Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Saturday 24th July 1937

Up 6:30. Cold and windy. Had a good wash; shaved in the tent – a mirror lashed to the pole and my utensils neatly arranged on the UB2 boxes. Put on fatigues (but not boots!) and reached the main camp about 15 minutes before breakfast. Sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, followed by bread and margarine. Meals are improving.

The bugle sounded for parade as I left the camp. I paused in a fold of the ground, lit a cigarette and strolled on in a leisurely fashion, thinking I was bloody lucky.
Allen returns home tomorrow. His replacement arrived this afternoon – a somewhat unintelligent youth named Stock. Allen went to Taunton, presumably for one last binge.

I went for a stroll along the coast, leaving Stock in the stores tent. Silent, puffing a pipe, beside the sea, below the cliffs. A beach strewn with seaweed, rock and slate. Four men from the 164th overtook me and we all ambled along to St. Audries Bay. Exciting scramble around a towering cliff, with every other wave splashing against the base. Later, a man told us that a whole family had been drowned there recently, in similar circumstances!

In the gathering dusk, we climbed the cliffs. A bat fluttered past my ear as I led the way. At the top, we found ourselves in private grounds, so slunk along through a wood and across fields at the edge of the cliffs. Reached camp 10:30. Felt beastly hungry, so walked along to the Civilian. Closed of course, but Mrs Taverner – God bless her! – gave me a pie and hot coffee, also a bar of chocolate.

It is now past midnight. Guess I’ll turn in.


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