Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Saturday 17th January 1942

Packing to make the return journey now. It's ended – alas! - our leave!
Yesterday Jack took me to Bethlehem, a pretty little village outside Jerusalem. The native touts were a nuisance. (“Yes. George! Please! Come here! You want to see Church of the Nativity?”) We went to the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. In both was the intoxicating smell of incense. We climbed to the Greek belfry and from there I photographed the RC bells. They are the “bells of Bethlehem” that ring at Christmas, for the Greek Christmas is several days later – January 6th.

In Jerusalem – after much cream and coffee at the Viennese Tea Rooms again! - I collected some of my photographs of the Jordan Valley. The photographer said they were a very good set, and they certainly were pleasing. The hill and rock scenes were especially good; there were many pictures of “Shangri-la” from various angles – the sky above and the depths beneath.

Glum journey back to Sarafend. It was the Jewish Sabbath so there was no Yehudi bus service to Tel-Aviv and our return tickets were wasted. There was no prospect of a matinee in Tel-Aviv (Yehudi town) either so we eventually came back on an Arab bus, in high wind and rain squalls. The bus took us within a mile of the camp; we walked the rest.

Eventually we were glad that we'd returned so early in the afternoon as there was much to do, abodes to be found, kit to be discovered and sorted out and mail to be read. Things were somewhat chaotic at Sarafend as 414 had all moved out suddenly, back to Egypt. (rather grim, that!)

My mail, though small, was interesting. Robin is trying to get in the RAF (I hope that idea is thoroughly discouraged!) and Richard is on a new ship, presumably a destroyer, and serving in the Med.

But the loveliest letter, was of course, one from the loveliest!

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