Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thursday 16 August 1945, Marks Hall

My darling Margaret,
                             If my writing is a little wobbly, it's because the pad is resting on my knee and not on a table. It is such a marvellous morning that I am sitting outside the shack and have been enjoying the prospect. I don't think I ever saw a countryside looking so rich: all the grain is cut now and the stooks are very pleasant in form and colour, even to one who odes not usually indulge in rural rhapsodies.

                             Your letter of Sunday/Monday reached me on Tuesday morning. I am very sorry to hear that your heartburn is increasing. Have you mentioned it again to Kate or do you think it is the natural result of the ever-increasing demands on your internal accommodation? Anyway, as you say, the time of your relief is not too far away now but I'm sorry you have had this affliction for so long. I had it one day last week after a particularly devastating dinner of roast pork and stuffing, and the pain made me realise just what you have endured.

                            I was on duty when the P.M. announced the surrender of Japan so I saw the beginning of the celebrations which have been going on in this place ever since. People have gone mad here, chiefly I suppose because the threat of an overseas posting is now removed from most of them. Griffiths and I had rather a strenuous night of celebrations which took us from the Officers' Mess to the Sergeants', and thence to the Airmen's Dining Hall where a kind of mass dance was in progress. It was 3am when I got to bed and I think most people are feeling rather glad this morning that a was does not finish every day.

                           I don't think I told you in my last letter how much I enjoyed Blithe Spirit. I'm afraid the brilliant dialogue was wasted on the audience who seemed to be concentrating almost entirely on the beauty of the technicolour. Some of the interiors were excellent in this respect and Constance Cummings photographs better in colour than anyone I've seen on the screen. Kay Hammond was brilliant as the ghostly Elvira: I don't know if she could act in anything else but Coward's female parts are simply made for her. But as I said before, many of her most beautiful remarks simply did not register. Cinema audiences are so accustomed to putting their rapt souls into their eyes that they can spare little attention for any dialogue more complicated than the normal American stuff.

                        The part of the medium was played with terrific bravura by Margt. Rutherford who was in the original play but has never been in films before. In her spasmodic and quite irrelevant intensity she reminded me of that old infant mistress you had in Wellfield.

                       I'll be able to get the VJ days added to my next leave which will bring it up to almost a fortnight. Roughly what dates do you think I should try for? If you intend to be punctual I should like to be present for the event and walk up and down outside the door in the recognised fashion. I might even faint if your nurses are sufficiently attractive!

                      Sweetheart, I'm longing to be with you for always and it shouldn't be too long now before we are finished with this business of separation. Our life together fills all my thoughts of the future, even though I'll no longer be able to claim all your attention!


Note: Some of these links are fascinating: there's a trailer for Blithe Spirit on YouTube and photos of schools in the north of Glasgow at various times in their history.

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