Isobel Addison’s diary March – April 1919

Saturday, 1st March, 1919

A fine day, but bitterly cold all morning.   We got breakfast over soon after 9.  CA had his in bed.  I fed hens and Isobel did rabbits.  I spent the rest of the morning finally clearing Isobel’s old bedroom and making her new one nice and she was very pleased with it.  I arranged the furniture in her old one for Miss Walker and put clean paper in all the drawers. Daddy and Christopher spent all day mainly moving the big green cupboard from the nursery on to the landing. The afternoon was much warmer so I took Michael in the garden for a bit and he greatly enjoyed himself.  Daddy is very tired and has rather a cold and seems rather seedy.  He had a hot bath after supper and went to bed before ten with a slight temperature – 99.  Katie and Christopher gave Jessie and Elsie a concert on the gramophone in the kitchen and we all went up to bed before ten. It really is marvellous how early we go up to bed these days though it is wonderful how late it gets before one has finished all the odd jobs and can put out the light.  However it is only 5 to 11 and I am now going to put out mine.   CA is already fixed up and nearly asleep!

Sunday, 2nd March, 1919

CA felt very seedy and stayed in bed.  Temp 100.  I made tea and got all the kiddies up and we took up Pa’s breakfast and had our own.  The children fed the animals for me and I dusted and tidied CA’s bedroom and made beds etc.  Telephoned for some medicine to the doctor and Stanley went down and fetched it up. The children spent the morning in the garden and playing the gramophone in the nursery.  I wrote to Miss Dewar and settled finally about sending Katie there. Also wrote one or two other letters.  Had dinner and spent a little time with Michael in the garden.  Fed hens etc., children all very good.  Jessie and Elsie went out to tea with  Mrs. Gurney.  I got Daddie’s tea and our own ready.  The doctor came, greatly to my relief.  We had tea and I did a lot of tidying up and got dirty washing ready for the morning.  Put Mikey and Isobel to bed.  Had supper and took letters from CA’s dictation to the PM. Astor, and wrote them out clean and  wrote to Mr. B… for him.  Made him an egg flip and fixed him up for the night.  I put Mikey’s bed in Isobel’s room and he went to sleep there all night.   I didn’t undress myself except for my blouse and skirt as I guessed I should have to be up a bit.

Monday, 3rd March, 1919

Poor old Pa had rather a rotten night.  His pills disturbed him twice at 3 and 4.30.  I slept in my own bed till 1 when I had to go to Michael.  At ¼ to 3 CA had some hot milk and got up for his pill so I took the chance of making the bed and put a clean warm top sheet on and heated a bottle for his back which ached badly.  Michael work again and I went to him about 4 and then back to CA at 4.30 – pill again!  I gave him hot milk and brandy and then returned to Michael and dozed off and on and got up at 6.30.  Made tea and took it round and got poor old sleepy Sonnie out of bed and dressed. Gave him his breakfast and saw him off.  Dressed Michael and did Bel’s hair. Gave Daddy and them their breakfast and got the washing ready for Harrow and saw them off.   Had my breakfast and got the other laundry ready and fed hens and rabbits with Michael.  Gurney went up by the 9.56 to the L.G.B. with Daddy’s letters.  Michael played with Stanley while I dusted Daddy’s room and tidied up and then he went down to the village with Stanley to fetch the milk and I wrote some letters and gave CA and egg flip.  Dr. Hilton came up before lunch.  CA’s temperature was then 103.2 and we arranged to try to get a nurse and for Dr. Gordon to come down and take a culture.  Dr. Hilton took Michael down with him to dinner.  Gurney took the gas stove out of my room and I made a good fire.  Had a little lunch and then CA dozed a bit and I did some tidying and putting away of various things.  Dr. Gordon came about 4.45.  Had tea and he and Dr. Hilton saw CA  Dr. G. left about 6 and Dr. H followed.  I got Michael and Isobel to bed and prepared the spare room for the nurse.  Katie helped me to tidy up.   The nurse came about 7.30 and we had supper.  I made CA comfy and washed his false teeth for him and then introduced nurse.  She rubbed his back with Elliman and I made him an egg flip and he settled for the night after a morphine injection. We had some tea and sat talking a bit and nurse then went to bed  and I got ready for the night. Katie went to French with Mrs. Coates today  and she slept with Michael and Isobel in Sonnie’s room.

Tuesday, 4th March, 1919

CA had a good sleep from 11 last night till 2 a.m.  After that rather broken.  I gave him a pint of milk during the night.  Had to go to Michael once about 3 when he told me very angrily that he wanted to “do little one very badly and dashed Katie wouldn’t give me the article!”  He soon settled down and slept in his own bed till 7 – I got up about 6.45 and made tea and took it all round and the girls got off to school by 8.30.  CA’s temperature dropped in the night to 100.6 and to 99 this morning.  After breakfast Nurse washed him and made his bed and he shaved himself which I am sure he shouldn’t have done – he was awfully low and weak after it and temperature down to 98, a very big drop from yesterday afternoon, when it was 103.8.  I fed the hens and rabbits – it was a pouring wet day. Dr. Hilton came just as I finished and was just as dear as ever.  Dr. Gordon rang up to say he would bring down the vaccine this afternoon.  I did a little sewing and a lot of telephoning and wrote to Lizzie and played with Michael who was most awfully good.  Dr. Hilton and Dr. Gordon came about 4 when CA was much better, having had a nice little sleep after lunch.  His temperature was then 99.2 which we were glad of – he seemed so frightfully low this morning.  The girls got home at 4.20 and we all had tea together including Dr. Gordon’s chauffeuse.  The doctors left about 5.30 or 6 and I sat a bit with dear old Pa.  Oh the joy to see a little light in his eyes and his face less grey and pinched.  I then got Michael and Isobel to bed and did a few odd things for Pa and we had supper.  May telephoned, also Bessie and I rang up Christopher but he had gone to bed so I gave a message to Maurice Sutcliffe for him.  Katie and I had hot baths and Nurse ditto and we sat by the nursery fire and went to bed about 11.

Wednesday, 5th March, 1919

Rather a rotten night. CA didn’t sleep at all till after 3.  Michael was rather restless. I had to go to him 2 or 3 times.  After  3 CA slept fairly well.  I slept like a log from 3.30 till 6.30 when I got up and did my usual jobs, tea making etc.,  CA seemed brighter and the pain was very much less.  The girls went to school by train as there was some slight thing wrong with the car.  I did the grate in CA’s room and swept and dusted and got the hen food ready.  Stanley fed the hens.  Dr. Hilton came soon after 10 and we decided we need not keep Nurse, much to CA’s relief and to mine!  I gave Gurney several messages and a wire to Lizzie asking her to come and he took Nurse down for the 12.15.  I had a busy morning telephoning to Barter and  Mr. Astor and feeding my dear old man. He had fish for breakfast and dinner and chicken for supper.  Liz came just before 4. such a blessed relief to have her.  I fed the hens and played with dear little Michael and rested a little bit.  The girls got in at 5 and we had tea.  Katie and I both forgot she was to have gone for French with Mrs. Coates.  I unpacked the wine Willie had sent  for Christopher and got Mikey and Isobel to bed. Gave CA his supper and a glass of champagne.  It was a pleasure to see how he enjoyed it.   His temperature was 100 afternoon and evening but the doctor said we needn’t worry.  After our supper we also greatly enjoyed some champagne and we got everything ready for the night.  Liz  slept with CA and I slept with Michael in the spare room.

Thursday, 6th March, 1919

CA didn’t have a very good night though not particularly bad. The girls got off to school in the car and Liz and I tidied up CA’s room after breakfast.  The doctor came early.  Mrs. Coates called and took Michael down to spend the day.  It was a glorious day.  A lot of telephoning to do.  Colonel Gordon rang up, and Barter and others.  Liz and I finished preparing Miss Walker’s bedroom and made it look very nice. CA had a nice sleep after his dinner and I did some writing and some more tidying up. The girls got home at 4.30 and the car went on to Watford to fetch Miss Walker. She got here at 5.30, very bright and nice.  Dr. Hilton came up to see Pa and to give him some more bugs.  However as he was better after his sleep he decided not to have them. I put Michael and Isobel to bed and we all had supper. Dr. Macphail came down just before supper and sat with CA a bit both before and after.  We played the gramophone for him in the dining room a bit.  He left just before 10 leaving a pleasant feeling of cheerful friendship behind him as he always does.  We settled CA for the night and went to bed by about 11 o’clock.

Friday 7th March 1919

Got up about 7 and made tea. CA had a much better night.   The girls went off to school in the car.  It poured with rain the whole day long, a most miserable day, raw and cold. The doctor came very early, before 10.  He was very pleased with CA, but promised to return in the afternoon to give him some more of his bugs!  Michael and Miss Walker spent a happy and peaceful morning in the nursery with the gramophone. I did some letters and bills.  The car went in the afternoon to Harrow to fetch the girls and the clean washing.  Katie stayed at Mrs. Coates for French.  Sonnie arrived before     5.30, very well and jolly.  I walked down in the rain after tea to fetch Katie home, stayed a short time with Mrs. Coates and took her a dozen eggs.  Miss Walker put Michael to bed and did  Bel’s hair and I felt quite idle!  After supper I washed CA’s feet and legs and made his bed and we fixed him up for the night.  He quite enjoyed a game of Halma with Liz between tea and supper.  The children played the gramophone all evening in the nursery we hardly hear it at all in our bedroom from there.  Liz and Chris were fixed up for the night and lights out by 10.30.  I then settled Kate and Christopher and had a huge wash in lukewarm water and went to bed with Mikey in the spare room and read till 12.15. Dr. Hilton came and gave CA his bugs after lunch.

Saturday, 8th March, 1919

I didn’t wake till almost 7.30.  Couldn’t be bothered to make tea. CA had slept till 5.30 and then slept on again until nearly 9, so we had our breakfast and then got his. The doctor came just as I was going to feed my hens so Kate did them for me. I had a beastly inside so took a dose of castor oil and chlorodine!   Kate and Christopher went down to the village and Isobel and Michael played in the house in the morning.  CA’s temp was normal so he was allowed up for a certain job and Liz and I made his bed.   I then had a great tidy up in the linen cupboard.  He slept most of the afternoon and Mikey went for a walk with Miss Walker.  Katie, Liz and I spent a fairly lazy afternoon, Christopher and Bel played in the garden.  After tea I wrote some official business for CA and posted them and also wrote to Mrs. Meikeljohn and Edith Addison. CA had his supper and Miss Walker put the two little ones to bed and we had our supper.  Jenny telephoned from Sheffield to ask after CA and Dr. Hilton rang up, also to enquire.  CA’s temperature 100 at night, rather disappointing.  Jessie rather seedy so sent her early to bed and got the tea and hot water bottles ourselves.   I made Allenbury’s for CA and made up his fire and settled him for the night. Wrote to Dr. Macphail and sent him a subscription for Mr. Blakeway’s memorial from CA and myself.  Got to bed soon after 11 and read till 12.

Sunday, 9th March, 1919

Got up just after 7.30, made tea and took it all round.  CA had a good night and his temp was normal. Made beds and washed tea-things before breakfast.  Fed hens and rabbits.  A very wet day but cleared about 11.  Dr. Hilton came and he helped me fetch a camp bed from the box room and we put it on top of my bed close to the window, perched one invalid on top and made him very comfortable and happy with a good view all over the garden. Dr. Hilton was here till 12 and I then went in the garden with Michael.  Took CA his dinner and had ours and then sat in his room a bit and then settled him to sleep.  Miss Walker and Michael went for a walk and I spent a fairly lazy afternoon,  CA slept and then got up and sat in a chair by the fire for tea and went back to bed about 6.  After supper got the washing ready for Mrs. Letchford and Liz and I sat in CA’s room a bit.  Got Katie and Christopher to bed by 10 and went ourselves.

Monday, 10th March, 1919

A fine morning but showery later,  Got up about 6.30 and got Sonnie up.  He made rather a fuss and said he felt seedy but I had to harden my heart and finally got him off in good time.  Had breakfast and saw the girls off in the car, Michael went with them for the ride.  I did the household laundry and fed the hens and rabbits. Dr. Hilton came and said CA could move into the nursery for a bit.  Had a fearfully interrupted morning, endless telephoning. Got all the clean laundry put away. After dinner which CA had in the laundry, Liz, Miss Walker and Michael left in the car for Missenden, taking my broody hen with them.  CA went back to bed and slept and I lazed by the nursery fire and read a bit.  Fed hens, Katie was at Mrs. Coates for tea and French so Isobel and I had ours with dear old Pa in the nursery.  Michael and Miss Walker got home about six bringing my two beds back with them.  Pa then went back to bed and I tidied his room and sat with him a bit.  Miss Walker put Michael and Bel to bed and I gave Daddy his supper and we had ours. Spent a quiet evening and settled Pa for the night – gave him Allenbury’s etc.  Came to bed myself about 11.15.

Tuesday, 11th March, 1919

Girls went off to school.  I had a very busy morning, fed the animals and made the drawing room tidy and nice and re-arranged the sofa by the fire for CA to lie on.  He came down in his dressing gown just before 11 and I settled him on the sofa and gave him an egg flip.  Major Astor came by the train, arriving at 11.22.  They spent an hour or so over papers and I gave them lunch in the drawing room.  Astor left by the 1.32 and Michael, Miss Walker and I    had ours and then I saw CA up to bed  for a good rest.  His temperature went up to 100 at night and he had a lot of pain in his brows owing to blockage in his nose.  He sat up for tea and I played a game of Halma with him afterwards and he settled to bed early, rather disappointed about his temperature.  Dr. Hilton came in the morning and gave him some stuffs for his nose etc., and a new tonic.

Wednesday, 12th March, 1919

Made CA’s room tidy early and he sat there in his dressing gown by the fire. Mr. Heseltine arrived about 10.30 and they did papers together. I took CA up his lunch and Mr. Heseltine came and had it with us and left about 2.15 in the car again.  CA’s temperature is normal and he seems greatly improved today though he is awfully weak.  Jessie is very seedy again with indigestion so is going to bed these days directly after dinner until morning.  Dr. Hilton decided today that CA might go up for a short time in the morning to his first Health Bill Committee if his temp. keeps normal.

Thursday, 13th March, 1919

The car came down about 9.30.  I got the hen food mixed and fed the hens, and got a bottle of hot milk, a hot bottle and rugs and brandy and we started to Town a little before 10, getting to the House of Commons about ten to eleven. We went straight to CA.’s room and lit the fire and I gave him two cups of hot milk and brandy  and he then went with Mr. Heseltine to the Committee – I sat by his fire and wrote a note to Dr. Macphail and then Miss White came over from the L.G.B. and sat with me and we gossipped thoroughly while I smoked. CA came out from his committee about 11.30 and had some more milk and brandy and we then started home in the car reaching Northwood about 2.30.  We had dinner and then CA went to bed and had a good sleep.  Jessie went to bed after I left for town in the morning and is to stay there until she is better, so I am going to do the cooking once more, I can’t say I like it!

Friday, 14th March, 1919

Busy in the kitchen all day more or less, cooking for the family, feeding Daddy between meals and Jessie every two hours. What a mercy Miss Walker is here to help and to laugh over things, and Dr. Macphail came down in the evening for the weekend.

Saturday, 15th March, 1919

Christopher had two friends down for the whole day.  Mr. Simmonds, otherwise Aubrey de Vere with an eyeglass came down to see CA and stayed to lunch.  He was a very  charming accommodating guest for I’m sure we were like a Sunday school treat, eleven of us in the dining room  and Mrs. Gurney, Elsie and Aubrey’s chauffeur in the kitchen and Jessie upstairs – fifteen people to feed.  But we got on famously and were  quite a merry party.

Monday, 17th March, 1919

Christopher left by the 7.59 as usual and Dr. Macphail and the girls after breakfast.  CA went up by the 9.56 as his car failed to come out for him.  He had his Health Committee and had to stay late in town but promised to rest a bit during the day.

Tuesday, 18th March, 1919

Dr Macphail came back this evening to stay the week.

Wednesday, 19thMarch, 1919

Dr. Macphail and Daddy both stayed at home today but it was a very wet day so they had to have chess instead of croquet.

Friday, 21st March, 1919

Jessie came down to cook the supper.  She is better but a bit weak and groggy still.

Sunday, 23rd March, 1919

Beastly cold, wet day.  The two men and Sonnie spent a good time sawing up wood – I spent the day in the house feeling rather rotten and seedy with a cold.  Jessie came down in time to cook the dinner today.

Monday,  24th March, 1919

Got up  just before 7 and made tea.  Got Christopher up, he was very good and punctual and had his breakfast and got off in good time in the pony trap.  Dr. Macphail went with the girls by the 8.50.  I felt very seedy all morning, a beastly cold and aching all over.  After lunch I went and had a hot bath and went to bed with a temp. of 99.6  CA got home about 8 .30.  Jessie began the regular cooking again but is going to rest after dinner every day for a bit.  She seems very well again only rather weak.

Tuesday, 25th March, 1919

I stayed in bed all day, very rotten.  Dr. Hilton came to see me.

Wednesday, 26th March, 1919

Got up after lunch today feeling much better.  Prepared and packed Michael’s and my clothes to go to Lincolnshire with CA tomorrow.  After tea found Miss Walker had a temperature of 102  and Katie 100, so Lincolnshire for me was off!  I unpacked and prepared to nurse two fresh invalids.

Sunday, 30th March, 1919

Summertime! It was nearly 8 when I woke this morning.  A hard frost during the night, very cold but bright sun.  After breakfast I fed the hens and Bel and Michael fed the rabbits. Then I proceeded to tidy the nursery balcony.  Got a barrow and bucket and spade and emptied all the earth out of the tomato boxes.  Bel and Michael emptied the buckets into the barrow when I lowered them over the balcony.  I wheeled away  4 barrow loads, swept the balcony and lit the nursery fire.  Miss Walker came and sat in the sun and Katie came down to dinner.  After dinner  I lit the drawing room fire and fed the pony and talked to Miss Walker for a bit. Wrote two postcards and read and rested.  Had tea.  About 6 Bel and Michael  and I walked out to look for Bess who has been away all day.  Went to the policeman about her.  Came in and put Michael and Bel to bed.  Had supper and sat and read again.  Locked up and came early to bed and had a hot bath which Kate had after me.  We all four slept in my room tonight.  Michael in my bed, Isobel in his and Kate in Daddy’s.

Monday, 31st March, 1919

Keen frost again last night but a bright and sunny morning.  We got breakfast about 8.45 and the girls fed the rabbits and hens while I got the laundry ready for B….  I then set my yellow poulet on 15 eggs.  She settled  beautifully in the coop on a very comfortable  nest up by the bantams’ run.  Katie went down to Mrs. Coates for French after lunch.  Miss White telephoned us in the morning telling us that Christopher was very well and had been very happy and had gone off to school all right in the morning.  CA got home from Lincolnshire about  4.30 and came here by the 7.14 Katie went down in the pony trap to meet him.  He looks much better and has had a very happy time evidently.  No news of dear old Bess but we keep communicating with the police.

Tuesday,  1st April,  1919

Kate and Isobel went off to school once more.

Wednesday, 30th April, 1919

Spent the morning over Christopher’s things and got them all packed.  He went down to Northwood to have his hair cut.  I took the three big ones to Hampstead by the 2.28 and we did some shopping, chiefly things for Sonnie.  Had tea at Stewarts and got a taxi to Golders Green and I left him safely and quite cheerfully at Mrs. Sutcliffe’s. The taxi took the girls and me back to Finchley Road and we trained to Harrow and had to wait half an hour for a train to Northwood and didn’t get home until a quarter to 8.