Monday, January 19, 2009

Thursday 16th December 1943

5p.m. The land (doubtless it's Algeria at this point) continues dimly in sight on the port side. Otherwise nothing worth mentioning has happened since yesterday, except that the weather – or climate! - is becoming appreciably colder. We were not allowed on deck today; it was the turn of the PP patients. The sea is wind-whipped into whitecaps but the ship does not roll noticeably.

7p.m. William and I lay awkwardly on a narrow wall-ledge sort of thing, and managed to stick our heads out of adjacent potholes – a forbidden practice. It seemed very lonely and finely different out there, for as soon as one's head went through the porthole, the dreary human racket of the ward was cut off and one could only hear the roaring of the wind and the clamour of the sea.

Sometimes, as the stem dipped, a great wave coming in hit the bow-wave so that a wall of spray leapt up almost into our faces. Always our ears were filled with the roaring, rushing, swishing sea-sounds. One could imagine oneself quite aloof from the ship, for one only saw it's cold, blank, wet side. Hanging thus above the water, William and I saw what may (if we reach Gib. tomorrow) be our last Mediterranean sunset. As it touched the horizon, the sun made the grey-blue waves toss up reddish spray.

Afterwards we pulled our heads inside again. The sea noises were muffled to an uneasy rustling and the human shouting, arguing and laughter shot up from zero to the usual high pitch.

Discovery! Since I left the country of khamsin and zift, dusty wind, I have lost my dislike of winds!


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