Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday 16 January, 1945, Earls Colne:evening

             Your letter of last Friday came on Monday just after I had posted a letter to you. I was delighted to get it and hear of all the interesting things you are doing. My life here is very dull and uneventful. At its best it produces a kind of boring calm, but that is poor matter for letter writing. I eat, sleep, work and read and absolutely nothing else. I have not been out of the camp with the exception of that one visit to Coggeshall. But I am quite contented to contemplate the passing of time and hope that it won't be too long before I see you.

              One of the officers in my hut is turning out quite an interesting character. He is just home from Canada and has brought home many interesting things including an edition of the 'Moon and Sixpence' illustrated, or rather adorned, with thirty of Gaugin's pictures. He also brought back many fine prints of old masters including a gigantic one over six feet hight of Peter Brughel's* famous winter scene. The latter he carried all over Canada in a huge cardboard container but now that he has got it safely home, he wonders where he can find a wall to sustain it. Incidentally, how would you like a print of Brueghel's* harvest scene in our dining room? The jolly little man (in the bottom right corner if I remember correctly) lying sound asleep with his mouth open would be a grand inspiration for me after one of your excellent meals. We must inquire with Mr Annan next time I'm home.

              * How do you spell the bastard's name?  

              And talking of home, I want you to keep me accurately informed of the goings and comings of the  painters. If I should get the chance in the future of a brief spell at home I want to have up-to-date information about the decorators so that my visit does not clash with theirs. So let me have the information for my tablets please.

              From the news tonight, it really looks as if the Russians are putting on another major offensive. It is possible that the war might finish sooner that we thought at one time. It can't be too soon for me.

              A very senior officer here who was in the Western Desert at one time came up to me in the bar and wanted to know where he had met me before. As I had very little contact with him in the old days this is an awful tribute to my pan's unforgettable qualities.

              Dearest, when I began this letter I hoped to be free from interruption for a time but people have kept bobbing in every few lines with the result, I fear, that the whole thing is completely disjointed. So I am going to give it up, as I feel it will never make a decent letter anyway. However I'll post it tomorrow morning and hope you will read it with a charitable eye.  ...

              Goodnight, darling.


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