Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wednesday 14 February 1945, Colchester

My darling
                  Back once again in my little tin hut. It is a heavy change after nine glorious days (and nights) of happiness and enjoyment but I expect I'll soon get accustomed to my bondage again. [Presumably the hoped-for leave had materialised successfully]

                  My journey was very pleasant. The train was late and did not get into London till after nine o'clock. If I had been sitting in cramped misery that would have been most trying for me but as it was, it simply meant a nice long sleep. I had breakfast in Euston and then decided to take the 11.10 from Liverpool Street. This got me to Kelvedon at 12.45 and on emerging from the station I found the same taxi that took me to the station 10 days ago. The driver looked as if he had been slumbering there ever since and in this somnolent neighbourhood I believe such a thing is quite possible. This providential taxi enabled me to get to the Mess in time for lunch.

                 Your food was very welcome. I ate all the sandwiches and cake but not the biscuits. However the latter will keep and will be very welcome for the odd spasm of hunger during the day.

                 Today is simply glorious and at midday it was really summerlike. I hope you had the same kind of weather in Glasgow. The past week has been very wet here, I'm told, and they had one very heavy fall of wet snow while I was away. I hope it stays mild and fair now for though weather doesn't really matter at all on leave, it makes a great difference to one's spirits and comfort under our present conditions.

                  During my absence thick linoleum has been laid on the concrete floor of our hut so the place is much less prison-like. It still looks rather grim after our lovely drawing room and the camp armchair I'm sitting on is a miserable substitute for the armchairs I've recently been lolling in. However I'll get used to these changes.

                 Davis, one of my hut mates, has just bought a bicycle and is at present exploring the country on it. I might feel tempted to follow his example except for the fact that at bike would be utterly useless to me later on.

                 The feel of my stubbly chin reminds me that I must shave before dinner. I'll post this tonight in the hope that you will get it on Saturday. I hope your return to school wasn't too distasteful.* At any rate you have not much longer to go in that arduous profession. Take all possible care of yourself ...

* Did teachers, I wonder, get time off work if their husband was home on leave? It sounds like it. And although his wife did indeed give up teaching for some years, she returned to the job in the late'50s and went on teaching primary children till she was 65.



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