Monday, January 05, 2009

Tuesday 11th May 1943

The supply of cigarettes has given out. For the past few days we've been living on our ration (50 “V” for Victory per week, distributed in 10's and 5's each day) plus what we had in hand before the local canteens ceased to sell cigarettes. The shortage will probably do me good; in any case it can't be worse than Tobruch in 1941.

From yesterday evening until 1p.m. today, I didn't smoke a single death tube. (Several pipes, of course!) Since I became so nervous I have smoked a terrific number of cigarettes, but have neglected my pipe a bit. Today, after dinner I received an issue of 10, and subsequently I bought 5 from Seinukas, the sad little, fair-haired Lithuanian; and received a present of 10 from Hamad. Unfortunately Hamad wouldn't let me pay, which seems wrong in the present circumstances.

A quiet walk around the groves this forenoon, with Hamad and Corporal Lias. For some time we sat among daisies in a paddock enclosed by orange trees on three sides and a flowering hedge on the forth. We talked to Arab children, and gazed sleepily at the five sheep, one donkey, four cows and one calf who were grazing.

(“... time to stand beneath the boughs, And stare as long as sheep and cows...”)

This afternoon there is “no time to stand and stare” though, for tomorrow there is another Big Inspection. My locker must be scrubbed, my buttons and eating utensils polished and the linen store and canteen must be tidied, swept and washed...

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