Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunday 28th April 1940

Ron, Sidney and I walked to the “Snakes Pit” after lunch (Jack of course is still away and Stan, somehow, seems less of a snake than hitherto. He is a trifle “shaky” about going to the distant snakes pit for swimming, as we are supposed to use the scheduled bathing place at the stated times and as ordered.)

Podgie paddled along happily at the waters edge, looking for crabs and what not. Ron and I walked together, puffing at pipes and discussing our likely reactions to the battle in which we must inevitably take part one of these days. I think we shall be drafted back to England this summer and then, in due course, move to the theatre of operations, perhaps in Norway.

Once I discovered myself whistling a silly little tune, “By a Waterfall” and Oh! Memory flew back across the summers, to Surrey and the Thames Valley. Dearest places and most golden memories! The sweet summers since I was twenty – the best of my life!

“Four things come not back to man or woman… the past life…” How tragically true! The hot oil in the making house; the parlour of Thorpe’s “Red Lion”, Peggy in a hundred places; Gwyneth Elaine, John, Dick Young, Mad Willie; Kapai, Riverside, Egham; The Causeway ‘twixt Staines and Egham; Diana; the two glorious Pageants, Langley and Runnymede with their music, sunshine… Gone! Essex and all that made Essex lovely is fast slipping away. But Surrey and the Thames Valley as I knew it, from Chertsey to Windsor, is already gone.

As I lie nowadays, right across the doorway of the tent, it is almost like sleeping underneath the stars, for their silvery screen stretches all above and around me.
Only my white sand fly net seems to separate me from the stars.


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