Thursday, September 04, 2008

Saturday 2nd November 1940

A half holiday today! I took some clothes down to the beach and did a bit of laundry. Used sea soap but it didn't seem to produce much of a lather. The sea was very rough; I didn't go in as I've a few desert sores again. (Every little cut or graze becomes septic now) Once I could have written a page about the glory of the elemental waves hurling themselves at the rocks – but the only loveliness I know now is the loveliness of sleep and cleanliness and comfort, because these things are rare.

No bright, starlit nights lately. Heavy clouds moving fast instead. Reckon there might be rain soon. It's cold and dusty and windy in the evenings; grand to get into the warm, windless, candlelit exchange dugout, where I am at the present.

After tea (the usual stew) I lounged in the lee of a scrub hedge, talking to old Brandon (who “took out” the girl at-the-window, at Southwell) about what a mish-qwise country this was. It was twilight – that very brief dusk – and I lay down for a moment to light my pipe. As I took the first few puffs of Afrikander I heard the drear evening wind swishing in the scrub hedge beside me; and for a delicious moment it might have been the night wind whistling in an English thorn hedge. Then I got up and walked across to the refuse pit with Brandon and emptied away the uneatable and dust-grimed meat in my mess tin.

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