Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friday 16 March 1945, Marks Hall

Colchester (Wikimedia Commons)

                 I have had no letters since I wrote last but your most welcome parcel of books arrived on Wednesday. The wrapping looked as if someone had opened it a little to examine the contents but thanks to the general standard of illiteracy, books never provoke theft. I am delighted with the titles, especially the two Pelicans. I have the time here to do some instructive non-fictional reading and I think it is a good thing to have some books that one must read carefully and slowly, as and antidote for the vertigo which is produced by the too rapid reading of many novels in quick succession.

               I am confidently expecting a letter from you by today's midday post. However, by that time, this will be on its way so that it may arrive at Hyndland Rd. on Monday morning.

               On Wednesday I spent the whole day in Colchester, in the company of another cypher type called Griffiths. The weather was astonishing for this time of year and the town had quite a summer aspect. I saw it more fully this time and formed a different opinion of it. It is very much the county town with fine shops and plenty of elegant cafes and hotels all decorated in the traditional timbered style. Lunch, tea, dinner and several drinks gave me a fair idea of the expensive way in which the average officer passes his time at home. I couldn't afford to do it often, but as a treat it is very pleasant to have different food nicely cooked and served, and above all to get away from the deadly monotony of the Mess for a time.

              We spent the afternoon in a picture house - Carmen Miranda in Greenwich Village. It was appalling. They don't seem to make good films nowadays. Certainly the formula on which this one was made up lost its potency years ago. I envy you all those films you have been seeing at the Cosmo and hope they may come again sometime when we can go together.

           The day's wandering around Colchester and the walk into Coggeshall in the morning to catch the bus to that town together made up the most severe test I have given myself as yet and I am glad to say it did not worry me at all. I am very glad to be rid of that attack [of sciatica] and hope that the next time I see you I won't be a moaning cripple.

            Today our wonderful spell of weather has broken and we are having blustery showers of rain with faint spells of sunshine in between. However it is good March weather and the wind is not at all cold. All I hope is that you get good weather for Fintry. By the way, let me know later the dates of your stay there and I'll send my letters direct.

            I am hoping that your next letter will tell of a continued improvement in your health. I hope your mother is exercising to the full her well-known ability as a boss to make you take things very easy. Tell her she has my full approval and can add the mite of my authority to her own formidable store. I'd love to be fussing around you at present but since that is not possible, all I can do is to repeat my probably tiresome injunctions to take care of yourself. ...

           Regards to everyone. If your Pop wants more fags, you know where they are stored.


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