No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
British Army Exhibition
British Army Staff
Jessie Mine: The Bastille Day festivities seem to be starting in earnest this evening: The streets and boulevards are lined with flags, and street hawkers are busy selling the usual gala knick-knacks… paper hats, paper streamers, and the usual variety of screeching trumpets etc. Close to the hotel, a platform has been erected on the pavement, and a dance band is occupying it – for the benefit of the adjoining cafe patrons who are dancing in the roadway. Motor cars and cyclists keep whizzing by, but the dancers seem to survive. And overhead, there are streamers of electric lights across the roadway. I imagine this state of afairs will be repeated in hundreds of Paris streets – tonight and tomorrow. It is all very gay and jolly.
I believe tomorrow’s official programme will commence with a big military parade – some time in the morning. I have been told that British troops will appear in this parade, together with our band from the exhibition.
And then there will be the river gala in the afternoon… followed by numerous dances in the evening. Several of the public squares seem to be earmarked for open air dancing… so it looks as though road traffic will have to cease. The weather is perfect just now – and it looks as though it will remain so: I hope it does. I’m sure the civvies here are longing to have a real fling… and intend having it tomorrow.
I have done a spot of duty today, Jess – so haven’t much to report. I remained at the exhibition all afternoon, and have spent much of the evening explaining British politics to an Australian Air Force R.S.M. who is staying at this hotel.
I received two letters today… dated 5th and 8th. The latter included the press cuttings about the Churchill-Attlee affair: thanks for sending them. I had already seen the press report of Attlee’s final letter, and must admit that it gave me a pleasant surprise. On the whole, I think he handled the matter very well. He seems to have maintained some measure of dignity, whilst putting Churchill well and truly in his place. It was a disgusting episode, Jess… and I’m still amazed that Churchill became a party to such petty squabbling. I think it was well said by someone that had Laski’s name been Smith or Brown, the controversy would never have arisen. The Tories are well aware of the almost instinctive dislike of the Jews among most people… and seem to have tried to make capital out of it.
I’m glad you managed to go to at least one political meeting: it was at least a change for you to get away from the house for an hour or two. I do wish you could get out oftener, Jess. In spite of the possibility of Barry’s waking up in your absence, Stan appears to be a good little ‘nursemaid’ so couldn’t you risk leaving him in charge on occasional Saturday evenings: he could sleep in the spare bed… or could he?
One suggestion I have thought of making before is that you take a day off with Barry. I think I remember you once hinting at a visit to Rawles at Chapel-en-le-Frith. Why not try it some Sunday, darling? You could make a day of it, and take your food with you. I know it would involve some trouble… but the effort itself… the very fact of getting away from the house into the country, would do you a world of good. And Barry! – I’ll bet he would be thrilled to bits. There are other people besides Rawles, of course, but I suggest them because they live in the country, and the train service is reasonably convenient. I do wish you would try it… and then tell me all about it on the following day. It would make a lovely story… perhaps better than the one about Poynton Park.
Jess – your accounts of our tradespeople make my blood boil – so perhaps I better not say much about them. But I will say that I’m not sorry to hear that you have finished with Walsh. I never liked the old bounder.
And now to bed – or rather to bath, and then to bed. It’s lovely having such a convenient bath in this hot weather.
Good night my love –