Category Archives: Cambridge

Seven more days from Nellie Lant’s Diary – 22nd to 28th May 1919

The heat continues to provide a challenge but at least the clouds are giving a suggestion of rain.  As this week moves on more and more flowers come into full bloom.

Thursday May 22nd – As one looks at the crops, their first thought is how parched they seem, and wishes for rain.  The weather is very dull and the sky looks full of storm clouds.

Friday May 23rd – At last the long looked for event has happened.  We had a storm. It was fairly general, and did a lot of good.  The flowers and trees have lost their parched look and seem fresh again.

Saturday May 24th – The day has been very hot and sultry, there being very little wind, rain wanted again very badly.

Sunday May 25th – Weather much colder, a gentle refreshing rain fell all day and did a great deal of good.

Monday May 26th – It still continues cold but fine.  The Oak trees are in leaf and the Sycamore trees are in blossom.

Tuesday May 27th – Weather much warmer; I saw some beautiful Clover & Speedwell growing in a field, and a most gorgeous bed of Rhododendrons.

Wednesday May 28th – Weather about the same; Roses & Iris’s in flower.

Nellie’s Nature Diary Project is coming towards its end – just three more days to come.  I wonder how the weather of our month of May will have compared to Nellie’s.

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Nellie Lant’s Nature Diary for 15th to 21st May 1919

What Nellie is seing and commenting on this week are some changing weather conditions. Thursday is hot and windy while Sunday is dull with strong cold winds. On Wednesday she gives us her first extended description of two trees.

Thursday May 15th – Weather very hot, strong warm wind. Horse Chest Nut trees one mass of blossom.

Friday May 16th  – Wind in the South-East, weather fine all day, but rained in the evening.

Saturday May 17th – Weather a trifle colder, rather a strong South East wind blowing.  Tulips in flower.

Sunday May 18th – Weather rather dull, much inclined to rain, cold strong wind blowing.

Monday May 19th – Wind in the North-East; weather very fine.  Elm trees are in full leaf.

Tuesday May 20th – Weather very fine; warm wind blowing.  Everywhere seems lovely.  The majority of flowers are in bloom, as though to welcome the Spring.

Wednesday May 21st – As I was walking today, I saw a huge Horse Chestnut tree covered with red blossom & by the side of it there was a Laburnum tree, one mass of yellow.  I was greatly charmed by the beautiful contrast of colour there was also something more, beside the contrast of colour, there was such a difference in size.  It seemed to me as though the Horse Chest Nut tree was put there to guard the Laburnum, it looked so strong and big.

Nellie Lant’s Nature Diary for 8th to 14th May 1919

Last week we had a couple of days with winds from the North with the rest coming from the South.     This week the wind is coming from a warm southerly direction and nature, as a result, begins to respond as Nellie’s notes recall….

Thursday May 8th: South East wind. Fields one mass of gold, being covered with Cowslips.

Friday May 9th: Wind in the South.  Horse Chestnut trees in full leaf and beginning to blossom.

Saturday May 10th: Warm south wind. Weather very fine. Pear trees in blossom.

Sunday May 11th: Very strong wind, weather warm. Cuckoo flowers & Clover in full flower.

Monday May 12th: Soft wind, weather fine but dull.  Willow trees one mass of yellow catkins.

Tuesday May 13th: Weather very fine and warm, soft wind in the southern quarter.

Wednesday May 14th: Wind in the South East. Lilac and Laburnum in full flower.

Do you have a Nature or Weather Diary?  If you have I’d love to ‘hear’ what it’s like in your location – and post the weather report on a blog.  If you hav’nt got one – why not start one?  I have started one and will post it this coming week-end – I hope!

Nellie Lant’s Nature Diary, 1st May 1919

The war – and school – is over and Nellie is now a member of the 4th Cambridge Girl Guides. As with the other stories of Nellie I have told, I have a copy of her Nature Diary for May 1919.  First of all I was going to post it day by day – then I changed my mind to week by week – and that’s what I am going to do. The first two days of her diary are above – and included in the notes below..
May 1st 1919 was a Thursday – so that’s the day I’m going to start each 7 days of Nellie’s reports.  Nellie’s reports are quite brief but, as the days pass by, nature’s world changes – and Nellie notes those changes.

Thursday May 1st: Weather changeable, wind chiefly in the South, very gusty and strong.

Friday May 2nd: Strong north-west wind, but died down later in the day.  Cherry and Plum trees just blossoming.

Saturday May 3rd: Warm southern wind.  Witch Elm trees just losing their seeds and beginning to bud.

Sunday May 4th: Calm south east wind, very warm.  Lilac coming out in bud.

Monday May 5th: South east wind.  Blackthorn in flower.  [The technical name for this plant is Prunus spinose – the name “blackthorn” is due to the thorny nature of the shrub, and it’s very dark bark.   The word commonly used for the fruit is “sloe”.]

Tuesday May 6th: North East wind.  Hedges all white with May blossom.

Wednesday May 7th: South East wind.  I heard the Cuckoo for the first time.  A Pheasant and a Hare ran across our path.

Same time – same place – next week for report two.

Nellie at Higher Grade Girls’ School, Cambridge

Back in 2002 I was a part-time tutor for the Worker’s Education Association and, after one series of talks, one of my audiences kindly allowed me to copy some essays written by her mother. I felt they were worth publication and was given a freedom to proceed providing accreditation was given to her mother who would be 100 on 4th August 2002.  I was very happy to agree with that.  Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned from my end and the world never had a chance to read some of the writings of Nelly Gladys Lant age 15. Fortunately I kept those photocopies the family kindly gave me.  A lot has happened since then – but I still have Nellie’s writing, it doesn’t age even if mine does!  We’ll be picking up bits of Nellie’s life in school in the next few weeks but to start with let’s have a look at her term report of 31st March 1916.

Nellie Lant is in class IV – and is one of a class of 54. She has been absent twice during the term but has never been late.  She has been marked on 18 different subjects in class – one of which is homework! Three of the class subjects – Composition, Arithmetic and Algebra – have also undergone examination as has the non-class test of Dictation.  Shorthand, Typewriting and Book Keeping are on the sheet but do not appear to be part of this term’s work.
Her marks are good and her Class Mistress remarks: ‘Nellie again deserves prais for her steady managing of cooking.’  She is registered as: Position 6   Exam 15   Class 7

Beneath all of this is the notice that:- ‘The next Term begins on May 1st when every girl is expected to be present.  No one is permitted to absent herself at any time unless she is ill.

We’ll learn more about Nellie in the weeks to come.