the notes of my interview with Michael on the back of my sermon notes for Sunday evening 23rd October.]
In the December issue of the Old Edwardians Gazette there is a delightful picture of Mr. Lunt [Canon R.G. Lunt] holding an umbrella over the Queen after her visit last month, and behind them, Prince Philip and Professor H.F. Humphreys. There is also a lengthy description of the day’s proceedings. The last Royal Visit to the School was in 1897 when Queen Victoria stopped her carriage outside the gates. The School Captain gave a loyal address in Latin (!) and the Head Girl presented her with a bouquet. In 1855 Prince Albert spent an hour or two in the School.
Freda came in to the lab with me this morning as she wanted to do some shopping. We had coffee first then Freda left while I typed copies of my statement to the C.O. Tribunal, and of the letters in support of my case. I also wrote another article about Michael Brown for the Sunday Mercury.
I finished soon after 11.0am, delivered the letter to the Gazette and Despatch offices, and then met up with Freda again at 11.30am. I bought a folder.
Birmingham City beat Arsenal 4–nil at St. Andrews this afternoon. Tonight I went with Ivan to an F.o.R. meeting.
Today was Bible Sunday and Mr. Dibben took both services. This morning’s hymns were 686 Lift up your hearts! We lift them, Lord, to Thee, 1 O for a thousand tongues to sing, 857 God has given us a Book full of stories, 308 Lord, Thy word abideth and 303 O Word of God incarnate. The readings were Psalm 119:97–112 and Luke 4:16–30.
Mr. Dibben preached on Psalm 119:72, ”The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” Can anything be better than thousands of gold and silver? Notice, the Law of God’s mouth, not His works. ”We read Thee in the flowers and trees.” ”God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1–2). The Bible writings date from over 2–3,000 years ago. Dr. A.S. Peake writing on the meaning and aim of the Bible says that it expresses: 1. The outreach of the soul for God, and 2. The manifestation of God to man.
There could be no Bible if there were not this two-fold activity. We have the writings of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius. But the Bible Prophets stand in unique relation to God, they brought the Word of God to their age. Their writings are still relevant to our age. To know Christ is to know God. There can be no more complete revelation of God to man than in Christ, no more complete relation between God and man than in Christ. All that life mean is concentrated in the Bible.
In the Coronation service the Archbishop of Canterbury, presenting the Holy Bible to Her Majesty, said ”Our gracious Queen; we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is wisdom; this is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.” We cannot assess its value commercially. The Bible takes us into a realm where commercial interests are superseded. Wealth is no security. But the Bible is a security: ”When the storms are o’er us, and dark clouds before us, then its light directeth, and our way protecteth.” [Hymn 308 verse 3]. ”The love of money is the root of all evil”(1 Timothy 6:10). By the Bible we can detect error and the counterfeit in life. We ought to stand on this text in full assertion of it. In closing, Mr. Dibben referred us to Luke 6:27, Luke 11:28. Matthew 5:38–39 and 1 Corinthians 13.
We had the usual Bible Study this afternoon, after which I took Freda home and stayed for tea.
Tonight’s service had to be held in the Large Hall as the lights failed in the Church! We sang 302 Father of mercies, in Thy word, 36 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! 309 Break Thou the bread of life, 303 O Word of God incarnate (again!) and 310 When quiet in my house I sit. The readings were Isaiah 8:5–17 and Hebrews 5:1–14.
Mr. Dibben preached on Isaiah 8:20, ”To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” If we read Treasure Island. we find that Long John Silver had a Bible and regarded it with superstitious fear. Many people treat it with indifference, some are puzzled, but Isaiah spoke as a statesman for the authority of God. Assyria worshipped the goddess of war. The land of Israel was divided into two kingdoms, Israel [capital Samaria] in the north and Judah [capital Jerusalem] in the south. Tiglath-Pileser III reigned over Assyria [745–727BC] and in Isaiah 10 the people were in fear of invasion by the Assyrians. Trust in God’s Word was less, the people went to wizards etc. There was a collapse of faith as people consulted other powers. They sought the relief of spirits to bolster up their faith. See here a people puzzled and distressed. But God’s Law could be consulted, they could go to God’s word. The same picture is before us. Remove one section of the railway line [the Bible} and there is no way of understanding it. It is a parable for us, we depend on revelation and we come to grief if we don’t take it all together, Old and New Testament. We make God a dead god. Others don’t go to the scriptures. The power of God as a reality now must be linked with the revelation of Him in the past. We must have a balanced outlook on life.
In the Old Testament the people were constantly called back to God. But they worshipped Baal, and the ethical standard slipped ever lower. They wanted an interpretation of God working through them in history. Events are always demanding an explanation. Religion and history cannot be separated. They wanted to understand. The problem is still with us. We want to know whether God’s hand is at work in the world today. This fits in with the Christian theme. (Mr. Dibben referred to an Editorial in the Sunday Pictorial). The answer to the question then and now is ”Back to the Bible”. There are some minor values of the Bible. The big Family Bible, hardly consulted, is useful for the Family Register; a New Testament carried in the breast pocket can save a soldier’s life, etc.
Marxism is based on an interpretation of history, but let it be aired! The Word of God will stand because it is the perfect interpretation of history. Christ was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). ”In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). In Mein Kampf. Hitler saw nature being ruthless, he saw man in history, but it was a wrong interpretation of history. World war can come again, we live in a dangerous age. Man forgets the individual, but Christ died not for the species only but for the individual. ”Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain” (verse 6 of Hymn 503 God moves in a mysterious way). God’s purpose is made clear. Christ came, the meaning of God’s purpose is revealed in Him, ”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). But we must respond.
Macbeth to the doctor, ”Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuff’s bosom of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart? Doctor. Therein the patient must minister to himself. (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 2)
Back to the law and the testimony (Isaiah 8:20) is part of the message of the Advent season. Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We stayed for Communion after the service
There was another letter in today’s Evening Despatch from a T.P. Tetley (Solihull) who says that ”anti-vivisectionists suffer would prefer to see children die rather than that their precious animals be used in preference to human beings as experimental subjects” and that we display ”a reversal of the normal behaviour and belief of an adult human being”.
I met Freda at dinner time and we arranged to go to the cinema tonight. We caught the 6.35pm train to Snow Hill (6.50pm) and went to the Futurist to see Danny Kaye in On The Riviera (A) in Technicolor with Corinne Calvet and Gene Tierney, a musical comedy in which he plays two roles. It was very colourful and entertaining. The supporting film was Call Northside 777 (A) with James Stewart as a reporter trying to prove the innocence of a man convicted of murder, which he does by greatly magnifying the date on a newspaper. It was a gripping film based on a true case. Altogether, a very enjoyable programme.
A record response
The Evening Despatch today published four more letters supporting my article, from Halford Coleman (Yardley), C.E. Baker (Leamington), Mrs. May Matheson (Leamington) and Mary English (Leicester). Underneath the letters is a notice:
* The Editor thanks all readers who have helped to make the correspondence following Brian Morton’s article on vivisection so stimulating. The number of letters received was a record for any one subject over the last six months. It is now unfortunately necessary to bring the correspondence to a close.
It is unfortunate that I am twice referred to today as ”Brian” instead of ”David” Morton.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the train together.
The first issue of the I.S.T. Journal arrived this morning — a matter of hours after my writing a letter withdrawing my membership. I had received no word of apology or explanation, and I haven’t had a Bulletin for more than two months.
I met Freda in the dinner hour and came home with her on the train. Mr. & Mrs. Powley and Ro were out tonight so I spent the evening with Freda playing records and listening to the radio.
Mr. Clement Attlee has resigned as leader of the Labour Party and the Queen has made him an Earl.
THURSDAY 8th DECEMBER
Another guinea-pig died today and I ’phoned Jack at the Vale but he said he knew of no infection amongst the animals there.
All four of us in the lab were engaged in pure Pharmacology today, a rare occurrence. Hilary and Dr. Schneider were assaying some of the lower Choline esters on the rabbit heart. I assayed our Barium and saline-treated extracts on the duodenum.
For well over an hour I had the lab to myself; the others went to the law courts.
I met Freda as usual in the dinner hour. On the way back I felt that waiting for the C.O. Tribunal was beginning to get me down. However, on my return to the lab, there was a message for me to ’phone Ivan, and the conversation cheered me up. Ivan had rung to ask me to join the Kineton team on April 8th. Right now I cannot see even a month ahead, but I accepted the invitation. ”D.V.” seems to take on an extra significance nowadays.
It is now half-past six. After a wash and change I am meeting Freda at the Library and then going to the Men’s Fellowship at 8.0pm.
This morning I received the December number of the I.S.T. Bulletin.
I met Freda in the dinner hour.
After work I went on the Midland Red ’bus to Great Barr to see Mrs. Stone at 6.0pm. After tea we talked about my forthcoming Conscientious Objectors Tribunal. The judges are likely to be very hostile and I may be sent to prison as so many have before me. I got back in time to meet Freda from Choir practice.
This morning Freda and I went to town together. We spent nearly an hour and a half in the lab and had (Louie’s) tea together. We also played ”corks”.
After I had paid a bill at the House Governor’s office, we went shopping to Lewis’s and Grey’s, Manville’s, the Midland Educational and W.H. Smith’s. We weren’t able to get a pair of gloves to match Freda’s new shoes but I bought a French Dictionary for Julia’s Christmas present. We came home on the 12.10 train.
I devoted the whole afternoon to typing the answers to my O.T. Studies 3 and 4, and N.T. Study 3. It must be a month since I did any written work.
Just now there seems a lot of work to do and I’ve scarcely written a letter since August. One of these days I must really get down to these odd jobs.
I am now a member of the F.o.R. [Fellowship of Reconciliation] and Methodist Peace Fellowship — I received the letter and some literature this morning.
The Birmingham News published my note about Michael Brown on the Theatre page. It had been written into a review of The Vagabond King [given by the Birmingham and Midland Operatic Society at the Theatre Royal] and written under someone else’s name.
This evening Freda and I went to Church to hear Messiah Part 1 and other works performed by the Birmingham Festival Choral Society. The soloists were Eunice Needham, Iona Jones, Andrew Purcell and Allen Bromley. Ivan Cousins conducted.
The whole production suffered from bad staging. Soloists and conductor had constantly to climb over each other and the choir was singing into the necks of each other as there was no raised platform.
The singing in general lacked precision and one lost beginnings and endings of phrases. The alto showed good range but her pained expression rather put one off; the soprano wore no expression in particular nor did her singing. The bass seemed to bury himself in the score and to sing a bit louder on the rare occasions in which he realised there was anyone listening. The tenor was very good.
The second half of the programme included a setting of I vow to thee my country, two songs by Roger Quilter and excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem. It was an enjoyable evening.
Mr. Dibben took this morning’s Parade service. We sang 82 Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes, 8 O worship the King, all glorious above, 851 All things bright and beautiful, 257 O come, O come, Immanuel and 259 And art Thou come with us to dwell. The lessons were Jeremiah 29:1–14 and The Epistle of Philemon.
Mr. Dibben preached from Paul’s letter to Philemon on ”Three ways in which Christian love can work.”
1 The Voice of Conscience. Onesimus, the runaway slave whom Paul befriended, must return to his master. Paul was in two minds, wanting to keep him, but his conscience decided the issue. What is conscience? It is one-fifth the fear of man, one-fifth superstition, one-fifth prejudice, one-fifth vanity and one-fifth custom. The conscience of today is not necessarily the conscience of tomorrow. Conscience grows with the years if it is obeyed; it becomes keener if we pay heed to it.
2 The Voice of God’s Messenger. We are God’s media. To many, the only voice they hear is of radio and T.V. But we can see the great possibilities of prayer. We can speak to God and He to us, and we can speak to others. Joan of Arc heard from God. She was His messenger, even though she was thought unbalanced. Then there were the fuzzy-wuzzy angels of New Guinea who flocked to help the Australians against Japanese invasion in 1942. God can speak to us through others, the pulpit will go on! Everything we do in life is significant; we can make all the difference.
3 The Voice of the Written Word. The Bible is the Word of God, but we know only part of our Bible, and it must always be prayed over if we are to hear what God is saying to us. Did Philemon comply with Paul’s requests, to take Onesimus back, not now as a slave but as a brother in Christ? We think so! And Paul’s letter has remained for a testimony of God’s saving grace.
It was a wonderful sermon on a wet and miserable day. There was the usual Bible Study this afternoon. Afterwards Freda came to tea, Pat Welch bringing us home in his car.
Rev. G.H. Dunford took tonight’s service. We sang 142 Let earth and heaven combine, 37 Hail! Holy, holy, holy Lord! 87 Jesus comes with all His grace, 256 There’s a light upon the mountains and 902 All glory to God in the sky. The lessons were Isaiah 40:1–11 and Matthew 1:18–25.
Mr. Dunford preached on Isaiah 40:1–2, ”Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Sir Henry Walford Davies’ ”Solemn Melody” from his Hymns of the Kingdom catches the spirit of Advent, the joy of midnight turned to morning. Handel’s ”Messiah” is the message in music that Immanuel shall come. ”Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned” (Isaiah 40:1–2). But comfort is not the only note in the day of the Lord. There is a deeper undertone of the peace of God. Christmas is the festival of the Prince of Peace.
It is easy to be sentimental. George Meredith (1828–1909, novelist, poet and journalist) says that sentimentalism is enjoyment without obligation. People don’t face the challenge. But comfort, the promise that God stands by us in the day of need, will brace our hearts. The Comforter, the paraclete, stands beside us to strengthen us (John 14:16). So we can preach the Gospel without being sentimental. There are two aspects of the Gospel, challenge and comfort.
Jerusalem had a chequered history. Saul and Jonathan were slain in its fields. There was the long battle of the prophets, the thunder of invaders, the bitterness of the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests. They were times of darkness, the cry ”O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3, 80:4, Habakkuk 1:2). All this had been their experience. But now came the cry ”Comfort ye, comfort ye my people”. It was needed then and it is needed now. What is God thinking now? We are a people of broken hopes, groping for the light. Our anger, impatience and contempt could show these. ”Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13). God’s tears for us are as a father’s tears for his child. We may give toys to comfort, but they don’t help. That is true of this world of ours, we need a word of comfort. This is the word of Advent. ”Emmanuel … God with us”(Mathew 1:23). He is going through the darkness with us, taking our sorrows upon His heart. God wants us, needs us. God is inside every experience of life. God cares if no one else does. Through Christ God speaks to Jerusalem and to us.
That is not all. One other word has to be said. God is concerned not only with the soothing of our sorrows, easing of our cares, lifting of our anxieties, but also the comfort of the forgiveness of our sins. That is the glory of the message of Advent. ”Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her Iniquity is pardoned” (Isaiah 40:1–2). Through Jesus, sin is cancelled out, our debt paid. God does His greatest work on this level. Jesus comes to forgive our sins, not just to give us comfort. All broken relationships are renewed. We need be exiled no more. We can enter into a new world of joy, liberty and power. God has spoken, given us His word of comfort and forgiveness, brought it in His own hands. It cost Jesus His life, but He was willing to pay the price. There is no other comfort but this, the conscience at peace, the heart clean, the will right for God. ””O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel”. Amen.
These Evening sermon notes were written on the back of a piece of paper on which I had drafted my letter to the Evening Despatch published on 22nd September!
I met Freda in the dinner hour and we came home on the train. She went to the Sunday School Council meeting tonight.
I met Freda in the lunch hour as usual, but I came home on the earlier train. Tonight we went to the Piccadilly to see Scrooge (U) played by Alastair Sim, with Kathleen Harrison, Jack Warner, Mervyn Johns, George Cole, and You’re Never Too Young (U) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Clarice was 16 today and is leaving Sparkhill Commercial School where Julia goes too.
I met Freda at lunch time and we came home together on the train. We have spent the evening watching T.V. and listening to the radio. Her parents were visiting Mr. & Mrs. Jacobs.
Mr. Hugh Gaitskell is the new Leader of the Labour Party.
I met Freda at dinner time and came home with her and Geoff. Tonight I went to the Local Preachers’ Fellowship meeting, after which we went for a walk.
Freda and I met as usual in the dinner hour and came home together. I went to the Club Social tonight, Freda joining us after Choir practice. I took her home afterwards.
[Pencil: 3.30 photography 6.50]
I posted 19 cards today and also wrote and typed a sermon. I had backache quite badly. Freda worked all day in the shop. We went for a walk tonight and then watched Charlie Chester on T.V.
I called for Freda this morning and we went to Yardley Green Road where I was preaching. The Order of Service was: Sentence, Hymn 82 Hark the glad sound, the Saviour comes, 1st Prayer, 859 Once in royal David’s city, Notices and Offertory, 1st lesson: Luke 2:1–21, Children’s address, 245 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, Organ voluntary (unannounced), 2nd lesson: Matthew 3:1–12, 2nd prayer, 129 While shepherd watched their flocks by night, Sermon: ”Shepherds abiding in the fields”, 130 It came upon the midnight clear, The Blessing. We walked home afterwards.
Freda took her Beginners’ Class as usual this afternoon, then joined us for the Bible Study before coming home for tea.
Mr. Dibben took tonight’s Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, but the evening was hopeless. [The programme is missing] At Y.P.F. there was a Nativity play, after which I took Freda home. It was mainly sunny today but very cold.
[Pencilled note: Make-up. Letter from Ivan]
At work today I drew some diagrams for Robert. I met Freda at dinner time as usual; she had an extra hour to do some shopping. We both left work early and came home on the 4.50 train.
I called for Freda tonight and we went to K.E.S. for the Service of Lessons and Carols. The Order of Service was: The Christmas Epistle, Hymn: Once in royal David’s city, the Bidding Prayer, Carol: Rejoice and be merry in song and in mirth! 1st Lesson: Isaiah 9, Carol: Unto us is born a Son, 2nd Lesson: Isaiah 40, Hymn: Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes, 3rd Lesson: Luke 1:26–38, Carol: Lullay my liking, my dear son, my sweeting, 4th Lesson: Luke 1:46–55, Beholde a sely tender Babe, 5th Lesson: Matthew 1:18–25, Hymn: O little town of Bethlehem, Carol: Ding dong! Merrily on high, 6th Lesson: Luke 2:1–7, Hymn: While shepherds watched their flocks by night, Carol: Shepherds! Shake off your drowsy sleep, 7th Lesson: Luke 2:8–20, Carol: Quelle est cette odeur agréable, bergers, qui ravit tous nos sens? 8th Lesson: Matthew 2:1–11, Carol: O leave your sheep, 9th Lesson: John 1:1–14, Hymn: Hark! The herald angels sing, Carol: Sing lullaby! Lullaby, baby, now reclining, The Collect, The Blessing, Hymn: Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes.
It was a joy to see Dr. Willis Grant again, and to hear the Choir sing. It was a beautiful evening. To add to the Christmas feeling it was snowing on the way home.
After a freezing cold night we had snow again today. I sent 8 cards. Jack came from the Medical School to take away the animals. With the impending closure of the lab we shall not be having any more.
I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the 4.10 which was greatly delayed! After washing up I spent the evening with Freda, listening to the radio and playing records. Her parents were visiting their former neighbours Uncle and Auntie Gee.
There wasn’t much to do in the lab today, so Alan and I spent an hour and a half at the Assizes. We went to the Criminal Court where Mr. Justice Streatfield was presiding. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the train. She came here tonight after visiting Helen, and I took her home.
There was little to do at work today. I met Freda at dinner time and we came home on the train together, and met again tonight at the Library, after which I took her home.
There were two express train crashes today, the St. Pancras-Derby express at Luton, killing one person and injuring many others, and the Thames-Clyde express at Hellifield, Yorkshire, where one person was injured. Both expresses crashed into stationery trains.
I was pleased to see my ”E.W. Barnes at K.E.S.” article in today’s Birmingham Weekly Post — I sent it in eleven weeks ago! It has been a fine sunny day and quite mild after the sleet and snow earlier in the week.
At dinner time I bought a few presents and met Freda as usual. She was expecting to finish work at 3.0pm so we arranged to came home on the 3.20 train. When I got to Snow Hill there was no Freda. I went to meet her at 5.35 and learned that she had finished work at 3.15pm. and come home on the ’bus.
Tonight I called for Freda and we went Carol-singing with the Youth Club in the Sherbourne Road, Dudley Park Road, Station Road, Oxford Road and Yardley Road area. It was a poor performance.
Perhaps one day scientists will be able to formulate the laws governing sixth-sense and premonition. Certainly these come to everyone sooner or later, such an experience to make one wonder about the ”supernatural” and so forth.
There was just such an incident today. More than once this week I had felt concern that Dad should have to travel down to Hereford this morning, and Mam and Clarice and Julia felt the same. Even at half-past eleven last night we were talking about accidents and didn’t want Dad to make the trip. We felt this especially since a friend of Mr. Beech had offered to take him down instead. Mam got so concerned that she wanted to go too.
Dad and I got up at 6.15am and we picked up the Beeches at 7.0am. Mam didn’t get up, so there were just four of us. I was so apprehensive that before we left I knelt in my bedroom and prayed for angelic protection.
We travelled via the Outer Circle as far as Kings Heath, then along the Pershore Road through Kings Norton, along the road past Lower Bittell reservoir, and so the main road through Bromsgrove and Worcester via Droitwich.
It was dark at first but soon we could see the sun rising over the Malvern Hills and the yellowy light of dawn foretelling rain. The rain didn’t come until later however, and for the time being it was fine and we made good time. We were in Worcester by 8.0.
From then on, we travelled through Bromyard and Leominster. We were within half a mile of our destination when the accident happened.
Dad had just remarked upon the car’s wobbling slightly as we approached a bridge when we lurched violently. Dad tried to hold the car on the road but the steering had gone. We careered across the road into a ditch and ended up on our side in the hedge.
We just sat there, a bit shaken up but unhurt, reeling rather ridiculous, I feel now. All sorts of thoughts flooded my mind — that I’d known something would happen, that we’d have to travel back without the car, that we’d escaped what might have been a very serious mishap.
We’d managed to cross the bridge and take the slight bend. We left the road at a point where we were in full view of other motorists, and we’d ploughed across a three-yard expanse of grass along the roadside. Our speed was only 35 m.p.h. at the time, but we had touched 55 m.p.h. earlier. Providentially there was no vehicle approaching. Had there been, we might never have lived to tell the tale …
We got the car back on the road again with the help of another car, a tow-rope and four or five people who were nearby. It was then that I noticed a flat nearside back-tyre. We jacked the car up and changed the wheel. The flat tyre had an appreciable tear on the inside part of it.
We were soon on the road again, and within a few minutes were eating an appetising meal of bacon, eggs and marmalade at the farmhouse. We hadn’t long after breakfast, so we loaded up the car with the score of dressed poultry we’d come to collect, and a large bunch of mistletoe newly picked from an apple tree.
It was elevenish as we set off again. It began to rain, and did so all the way back until we got to Birmingham. We were home again at 1.15pm.
I didn’t go out again all day. Freda would be busy in the shop all day and the Powleys were going to New Street in the evening to collect an aunt and cousin [Aunt Nancy and daughter Rose from Bournemouth]. I wrapped my presents, did some writing and went to bed early.
I borrowed the alarm clock and set it for 7.0am as I was going to the 8.0am Communion Service with Freda. I called for her at about 7.45. The service lasted forty-five minutes — there was a good congregation.
When we got back we exchanged presents. Freda gave me The Methodist Hymn Book with Tunes. Mam and Dad gave me a white shirt, a tie, cuff-links, braces and 1956 Diary. Granma gave me a pair of nylon socks, and I had a hairbrush from Freda and Harold [at Stoke-on-Trent]. Clarice and Julia’s present was my usual Film Diary and the Pan edition of The Latter Days At Colditz by P.R. Reid. [jpg] Mr. and Mrs. Powley gave me a lovely pair of leather gloves lined with lambswool. [The Sunday papers were printed as usual but I overlooked my article on Michael Brown, ”Towards his goal”, published in today’s Sunday Mercury in the ”Midland Parade” feature.]
I called for Freda again at 10.40 and we sat together in Church though there was a choir. We sang 120 Christians, awake, salute the happy morn, 7 O heavenly King, look down from above, 129 While shepherds watched their flocks by night, 117 Hark! The herald-angels sing and 122 Brightest and best of the sons of the morning. The reading was Luke 2:1–20.
Mr. Dibben preached on Luke 2. Christmas is the greatest day of the year, we share in deeds of goodwill and anxieties are put aside. We celebrate the birth of Christ! — an event of the stuff of eternity, God come in human form. Some minimise the coming of Christ. [Editor of the New Statesman] claims that the Christian faith is a historical supposition. But the way was prepared for the coming of Christ. Unaided, man was unable to get anywhere; thinkers are of the opinion that man could go no further without intervention from God. In mythology there were stories of virgin birth, resurrection, trinity etc. No one pretended those stories were true. But Luke tells us that ”in those days” Caesar Augustus was on the throne, 753 years from the foundation of Rome; he wants to know the drain of population and so calls a census. So the birth of Christ is an historical event and the course of history was changed because of it.
Some thoughts are applicable today — the story abounds with simple fundamental things:
1. The innkeeper’s kindly arrangement for Mary and Joseph — his provision of the stable and the manger. What would we have done? The people above were drinking and story-telling, and missed a great event. They were too self-absorbed, eager, too complaining — ordinary people but preoccupied with their own troubles.
2. The rulers and leaders of the day. Herod wanted to retain the old conservatism, vested interests were to be secured at all costs.
3. The shepherds were living closely to God’s creatures; they found joy as they saw the Child in a manger.
4. The wise men, humble seekers after the truth. In the increasing tempo of the world today, unseen values slip away. Facts are important. The resultant action will make history. The love of God will work in us. These things can be. He came to give us power to become the sons of God.
After the service we went home and then said Goodbye as we weren’t seeing each other until tomorrow.
We had a lovely turkey with the Christmas dinner, and Christmas pudding to follow. At 3.0pm we listened to the Queen’s broadcast [from Sandringham]. Later in the afternoon the others went to Reg’s and I had tea alone.
I was glad to be able to go to Church tonight though I think there has been doubt in many quarters as to the advisability of holding an evening service when Christmas Day comes on a Sunday. Certainly tonight’s congregation was sparse. Some churches compromised by meeting at 3.0pm and holding the service after the Queen’s broadcast.
Mr. Pritchard preached and seemed rather out of touch [contemplative]. His sermon wasn’t a good one especially, but I thought it quite effective. He preached on no one text but took the Christmas story as a whole, and then gave a discourse on what happened when we held the Baby in our arms.
The wise men saw the young child and fell down, and worshipped Him (Matthew 2:11). This was the climax of their journey. We live in an age of superlatives, but not a superlative age. To make an emphasis we jump to a terrific extreme, using words like perfectly, marvellously, wonderfully, beautiful. We must have superlatives. There is always news which demands it even though it may be exaggeration. Sydney Harbour Bridge is the longest bridge in the world, the Empire State Building is the highest building. There is always news. Roger Bannister’s mile was the fastest ever. All this has its appeal. The last public-house in England, the first public house in Wales. Cinemas have overdone it advertising films, this year’s pantomime is the greatest ever.
Superlatives don’t do harm even though they are not true. But suppose something happened which demanded the superlative. What if the truth is superlative? What if the superlative is the truth? Look, say, at Harmsworth’s History of the World. The spotlight of history is the Cross. List up all the events way down to the present day and the Cross is the final, supreme event. It is the superlative act of God.
What we celebrate today is the beginning of it all, the self-revelation of God. It was not the first revelation. There had been messengers before, but there had to be a yearning to find out about God. The Old Testament shows us a gradual revelation. God mediated His revelation according to the capacity of His people through the ages. ”His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form, and deep is His path on the wings of the storm” O worship the King, M.H.B. No. 8]. That was the age-old time when people believed it was God. But God spoke in the quietness of the evening, the still small voice in Elijah’s day, therefore man was being prepared for the great event. How would God speak, finally, in so dramatic a way that no one could deny it?
We are worshipping at Bethlehem tonight. There is a very faint light over the cradle. The mother is quiet and sober. This was not an ordinary birth, this baby, she didn’t expect all this to happen. Joseph was there, responsibility for the baby now fell on him. Men came and saw the baby, knelt down and worshipped Him. That is how He came, God’s greatest revelation, His gift, a Baby. What happens now? What did happen? What will happen when you hold the Baby in your arms? It is an amazing experience to hold a baby. Barriers of misunderstanding are broken down. Everyone knows what it is like to hold a baby. Colour doesn’t matter. Creed doesn’t matter. All men can understand this language.
What happens when you hold this Baby in your arms? What is happening to me, knowing that this is God’s final revelation? Something strange. Holding the Son of God makes us very happy, and there is no more war. Reach out to take the Son of God and there will be no more war. In national things, no more misunderstanding now. There is nothing to separate me from my love for Him. The Son of God is in my arms. He gives great comfort. Some suffer from physical pain, heartaches unbearable, but hold the Child of God and the importance of these things falls into place. He suffered too.
”Bah, humbug!” says Scrooge, but he learned his lesson. Many men of learning, men of science, have said ”Humbug”. But when He is with us we get the truth. If my eyes should open, I would be ashamed of the things I would find in my heart. But He delivers from sadness, sins and the sorrow of life. That is the Child. Will you take Him? If His eyes look at you, you will see that love is smiling from His face. Striking for you now is the hour of rest. Amen.
We sang 133 From the eastern mountains, 125 O little town of Bethlehem, 859 Once in royal David’s city, 131 The first Nowell the angel did say, and after the sermon 123 Still the night, holy the nigh. The readings were Isaiah 11:1–9. and Matthew 2:1–11
I missed Freda tonight. She could not come to the service as the Powleys and their guests were spending the afternoon and evening at [The Grange, home of] the Seccombes’. Anne asked me if I would like to go home with her as I was by myself, but Mam and Dad were calling in the car to take me to Reg’s.
At Reg’s we spent three hours watching television. I have rarely been so bored in all my life. The latter half of Eric Robinson’s Music For You, including Jimmy Edwards, Beniamino Gigli and Joan Hammond was alright, but Christmas Box — fun and games at Christmas parties in Sheffield, Bournemouth and London was tedious. The old TV Christmas Party with one vast assemblage used to be much better viewing. At 9.45 we saw John Drinkwater’s comedy Bird In Hand in which Terry-Thomas played his first straight role. The plot is about love between two people on different social levels, which sets up a crisis and results in conflict between the younger and older generations. It was very well done; Herbert Lomas was excellent as the landlord Thomas Greenleaf. He played the role on the London stage when the play was first presented in 1928. Charles Victor as Mr. Blanquet and William Mervyn as Ambrose Godolphin, Q.C., gave fine characterisations.
Joyce and Stan were also at Reg’s but David and a friend called for them about 10.0pm and they left.
MONDAY 26th DECEMBER, Boxing Day
I was very glad to crawl into bed just before midnight. I had backache very badly.
We didn’t get up too early [today]. I listened to Bob Monkhouse in a variety show at midday.
The Powleys had invited me to spend the rest of Boxing Day with them. I met Freda’s Aunt and cousin Rosie yesterday morning.
About 3.0pm Mr. Powley took us in the car to Dorchester Road. We went a short walk and on the way back went into some new houses at the back of Solihull station.
When we got back again we did a newspaper quiz and played a word game before watching television. From 8.15 until 9.0pm we watched Jack Payne’s Off The Record in which were reviewed the top records of 1955. Alma Cogan, Ruby Murray, Jimmy Young, Eddie Calvert and Ronnie Hilton were some of the stars taking part. Ruby Murray has become the top singing star almost overnight — by singing down her nose, it seems.
I hope I never have to sit through another five minutes of Don Lang.
At 9.0pm we had a meal of cold meat salad, after which Freda and I did the washing up. Afterwards we went upstairs again to watch Harry Green in Take It Away, a farce by Moss Mindelbaum which wasn’t too good. It ended at 10.45pm.
Poor Ro! She enjoyed herself so much yesterday that she had a bilious attack and spent all today wandering around in pyjamas and dressing gown, though she said she felt better later this evening.
I went out with Eddie [Dinah’s pup] this morning to see what were the times of showing of the films at the Odeon, then called to see Freda on the way back. Freda and Ro were alone as Mr. and Mrs. Powley were taking their relatives to the station.
I called for Freda at 3.30pm and we went to the Odeon. There was an enormous queue, but we had only to wait 40 minutes. The supporting film [No Man’s Woman (A), a murder mystery] began at 4.20 but we got in half way through. The main film was the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers.(U) in which agang of crooks (Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Danny Green) deceive an old lady (delightfully played by Katie Johnson) into thinking they are musicians when they are actually planning a bank robbery! It was very funny.
When we got back we had a belated tea and listened to an old recording of ITMA, then I took Freda home.
It was cloudy but quite mild again today. I threw out all my copies of The Scout going back to 1945, and other items of literature. I went shopping twice. Freda went back to work today. She caught the 5.35pm train tonight and I met her at the Roberts Road exit from the station. Later we went for a walk.
The De Havilland Comet III today completed its round-the-world flight, flying non-stop from Montreal to London in 6 hours 18 minutes.
I received a cheque for three guineas from the Evening Despatch this morning and went to the Midland Bank to pay it in. They have paid me 5/3d interest, so I now have a balance of £28 4s 6d. I also did some shopping. I wrote to the Building Society and posted a letter to Cyril Plater.
I went to see Anne this afternoon and met Freda from the train later. She went to Smiths for me at dinner time. I went to see John Winrow tonight.
This morning I finished composing the crossword I have been working on. I met Freda from the train and after Choir practice tonight. Afterwards we went to the Fittons’ house with Dorothy. [Her father Alan Fitton is Editor of the Birmingham Weekly Post and Sunday School Superintendent]. I felt got a cold coming on at 8.0am.
Weather statistics for 1955
I went to Dorling’s this morning and paid the papers, 6/2d for the last three weeks, 4d less than usual as there were was no Birmingham Mail on Boxing Day. I also ’phoned Ivan. I called for Freda this evening and we went to the New Year’s Eve Social in the Large Hall and then to the Watchnight Service. Freda sat with me and Gillian Chilton. I took Freda home afterwards and didn’t leave until 2.0am.
For the first year since 1947 I made no broadcasts, but had letters and articles printed in the Birmingham Post, the Birmingham Mail, the Birmingham Weekly Post, the Birmingham Gazette, the Evening Despatch, and the Birmingham News.I passed A Level Physics at the third attempt to complete my three A Levels, but cannot bear the thought of five years’ more study for a career in medicine. I am haunted by the prospect of going to prison for my beliefs but have to face up to it. I have no interest in becoming a doctor, much less a laboratory technician for the rest of my life.
It has been a very dry and sunny year compared with the terrible weather of last year. This year (365 days) we have had 1,410.7 hours of sunshine, averaging 3.86 hours per day, compared with 1,104.6 hours in 1954, averaging 3.02 hours per day. This means that in 1955 we had 51 minutes more sunshine per day than in 1954. In 1954 we had no sunshine at all on 87 days, in 1955 only 68. The sunniest days were Whit Monday and Tuesday 30th-31st May with 15.3 and 15.1 hours, and 4th and 27th July both with 14.1 hours.
The hottest days of the year were 23rd August with 83 degrees and July 14th and 17th both with 82 degrees. The coldest days were 17th February when the temperature fell to 22 degrees and 20th February when it fell even further to 21 degrees.
It has also been much drier this year than last, 26.415 inches of rain falling in 365 days compared with 35.345 inches in 366 days in 1954. Only 0.125 inches of rain fell between Monday 4th July and Sunday 7th August (no measurable rain on 31 days), and we had less than 2 inches of rain in the 72 days from Saturday 25th June to Tuesday 4th September. The wettest days were Tuesday 17th May with 1.215 inches of rain, Saturday 26th March with 1.155 inches and the previous day Friday 25th March with 1.095 inches (a very wet 48 hours!).
The films I most enjoyed this year were Roman Holiday, The Night My Number Came Up, Footsteps in the Fog, The Seven Year Itch, Man of the Moment, On the Riviera and Doctor at Sea. [Unfinished]