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Charles Binyon's diary: May 1919

Diary Entry

MAY 1 Thursday - Milder, dull.  Greenhouse dug and got ready for tomato seedlings.  Savage making the boiler pit.  First meeting of Directors.  We instructed Secretary to write to new [?] and to get quotation for pots.  Also decided to enquire into the canning.  In the afternoon and evening I planted one side of the greenhouse with Slick Leaves 2250.  With FTJ.

Barrel sunk. Civil Air Flying begins. German delegates arrive at Peace Conference.

MAY 2 Friday - Dull.  Wet at first.  Fine evening.  FTJ and I have finished planting the greenhouse.  We have now about 8,000 tomatoes planted.  In the afternoon and evening my men concreted the path.  FEA came and fixed lock.  I am letting him have about 1 chain at the Sand.

Beautiful conjunction Venus and the young moon.  Dark part very plain.

MAY 3 Saturday - Dull, warmer.  Men clearing up at Sand.  To Aldington.  HJC and I had dinner at 11.30 and started at 11.35 on Jo through Broadway and walked up the hill.  Thence to Stow.  We inspected the timber lying at the saw mill clearing, the buildings have been taken away. On to Burford.  Just by the turning to Westcote we passed quite a lot of snow.  It must have been there a week.  Very unusual for May at an elevation of 700 feet.  We went through Burford to Carterton Post Office where Mrs HJC is staying for a rest.  We reached it at 3.05.  After tea we had a walk round.  Carterton is an extraordinary place.  There are no building bylaws, and most of the houses are one storey - many made of timber, some concrete, some iron and one we saw was made of loads of loose stones with corrugated iron roof.  They have plots of ground round each house, mostly very badly cultivated.  Some good apple trees, but many overgrown with weeds.  In the evening we went to Rock Farm and saw a colt only a few days old.  Also a young thoroughbred - grandson of Common.  The ground is full of stones and the farmer told us they often broke the shaves when ploughing.  I slept across the road in a wooden bungalow.

[Carterton written in red in margin.]

MAY 4 Sunday - Dull, warm.  But sunny at Badsey.  Went a short walk with HJC.  Later walked to Brize Norton and went to church.  The church has a tall west tower, plain Early English with fine cornel table and a flat top, probably meant to have a spire.  Very fine Norman door in south porch.   The column south-east is unfinished, being plain.  The other one is elaborately carved.  Carved tymphonum, much of it sort of diaper work.  Nave end north aisle.  Low round pillars bearing north window have a column on the sill inside corresponding to the mullion.  Chancel set [?] the north of nave, leaving room a little window behind the pulpit.  Sanctus Bell [?] and containing a bell, and with a sundial on the south side.  Choir procession consisted of one small boy, one man and the clergyman.  Good sermon.  We left Carterton at [?] and came home the same way.  Still a little snow left.  Glorious view from Broadway Hill.  We reached Badsey at 8.

Nightingale heard first time 1919.

MAY 5 Monday - Dull, warm, occasional gleam of sunshine.  Men at Waldren’s skimming, potato planting, dwarf and [?] drilling.  I made marrow holes at the Sand and planted Bush Green.  Visited DSMcD’s new piece of ground.  Afterwards went canvassing for the War Memorial Hall.

MAY 6 Tuesday - Very wet, mild.  To office, then after dinner to Wickhamford corner, where I was picked up by A Woodall and driven to Willersey Halt.  We went by Rail Motor to Winchcombe, where we were met by Mr Bent, Manager of the Morning Star Ltd.  He drove us to The Parks.  They have taken over nearly all the Toddington plantations and have erected large sheds for jam making, pulping and other industries.  We discussed canning with him.  He strongly recommended doing Egg Plums.  But he said they should be selected with very great care, choosing just the right stage of ripeness.  He thought 2 oz of sugar to 1 lb of fruit would make a good syrup.  He thought we could not well compete with Italian tomatoes.  I went a walk through the plantations with him.  They have been neglected for many years.  He is cutting out all dead wood and worn out trees and sawing them up to make boxes!  He is trying to grow marrows under some of the trees.  I doubt it’s being a success.  Some of the plantations are quite green.  Here he is letting the keep for £1 an acre for sheep - quite the best thing to do.  He has fowls on other pieces.  We had a cup of tea there with one bun and some tinned apricots and pears from California.  He drove us to Toddington Station, but as we had an hour to wait we walked through Stanway and Stanton to Laverton Halt.  Drove back from Broadway Station.  Chestnuts out in full leaf.  Sycamore very beautiful pale green, also birches.  Elms just beginning.  Grass very green.  Plum blossom about at its best.

[Toddington; Visit to “Morning Star” written in red in margin.]

MAY 7 Wednesday - Rain at times.  A little sun.  FTJ came and helped me to clear up papers, digging at the Sand in the afternoon.  I went to the office and met Mr Buck of the AOS.  He wants us to send an exhibit to the Royal Agricultural Show at Cardiff next June - canned goods, fruit and herbs.  To Badsey Field in the evening to see W W Blake.

MAY 8 Thursday - Fine and warm, sunny afternoon.  FTJ and planted out the first lot of sprouts Under Badsey on the NW spot, 2000 planted.  AJT and EM dug round the greenhouses and finished the marrow holes and planting the marrows.  I went to Evesham to the Bank and to have my hair cut.  Then to the Public Hall where there was a tea and presentation to Pearce Ellis.  After an Executive Meeting, noisy and irrelevant speeches.  I left at 8, as there seemed no chance of getting on with the business.  Thunder at night.


MAY 9 Friday - Fine, quite hot.  Senator Peas sown Under Badsey - also small lot of William Hurst for seed.  I gave all the fruit trees some ammonia.  Runners set between onions at Garnetts.  Beet sown.  Committee met at Merry Lane in the evening to inspect.  Offenham wants RDC to make it good.  Visited F Bubb and W Wilkins.

MAY 10 Saturday - Fine and warm.  More Runners “Marvels” set at Garnetts on piece near [?].  1st cut of asparagus.  I started hoeing the up-to-date onions.  At the Sand in the afternoon.  I dressed half the tomato spot with Diss.  Done at the rate of 16[?] to the acre.  Basic slag 5[?] and fish 7 [?] and hoed it in.  Also fed the [?] sprout plants with nitrate of soda.  Thinned lettuces.

MAY 11 Sunday - Fine but more overcast.  Church at 11.  We chimed 5 bells 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.  Stayed in all the rest of the day.

MAY 12 Monday - Clouds on the hills at first, fine and warm later.  Ground Under Badsey got ready for Runners.  To Evesham Police Court, one eject I meant order, one bicycle without any lights, case adjourned from last time owing to non-appearance of culprit, fined 10/-.  Had an interesting talk with J Ashwin on the Land Question.  Visited school in the afternoon.  Met W H Press at the office at 6 pm.  He now represents T J Ponpart.  He wants more asparagus.  We did a little collecting at night.

Jupiter and Venus getting close together in Gemini.

Sprouts planted out back to be sprayed.

[Petty Sessions written in red in margin.]

MAY 13 Tuesday - Warmest day this year.  60o at 9.30 am.  Onions to Beale and 400 dozen to Liverpool.  I got H Mitchell to scuffle the piece at the Sand for tomatoes.  To office.  We decided to try 200 pots and 250 nets, and to get quotations for various kinds of fertilisers.  Runners sown Under Badsey.  In the evening I went to Offenham and we held an enquiry into the sort of houses which were wanted.  They did not want parlours!  Very good attendance.  Visited WRW at night.  He has been to see a specialist.

MAY 14 Wednesday - Very fine but more wind.  East, minimum 48.  We sent off 96 dozen onions to Covent Garden and 120 dozen to Liverpool.  Alice Taylor tied 250 dozen in one day!  I went to Wickhamford and got 24 tomato plants “Water Baby” and sent them off to Mr Bowden.  Bedford onions Under Badsey hoed.  I did some more hoeing at the Sand.  Would the church clock up.  New horse for LBG bought.

MAY 15 Thursday - Fine, warm at 56, sunny.  Went to Evesham in the morning.  Left Badsey with HJC at 1.  Stopped at Bretforton to have new chain fixed on HJC’s Jo.  Left Bretforton 1.40.  Went through Honeybourne to Mickleton and over to Armscote and Halford Bridge and Pillerton Priors.  We let the main road and went through Pillerton Hervey and Butler’s Marston to Kineton 4 pm.  Thence to Southam via Gaydon and Bishop’s Itchington - a nice village.  Here we saw two German prisoners walking by themselves.  We passed by the large cement works at Hambury.  We left Southam about 5.10 pm, after trying in vain to get any tea, and went on to Daventry through Staverton.  We were just in time for tea there and left soon after 7.  We then went past Welton, getting good views of the reservoir on the way and crossed the L&NWR main line at Welton Station.  Then we went up to West Haddon and on to Guilsborough, getting a fine glimpse of the Ravensthorpe reservoir.  We arrived at 8.20 and found Mrs HJC better.  Guilsborough is 550 feet above sea level.  The country looks lovely.  Elms nearly fully out.  Horse chestnuts just beginning to blossom.  Oaks just unfolding.  Ashes a little more backward.

[Ride to Northamptonshire written in red in margin.]

MAY 16 Friday - Fine, bright and hot.  In the morning we went a walk by the fish ponds, down a wooded walk with periwinkles white and blue.  Some very fine oaks and sycamores.  In the afternoon we went through the village to Mr Letts’ ground.  This is of a very light nature, and runs through a four-tined fork.  It had been ploughed with one horse, scuffled raked and rolled ready for potatoes etc.  Then HJC and I went on by Teton to Stratton to see his relatives there.  Stratton Church has a most interesting transitional Norman Tower with spire of somewhat rough workmanship.  We went over the Hall gardens.  We came back by Holdenby North Lodge.  Very hill country about here.

[Guilsboro’ written in red in margin.]

MAY 17 Saturday - Beautifully bright and clear.  Started on Jo at 1 to Naseby over the hills.  Fine crocketted spire with lights at Naseby rising within battlements.  Two long belfry windows in tower, close together.  No buttresses or pinnacles.  Church locked, very unusual in these days.  Many new semi-detached cottages in the village.  Went on over the battlefield to Sibbertoft and then down the hill to the Welland valley at Martin Trussel, getting a fine view on the way over Leicestershire.  Martin Trussel church has a fine tower without spire of the general type of the district.  Low pinnacles and battlements with a large gargoyle in the centre of each face.  Unusual pair of belfry windows set very close together.  Flat pilaster buttresses stopping below belfry windows.  Church very short nave of 3 bays, aisles, clerestory and small, low chancel.  Went on through Lubbenham to Market Harborough, bright cheerful town.  Church isolated in the wide street.  Grand broach spire which stands up well from the Market Place.  The belfry windows are not set so close together as at Naseby.  It reminded me a little of St Pierre Caen.  Interior disfigured with Galleries.  No capitals to the pillars in the arcade except to the central mound on the side.

I left the town after visiting the station, and rode to Desborough, finding it rather hard to ride u the long hill.  Desborough is quite a little town, with another fine spire.  It’s peculiarity is a small parapet interrupted by the broaches and pinnacles on the edge f the broaches with a tiny flying buttress to each.  This is not a successful experiment.  The belfry windows are very close and united under an [?].  Flat buttresses to the town.  A very finely proportioned tower and spire.  No crickets on the spire but near the top a set of roses and also two lights in the spire.  The church is very small and like many others about here is built of inferior local stone.  It consists of nave with aisles and clerestory, transept and chancel, but the nave has only one bay!  The transept has two storeys of window in the east wall.  Curious skew porch on the north.  The Vicar was at work on the paths and recommended me to go to Rothwell, which I did.  He said that he wished he had Rothwell Church with Desborough spire!  Very fine view of the church from the road just outside the town by the CWS Corset works.  I reached Rothwell about 5 and found a very large church with specimens of nearly every kind of Gothic architecture.  Norman work in the choir.  No transept but large nave and choir.  I had not time for a detailed examination, but the West door was a most beautiful specimen of Norman mouldings on an Early English arch.  The tower is rather squat at present, probably it carried a spire once.  The stair turret has an enormous conical roof which is detached from the tower, a very unusual and curious feature.  There are skulls and bones in a crypt here, but I did not see them.  After having some tea I went on to Loddington and found another very beautiful spire and a broach with beautiful Early English belfry windows close together.  Very finely moulder.  The most curious feature here is the dripstone porch projecting about a foot carried to an apex over the West door.  There were some good Early English details inside.  I then came past extensive ironstone quarries and the fields were covered with light railways.  I had a very bad puncture in the front tyre (a hobnail) and had to walk nearly two miles to Harrington to get it mended.  I then came past Kelmarsh with its pretty church - another broach spire but much smaller and with only one belfry window.  Quite an ideal simple village spire.  I came on past Naseby and reach Guilsborough about 8.30, having done nearly 40 miles.

[Market Harborough, Desborough, Rothwell, Loddington written in red in margin.]

MAY 18 Sunday - Fine but misty.  Left Guilsborough about 10 am with HJC.  We parted at West Haddon as his bicycle gave trouble and so he took the rain at Welton Station for Rugby and Leamington via Coventry.  I cam on through Crick to Hillmarton where I made a detour to the church and attended the service at 11 am.  The church has a short tower and gallery at the west end with the organ and choir.  It has been badly restored.  The Vicar was preaching his farewell sermon after being there 29 years.  I left Hillmarton at 12.30 for Dunchurch, leaving Rugby 1 and three-quarter miles to the right, and crossing the GCR main line in a lordly cutting.  At Dunchurch I took the main road to Coventry - fine, broad, level and tarred surface with fir trees on each side for miles.  I turned off at Ryton and passing close to Buttenhall and the tree supposed to be the middle of England.  Reached Milverton Station at 2.35.  HJC and I met at 107 Emscote Road, his cousin.  We inspected his garden, had tea and came on via Stratford and Mickleton very steadily reaching Badsey at 8.20.  Horse Chestnuts fully out.  Lilac out.

[Hillmarton written in red in margin.]

MAY 19 Monday - Very fine. Men pulling onions in belladonna piece.  To office and to Evesham Union.  Much business at the Building Committee as to sites at Littleton, Honeybourne and Broadway.  We decided to hold an enquiry at Wickhamford.  At the Highway Committee we decided to have the streets in the villages tar-painted.  Atkinson appointed as Surveyor from June 15 at the Council meeting.

MAY 20 Tuesday - Very fine.  Senator peas skinned.  Onions sent off to Liverpool and London.  Went to office.  Onion price 3½d to 4½d.  We decided to buy 2 tons nitrate of soda and some bone meal.  Dwarf beans at the Sand hoed.  In the evening to Littleton to meet the tenants and prospective tenants of the houses.  Here, too there was no demand for parlours.  It looks to me as if they were going to use the living room as a parlour and live in the scullery.  We visited several of the cottages after.

MAY 21 Wednesday - Very fine.  Hot, but cool wind.  Skimming the vacant land Under Badsey.  I put some sulphate of ammonia and nitrate of soda to the sprout plants.  Sent off about 400 dozen onions.  To office in the afternoon to meet Mr Bent.  I took him to the grounds Under Badsey.  Work at Sand in the evening.

MAY 22 Thursday - Very fine.  Ground getting very dry.  Skimming between the belladonna and under the trees.  I went to Evesham in the afternoon to see Mr Roberts about H Hall’s affairs.  Called at Abbey Gate to see the Fowlers.  Their garden looks lovely now.  Liberal meeting at H Roberts’ office after.  Then I met R Aldington and we examined the housing site at Badsey and discussed the best way of dividing it up.  Then to school to talk to the prospective tenants.  Much the same ideas as before.  No parlours, tiled floors, wash-house outside.

MAY 23 Friday - Very hot sun today. Skimming at Waldren’s.  Women hoeing parsnips.  AJT hoeing turnip.  I marked out the ground at the Sand for tomatoes and planted 120.

MAY 24 Saturday -  Hot again.  AJT etc hoed the shallots and finished the parsnips.  We also planted 700 sprout plants at Garnetts between the dwarfs.  Minimum wage raised to 36/6.

MAY 25 Sunday - Slight showers, overcast with gleams of sunshine.  Church at 8 and 6.30.  On to Willersey and Broadway in the afternoon.  Laburnums fully out.

MAY 27 Monday - Fine again, but not so hot, 38 minimum.  240 dozen onions enter off from Garnetts.  Broad beans hoed.  Just coming out in bloom.  To Evesham Police Court.  One separation case adjourned.  Many cyclists without lights., 10/- to 2/6.  Planted some more tomatoes.  360 now done.  Meeting of Directors at the office in the evening.  DSMCD’s salary fixed at 10/- per day.  Discussed arrangements for canning.

Hawker, who tried to fly the Atlantic and has been missing, has turned up.

[Petty Sessions written in red in margin.]

MAY 27 Tuesday - Cloudless again, 37 minimum.  400 dozen onions from Garnetts.  Went to office.  Onions 3¼d-4¼d.  Planted out a few more tomatoes.  In the evening went to Honeybourne Gate to meet about making a revised footpath.  We also looked at the site and then came back by Bretforton and looked at the two bridges on the new road and Cadbury’s corner.

MAY 28 Wednesday - Cloudless, hot.  2nd onion hoeing started.  I planted 800 tomatoes at the Sand, 1550 now out.  They stand up wonderfully well considering the heat.  2 feet x 2 feet 3 inches.

MAY 29 Thursday - Ascension Day, church at 8.  Very warm again.  I gave all the tomatoes in the house and frames a good soaking and started planting out Kings.  Big piece of onion hoeing at Garnetts finished for the second time.  Office in the afternoon.  Cadbury’s factory is being dismantled.

MAY 30 Friday - Very hot sun, cool east wind.  We planted out the piece by the brook Under Badsey with Slickleaf Tomatoes.  2 foot 6 inches x 2 feet.  The plot took 2200.  We also planted 400 Kings by the hovel.  Late I planted some more on the Sand.  We have now about 4700 planted out.  We sent some asparagus to Hull for the first time.

MAY 31 Saturday - Very hot again.  We planted out 1000 tomatoes above the peas, and I finished the piece at the Sand, the total is now about 5,800.

Crop Report - Dwarfs just shooting up their third leaf.  Runners ditto.  Onions about 5 inches high.  Parsnips poor 3rd leaf like a shilling.  Very few sprouts out.  Broad beans well in blossom.  Peas about 1 foot high.  1st lot of tomatoes appear established.  Marrow filling the caps.  Very warm and sunny month.  Rain badly needed.

Diary Images
Type of Document
Six pages in a hard-covered notebook containing diary entries 1919-1925
Location of Document
In private ownership