December 20th 1939 – Uttapanayskanna


Went into Madura with Colonel and Golly – I was due to stay with one Doakes, manager of the mill and drawing 6000/- a month. I arrive at his house, a palace set on the highest hill around Madura, and with a wonderful view, if it wasn’t an Indian one, and find no one there, he being still at his office. I have the sort of 7th guest bedroom, but it has all modern conveniences and a pair of good Persian carpets. I have tea, look longingly at the swimming pool, and then drink the breeze from the highest point for a considerable time.

Eventually Doakes arrives, but doesn’t expect me as I should be with some others in the mills, the Essex’s, who have arranged a party for me. I shift house and meet them at the Khatak dance we put on – then back to dinner at the Essex’s. They have a Swiss girl – Hildegard – up from Tuticorin for my partner. During dinner Mrs Essex gets pretty tight, she is an Australian with a cockney accent. And we go on to the club dance at about 10pm, everyone pretty tight, bar me and the Swiss miss, and calling me “Lootenant”. Return from dance at 3am having done pretty well keeping Swiss miss out of hands of proletariat – John and Reggie & co. We five are the only ones from the Regiment – and do pretty well in the Palais Glide, when Golly and John bend back so far they crash to the floor amidst loud applause.

Arrange to shoot with Doakes in the morning, but on waking up I can’t take it, and don’t go. Leave Essex at 2pm and home with Colonel and Golly in car. Out that night at 1am until about 9 – sleep 10.30am until about 4pm and out again at 1am, in bed midday until about 5pm. Then last night in bed. I didn’t mind mind going out at night in Razmak – there were bullets about, you knew that, and it made it more interesting. But climbing through cactus after ‘Popeyekanoor’ or ‘Sodapaniswami’ – I would rather stay in bed.

Last night Madura came here to a drinks party, but some shite in the S.P.M.R., and the Mills I suppose, brought out the Swiss miss and kept her all the time. A pretty good party and Mrs Essex in great form. They all reckon to come and laugh at us when we march into Madura, 30 miles, on 22nd. General Norton arrived today to watch Coy field firing scheme. He choses C Coy, and as Pearson is manager I have to do it. God knows what will happen – or I don’t – and a night scheme tonight to catch one “Champagne”. I shouldn’t feel much like marching after that, to Madura.

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