25th October 1944 - Edinburgh

Wednesday
Up 8.30, splendid peaceful night without a dream.  Sudden realisation that I have been here another week and have been away from Colchester for 31 days.  Must undoubtedly give up job.  

Thick damp foggy morning, but papers say more divers over last night. They are now sending them all over Belgium as well, and the Americans I suppose will want to send them out from this country sooner or later.

Went to Library, read the London Times, Irish Times, Scotsman, Yorkshire and Newcastle papers, trying to pick up scraps about divers, but the reports are identical in every paper.

This afternoon went down to the Register Office for Miss Biggam about the Bruntsfield Links business.  Discovered that under Edinburgh Improvement Act, 1827 and another of 1831 neither the Links nor the Meadows can ever be built upon.  But when I reported this interesting discovery the only comment was that if the Corporation wished to build they would most certainly do so, Act or no Act!  What a delicious comment on the glorious democratic Government.

The officer at the Register Office, when I was talking to him, said that of course either of these Acts could be repealed – “in fact, any act can be repealed, even the Act of Union!”

Back to Library after that, and then to Theatre to see Iolanthe, gallery seat again.  When I heard the opening chorus I shut my eyes and was back in the School Hall again, 14 years old, hearing Gilbert & Sullivan for the first time.

Where are now all the boys who played in that show?  How many are dead?  The only name I can think of is Jumbo Joscelyn, who made a great stir as “Private Willis” and he’s at Writtle.

The show was enjoyable, but a lot of the music seemed to be played too slow, but the costumes were a delight and the Lord Chancellor a dream.  In the second act, there was great applause as soon as the curtain rose to reveal Private Willis in his sentry box, and at each mock-heroic reference in the songs there were little outbursts of clapping from various parts of the house.

Came out into damp, misty streets, no sign of the moon.  To bed, full of misery and anxiety.  Shall have to cycle a good way home, as have not sufficient money for full fare.

Two unfortunate errors today – a man stopped me outside the Library, a dirty little old man, carrying a parcel, and I understood him to say “Do ye ken the City o’ Glasgo?”  I stared at him and he seemed to repeat his remark, so I said very slowly “No, but perhaps they could tell you in the Library,” indicating the place, “I daresay they have a map in there.”  He gaped at me a moment, muttered something of which I caught only the words “bluidy fule” and walked away.  A man standing near me grinned, so I said “Well, he doesn’t seem to be very pleased with himself”  The man laughed and said “Nay, he’s wild because you make sich a game of him”  I replied “I certainly don’t mean to do any such thing.  How can I be expected to know all about Glasgow?”
"Glasgow? Och, you never heard what he said.  It was the City Glass Company he was asking for."

A few minutes later I went into a shop and bought some writing paper, and the girls seemed to say “Do you wash on Saturday?”  It was only after several repetitions that I made out the question as “Do you wish envelopes as well?”

Had tea in a cinema caf√© in the Lothian Road, the grey afternoon fading outside and the long processions of horses going home to the Railways yards at the Caledonian Station.  Their great hooves ringing on the cobbles.

Pretty girls coming in to tea with soldiers and airmen, and pipe music from the radio.

Got hold of 2 very good things today – book of short stories by Cunninghame Graham, which are superb.  Never read any before, but must now get a lot.  The other is the last volume of Hodson’s War Diary, 1942-3, called ‘Home Front’.  Excellent reporting.  Must get the other 4 vols.


The purchase of these has left me with £3.12.6, and the fare home is nearly £5.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Catherine

Just for the record the amounts ER mentions in current values.

ER has left himself with (in today's values) £144.40 and his fare home is going to cost him £198.67.

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Mike - I can see why Eric is concerned! CP