Friday, February 11, 2011

Tuesday 20 February 1945, Colchester

My dear
             This is my morning off so for a change I am writing in my own time. I am looking forward to receiving a letter from you today but if I wait till it arrives before finishing this I'll miss today's outgoing mail. So perhaps you'll excuse another letter with very little "substance" in it.

             I was sorry to be so late phoning last Sunday. I was on duty during the evening and got involved in some work just as I was leaving. The line was very good and I heard your voice better tan ever. It is painful news that you are still feeling bad in the mornings though I don't suppose that we could reasonably expect you to be exempt from a universal complaint. Perhaps Kate [Dr Kate Harrower] will be able to indicate the time when you can expect relief from that uncomfortable phase of your present enterprise. I feel it is all wrong that I should not be enduring some pain or discomfort also. But short of inducing a series of regular hangovers I am afraid I can only offer you sincere but ignorant and helpless sympathy.

           ....The milder weather [has come] and it is most pleasant just now and quite unseasonably warm. I sat yesterday evening at the door of my hut and watched a lovely delicate sunset while he birds were shouting their heads off. We cannot hope that this is spring just yet by it is very pleasant after the horrors of January.

             The more I think of my last two leaves the more do I realise how marvellous it will be to come home for good. The bondage of Glasgow Corporation may be chafing at times but at least it does not lie on one day and night, and it leaves home life unaffected. I'm longing to get back to an orgy of domesticity - painting, whitewashing, refurnishing and generally making a new start in our life together. I am sorry we won't be able to move at once to the kind of house you would like* but we'll have lots of fun refurbishing our present home. This second start is going to be even more exciting and enjoyable than the first.

            Meanwhile I am patiently enduring a life of matchless dullness and monotony. It is really worse than the desert where there was always a war at hand and the exigencies of mere existence. However I count the weeks - only ten of them now till my next leave and a good prospect that Germany many be smashed during that time.

           I've at last written to Blakeney. I'm afraid my letter was too facetious to be of much help in his moral dilemma but probably the latter has resolved itself one way or the other. His next letter should be rather amusing.

          I'm dipping into the Impressions of Engl. Lit. with great enjoyment. It's a grand book for odd minutes. Some of the writers are violently prejudiced (eg Graham Greene dismisses Shaw in one slighting sentence) but interesting for all that. And the pictures are lovely.

          Lunch is beginning to call me insistently and with it the prospect of your letter. Receiving one means as much to me as ever it did in foreign parts. I'll be very interested to hear at the end of this week what Kate's verdict is. Meanwhile continue to keep a very watchful eye on your own health and comfort. Give my regards to all at 155 [Hyndland Road, home of his in-laws] and take a big hug (administered with due regard to your condition) to your own sweet self. ...

*It was in fact ten years after the war that they bought their own house in Broomhill, in which Margaret Findlay lived till the age of 92. Until then, they continued to rent a top flat in Novar Drive, Hyndland.

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