We reached here, strange as it may seem, by the scheduled time, by the right roads, and in time for the dance!
As the members of the card school are broke, the losses at solo will not be payed until we get next week's money.
This place is known as the "Larkhill" of Germany, being on Luneburg Heath. Except in that the camp appears to hold some life, I agree. Except also, of course, that there are only three of us in this room, and that the lavatories aren't frozen. I have intended to mention for some time now that German inventiveness and thoroughness has made even details in barracks here better than British creativeness can make details at home. Windows open and shut properly and are double-glazed. Bathrooms function efficiently, as they are meant to do, as do electrical switches.
For gadgets, buy German.
Sunday, March 30th, 1947
We went for a walk this afternoon to see the place in daylight. It is a small, straggly town, with few shops. There are two cinemas, one British, one German, but there is no show tonight. The Salvation Army Club opens at 6.30, the NAAFI, a mile and a half away, at six. However, there are some promising woods hereabouts and we are soon going to explore.
Three in a room; I had to sign for the windows being in good order. I have just swapped our bust bulb for some stranger's good one.
Very pretty girls here, also many Poles and V.D. posters.
It is quite warm, the air is soft with the smell of pine trees, and the heavy fragrance of Spring, subtly sharpened by a faint suggestion of petrol.......... Symbolic, if you insist.
Hamburg, Monday, March 31st, 1947
As the entire band is off duty today, the Band Master obtained passes for us and we are spending a day's leave in Hamburg. This is a two hours' journey from Munsterlager, but it's worth it.
The town, very largely, does not exist.
I've used all the expressions I know to describe the devastation of German cities, but Hamburg is flattened, - albeit to a lesser degree than Bremen, - over a larger area than any place I've seen yet.
It has been a fine Spring day. Warm and happy, the temperatures many degrees above freezing point, and yet there are large chunks of ice still on the river, and occasional patches of snow in the country ditches. Heavy clouds rolled up after tea and after an egotistical announcement of lightning and thunder, it rained hard. The sun set in a livid jaw of sky and it's nearly dark now. Dark and wet. Heigh-ho.
We did quite a nice lot of business this afternoon in several jewellers' shops, had tea, and are now waiting patiently in the NAAFI gramophone room for a Beethoven piano sonata to dry up so that we can hear the March Slav (Tchaikovsky) and (Sibelius') Swan of Tuonella.