Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday 31st August 1943

I am writing this in the dining hall (we eat here of course, within the compound) and it is almost windless and quiet except for a Jewish idiot who is declaiming Hebrew from a book, as noisily as possible.

Yesterday I paced up and down 10 furlongs; today the same. I feel much better now and un-apprehensive, in fact I feel as fit as I did before I came to this terrible hospital. Last night the MO said, “Alright? Do you like it in this ward?” “Oh yes, I do sir!” I replied, “And the barbed wire doesn't irritate me – it keeps that sergeant out! I'm safe in here.” The MO looked at the Sister and both smiled, as if acknowledging the idiocy of my remark. But life here is an improvement on the existence of those in the “free” wards.

I can mange without that afternoon swim in the Suez; I never go to the pictures, anyway. There are no parades here, no bawling sergeants. Not all the patients are rowdy, there are several quiet and friendly men. Even when I was free to walk about the camp, there was always the dread of being accosted by bullying, shouting officers for some trivial offence. I hope they let me stay in here!

The kitchen of ward 2 – which is in the same compound as ward 3 – is almost a canteen. One can obtain a bowl of tea there at any time of the day – very nice too, in this hot, thirsty weather. That kitchen man must be making a small fortune out of our akkas and ½ akkas. Well, good luck to him! His initiative provides us with a steady flow of hot tea. I should imagine he would be heart-broken if they discharged him, though!

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