Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday 12th October 1941

“Russians slow down Nazi offensive” “Situation better but still dangerous” “Hitler throws everything into drive for Moscow, regardless of loss” “No air activity over Britain”

I'm still at El Arish and the war seems far away.. We swim – although the weather's been rather cool, the last few days – and read a bit, and generally doze in the afternoons. In the evenings there is a cinema – the worst and crudest cinema I've seen in the Middle East.

Oh, last night I was in the canteen and wanted a glass for some lemonade. “Finished with your glass, old boy?” I asked a bloke. He handed me the empty glass and delivered a torrent of French (I knew it was French because he ended with “M'sieu:) I couldn't let him get away with that so I used about 24% of my German vocabulary, thinking he'd be shaken. “Danke, mein Herr,” I said with gracefulness. To my horror he leaned forward eagerly. “AH! Spechen die Deutsche?” he cried, getting ready to make a long speech. “Ja!” I exclaimed, “Ja!” and hastily disappeared in the crowd around the bar.

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