Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday 26th November 1939

Starshine 1939

The two days leave at home with the family (Father in naval uniform!) made me feel refreshed and no longer fed-up. Caught the 3p.m. train at St. Pancras with about ten minutes to spare and found a seat in a not-too-crowded Pullman coach. Later on I walked down the train to the tea wagon. There were many soldiers on the train and quite a few, like myself, wore breeches, puttees and spurs (now an unusual sight). The train was going towards the Cavalry concentration area!

Reached Trent at 6 o’clock, changed and reached Nottingham at 6:30p.m. Two hours to wait, so I went out into the town and was directed to a café for supper. Nice to be in Nottingham streets again, familiar yet strange, bathed in the brilliant moon’s light. Found the Hi Hat Café in Pelham Street. A snug little place, where I had egg, chips, bread and butter, and coffee whilst I read a book. Oh yes! The Richard Keverne mystery thriller I’d brought (something about Fleet Hall, a weird mansion on the East Coast) contributed greatly to the pleasantness of the journey.

After a slow journey in a crowded train I got out at Fiskerton – a station seemingly miles from anywhere in a desert of moonlit fields – at 9 o’clock and walked the two miles to Southwell. I was with four soldiers. (During the weekend I’d met many khaki travelling companions – ships that passed in the night…) A pleasant walk through a very silent countryside, our boots ringing on the hard road. A rough wind; and that great moon. Everything seemed unreal and deserted, as though it were terribly late at night. Yet I was back at billets by 10 o’clock!

So! Starshine begins with moonlight!

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