I have been sharing the diary entries my dad and his friend Sammy wrote, aged eighteen, in the summer of 1937, when they hired a launch, the M.C.Belle, and spent a week cruising up the River Cam.
We woke on Monday morning at 8:30p.m. and this was shortly followed by a brisk swim in the river the water being very cold. After dressing and attending to the engine, we took a trip down to the farm which was about 1/2 mile away and collected the milk which we had ordered. Breakfast was soon prepared after we had returned.
The remainder of the morning was spent in fishing and exploring the neighbouring copse on the other side of the river. For dinner we had corned beef, beans and potatoes followed by pineapple and condensed milk. In the afternoon we decided to go for a ramble round by a wood, passing the old mill, which we had previously explored, on our way.
We had to push our way through long distances of rushes which came about shoulder high, and climb overhanging trees to get across marshy pools and streams. It was while we were groping our way along, that we found a couple of swans eggs which we found after we had broken them; they were very antique. In fact we made our way from them as quickly as possible.
After uselessly trying to stalk two wood pigeons, we returned for tea. In the evening we fished, Snick catching nearly all the roach in the net.
As my pen has run out I shall have to continue in pencil until we can buy some.
The evening at the Dragon resulted in a very close and exciting dart match between the Cambridgeites and the Fenites. The Fenites one by two matches to one. It was all due to “Old Percy” who, by the way has forsaken his “bombers.”
I love their style of writing, especially the incident when they accidentally trod on the old and very smelly swans’ eggs. Interesting reminder that there were no ball-point pens in those days and they were using a fountain pen and ink, which ran out. There is one little spelling error – ‘one’ instead of ‘won.’ Goodness knows what Percy’s bombers are – very smelly cigarettes maybe! The boys come from Cambridge, hence Cambridgeites, and where they are camping is in the are of England known as the Fens. The Fens,in East Anglia, is a vast area of low lying, peaty land, well-drained now by lodes – drainage channels