Today we are also extremely pleased to publish These Wonderful Rumours! the newly discovered, beautifully preserved and truly revelatory wartime diaries of May Smith, a young school teacher who lived in Derby during the Second World War.
To celebrate publication we are giving Virago readers an exclusive look inside the book with a series of extracts from May's diaries from the years 1939-1945.
Today's extract is taken from May's entry for November 1st 1939.
Wednesday, November 1st:
Had a voluminous mail this morn – 3 letters, from Dougie, Vera and Hilda Tooth. Dougie says viciously that he wants to have A Real Good Bust at some sort of a German, and thinks he will enlist as a carpenter. How he will have his bust that way, I know not. He is now 12 st 3! How coarse and obese! He has picked a cockerel from his stock for me for Christmas, but says that it is still wilting under the strain of present circumstances. Fancy being wooed with a cockerel!
Miss Tooth’s effusion was very stilted and precise, as usual, but quite friendly and very typical. She is annoyed, in a ladylike way, about our one day’s holiday instead of the promised week, but has decided philosophically to Grin and Bear It like a True Briton, fortifying ourselves with the knowledge that Christmas is not far away. She says that the Birmingham teachers are bemoaning the cold and asking what it will be like in the winter. She adds grimly Perhaps It is Better that they should Not Know.
For more fun titbits from These Wonderful Rumours! (today including a very fetching photo of Dougie!) you can now follow @MaySmithsDiary on Twitter.
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