Yesterday’s news was grand wasn’t it. There was quite a celebration in town for we could hear the noise here three miles away. But for some reason the Navy recalled an order to “splice the mainbrace”. This phrase means an extra tot of rum all round. I wonder why it was revoked.
We are not kept busy here and it is easy to miss parades anyway. I have been to P.T. twice (haven’t shirked any of that) and over the commando course once. This is first thing in the morning and then there is some sort of lecture usually not attended by me. I missed several parades to the decompression chamber but finally went through it this morning. It was good fun. Six of us in a chamber, two guinea pigs being without oxygen, up to the top—equivalent to 25,000 feet. One was very good and even after ten minutes at this height could still write his name but that was about all. Each of us got 10 minutes without oxygen and except for the guinea pig I was least effected. Managed to multiply 1234 by 4321 correctly and write the alphabet. Most couldn’t ever write out the alphabet correctly and one got near the end after a long time and kept writing wxywxywxy etc. for a long time. It is very funny to watch. We have to go up once more 30,000 feet this time for an hour, oxygen all the time.
I don’t suppose I will go for awhile yet according to the latest rumour. It is a great place for them. When the air force leave on draft they do it in style marching down town with web equipment to the strains of a band. The Army, on the other hand, sneak in on a train right on to the dock so that no one knows they are there and they aren’t allowed off the train even if they wait some time. We could be in town shopping, almost to the last hour before the march.
Yesterday morning was spent in an inspection and route march. Our fine weather has been continuing so it was a warm walk. I was near enough to the front to hear the band which makes it a lot easier.
On Labor Day I watched a track meet between the three services. The Airforce cleaned up with 96 points to Navy’s 49 and Army’s 25. Some events were very good. An English 3-miler got more than a lap ahead of two of his competitors—something I’ve never seen before.
Last night I had supper with Bob and Denny Hayman. Afterwards we played bridge. The fourth was formerly Barbara Van Kleeck of Armstrong who I knew well at varsity. We played quite late because at 11:30 we phoned for a taxi and they said to call back in an hour. (Taxis are worked through a central pool here—very bad.) At one time they said there might be a car available at 2:00 so we gave up. Fortunately the street cars were still running.
I got the Haymans address from Primrose Walker who I met quite by chance in town one night. I have met several people I knew before here. One I haven’t seen since manning pool. He was right marker in our flight there and as I was centre marker I knew him well. Another chap was a miner in Yellowknife.
My friend Ken Reid’s persuasive nature with officials got us passes to go over a warship. This was extremely interesting.
On Sunday we decided to explore the residential and area and quite by chance came upon an absolutely perfect yacht club on the North Arm. We didn’t go in but I hope to some day. Very spacious lawns on a fairly steep hillside right down to the water’s edge. The North Arm is quite narrow here so the sailing boats have to tack back and forth several times in front of the club as they make their way to open water. Next the grounds was a launch ferry service to a park accross the Bay which we took. A very pretty spot.
Down here we can get 52 ozs liquor a month and yesterday three of us did that as you have to get it all at once. I hope some of it lasts till we get accross but one bottle went last night. The mess isn’t too good as we are allowed one ounce per day which you can let accumulate for a week starting afresh each Monday.
I think I said before that Halifax was quite pretty in my first letter. Well that really referred to the surrounding country and suburban areas for the city itself is one huge slum. All old buildings that have lost their paint, narrow streets, cobbled sometimes, four wheel streetcars and a general air of dirt and poverty. There is a surprising lack of restaurants and the only clean looking place is so short of labor some of the booths are always roped off and you have to queue up.
The trunk is coming along express collect and here is the key, I hope.
With love from
[Note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]