Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Not so good yesterday. There was a Big Inspection by a Brigadier and Other Great Men. At the crucial point of the show they all stood around me, gazing at me as though I was some sort of a prize calf at the market.

“How are you?” beamed the greatest of the Great Men. “Alright, alright,” I snapped! Other fatuous questions followed, and I eventually remarked to the Major i/c this Centre, “I don't like inspections, sir.” “Eh? What's that?” he demanded in amazement. I said, “I don't like inspections!” I replied more distinctly. At this they ceased baiting me, and all bustled away.

“Congratulations on your self control, old man!” chuckled William, “I felt sure you would lash out at them! You stuck it well!”

John Store has been acting very queerly since his last interview with the MO, over a week ago. He's utterly changed, not recognisable as the same man. He seems quite lost; it is as though his mind is disintegrating and he's too apathetic to help himself.

This afternoon I went down to the Italian prison camp for a hair cut and lingered on, in conversation with some of the prisoners, whilst I smoked a pipe of “Four Square.” They didn't understand English, but we struggled along with French. I know twice or three times as much French as Arabic but can use Arabic much more readily. I told my views on the British Army and for once, was not considered mad in consequence! Naturally – they were Italians! (One had fought opposite my sector, at El Alamein.)

“Guerro – bien! Mais la discipline est mauvaise! Je ne suis pas un cochon.”

My opinions were matter for amused interest, not pity this time. But I couldn't agree that Benito Mussolini was a good fellow; we differed there.

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