Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday 8th October 1942

We are still at the Base! For two days we have waited, without impatience, doing nothing, and attending no parades except for roll call. They were expecting a 104th lorry to come and collect us all; but today they have been informed that the Regiment has now returned to the Western Desert and we must all wait for an ordinary WD draft. That's alright; but meanwhile our names have all been entered on a Troop roll... This was not so before. Now, we must attend all parades – there's about six a day – and perform footling duties (like collecting stones into heaps) or else be reported absent.

Of course, with skill, it may still be possible to do a good deal of dodging...
If I'd gone straight back to the blue after that last evening in Cairo, I'd have gone enthusiastically. After being decently treated for awhile, and full of the keen-ness which is natural after an interesting and refreshing Course, it is depressing to have all enthusiasm beaten out of you, insidiously, in the way they have at the Base. It is a college for discontent and mutinous feelings. One might imagine that this base Depot was run by a squad of fifth columnists, bent on destroying our morale.

Tonight, a zift, dusty wind is blowing. Bob and I have come to the Beacon. Last night also, we came here – and “escaped” most excellently, for we talked in turn for two hours of long-ago romances and quite forgot the draft and the Base and the war!


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