August 5, 1939
We are in harbour here - storing up etc. preparatory to sailing with the Fleet on Tuesday.
The Commander in Chief Mediterranean station has brought out a new order for tropical rig and we now wear white shorts and shirts (short sleeves and open at neck) - white stockings and shoes. The ordinary white rig - tunic and long slacks when officer of the watch etc. - I have so many naval uniforms now I blink - the upkeep is terrific. I have had to get four sets of the new outfit. I still haven't got pukker full dress yet and am hoping to stall along by renting it from Gieves if necessary, e.g. weddings and funerals.
I must get back to Malta soon so I can get an extra set of blues in case I dump myself in the sea - as it is now I have only one set of blues. Another thing I must do is get a full insurance on the whole kit which runs to over $600 at the least.
My bank balance shows £65, so I am ready for any emergency.
We are spending next weekend in Limassol, Cyprus, and as I am officer-of-the-watch tomorrow, I shall not be on duty in Cyprus, so should be able to get ashore while there for a couple of days.
As we have been ashore for three months, it isn't bad to be able to shake the sand out of one.
The only real objection is the heat. The whole flying-off deck acts as a flat iron and absorbs all the heat, which is transmitted directly to the cabins, etc. below.
Ronald is certainly growing up - five years of age, whot? What is Bob doing now? Jean will be thinking about starting back to school. Be sure and tell me all the horrid details of her exam results. I hope very often that she will go to university and graduate with a degree.
How much would it cost to have $1,500 for Ronny at the age of 18 or so? I mean one of these insurance rackets so as to ensure a college education or pay for his complete tuition at Royal Military College Kingston, where he could obtain a permanent commission in any fighting service and be set for life?
I agree! - it would cost a packet, but it would be well worth the trouble.
If I ever take my gratuity, I hope the taxes will have gone down - at present it is five shillings of the pound, which is $25 for every $100, so help me!
My "day on" tomorrow consists of pacing the quarter deck and running ship's routine from 7:20 to 8:30 in the morning. Twelve to four is afternoon, six to eight at night and from twelve to four a.m. in the morning. Oh! my arches.
Thank goodness it only comes around about twice a month.
Did I hear you mention holiday in your last letter? Not a hope - until the international situation cools down, and it looks decidedly worse. Might occur any moment now.
"Hope to get home sometime in 1940 - perhaps for Christmas." If ship is ordered home, it might be sooner.