Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday 16th March 1944

All day “off.” Odd jobs in the morning, and at midday I went up to Town and met Father at Waterloo. He was passing through London on his way back to duty, after a leave in Devon. After seeing him off at Victoria at 3:35p.m., I felt hungry and went into an ABC cafe (feeling nice and clean for once, as I'd had a bath at Waterloo whilst waiting for the old man).

It was a cafeteria actually. When I reached the cash desk with a substantial first course of various savouries, the girl said, “1/4d please.” I gave her half a crown and received two shillings in change! I looked at her in doubt and she waved me on with a smile. After I'd finished that tray full (with the assistance of “Nicholas Nickleby”) I queued again for cakes and tea, asking a middle aged woman at an adjacent table to keep an eye on my coat and cap. This time I took three cakes and a cup of tea and paid half a crown. My change was a two shilling piece and a sixpence. “Are you in the artillery, too?” I asked “Cash”, seeing now that she wore a gun brooch. “Someone else is!” she replied.

When I returned to my table the middle aged woman nodded, smiled, and walked off. She had been waiting for my return before she went, just in case someone should casr envious eyes upon my coat or cap.

The ordinary people of England are so kind to us, in many little ways like this. The Government treats us like animals and under-pays us; but England's ordinary little people do their best to make up for it, bless them!

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