Monday, January 19, 2009

Wednesday 29th December 1943

7p.m. No smoking today! Went to the stores to ask for my kit this morning. A sallow, dirty-looking Corporal, snapped, “You'll have to wait! I'm too busy!” “Could you at least give me my pipe? It's only in my battle-dress pocket.” He made a perfunctory search, then said smugly, “Can't find it now. Too busy. You'll have to wait.” His little piggy-eyes glittered with sulky malice. I felt sick with hate. Can't say whether I hated the little Corporal most or the stupid, gauche system which he was part of.

A ward orderly and the Sister showed sympathetic interest.

Sister: “And, isn't it amazing – they're not allowed handkerchiefs, are they?”
Orderly: “No”
Sister: “But why not?”
Orderly: “I don't know. It's the Regulations, that's all.”

This England indeed! The only thing which proves I'm in England is the red-breasted robin I saw, perched in a hedge this afternoon.

Went to a cinema show in the canteen. Nobby was there and had managed to save me a seat. It was a stickily sentimental film. Nobby and I laughed loudly in the wrong places. The best times of each day are meal times. Having no one to talk to up here I usually read a book at the table. Someone has lent me “Sorrell and Son”.

Thus I escape from my surroundings.


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