Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday 31st May 1940

A fresh stage in our riding was reached today, when we practised leaping in and out of the saddle. When standing still, one grasps the arch of the saddle and the reins, with both hands. Then you crouch, head low, swing the right leg forward – back! - and follow it up onto the horses back! Good heavens! I thought, when told to do this. But at the second attempt I found myself sprawling up top and soon wriggled forward into the saddle. There-after, this exercise seemed quite easy. Next, however, we had to trot in a circle (without stirrups) and leap off and on again, in turn. Really, this sort of thing seemed to savour of Cossack and circus artiste. Nevertheless, nearly all of us were able, eventually, to perform even this “unbelievable evolution”.

Practice black-out tonight, from 7:45 to 8:45p.m. (Oh alas! Has that grim ogre of English nights overtaken us? Will it, even here, be farewell to the lights?)

Went to bed with gloomy thoughts of the morrow. The clocks had to go forward so we lost an hour's sleep. Reveille 5:30, Riding 5:45, Breakfast God knows when, First Parade (washed, shaved and correctly dressed in shorts and puttees) at 8:10a.m. After parade, change into canvas (third change since reveille!) and stand to kits for inspection. Kits to be stacked in a pukka way of course, by this time.

How can we do it?


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