C/O DPR Unit
[17 Aug 1943]
Am back in the correspondents’ mess again. Arrived in this morning after a car trip of some 4 hours. The weather here is certainly to be preferred to that at the bomber strip which I reckon must be the hottest blarsted spot in the whole N.T. Think I might have got a touch of the sun yesterday after setting out in the middle of a glaring road with no shirt on. Felt quite sick after ½ hour or so although I didn’t get burnt much. Possibly the glare of white paper with the sun shining on it may have been responsible. Anyway, I up & left. One of the yank officers reckoned I must have been a bit troppo to pick the spot in the first place what with the heat & thundering great trucks raising all smothering dust within 20 yards of me, etc.
Working out of doors in the middle of the day knocks you up alright. I feel positively exhilarated at the prospect of the cool Sydney spring. We’ll go out places together – eh? I’m practically certain to be down before your birthday. If I get transport accommodation OK. So when you get a telegram from me you’ll know to meet me at Rose Bay. [via seaplane] I’ll be looking for you – save up some juice. I won’t be able to tell you much in the telegram I shall send when I leave – It will be up to you to find out time of my arrival. Put some beer in the frige for us. Which reminds me to tell you I am happily having my weekly bottle at the very moment. It’s extremely good & most welcome as I have just finished doing the weeks washing & ironing 3 shirts 3 pants, handkerchiefs, underpants socks & towel. It’s hot work in these h’yar parts. The weather is getting warmer as the wet season approaches. Blarsted flies are banging about too – damn their wings. Don’t worry about me drinking a lot. There isn’t that much here! Even a few knocks everyone and I haven’t had more than 4 real hangovers in 6 weeks. I don’t suppose I have lost much weight really. Although one sweats to a prodigious extent water is consumed in replaceable quantities.
Have now taken up my pew in the sunshine as I must bring you back some visible indication of the tropics. One’s colour is said to disappear very quickly so I shall devote my last days here solely to the acquisition of a body tone you will really want to touch. Cunning little man!
Have also switched radio on and am listening to short wave transmission from the eastern states – whether Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane I, as yet, don’t know. Ah me – how I am suffering.
Have just heard it was from Sydney.
Am becoming quite benign in all my attitudes – the bottle is practically empty. My good intentions of a long letter weaken – my sole desire at the moment is to sit by radio and dream happily & nebulously about you. With the pilots I say “I’ve had this place” – but also I say – “I want to have you”
A week today to the 24th. Oh dear! I wish I could buy you something! Some little permanent thing we could keep for remembrance of our tenth. After all it’s quite a while. If you should see anything buy it for me to you. Up the clothes, I’ll buy them for you anyway. But I guess there is nothing left about anywhere. Maybe King in his second hand snoopings will see something. However don’t worry pet, about it – one day I’ll find something. Your best present to me will be to look your prettiest & to be ever so pleased about my being back. I think of you such a hell of a lot now. Seems as if I’m back at the going out to Brighton stage in my love life. High time I changed the record – playing this old lonely note doesn’t help either of us much.
You appear to be living an extremely quiet life. For goodness sake honey don’t drive yourself nuts. I hope you are eating something substantial occasionally for there has to be something left for me to grab hold of.
I’ve just come back from the pictures – a waste of time sadly regretted – the Ritz Bros in “3 Roaring Romeos” – My God! What a show! [The Three Musketeers (1939)?]
Have plenty cigs for you. Looks almost as if I have been receiving stolen goods.
I should be able to write you for hours tonight as I am (believe it or not) the only inmate at present incarcerated in the asylum. All the others are out on their job. There’s been quite a bit of plane activity about here lately and they are covering all the news angles from the pilots, bombardiers & so on and so forth. 3 of the fighter pilots I was staying with bagged a bird each. Nice going. You’ll read about it all in the papers before this letter reaches you. [* See Note] Wish I had our coleman stove – I’d set down right now to hot toast & asparagus. As things are I would have to build a wood fire. That’s too much.
Still haven’t any butter. Altogether I’ve had it only a week & a half since arriving. Oh boy, will I make a hog of myself down south.
Have just turned on short wave radio to some oriental station broadcasting some indescribably mournful dirge which suits my present mood like a tight collar. It’s really wonderfully glum. One of these days I must get me a short wave set – an amazing variety of stuff comes over – surely sufficient to suit every mood.
I’m still trying to make up my mind as to whether I should or should not, wolf the asparagus. The betting at the moment is two to one on that I do. May as well get something inside me – you can’t tell but that the yellow men may not be over later tonight. The moon is still perfect – they have had time to rest their bomber crews after the last raid – and they a getting a bashing from the yanks here – which sort of thing tends to make them a little angry. Perhaps I should remain awake a while – with no one in the house I may stay asleep at the wrong moment.
Only 14 or 15 days before I clear off. I’m beginning to count them. I suppose you will too, now that I have told you what I hope to do.
Asparagus is out in front turning into the straight – it’s no race folk – Asparagus wins pulling up, 3 bellyfuls in front of Some Bread and NO Butter.
So lots of love and kisses
[*Note: 1943 ‘AUSTRALIAN PLANES IN N.-WEST THRASH JAPS.’, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), 19 August, p. 3, viewed 16 August, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42034094]