Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday 5th January 1944

I have been given a handkerchief, by one of the fellow patients who had received a few from his relatives. Luxurious delight to blow the nose properly. It has been hard to stop shivering today, even when wearing a coat. Ice on the pond. Cold, cold.

This evening we all went to a concert in the civilian block; fine, spacious concert hall. Just before it started, all the civilian male inmates had to move to the back and we - the gallant boys in blue – were moved into the front rows of seats. This was a refreshing change from No. 41, where the wretched – yet still gallant – Other Ranks in blue had to scramble for wooden forms and standing room at the back, whilst rows of officers lounged smugly in front.

Actually however, on this occasion we'd gladly have let the poor old men (most were bent and twisted and white-haired) stay where they were. But apparently they are even further down the social ladder than us! The soubrette looked astonishingly like Lois; she had the same hair, nose, and somehow unpleasant air of confidence. Having watched her closely, I came to the conclusion that it was not Lois; the wheel of fantastic coincidence had not come full circle. How weird if it had been Lois there, and never knowing I was in the audience of mental patients before her!

Then I thought – but how exciting if it had been April singing up there and knowing perfectly well that I was a few rows in front of her – perhaps smiling mischievously in my direction occasionally! Thus I soliloquised, whilst the tenor sang, “Like a golden dream, in my heart ever straying...”

I remembered where I was at the show's end however – and so did the artistes, if they'd forgotten – for during the finale one of the lads flopped down right in front of the stage in a fit. The “show went on” however.

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