Monday, August 1, 2011

Wednesday 1 August 1945, Marks Hall

My darling girl,
                        Your plethora of corn plasters arrived today to my great and immediate relief. I had forgotten about the medicated variety which should enable me to get rid of the painful excrescence in a few days. Thanks very much for your promptness in actioning my request.

                         Your Sunday's letter, written after the phone call, got here yesterday morning which is quite speedy work. I am puzzled to know what you mean exactly by dismissing a brand of religion as being "too full of sweetness and light". Am I to understand that you dote on Calvinistic gloom or the wrathful mutterings of an Old Testament Jehovah? Or was the Welsh professor simply regarding the world through the usual ecclesiastical blinkers?

                       Yesterday I spent an afternoon at the coast - at Clacton and at a little place to the North of it called Holland-on-Sea. Our intention had been to bathe but though my two companions braved it, the leaden grey sea and the cold wind daunted me completely. For the past three years, bathing has been a pleasure that required no Spartan initiation and I just can't face the prospect of the icy paralysis and chattering teeth which are associated with the pastime in this country. I'll wait till I have you to shame me into it.

              What a dismal coast it is. Prestwick, Troon, Helensburgh and all our less esteemed resorts are queenly in comparison: of course the relics of coastal fortifications, the dilapidated entertainment buildings and the large gap in Clacton pier don't increase the impression of jollity. It was a real East coast day with very feeble sunshine and altogether I never saw a more miserable collection of holidaymakers. And it was for this that they stood in all night queues in London stations and paid the exorbitant boarding house charges.

              On our way back we stopped at a tearoom run by an old dame with sentimental leanings to the R.A.F. who gave three of us a magnificent tea in the garden at an all-in charge of 4/2d. It was a pleasant outing and I take any opportunity that's going of getting out of Marks Hall for a few hours.

             I am filling my days with routine work at my own job, occasional dull E.V.T*. lectures, reading history, and summarising bits of Whitehead's book Adventures of Ideas. This is very heavy going but it has some very useful stuff in it. And of course we all do daily speculation drill on the probable date of our release.

            I had a composite dream last night in which some sequences showed me back at school again and other featured you dandling a very respectable infant (a boy as far as I could see!), so future time seems to be pressing heavily on my spacio-temporal subconsciousness. Let us hope such bliss is just around the next fourth-dimensional corner.

            It is to be hoped the weather at HIllfoot is warmer than we are having now or you won't do much lounging out of doors. Judging by your list of intending visitors you are not going to be lonely at all events. I wish I was one of them, but I am better to wait until I can see what you have been hiding sub-smock. As a result of my dream, I think you had better sound the family on their reactions to the use of Stewart as a Christian name! [Stewart was M.F.'s maiden name]

          Look after yourself darling and take a big hug from me - with no unkindly emphasis on the big ...

* The only explanation that I can find of the acronym E.V.T. is that it stands for the Finnish phrase meaning "How am I supposed to know...?"


  1. E.V.T. = Educational and Vocational Training

  2. How very much more sensible! Thank you ...