I’m getting very worried. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and no letter from you. Whatever has happened? If it was not for the fact that these doodlebugs may have upset the railways I’d have sent you a wire. I did get a letter yesterday but it is an old one – dated June 8th! As I can’t read either of the post office franks on it, I can’t tell where it has been wandering to, but from now on will you please address all my letters in block capitals (not script) as I do yours and to be even more certain it would be as well to add KENT after Dover. Although it is now a fortnight old, I think there are one or two points which might be cleared up and the first is that I hope you have not had a return of your worrying moods as to what might have happened to me, even if other people do take it for granted that I’ve gone over there too! A move like that is not very likely while we are here on loan, though there is always the possibility of anything happening these days.
This is the letter in which you say the children were going to write but you stopped them – the first reference you have made to that subject and probably it was written at the moment when I was complaining so bitterly. I’ll have the pants off you! Did I hear you say “yes please”?
We were informed, today, that letters may now be posted sealed whereas before they had all to have the flap left open. This does not mean that the censorship has been suspended, but just that they pick an odd one here and there instead of doing them all. Will you let me know, by the way, if any of my previous letters have been snipped and also if any future ones are and then I’ll know where I’m working. You ask several questions, not all of which I’ll answer, but I will say that I’m not on a ship but working in similar conditions to those at Admiralty, except that we live and sleep away from the job, travelling to and fro by bus. Hours of work are a bit complicated so I won’t bother to detail them, but we are not so lucky here about our time off. Nominally we are off every other day from 8 a.m. until 8 a.m. or 12.30 (noon) next day according to the watch we have to pick up. On the face of it that sounds quite good, but in actual practice it isn’t so hot. One great snag is that though we are off watch we can’t get ashore until the first liberty boat at 13.30, whereas the general practice is for watch-keepers to have a free gangway (which means you can go ashore at any time), the liberty boats being intended for men who are on day work and so are free most nights. If we should miss the 13.30 boat we are stuck in the “camp” until 17.30, which means of course that we cannot go far afield as we have to be aboard again at 22.30. So far as the amount of work is concerned, we are doing far less than at Admiralty, but in many ways it is more interesting as we are supposed to be instructing people in the use of our stuff. So far the only person I’ve trained is a Wren who was a touch typist in civvy street, so that was a walk-over and she could carry on by herself now for all the work there is at the moment.
And that, I think, is about all there is to say on that subject for the moment. One more little point is that though we are chained in here from 8 to 13.30, we can’t make a lot of use of the time. It’s usually about 9 before we have finished breakfast and that’s a good time to dhobi, but the wash place is closed from 9.30 to 11. So perhaps you think you will have a shower, but you find that the showers are closed from 8 to 10.30! All of which means that you have to work out a more or less split-second programme and yet waste a lot of time doing so. In fairness, these places have to be closed some time each day for cleaning, but not as long as that. I don’t go much on the accommodation here at all, but I’ll remember it for two things chiefly: spotless “heads” (lavatories to you), the walls of which are scarcely marked by the usual drawings and verse; and very well kept billiards tables, two of them, which would be a credit to a good club. Odd, isn’t it, that people should be able to “leave their mark” in such ways.
Now there’s only one other point to refer to in that letter – evidence! Sweetheart, the evidence just has not been made which could possibly contain the visible and concrete evidence of my yearning for you. Full to overflowing is a mild way of putting it and just the mere thought of evidence has set John’s heart beating like a sledgehammer, but I’m not going to enlarge on that subject. Oh, precious, I love you very dearly and am sick to death of all this repression and frustration. As yet there is nothing concrete on which to build our hopes, but if we are here another month I think we will stand a very good chance of leave – a very good chance but beyond that I’m not prepared to go. The great question, of course, is will we be here then? I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find myself on the way back at any moment, so if you do get a telegram don’t get palpitations for it will only be to let you know where to write.
Did I tell you, by the way, that in a letter I had from Dot and Jack I learned that they are going on holiday on July 15 for a fortnight and that they will either be closing the flat or letting it, so Jack asked me to put up at the Union Jack Club if I should get back in that period. I meant to mention this before so you would know how the land lies, but I should leave it to Dot to let Mother know, I think.
I have written this on watch and I’m hoping that when I get back to breakfast there will be a letter from you. If not, I don’t know what I’ll think but I’ll leave this open so I can let you know.
Eric and Lilian wrote (or rather Eric did) for my birthday and I got the letter yesterday, which was not so hot as it was dated the 17th. As usual, Eric sent me £1 so I should be OK for slops now as I’ll have a bill from Admiralty soon I expect for stuff I ordered before I came away.
Lunchtime: Still no letter! If I don’t hear tomorrow I’ll have to wire you. The only possible explanation I can think of is that the railways have been hit, but in that case the lines must be in a right shambles to cause a delay of four full days. Somehow I can’t see that being the case and I’ll wait until the beginning of the week now, but if I don’t hear then I’ll do something about it. If there is anything wrong, I do wish you’d let me know quickly for it is very worrying.
Now I’ll push this into the post and possess my soul in patience as best I may. I love you so, dear heart, and I do hope you are all OK. My love to the children and all my love to you.
Ever your own,
P.S. Did my little parcel arrive and has there been any word from Jack about sending my other stuff?
I went to Brownies with cynthia. Mummy is making me a Brownie frock in time for next tuesday. we plaed some games and had the Brownie story. we went on the bus and came back with all the Brownies. Im in the skelpies with cynthia. were haveing a rest next week. Thank you for the sweets and for the letter. Michael will write at the weekend.
Love from Wendy