June 8th 1942 – Shillong

I go to dinner at 48 Theatre Road with Paddy and then to the flicks. We go on to Saturday Club and meet Singer and Devitt with a couple of girls. Singer rather tight, and shouting “Rape! Rape!” periodically. Actually its “Wape wape!” the way he pronounces it. He is quite funny and I dance with his girl.

Next day off to Shillong by special train, leaving Sealdah 1130 and reaching Amingoan 4pm next day. I see station superintendant and switch myself onto Assam mail, doing the same journey between 12 and 6am. We pass some trainloads of troops, ex-Burma, and they invade the restaurant car and buy up all the beer. Breakfast on the ferry as usual, very full of troops, and I see Brigadier Ekin going the other way, though he doesn’t recognise me. Up 60 miles by car and find we have got 8 GR mess and lines, the regiment having left for Quetta. Damn cold, and all I have is a bush shirt (5000′ in June?).

Shillong like Abbottabad and the streets like Missourie. Full of wounded from Burma, so no liking for the RAF. Met Paine at Ganhati who is on the staff here, and apparently no transport so the boys will have to stay the night down there when they reach the river.

My quarter looks out across the mess, with the smoke torn straight off the chimneys by the wind to wooded hill tops. Everything luscious and green. In the ghussle-khana (?) is an electric water boiler which I never saw before. A sort of cistern plugged in to the main, which you turn on and the water heats up. A tap at the bottom lets it all out.

A nice dull day, bags of wind, and some rain. The sort of gloomy day on which I thrive, becoming all sentimental and longing for the company of a nice girl and a pot of ale. Thunder, doors and windows rattling, trees sighing, damn dark and further outlook worse – such weather always makes me cheerful, but sad with thoughts of romance. Sad because of no damn luck, though only due to lack of opportunities I’m sure. Maybe one day?


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