Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Scraper's Diary, Saturday March 15th, 1947, Dortmund,


Having gone to bed at eleven last night, I was awakened by Bunty, the Q, (Quartermaster Sergeant) at 8.55 this morning, to be told that pay parade was at nine o'clock.

I made it.

Strange, but today Spring has arrived. It is still very cold, but the sun is shining gaily and the forbidding wrecks of this sad town assume a triviality and a witness of Nature's essential change.

Tonight I think I shall get drunk. I've been invited to a farewell party by a bloke who is demobbed on Monday and I think I'll go and get drunk. Beer (weak) is 3d a pint.

I feel like getting drunk.

It snowed last night.


This afternoon Mike, Len and I walked round Dortmund. I found a philatelic shop and bought two hundred marks worth of stamps for fifty cigarettes.

We went into a German Kaffeehaus and ordered coffee. I forced myself to drink mine, to keep up appearances, - for the Germans were watching us, - but I was spitting for an hour afterwards, and even now, after ten, I can still taste it, - there was certainly no coffee in it. It was a dark green-brown fluid with specks of some black stuff in the bottom of the cup. No milk, no sugar, it was probably ground acorns, and the taste bore no relation to anything I have ever drunk. If that is what the Germans drink, I pity them. Mike and Len left theirs after one sip.

We walked through some deserted side streets on our way back, all around us piles of brick lay tragically, the view was limited all round by occasional broken walls that either tapered to a precarious chimney, or bore great cracks with sublime indifference. Rubble and cement covered the roads in uneven piles to a depth of up to three feet, and obviously no effort had been made to clear them away or to demolish any of the tottering, dangerous wrecks that were once proud homes or great stores. No one seems to worry, an air of lethargy is everywhere.

Somehow, though in the middle of life, and an interesting adventure (for a sentimentalist can make Romance of nearly anything) I long to be in England and to see Spring coming down English valleys and English lanes.

I feel that I suddenly understand the row of dots in the travel books: "England......."


  1. so is this really from Scraper's diary or is Scraper fictional?

  2. Ya who is Scraper? Whoever, great writing.

  3. Fascinating journal entry, Friko.

  4. Oh, I wish he could get out of there . . . having knots in his stomach after two years. I guess he had to be there along with other Allied troops (England, United States, France) to rebuild Germany. He writes so well, I am right there with him; it's amazing how well he conveys his thoughts and feelings.

  5. Hi Friko. Just thought I'd introduce myself to you. I'm very new to writing my own blog but have been an avid reader for years. I'm Twiglet's little sister and found your blog from links from her blog. Just read in your profile that you feel you 'got stuck' living round here. How sad. I was born here in Shropshire and am now living in the family house and can't imagine living anywhere else. I love it.

  6. Tabor - Scraper exists, the diary is faction.

    Queenmothermamaw - See above; thanks for your appreciation.

    Lydia - Fascinating times too.

    Margaret - Shall I fetch him home? He wasn't there for long, he can stay for a little while longer.

    Wipso - Hi Wipso, welcome. Seeing that we've been here for 12 years this month, I'm not sure that I can really live anywhere else again. It IS very beautiful. The only problem is the distance one has to travel to get

  7. Friko - you said to Tabor “Scraper exists, the diary is faction” what is faction? Based on facts or a typo for fiction? Is it your diary or one of your friends? You write English so well. I have spoken the language for so many years now and still I cannot write it well, when I think of a good word to use, it always comes out in French first. I just think writing is a gift – which I don’t have! I really enjoy reading these diaries. By the way did you get my comments telling you how to post-date a post? I answered you last week, but I may not have posted it well on your blog.


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